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SOCIETY MUST PROTECT INNOCENT

To the editor:

Steve Patterson's letter on abortion (Readers' Forum, March 7) deserves a rebuttal. He writes abortion is "a personal, private, family matter. What right has the state to invade the sanctity of the family unit. . . ?"I believe the state has every right to intervene whenever the rights of innocent victims are violated; in fact, it is done regularly. A family, like a society, often needs protection from its own members. For example, the state intervenes when abuse occurs within the family circle, with a child or spouse, or when one family member kills another.

Patterson writes, "The Legislature should not arbitrarily grant personhood to the fetus, particularly in the first trimester, when life certainly cannot be maintained outside the womb." This argument has little validity. What does it matter which trimester it is, as long as life is maintained?

Consider the subtle difference (and striking similarity) between a 3-month-old fetus receiving its life support from its mother's umbilical cord, and a premature infant being sustained by an oxygen tube and intravenous feeding. Both lives are maintained by outside sources, which, if maintained for a sufficient length of time, will bring both babies to viability.

Yet, many would end the life of the first, for convenience sake, while using every feasible method to sustain the life of the other, regardless of the cost or inconvenience. Such paradoxical reasoning makes little sense.

To clear up another point, the Legislature does not grant "personhood" to a fetus, as Patterson suggests. God has already done that. A first-trimester fetus may not yet be a full person in every sense of the word, but it is life, and it is human.

The real sad part of Steve's letter is the indication that he, like many parents, may be failing to teach his children one of the great principles of life, namely, that individuals are responsible for the choices they make. We do children a great disservice by teaching them there is always a quick fix, or easy way out, when unwise choices are made.

Joe Evans

Magna