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Viability is no basis for law on abortion

In the comments made by Dr Wendy Savage about the issue of requiring the signatures of two doctors in first-trimester terminations, she focuses on the rights of the mother as the primary agent in choosing an abortion.

I would agree wholeheartedly that women should be treated as responsible human beings, but someone needs to give a voice to the other human intrinsically involved with the decision - her child.

Presently, the practical working of the law rests on viability. This is ethically questionable. The concept of right to life depends on your ability as an individual to live an independent existence.

But how many neonates are independent in any tangible sense of the word, other than their separateness from the womb?

The entire ethical basis for the Abortion Act needs to be re-examined. Without a clearer understanding of why we think it is reasonable to end one life for the sake of another, we shall remain trapped in this compassionless debate.

Dr CL Swinney, East Barnet, north London

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