Letter:Facing up to the abortion debate

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Sir: The current debate concerning the woman pregnant with twins who wishes to abort one of the foetuses brings to the fore the whole question of abortion on demand ("pounds 10,000 offered to save abortion twin", 6 August).

To those who wish to take up this opportunity, I would say that it is high time we faced up to the current utilitarian attitude towards unborn human life, and decide once and for all where we stand. The situation will, if anything, become even more complex, as further advances in molecular genetics are made.

We already have a list of "undesirables" that are now weeded out before they see the light of day - foetuses with Down's syndrome being amongst the more common. Where next? Will we ever see abortions on demand for those who, through genetic testing in utero, are told that their child has a 25 per cent chance of being homosexual, or a 50 per cent chance of having an IQ lower than that required to get into the Oxford college of their choice?

I am not suggesting that genetic factors are the only determinant of sexuality or IQ, but it is now clear that they have at least some determinancy. The liberal view in this country rightly condemns those who might discriminate against people of a particular sexual orientation, or those with a disability. Not good enough. The true test of liberality comes when we have to consider the right of the unborn potentially-blind foetus to be born.

If we don't start to address this issue now, it will overtake us before we know it.

Dr DAVID MCALPINE

Lenton,

Nottingham

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