Letters to the Editor
November 3, 2021

To the Editor:
Second Opinion: Abortion.
On Monday, SCOTUS was scheduled to hear the TX anti-choice statute. On December 1, the docket will include the Mississippi statute challenging the existing Constitutional right of a woman to obtain an abortion.
I have yet to meet the man who would agree that the state should have control over his reproductive apparatus or status should he beget a pregnancy. “No-Choice” proponents consider both the man and fertilized egg to have full constitutional rights but deny them to the woman. Government can do a lot of good things, but creating and legislating a free citizen’s obligation to the state regarding his/her reproductive organs is not one of them.
I know no one who is “pro-abortion.” It is not a choice to which a woman looks forward. But her pregnancy does not create a sudden duty to the government to relinquish jurisdiction over her uterus. It is a violation of her civil rights and privacy and restores the idea of "women as chattel." I am "pro-life;" I am also "pro-choice." They are not mutually exclusive.
I think men and women advocate for reproductive control of women because they do not trust women to make sound decisions for themselves, or because they believe that women are essentially ordained vessels for procreation. Some justify this view by declaring the “glory of [procreative] womanhood,” which pedestals no woman may refuse to ascend, a power postulate in itself. Or they think their own political/religious beliefs can and should be imposed on other people (the theocratic Christianity of TX and elsewhere).
Often, the same people who support invasive laws against women's reproductive choices conversely deplore the interference of “big government” in other situations far less intimate. Observe all the people rejecting mask or vaccine as an unconstitutional invasion of their freedom. “My Body My Choice!” But “Her Body, also My Choice!” “Babies” from the moment of conception are revered. Post-babyhood, not so much.
Whether a woman chooses an abortion or not, she should have good medical care; it is part of her overall health. Women should participate in state-run health care programs. We pay taxes for a lot of things we don’t use or endorse – like unnecessary wars, bank bailouts, and border walls - because it is part of living in a democratic society.
Many “No Choice” advocates challenge the right to bodily freedom by deeming abortion the murder of an “unborn human being,” and a crime. Certainly, the moment of conception creates “life.” Many people also assume that the human soul or human essence is infused into the biology at the same moment.
Over time, opinions and beliefs have ranged from the first breath (Genesis) or at birth, or at “quickening,” or 30 to 90 days “when conception is completed” (Thomas Aquinas), or 30-40 days after birth when the infant is likely to survive, or at the very moment of conception. Philosophers over the centuries have rendered opinions; clergy have assumed God’s will in the matter. Doctors have pointed to an embryo or fetus and said, “It will only become human.” But at what precise moment the unborn becomes a fully-actualized “human being,” they can’t say for certain.
The truth, no matter how fervently it is argued otherwise, is that no one actually knows. People can choose to believe what they will. Some adhere to religious doctrines and are welcome to practice them. But in a free society, they cannot force their unprovable or unwelcome political/religious beliefs on someone else. And they cannot employ the government to do it for them.
If there is a moral issue in a woman’s choice, that is for her and her conscience to resolve. A church’s teachings and counsel can certainly inform her in making her choice. I am pro-life. But as between the living woman who holds the fertilized egg in her body and the government, the decision must be hers.
Kelly Scoles,