Letter: Abortion dilemma

Sir: The abortion debate never ceases to amaze me. The issue is straightforward.

If the foetus is a human individual, arguments about convenience, women's rights and so on are irrelevant: the foetus is protected by basic rights. Dr McCormack (Letters, 21 January) writes: "It is not the doctor's role to impose personal moral inclinations on the patient." Suppose I tell Dr McCormack that I wish to murder my helpless and incontinent mother, who is disrupting my chosen lifestyle, and could I borrow his axe for the afternoon. I trust he would agree that it is very much his human role to impose his personal moral inclinations on me.

Alternatively, the foetus is an inanimate lump of flesh. In this case no moral question arises, and the mother is entitled to have it removed.

Perhaps future contributions on the topic should be headed by a statement of which alternative the writer believes. The rest of the letter will then become redundant.

PETER CROFT

Cambridge

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