Letter: No Less Human

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602 S. Gay Street
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Knoxville, TN 37902

I’m writing to you about M. Hupfel’s letter to the editor, “Sad Places” [Aug. 9, 2012]. In it she avidly defends abortion and attacks the pro-life movement and specific pro-life measures such as the Life Defense Act. It is evident in reading her letter that she does not understand (or will fail to adequately acknowledge) the most basic argument against abortion. The only summary she can conjure of why pro-life advocates could possibly be pro-life is that they falsely believe that “they are just making ‘sure young women are protected’.”  While the pro-life community does strive to protect young women who are getting abortions (many regret abortions afterwards, some are pressured into getting abortions, and some do not fully understand what is going on), the primary beneficiary of pro-life work is intended to be the greatest victim of an abortion: the unborn person who is killed during the operation.

Throughout Hupfel’s entire letter, a reader will note that she does not once mention what an abortion actually is: the destruction (killing) of a fetus. Her letter’s narrow-minded focus on women points to the fatal flaw in the entire concept of the pro-choice argument. It speaks of women, doctors, and the government, but it is forgetting the unborn child that is being destroyed. Even if she falsely claims that the fetus is not a person, why does she fail to even mention the fetus? I find it difficult to believe that someone would write a letter about an appendectomy and never once mention the appendix. Could it be because an abortion is wildly different than the removal of an appendix or any other “basic health care” procedure, as Hupfel claims an abortion to also be?

Let me take this time to explain to you the very simple argument against abortion. 1.) Once an egg and a sperm come together to form a zygote, a totally new, unique and individual human has come into existence. These brand new people have their own DNA and are on a totally separate developmental path from their mother. They are distinct individuals from their parents insofar as you and I are. This is objective biological fact. Yes, they are totally reliant on their mother for life, but this makes them no less human than a small infant or child or an incapacitated person of any age, who would also be totally reliant on others for life. 2.) It is morally wrong to kill an innocent human being. This is a point of natural law common to all civilizations and people. 3.) Abortion is the destruction of a fetus in the womb. This is a point of fact. 4.) The unborn person is innocent. They have no control over their own conception; therefore, even if their conception was against the will of their mother, they themselves are in no way responsible or guilty. 5.) Put it all together: A fetus is an innocent human being. Abortion kills that innocent human being. It is wrong to kill an innocent human being. Therefore, abortion is wrong. Period.

Some will say that even with all that being the case, it is still not the government’s role to tell a woman what to do. The most basic function of government is to protect people’s rights. The most basic right is life, because without life, you can have no other rights. If you believe the government should have any role at all, it is to protect its people’s most basic right—their right to live.

The real issue comes from the misconceived notion of what is entailed by a woman’s right to choose. A woman has a right to choose if and when she is going to have a baby. That decision, however, is made prior to the conception of the baby, when the woman chooses whether or not she is going to have sex. Even if that right is denied her (she is raped), the decision, unfortunately, has already been made. Her right being denied does not bestow upon her the authority to deny her child’s rights.

As you can see, contrary to Hupfel’s misguided view that claims pro-life advocates are “blinded by emotion,” the pro-life agenda is based solely around sound and solid logic.

Jim Hunter

Knoxville

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Comments » 3

RedRobin writes:

I appreciate the space given to the letter by Jim Hunter about abortion. I thought that he explained the pro-life position well. No matter the circumstances, abortion is always a sad ending.

I heard a woman who was considering abortion say that she, "just didn't want to be a mother," but what she may had not have considered was that she might already a mother - even before the baby exited the womb. The word, "fetus" means, "young one", not some undead thing.

Certainly no woman can be forced to raise the child she bears (others will do that - it's okay) but she will always be that child's biological mother, and the father is a true father. In this way of thinking, everyone keeps their dignity... and the child keeps his or her life.

Dart writes:

Please show me a study that shows that many (and by many I'm looking for a majority here) women regret their abortions. I'll go ahead and leave two here showing the opposite.

http://www.nytimes.com/1990/04/06/us/...

http://women.webmd.com/news/20000822/...

Do some women regret their abortions? Sure. But regret does not mean criminality! Just because some women regret their abortions does not make abortion criminal. Consider: If I eat too much ice cream, I will regret it later. This does not mean ice cream should be illegal.

"Even if she falsely claims that the fetus is not a person" Whether or not a fetus is a person is still debated even today. The question is subjective, and hard to answer. However, I will point out a few things about a fetus.

First of all, most abortions occur in the first trimester (88 - 92%). For the majority of the first trimester, it is an embryo. At the latter part, it is at the early stages of being a fetus. At no point within the first trimester is the fetus able to feel pain, nor is it conscious. Most studies point to about 20 to 24 weeks to be when a fetus starts to be able to feel pain, and it is not most likely until later, if ever while still in the womb, that a fetus attains consciousness or something similar to it. In addition to this, 10-20% of embryos/fetuses in the first trimester are miscarried. Even more zygotes are miscarried, the number anywhere in the 30-50% range.

So, an embryo/fetus is human in nature and alive (just like a skin cell), but it is not capable of feeling pain, not conscious, not capable of surviving independent of the mother, and not fully developed. Is it a person? I would say no. I would say there is no way you can rationally classify that as a person. However, again, subjectivity, meaning that it is a moot point.

If you want to argue solely against late-term abortions, then you would have much more ground to stand on, and I could respect that argument.

A baby or an incapacitated person are not reliant solely on their mother like a fetus is - any person, including one with the ability or means - can take care of them.

As for the woman choosing. Contraception is not always obtainable. It also does not always work to prevent pregnancy. Not even birth control is one hundred percent reliable. It is also unfair when you consider men have the ability to choose, yet are not burdened as women are. In the case of rape, a decision has not been made. A decision has been violently stolen.

So no. All of the assumptions you have made are not based in logic, but in subjectivity riddled with emotional influence. Do not claim to be the logical side when you clearly demonstrate a lack of understanding regarding the basic nature of science or the current statistics surrounding the issue.

CF writes:

First of all, many does not mean majority. It means many.
At some points in the letter, the word fetus is used in a manner that is admittedly not entirely appropriate. The word unborn child should have been used to cover the entire pregnancy rather than just the large portion of the pregnancy in which the child is referred to by the scientific community as a fetus.
However, your notion that the humanity of an unborn child is somehow subjective or debatable is entirely false.
As the letter says, once the zygote is formed, a new person is formed. This is not the same as a skin cell because, unhindered, this cell will develop into a fully functional adult and is already an individual human being. It is an organism, a member of the species Homo sapiens, just like you and me. A skin cell, on the other hand, is simply a singular unit in one of these organisms. The fact that a zygote is a single cell does not alter the fact that it is a sovereign organism. So no. A skin cell is not "human in nature" in the same way as an embryo or fetus. A zygote, embryo and fetus are people; a skin cell is part of a person.
Also, I fail to follow your implication that someone's ability to feel pain or their level of consciousness somehow determines their humanity. Murder is not wrong because it causes pain, it is wrong because it kills a person. Otherwise you could kill someone painlessly with no moral repercussions. (Instant kill, carbon monoxide poisoning etc.) Also, consciousness cannot be deemed what makes a human a person, because then everyone would slip out of their humanity while they were in the dreamless stage of sleep, blacked out, or otherwise unconscious. They would, again, be fair game for murder.
Now to your choice argument. If contraception is not “obtainable” and a woman doesn't want to get pregnant- *NEWS FLASH*- she shouldn't have sex. She's making the choice to likely have a baby when she decides to have unprotected sex. And a woman who takes the risk of contraception is making the choice to take the risk of having a baby. If you run a stop sign without checking for oncoming traffic, and there's a car coming, it's going to hit you whether that was your intention or not. And you are responsible. Likewise, the new child is created, regardless of the mother’s intentions when having sex.
When you say, "A decision has been violently stolen" in rape, it only stands to prove what the letter said in reference to rape. Unfortunately, the man has stolen the woman's right to make the decision, and he has made the decision for her. The decision, however, has been made; the new person already exists, and he or she has a right to live.
So yes. The letter is based in scientific fact and logic. It is you who are denying clear-cut facts, namely that a zygote is a human being. Also, stop acting like there were false statistics given in the letter. There were not.

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