Letter: Personhood is the question
To the Editor
Here are some observations in regard to the Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v Wade. First, it was not really a conservative decision. For years conservatives have been saying that the size and intrusiveness of government should be minimized, that more power should be in the hands of the people. This decision does the opposite. It should be more conservative, as well as more sensible, that pregnant women, together with their physicians, are in a better position to make such decisions than politicians in a state legislature.
The title of Kansas’ proposed amendment, “Value Them Both” is misleading — it suggests that a fetus is already a person; the language of the amendment looks like it was contrived to be confusing. And anti-abortionists’ claims and arguments often trade on a fallacy: the logical fallacy known as “begging the question.” To beg the question is to employ a kind of fallacious circular argument, which amounts to assuming what was to be proven. Such phrases as “It’s a child, not a choice” (which confuses a fetus with a child,) or advocating “rights of the unborn” (assuming that having rights is appropriate for a fetus,) are instances of fallacious argument. The real question is: When should legal personhood begin? Birth is the most natural occasion; as has been generally thought true, I believe, throughout history. Yet Roe v Wade, in a spirit of compromise, allowed restrictions on abortion in the final trimester.