Columnist’s analogies left out an important aspect of debate over abortion

To the Editor:

Peter Johnston’s analogies (“Analogies can shed light on abortion debate,” 4/3) provide an incomplete comparison because they leave out one important detail: the creator. It’s all well and good to talk about a car being constructed, or a Polaroid in the process of developing, but it’s abstract without mention of the mechanic or the photographer creating them. Wiping the chemicals off a Polaroid stops the photo’s development that would have otherwise continued, but the photographer makes a choice to stop her own creation.

The debate should then focus on who the ultimate photographer is. Is it God — as many pro-life supporters would argue — using a woman as a vessel for his gift of life, or is it the woman who makes a conscious decision of her own free will to create and carry a child to term?

If God is the creator, then of course the government should stop someone from altering the path of his creation, just like the government should stop someone who rips up a photograph against the photographer’s will. But if the woman is the creator, the government should protect her right to deal with her own creations, including a life that was created without willful intention. As soon as that life enters the world and has autonomy, however, the rights to that creation are waived. Nobody is arguing that a photographer can come and destroy a photograph someone else now possesses, and I hope the government would intercede if my mother tried to kill me after she released me into the world as a conscious being — I possess myself now.

Until Johnston is ready to answer the question of God’s existence, not to mention God’s theology, he still has the same fiercely personal, private debate that has failed to find middle ground for the last 30 years.

Jake McGuire ’10

April 3

The writer is president of the Yale College Libertarians.

Yale’s representatives must keep China’s human rights abuses in mind during visit

To the Editor:

The planned trip to China by 100 Yale students, faculty and administrators, sponsored by Yale and the Chinese government (“Itinerary released for Univ.’s China trip” 3/28), demonstrates that President Richard Levin and the Yale administration have chosen to partner with the Chinese government while ignoring its dismal human rights record. The government of the People’s Republic of China imprisons political dissidents, censors the media, and brutally oppresses ethnic and religious minorities. Internationally, China impedes progress on ending the genocide in Darfur and provides support for dictatorial regimes like that of Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe. The Yalies who will go to China should keep in mind that they are about to meet and exchange pleasantries with government leaders who are unelected and who actively restrict the freedoms of their own people and of people around the world.

The Yale administration’s fixation on strengthening the University’s ties with China through initiatives like this trip will only serve the interests of the regime in Beijing much in the same way as the 2008 Olympics — by sanitizing the government’s public image and distracting from its glaring human rights abuses. By failing to hold China to account, the Yale administration is offering its tacit approval of the Communist government’s human rights record.

The Yale delegation purports to represent the entire Yale community. But it does not represent me. And it does not represent any other member of the Yale community who cares about human rights.

Nathaniel Tek ’09

April 3

The writer is in Jonathan Edwards College.