* Re "House OKs Bill to Give Fetuses Separate Status," April 27: Many think that this is a ploy to establish fetal rights--as a basis for an eventual attack on abortion. President Bush promises to sign it.
The fun will start when it gets to the Supreme Court, whose triumphant right wing would like nothing better than an opportunity to do away with Roe vs. Wade. However, in their zeal to limit the power of the federal government, they've insisted that Congress can only pass laws related to interstate commerce. On that basis they have struck down a law that made it a federal crime to carry a gun near a school, as well as the Violence Against Women Act.
How will they wriggle out of this one? How will they be able to say that Congress can criminalize violence against a fetus but not against a woman? I'm sure they'll find a way.
HARVEY S. FREY
A legislative analyst for Planned Parenthood's Guttmacher Institute says: "Antiabortion supporters want to create more places in law where fetuses are equated with persons." This is the bastard legacy of Roe vs. Wade: That a very fallible, human Supreme Court denies the God-given inalienable right of personhood to an entire group of individuals--preborn children.
The cold, scary reality is that in the year 2001 no one in the U.S. is safe from being declared a "nonperson" as long as this invalid anti-Bill of Rights precedent remains unrevoked. So who's next? Newborns? Down's syndrome babies? Alzheimer's patients? God help us.
GREGORY E. POLITO MD