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Archive for Tuesday, March 24, 1998

DEBATE ON LIFE

March 24, 1998

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World. A corrected version appears below.

To the editor:

The March 12 Journal-World carried a story concerning an effort in the Kansas House of Representatives to pass a resolution forcing the attorney general ``to file a lawsuit challenging Kansas' abortion law, and assert that life begins at conception.'' Before the hearing Rep.. Janice Pauls asserted that ``the point is, any unborn baby is a person and can be proven to be a person under medical science.''

Although I do not doubt the persuasive skills of the Kansas attorney general, to ask her to argue for the truth of either of these claims seems to ask too much. Unfertilized ova are living cells. It follows that there was life before conception. Accordingly, we KNOW that life does not BEGIN at conception.

The claim that unborn babies are persons has no better claim on truth. Presumably the term ``person'' is used to distinguish between us and non-human animals and to give some content to the expression ``person from outer space.'' Thus, people must exhibit such characteristics as the capacity to reason, the capacity to communicate in reasonable complex ways, and a concept of self. There is no reason to think that any fetuses exhibit any of these characteristics. Thus, there is no reason to think that fetuses are people and rather good reasons to think they are not.

Of course, nothing above shows that a good argument for the wrongness of killing fetuses is not available.

Don Marquis,

529 Tenn.

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