Abortion isn’t about killing the unborn

Letters to the Editor (The Guardian)
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Editor: I read Mr. Costello's letter (Unborn deserve legal protection, 26 Jun) with great interest and hope.  At least I started that way.  He and I agree right until the last couple of sentences.

Children born four and six weeks prematurely are quite definitely 'people', not much argument there. I will even accept the term 'unborn child' for any fetus in this range since it is pretty much fully developed with ever lessening real need of its host. It is, after all, 34+ weeks into its 40-week development.

You can maybe even stretch the unborn term back to about 21-23 weeks where the 50 per cent chance of survival threshold is for premature delivery. Less than one per cent of US abortions happen after this point and, I'd imagine, pretty close to zero after 30 weeks and I'd be all for working on getting this one per cent down to zero.  I am sure that there are laws that could be drafted to protect this one per cent that we could all agree on.

However, the remaining 99+ per cent of abortions performed have nothing to do with the unborn. In fact 81 per cent of abortions are performed prior to the 10th week, before the embryo reaches 3/4" long, loses its tail, and starts developing organs, and more than half are performed before there are limbs, eyes, or even blood vessels.

So, to be clear, pro choice isn't about 'killing the unborn.' It is about not forcing every woman in the world to give herself over to developing, growing, delivering and raising a child just because one of her eggs became fertilized with or without her consent.

Owen Stephenson,


Geographic location: US

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