Letter: Politics of abortion

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Sir: Contrary to Peter Croft's assertion (letter, 23 January), the abortion debate is not about whether a foetus is a human being with a right to life or "an inanimate lump of flesh".

It is partly a debate between a church that teaches that even a fertilised ovum before implantation has a right to life overriding almost all other considerations and those who allow other priorities during the earlier, particularly during the insensate, stage of development.

But it is also a debate about whether those who claim divine authority for their views should seek to impose them by law on women with other beliefs. Repeated failures to recognise the equal rights of others risk reciprocal intolerance, intercommunal hatreds and violence.

Thirdly it is a question about priorities. Worldwide, many of the child deaths since 1945 could have been prevented by different foreign and aid policies. Even in this country, poverty kills. Most importantly of all, little attention is being paid to the urgent threat to life on earth from the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Allowing opposition to abortion to override all other considerations in politics and in voting is clearly immoral.

Dr TONY ABRAMS

Stockport, Cheshire

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