Letters: Abortion, Stem Cells, and the GOP

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Students argue for abortion refunds

As usual, we found Greg Lipper’s column both witty and thought-provoking (“Choose HLS, get mail-in rebate!” The RECORD, Nov. 14). We heartily agree with his call for increased charitable giving to the poor, and with his assessment of the abortion debate as implicating “core value judgments” that admit of no easy resolution.

However, we believe he does his side of that debate a disservice by suggesting that abortion is a positive gift or blessing to many fetuses, especially those who would be born into poverty and sorrow (“a suffering infant… just might have benefited” from being aborted). The abortion issue is difficult and divisive because it requires a balancing of competing incommensurable goods: the autonomy of a woman faced with a wrenching moral decision on one hand, and the intrinsic value of a new, unique, developing human organism on the other. By suggesting that the latter value is generally the more fundamental, we have no intention of denigrating or devaluing the former.

Greg’s suggestion that the being and life of young children in poverty is not intrinsically valuable, but is a positive evil to themselves and to others, strikes us as unnecessarily radical – analogous to the equally unconscionable argument that a woman’s freedom and dignity should be accorded no weight in abortion policy.

Like freedom and dignity, life is a fundamental value. The continued being and life of an infant, even one suffering in poverty, participates in the same goodness and beauty, the same freedom and dignity, as the lives of other human beings. We agree with Greg that poverty burdens this goodness and dignity, but we disagree that even the most extreme poverty can ever extinguish it.

Every group is free to petition the University to refund mandatory fees used for purposes it finds morally objectionable. One reason the Society for Law, Life and Religion’s petition has succeeded is that so many members of the University community share a deep discomfort with mandatory fee subsidies for elective abortions – as indicated by the increasingly enthusiastic responses to the abortion opt-out program every year.

– John Sauer, 2L

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