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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Roe v. Wade’s built-in self-detonator

- - Friday, January 17, 2014

When the Supreme Court legalized abortion with its Roe v. Wade decision in 1973, it did so conditionally. The court said in its decision that there's no certain knowledge about when human life actually begins (either before birth or at the moment of birth).

The court, therefore, included a proviso stating that if at some future time it becomes known that human life begins before birth, the decision of Roe v. Wade would become invalid. The reason the court gave for this was that aborting the life of the unborn child would then constitute a violation of the unborn child's right to life. It is evident from this proviso that the court identified personhood with human life.

While it is true that at the time of the Roe v. Wade decision there was no common knowledge as to when human life begins, this knowledge was available to biological science — and therefore technically available to the court if the justices had wished to inquire.

In the 41 years since Roe v. Wade, much has happened in the field of biological science, including the development of DNA and RNA technology, clinical demonstrations of artificial conception and the invention of ultrasound technology. The artificial conception of Dolly the sheep clinically demonstrated that animal life does begin before birth. The stage of development from conception to full maturity after birth does not change the nature of animal or human life.

Therefore, the Supreme Court's warning that the discovery that life begins before birth would invalidate legalized abortion has already taken place. It is clinically proven that animal and human life all begin before birth, at conception. This invalidates the Supreme Court's 1973 ruling.

This original proviso was the court's decision. There is no need for any further congressional or legal action to invalidate legalized abortion. One need only read through the text of the Roe v. Wade decision to verify this.

THE REV. ROBERT ELLIS

Tacoma, Wash.