I am writing this letter in response to Adam Bradley’s letter concerning abortion (The Reader’s Voice, “Basic Scientific Knowledge Supports Fetal Rights Act,” May 14). I will in no way deny that the zygote is a living organism by the definition of mitosis. But just because an organism undergoes mitosis does not mean that the zygote is alive in human terms; that is, it does not possess a consciousness. All living organisms undergo mitosis, including plants, viruses, bacterium and even the disease of cancer, which is the result of unregulated mitosis. Just a note: I, too, am a science major. Biology does not account for the presence or absence of human life. Consciousness is something that remains an unsolved mystery in this field. What is important to take into account in this issue is the rights of the living mother.
I am not saying that the fetus is not human. It is. It possesses human DNA and can be said to be a potential person who is physically dependent on the mother. But then again, every egg within the female is a potential person. And every cell, including hair follicles, contains a complete set of human DNA. In the beginning stages of development, the fetus is not a person. Within the first few months of development, it has not even acquired the necessary organs that it would need to survive, including the brain. Not only this, but there is a point during the first trimester when twinning occurs. How can two humans be the same person? They are not. I know from experience since I myself am a twin and can tell you that we are quite different. This should provide further proof that before twinning, the zygote is not yet what can be called a person.
One must also remember that during the early stages of the first trimester a high percentage of zygotes result in natural abortions due to mistakes in DNA replication. Life is truly a miracle and should be respected as such. Unwanted children will not find the love waiting for them that they deserve.
In legal terms, the Fetal Rights Act is a direct violation of Roe v. Wade and the U.S. Constitution, as can be shown by the decision of Justice Harry Blackmun in his ruling for the above national case.
“This right of privacy, whether it be found in the 14th Amendment’s concept of personal liberty and restrictions upon state action, as we feel it is, or, as the District Court determined, in the Ninth Amendment’s reservation of rights to the people, is broad enough to encompass a woman’s decision whether or not to terminate her pregnancy. The detriment that the state would impose upon the pregnant woman by denying this choice altogether is apparent. Specific and direct harm medically diagnosable even in early pregnancy may be involved. Maternity, or additional offspring, may force upon the woman a distressful life and future … ”
When it comes down to it, the law cannot grant Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness to two beings that possess one body. One of the beings is forced to veto its rights for the other. So which being should the law protect: the living mother, or the potential person dependent on the mother? The act of having an abortion is traumatic in itself. There is no need for society to judge the women on this already difficult decision. After all, it is not like the woman became pregnant with the intention of having an abortion. It is an ugly part of life that some people are forced to deal with, whether they like it or not.
And for Adam, I will end this letter by saying that I, too, am a Christian. I believe that Jesus existed and died for the sinners of this world. And, under this religion, I believe that it is God’s place to judge an individual for the decisions they make, not man’s.
Kathleen Colby is a junior biology major.