Bravo for asking the question "Does abortion allow for common ground?" on Sunday and offering voices from each side of the issue.
Too bad that the abortion-rights advocate, Planned Parenthood's Dayle Steinberg, did not answer your question! As a matter of fact, Steinberg never mentioned the word abortion in her statement. In contrast, Edel Finnegan of the Pro-Life Union of Southeastern Pennsylvania included the singular form of the word abortion several times in her essay.
Instead, Steinberg wrote about "reproductive health," a term she applied a couple of times in a commentary that was supposed to be about abortion.
I find the use of the term reproductive health from a representative of the organization that is responsible for most abortions in the United States to be oxymoronic. After all, there's nothing reproductive about abortion or planned de-parenthood.
Marybeth T. Hagan
I was surprised that both sides seem not to stress a fundamental part of this hot topic: poverty. Of the 15,000 abortions each year in Philadelphia, 84 percent were for unmarried women. I would be curious to know what the percentage is who live in poverty. I am sure it is very high. Poverty brings on many ills. A young girl living in poverty does not have the access that a young girl in a higher economic bracket has to a better education and health care.
Both writers missed one main point. The government should not interfere with anyone's private life, nor should religious views (dogma) enter any governmental discussion or judicial decision.
Our Founding Fathers knew that there should be a separation of religion and state. They realized that one religious group should not dictate to another religious group what to do or how to do it.
Richard J. Harwood
I'm certain all compassionate, well-intentioned people believe that human life should be valued, and that liberty and the pursuit of happiness are rights that must be protected. The question is, when does an individual life become human?
Edel Finnegan states that it "is the scientific fact that human life begins at conception." But this depends on the definition of "human"; for the formation of a unique genetic arrangement is no more an example of "humanity" than is any other arrangement of potentially sentient protein.
While I agree with Dayle Steinberg that all women need good information and access to birth control in order to reduce and, it is hoped, end abortions, unless I missed it, I could not help but notice that nowhere in the article was the term life, baby, or fetus mentioned. All references about seeking common ground mentioned terms such as reproductive-health issues, unintended pregnancies, etc. It is as if the writer forgot these babies already exist and shows no interest in saving them.
My problem with the so-called religious among us is trying to find the basis for their claim that a conscious decision to destroy a fetus before it can become a human baby is equivalent to the murder of a human being.
The devout Christian believes fervently in the Bible and insists that the Old Testament is composed of the words of God. This being the case, how does the devout Christian explain away God's revelation to us that a fetus is not equivalent to a human being born of a woman? How do they explain away the words found in Exodus 21:22-23? The answer is, they do not.
I personally am not pro-abortion. But not being a woman and having no real concept of what it must take to deal with an actual pregnancy, I find myself in the corner of those who call themselves pro-choice. A woman should have the right to decide whether her pregnancy should continue.
Edel Finnegan will not admit that there is a religious and moral position on abortion that is different from her own. This allows her to distort her own position as the only religious and moral one.
Because of this distortion, which the news media have allowed to stand, the general public is left with the impression that proponents of abortion are all godless, immoral, selfish hedonists.
The debate tends to ignore a natural fact of life: Close to half of fertilized human eggs do not make it to term naturally.
The most important way to prevent abortion is sex education. When all pregnancies are wanted, it will severely limit the incidence of abortion. This is true in many European countries, where abortion rates are very low and sex education is required as soon as children can understand what it's about.
How can there be a "scientific fact that human life begins at conception"?
Human life begins when God makes an image of God. There is no way to get any facts on that, one way or the other.
The National Catholic Bioethics Center offers this:
"While it is true that the church teaches that the intentional and direct destruction of human embryos is always immoral, it would be incorrect to conclude that the church teaches that zygotes (a single-cell embryo) or other early-stage embryos are persons, or that they already have immortal, rational souls. The magisterium of the church has never definitively stated when the ensoulment of the human embryo takes place. It remains an open question."