No simple decree against abortion

May 31, 2009
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IN HIS May 24 letter "Life, taken," Donato Infante III acknowledges that "under certain circumstances, the death penalty may be allowed to protect the common good," and that "there is room for dialogue." But he says there "can be no dialogue on whether the intentional taking of innocent human life is just. It never is."

Never? Are several cells of protoplasm more innocent than living children destined to be orphaned if their mother, obliged to carry a nonviable fetus to term, dies with it? It is not merely the mother's life Infante seems willing to dismiss.

Are insensate cells more important than the 9-year-old carrying them after having been raped by her father? Forbidding abortion may guarantee death for both child and "innocent" cells.

And when surgery is required to save a pregnancy, does a mother not have the right to promise her unborn child the right not to be born, should the desperate measures go horribly awry?

Who is the better judge of the common good in each situation, Infante at his seemingly comfortable remove, or the mother, with her family and physicians? When pre-life endangers life itself, there must be dialogue. Simplistic decrees will not do.

Christie Allan-Piper
West Newton

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