In her letter, Maria Miranda (Resist Campaign to Restrict Abortion) states that “the decision to terminate a pregnancy is intensely personal and private. . .” Unfortunately she does not tell us why this is so. This statement is the same that has been used throughout history to shut down interference and conversation concerning the way husbands have treated their wives, how parents disciplined their children, and how persons have treated their slaves. The only way Maria’s statement could make sense at all is if the being within the mother’s womb, that has all of the chromosomes and DNA of a unique human individual, is not a person at all. That such a large percentage of citizens of the United States do recognize the humanity of the person within her womb makes the argument that this is a private matter as untenable in this case as it had at one time in those others mentioned above.
To quote Elizabeth Cady Stanton, a pioneer of the American Women’s Rights Movement, on her views on abortion, “When we consider that woman are treated as property, it is degrading to women that we should treat our children as property to be disposed of as we see fit."
Rev. John A. Valencheck
UPDATE: I spoke about this letter in my homily this past weekend at it started some interesting philosophical debates after Mass. One of the most interesting was a distinction between a personal and private belief and that of action. Our government has always been involved when actions start effecting other people, but personally held beliefs and thoughts of the individual we hold sacrosanct. So that a person believes that abortion is a good that should be available to anyone at anytime is a right in our nation, but what we focus on is when that belief is put into action (and in this case, an unique human person's rights are destroyed.) To have it any other way would have our nation act as thought police. Nice distinction.