Terry Peretti’s response feels a bit condescending when he asks me, “Tell us, when does human life begin?” (The Beachcomber, Feb. 28) I could share my answer, but I’d never claim to have the answer. Mr. Peretti may assert that he has some universal answer, but frankly, I bristle at those who claim to have answers for everyone. So I’ll not debate this with him. If Mr. Peretti thinks that I’m a murderer, sinful or in need of forgiveness for what I believe about abortion and when human life begins, I don’t much care. Except that his attitude perpetuates cultural shame and stigma and propels movements to limit legal abortion and reproductive rights, especially for poor women. That I will not abide.
Across history and culture, disciplines of philosophy, medicine, science and religion, there have been an infinite number of answers to the question of what constitutes a human life. However, we can all agree that pregnant people are fully, indisputably human and have an inalienable right to life. What do you say to the family of the woman who is denied an abortion and dies in childbirth?
The consequences of abortion bans are disastrous by any metric we use to measure the overall health of a society, from maternal mortality to poverty. The only way banning abortion is defensible is if we agree that life begins at conception. And we don’t. That opinion is not reflective of the views of most Americans, and no religion should be able to impose its beliefs onto the law of the land: That’s not a democracy. The fact is, 70 percent of Americans support abortion rights. The procedure has happened since the beginning of time and always will. Do you want it to be safe or not?
— Bekah Townsend