Margaret Wertheim’s Los Angeles Times column (“Concept of ‘fetal personhood’ has a whiff of medieval theology,” Sept. 16, Page A6) appeared to me so muddled in its arguments for the right to abortion that even if I supported those rights, I would wish she weren’t on my side.

Firstly, she describes a pregnant woman’s body “does not fit into the system of categorization” of Western culture, and states the unborn child develops in the “belly” (versus the uterus). Does this suggest a woman’s organs of gender are outside of that categorization? And how so?

Secondly, modern science proved the physical individuality of the unborn child, from the moment of conception.

Thirdly, “personhood” is a slippery concept that has been utilized to deny or diminish the humanity of various groups of people, suggesting it speaks at least as much to politics and culture as it might to an eternal verity.

Fourthly, if “personhood” depends on mental and moral agency, where does that leave those with severe brain damage, including dementia?

Fifthly, the belief in universal resurrection has existed, and still exists, since the time of Christ, centuries before the Middle Ages, and acknowledges the element of mystery.

There are straightforward arguments for abortion rights that are well grounded in the needs of pregnant woman, needs that often can be supported in ways other than terminating a pregnancy. The author would have made a better case for her beliefs if she had kept her feet firmly on that ground.

Zoe Gaston
South Portland

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