To the Editor:

In a recent column (“Misogyny, choice and catchphrases,” 2/12) Paige Herwig attempts to stake out a middle ground in the abortion debate but making the priority claim “the issue exists solely in shades of gray.” While she rightly points out that the situations surrounding the decision of abortion are complicated, emotional and confusing, it is a mistake to assume that the entire debate must then be in shades of gray.

Regardless of circumstances, the debate necessarily boils down to a black and white issue: In the decision to carry a pregnancy to term or end it, there is no middle ground.

Aside from an “anti-choice” slur to her pro-life dialectical partner (equivalent to a “pro-death” label applied to the pro-choice side) Ms.Herwig continues with the claim: “This is what being pro-choice means: Understanding that no one can know the best choice for another person better than that individual herself.” Exactly!

People become pro-life out of a belief that all people, even the smallest ones, must remain sovereign over their bodies.

In fact, the only way to ensure the right to choose for all women is to give all women the right to live, a necessary condition for the act of choosing. It is at this point that the pro-choice proponent interjects: “But a fetus is not a human, and therefore has no “right to choose!”

However, the rights of individuals in our society are not based on their current capacities, but on their potential and inherent capacities. As an analogy, babies are rather unimpressive in terms of their environmental awareness, decision-making, etc., yet this does not lead us to believe that they can be deprived the right to life.

Simon Best ’02

February 12, 2002