To the Editor:
Steven L. Rogers’ Op-Ed on abortion is an exercise in illogic and convenience. A reasoned position on this or any other matter should be based on the facts; in other words, on the truth.
First he sets up his straw-man with the statement that pro-choice advocates argue that they have a right to “terminate the life of a living human being in their womb.” That statement begs the question, in the classic sense of question-begging. A one-celled zygote is not a human being by any reasonable standard. We value our life experience. When someone is brain dead, we no longer take steps to preserve that life, because the organism no longer has conscious awareness.
Consciousness is an emergent property, which develops gradually over time. It is not present in the early stages of pregnancy. In fact, the brain does not even begin to form for several weeks, and after that consciousness takes time to emerge.
Rogers’ illogic continues in his lengthy discussion of common sense. His Op-Ed is what lacks common sense, or any sense of fairness or objectivity. He asserts that there is a God who created human life, but there is no evidence for that.
Furthermore, if that is true, then this God is responsible for more abortions than humans are — a substantial percentage of pregnancies terminate spontaneously, before a woman knows she is pregnant.
As society has advanced, ancient myths have been replaced, as they should be. Mr. Rogers is entitled to his point of view, but not to his own facts. Our Constitution is entirely secular, for excellent reasons. There are no grounds to settle the disputes that arise over theistic religion. We must use our reason and common sense, as Mr. Rogers says.
He should try it.
I cannot tell you whether there is a God — honest people will admit no one knows — but I can tell you with complete certainty people make up stories about gods.
That fully explains every theistic religion, so there is no good reason to turn to them for our laws, and there is no other way to explain the “false gods” referenced in the Biblical First Commandment.
Theologies come to dominate cultures, and shape laws. A truly just society does not look to any of the competing religions for its laws. It looks humanely to science and to reason.
Instead of making public policy based on prejudices and ancient myths, we should make public policy based on the facts. I do not agree with those who say a woman should have a right to terminate a pregnancy, even if the fetus is a human being. A human being is entitled, by law and by common sense, to the full protections of our laws, including due process and equal protection.
However, the question is, when does a one-celled zygote become a human being?
That cannot properly be answered by theistic dogma, or dogma of any kind. Our science is uncovering, more and more, at what stage various aspects of consciousness emerge.
The best science we have now supports the laws that exist in most states, and the result in Roe v. Wade.
We should all hope that a church never comes to rule our lives. Humanity has been down that road.
Paul L. LaClair
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Paul L. LaClair | Kearny
Paul L. LaClair is a Kearny resident and is a frequent contributor to The Observer's opinion page.