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Letter: Abortion is not always a black-and-white issue

Abortion is not always a black-and-white issue

In response to the Another Voice article, “Roe v. Wade is not consistent with the nation’s laws,” the writer fails to appreciate that the U.S. justice system has a long history of making legal distinctions in both the manner and the qualifications of the individual that performs a certain procedure. In capital punishment, when a person commits a heinous crime, is fairly tried before a jury of his/her peers, is found guilty and is sentenced to death, that person may be executed by the state by whatever means deemed lawful, e.g. electric chair, firing squad, lethal injection. However, it’s illegal for the victim’s friend/relative to take the law into his/her hands and avenge the victim by summarily killing the perpetrator.

Another example is the distribution of controlled drugs. Health care professionals who have undergone extensive training in pharmacology are licensed by the state to prescribe narcotic painkillers and other medications within specific regulations, but a drug dealer peddling the same substances on the street can be arrested, charged and prosecuted for illegal possession/distribution of drugs, and be sentenced to a lengthy prison sentence.

As evidenced by the writer’s unbending anti-abortion tone and the fact he oversees several Catholic radio stations, he obviously is a moral absolutist. But abortion is not always a black-and-white issue. Even those morally opposed to most abortions can agree that sometimes abortion is justified. No government should righteously dictate to victims of rape or incest that they must carry their pregnancy to term. Furthermore, in other nations where abortions are banned, physicians are prohibited from helping a patient who suffers from a life-threatening complication of pregnancy. The end result is both the fetus and the mother die. Is that justice, or what God wants?

Peter McNeela, M.D., M.P.H.

Buffalo