To the editor: Responding to the letter writer who posited that abortion is considered an important right precisely because it prevents a fetus from developing into a child, every female baby is born with all the ova she will ever have inside her — several hundred of them, far more than she could ever carry to term.
The natural fate of most of these potential humans is to die, flushed from the woman’s body, one per month. Just as there is no advantage, practical or humane, to thinking of these lost ova as “dead babies,” so there is also no advantage or moral necessity in applying such thinking to the early stages of development after fertilization.
Like an ovum, a fertilized zygote is a pinhead-sized speck of cytoplasm. It is many weeks away from becoming a baby, and weeks from developing a brain capable of conscious awareness. Furthermore, about 20% of conceptions naturally end in miscarriage. To me, the evidence is clear that the early stages of human development are designed to be expendable.
There is ample time at the beginning of gestation for a woman to make a choice. There is no reason why it has to be a moral dilemma in terms of loss of human life.
Carol Wuenschell, Arcadia
The writer holds a doctorate in biology with specialization in developmental biology.
To the editor: After deciding that a fetus is a “living, developing human,” the letter writer finds himself in a dilemma of his own making because he feels that “ending such an individual’s existence might … be an appropriate step” should that “individual” be the product of a rape.
He cannot have it both ways. Those who insist on full human rights for unborn organisms cannot turn around and say that it might be “appropriate” to end the lives of some fetuses depending on the circumstances of their conception.
That is the real “slippery slope” to which the writer refers.
Diane Cunningham, Placentia