Manchester Cricket: Response, July 21, 1989

[titled by the paper: “Challenges Point Where Life Begins”]

To the Editor:

In the July 14 issue of the Cricket, Margaret Coleman wrote a letter to the editor, bemoaning the July 3 U.S. Supreme Court Webster decision, saying it had enraged members of the Manchester community “along lines that mirror the national response.”

Well, mirroring the position on the other side of the line, I thought a few thoughts in response might be appropriate. As director of the New England Christian Action Council (an ecumenically Christian pro-life organization of 4500 families, three-quarters of whom are Protestant), I filed an amicus buried in the Webster case.

My principal concern in in challenging the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision which legalized abortion on demand, was its unconstitutional basis. It is the only decision in U.S. legal history based on a “non-consensus” position. In other, the Justices violated the state laws which were based on the biological fact that life begins at conception. They did so, not by evidencing otherwise, but by saying there is no consensus, and they needn’t address this concern.

This is remarkable, for in all law, unless there is consensus as to the facts of a case, then no decision may be rendered. Yet Roe said it didn’t know when life begins, then ruled against unborn life. Astonishing.

Can Ms. Coleman demonstrate any positive evidence that each of us existed as biologically unique individuals before the fertilization of the ovum, or that we did not exist exactly at the moment and thereafter? Or can Ms. Coleman demonstrate, on constitutional grounds, that this is not a proper subject for public debate? For example, life always precedes choice. No one make any choices except those who did not choose to be conceived or born. In law, only upon a definition of human life, is there any concern for “liberty, property and the pursuit of happiness” (Language from the Declaration of Independence and the 14th Amendment). This was the reason for the Civil Wat — to win legal definition of Black people as fully human, so that they could be protected under the law.

Women’s rights are crucial. I have studied feminist ethics in depth in my post-graduate work at Harvard. But is human abortion the means to attain such rights? Or is it the male chauvinism behind the abortion industry which must be challenged? In other words, in a sexually promiscuous society, men find it easy to get a woman pregnant, then abandon her to the consequences. The Playboy Foundation has poured millions into abortion advocacy.

If it can be positively proved that unborn human life is not human, then go ahead and abort. If it cannot be proved otherwise, then we have the wanton destruction of human life. I would be pleased to see Ms. Coleman answer these questions.

Rev. John C. Rankin, 54R Pine Street, Manchester