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Seeking Proper Focus in the Abortion Issue

January 18, 2003

Norah Vincent is the one with the "Wrong Focus in Abortion Issue" (Commentary, Jan. 9). She completely misses both the humane and the legal point of the abortion debate. By stating that abortion "legally speaking, has nothing to do with women's bodies" she shows her ignorance of pregnancy, let alone what the right to privacy (i.e., the right to control one's body) means to a pregnant woman, who also happens to be human and deserving of constitutional protection. With regard to her conclusion that the pro-choice side should cede the third trimester, that decision has already been made -- by the U.S. Supreme Court.

States have the right to prohibit abortion in the third trimester, except if necessary to protect the life or health of the mother. Therefore, people who are pro-choice have already made their compromise. Also, abortion shouldn't be a political issue and politicians shouldn't decide whether a woman can terminate an unwanted pregnancy. That decision should be left to the woman and whomever she wishes to include in it -- her partner, her clergy, her trusted friends and her family.

Women must have the right to choose. They must be able to make very personal decisions about their reproductive lives.

Nancy L. Sasaki

President

Planned Parenthood, L.A.

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Vincent opined that if the fetus is human, abortion is homicide and should be permitted only on a self-defense basis to save the life of the mother. Despite that good beginning, she proceeded to draw fallacious distinctions, "reasoning" that "the less time since conception, the stronger the case against fetal humanity" and the closer to birth "the more irrefutable the case for fetal humanity."

Given the media's liberal bias, one is grateful that space is found for an opinion that any abortion is wrong. However, it needs to be pointed out that there is no logically valid basis for defining humanity by degrees. Such distinction is on the order of saying that one is "a little bit pregnant."

Richard M. Coleman

Malibu

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So President Bush has declared Sunday National Sanctity of Human Life Day.

Tell us, Mr. President, does the sanctity of human life also pertain to the estimated half-million Iraqis who will die in your war? Or are only American lives sacred?

Ken Lanxner

San Clemente

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