To the Editor:
Rachel Roth (letter, May 27) argues that fetal protection laws are a threat to the rights of women. But one of the tenets of civilization is that the rights of one person end when they infringe on the rights of another. In a day in which women have so many birth control options (condoms, birth control pills, abortion), they can be held fully responsible for the decision to carry a fetus.
It is silly to argue about whether it is fair that women carry children to birth. Given that reality, we must realize that actions by women that would normally harm only themselves have negative and lifelong effects on another individual when they are pregnant. This isn't a question of whether the fetus is human, but rather a matter of consequences for a future member of our society.
Short Hills, N.J., May 27, 1998
This paragraph was cut but is instructive: We should no more tolerate indirect abuse of fetuses than we should a citizen beating another, or forcibly injecting him with drugs. The effect is the same--potential brain damage, physical impairment, and addiction. Whether these actions were inflicted on a fetus, a child, or an adult, both the person and society must bear the consequences.