The Baltimore Sun recently editorialized its support for a state constitutional amendment to provide a right to an abortion (“Here’s why an abortion rights amendment in Maryland would matter,” Aug. 2) and Sarah Bregel excoriated pro-life protesters because of the way they exercise their right of free speech (“Anti-choice protesters: If you care about kids, stop terrifying mine,” Aug. 6). As a pro-life Democrat who supports causes that benefit low-income mothers, access to birth control, well-women exams and sex education, I would like to offer another view.
By the words selected to name their cause, pro-choicers seem to skip over the primary question which causes the controversy. That is, when does life begin? As a strong supporter of women's rights, I am naturally drawn to support an issue relating to women's rights and choices. But first, we need to answer the key question of when life begins if we are to make a responsible decision about abortion. Remember, half those abortions end the development of unborn female babies.
We don't often hear real, specific debates on when life begins. Too often, it's framed as women's rights versus right wing, religious radicals. I don't mind admitting to some discomfort with being aligned with right wing and in some cases, nasty people, but I refuse to be swayed from looking at the crux of the issue by political dogma.
The Roe v. Wade debate raised the question of "viability" as being a relevant consideration as to when abortion might be reasonably regulated. Indeed, that definition has proven to be a moving target as scientific advances have been made since that decision was rendered. Heartbeats are now detectable at six weeks after fertilization. When does life begin?
My pro-choice friends are not irresponsible people, but I don't understand how anyone can take a position on abortion without first answering the question of when life begins. The answer is very important if we are to call ourselves a just, moral society. Until that question can be definitively answered, I will err on the side of caution. To do otherwise seems like blowing up the derelict building before checking if anyone is inside. Is that responsible? Let's have a real debate about the key question before we jump on political bandwagons. When does life begin?
L.G. Connor, Ellicott City