Letter: My parents had the right to choose whether to have me or not

Sue Gaisford implies that had the timing of the Abortion Act (1967) been earlier, my parents might have prevented my birth ("Thou shalt not care for foetuses", Real Life, 9 February). She arrives at this conclusion having listened to my father, Dr John Parsons, head of the Assisted Conception and Abortion Service at King's College Hospital, describe his circumstances at the time of my conception on the radio programme The New Commandments.

She asks how I would feel about this. Well, obviously I am glad my parents felt able to start a family at that time. However, I can also understand why this decision could have been a difficult one. Had things not been so promising for them it would have been irresponsible had they not considered other options. Rather than feeling I had a lucky escape, this highlights for me the importance of choice when deciding whether to have children.

It annoys me to be used as some sort of emotional gambit. All policy towards both abortion and assisted conception should be geared towards the good of the life to be created. It is not good for children to be born to mothers who don't want them, and it must surely be wrong to help parents have children if there is a good chance that they will abuse them. There is no dichotomy within this argument, as Ms Gaisford suggests. Without the good of the children being of paramount importance there would be no way of negotiating these complex and unique situations.

John Parsons III

BOA93JMP@sheffield.ac.uk

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