We would like to respond to comments made by Lynn Palermo on Sept. 26, “When Pregnancy Is Not a Happy Event.” The author presents a series of examples of women caught in very difficult, heartrending circumstances, and she demonstrates a genuine concern for these women. The issue of abortion can be presented in an emotionally charged, hostile manner, but the author is to be commended for presenting her opinion in a sincere, civil manner.

Any discussion of this issue, however, requires a willingness to listen to the other side. Abortion is a unique situation, in which the lives and rights of two individuals are so intimately united. It is a scientific fact that a human life, and nothing other than a human life, with its own genetic makeup, distinct from the mother’s, begins at conception. Given the natural course of events, the embryo will develop into a unique child. This is not an opinion or a belief but a fact. To say that abortion is a right of the woman is to completely deny the right of another individual. In this case, might makes right, since all the power is vested in the woman. Which of the very serious circumstances mentioned in the article is so dire as to justify the taking of a human life?

One problem with abortion is that it does not deal with many of the underlying causes. There should be more help available to assist women with unplanned, difficult pregnancies, such as child care, health care, nutrition services, assistance to complete education and obtain employment, low-cost housing, legal services. In a sense, abortion short circuits society’s responsibility to provide these services.

What are some alternatives? In the article, adoption of the child is dismissed because the mother would “spend the rest of (her) life hoping it was adopted and treated well.” With abortion there would be no such doubt about the fate of the child. We have some experience in this regard, having adopted four children. There are, moreover, crisis pregnancy centers throughout the country, with at least three that we are aware of in our own area that provide non-judgmental, compassionate, concrete support before and after birth — Birthright of Sunbury, Your Loving Choices in Bloomsburg, and Corner of Hope in Shamokin.

What does a just society owe the innocent human life that begins at conception? It owes the protection of the law (reasonable law that does not criminalize women for having an abortion). To be pro-life has to mean more than voting for “pro-life” politicians. The pro-life movement must actively promote legislation and other initiatives to minimize the occurrence of abortion. Pro-lifers must personally support women facing difficult realities in their lives. Women have the right, not to an abortion, but to the help they need.

Andrew & Ellen Matragrano,


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