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Debate Over Abortion

May 28, 1994

* I was delighted to see the inherent fallacy of the pro-abortion position finally exposed in the side-by-side articles May 17.

At one and the same time we read a "Path Cleared for Abortion Pill Use" and "Assault Causing Miscarriage Can Be Murder Case." The very plain truth is that, as the California Supreme Court held, the fetus is a human life worthy of protection, and therefore the taking of its life (by a third party as opposed to by its own mother) is a crime which may lead to a conviction of murder. California's tough fetal murder law places the abortion debate in a new and brilliant light: The fetus has rights. Ironically, a woman is free to abort her fetus while a third party causing a miscarriage would be convicted of murder. The legal (and moral) issue has finally been clarified in the courts: In having an abortion a woman takes the life of her own unborn fetus in what would otherwise be considered an act of murder.

Justice Stanley Mosk's dissent that this creature "roughly the size of a peanut . . . (whose) appearance remains less than human" is a very poor argument favoring abortion. Is a 1-month-old child "less than human" because it cannot walk, reason, communicate verbally or wear a size six shoe? Its appearance is that of a baby--but still a human life. In the same way the appearance of human life in the womb is that of a fetus. Happily, the court has determined that whatever one desires to call life in the womb--a fetus, an embryo or an inconvenience--it is a human life, for it cannot be otherwise. Now that this life has rights that protect it from an assault by a third party, maybe we should consider the serious and deadly assaults upon this life by its mother and the RU-486 abortion pill.

THE REV. JEROME T. KARCHER

St. Joachim Catholic Church, Costa Mesa

* No doubt you will receive many letters on the court decision regarding murder of a fetus. And many will comment on the juxtaposition of this news item with the one about RU-486, the abortion pill.

Pro-choice activists are worried that the court has cleared the way for restricting or even illegalizing abortion. Anti-choice proponents are cheering the court's decision, for the same reason. But both sides of the debate are missing the point. The key words in the court ruling are "third party killing."

The court decision is not about "when life begins"; it is about the right to choose. A woman may choose to carry a fetus to term, or she may choose not to. This has been the law since the Roe vs. Wade decision of 1973. Having made her choice, no other person has the right to take that choice away.

Regarding the question of when life begins, it certainly doesn't begin at conception--it merely continues. A woman creates eggs; a man creates sperm. A woman who does not become pregnant ends a potential human life every month. A man ends millions of them every time he ejaculates.

If a woman is pregnant, she may choose to have the fetus removed (therapeutic abortion). But if she chooses to carry the fetus to term, it is a crime for another person to commit an action which causes the fetus' death (spontaneous abortion).

The California Supreme Court has reaffirmed that it is the woman who has the right to choose. This is as it should be.

JOEY CRAWFORD

Los Angeles

* Justice Mosk, in his "lengthy and graphic" dissent to the California Supreme Court decision concerning fetal murder, tried to describe the ugly non-humanity of the fetus in order to buttress his position that a post-embryonic fetus is not a person. I think he utterly failed when he used the words "creature," "head," "eye," "nostril," "feet," "tail," "hands" in this description. Perhaps his point would have been better made if he had meticulously avoided any mention of fetal anatomy and its relation to adult human anatomy. Then again, perhaps not.

DOUGLAS CAMPBELL

Culver City

* Regarding your editorial on RU-486 (May 17), I resent the statement, "That opens the door for widespread use of this valuable but controversial drug in this country," used by you and others.

It is not the drug that is controversial; it has been shown to be highly effective. It is, in actuality, the very minor group of those who oppose it that are controversial, not RU-486.

SHELDON BROWN

Sun Valley

* The abortion pill RU-486, when declared safe by the Food and Drug Administration, will assist President Clinton in "ending welfare as we know it." Although single mothers with dependent children will still need government aid provided by the AFDC program, the government will be able to refuse AFDC aid to indigent newcomers when RU-486 is approved by the FDA.

Those who have demonstrated against the abortion clinics should have their workload substantially diminished when RU-486 cuts down on the number of pregnant women seeking to terminate their pregnancies.

JOSEPH WALDBAUM

North Hollywood

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