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Abortion issue and biological terms

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In reply to CDC Armstrong (Write Back, March 31), my answer to his final question is: yes, I would unreservedly apply my belief in right to termination of pregnancy to my own mother.

Many pregnant women dearly wish to deliver a healthy child. This being the case, the relationship between foetus and mother would properly be described as "commensal", or "mutualistic".

These are both respectable biological terms, along with "parasitism", which precisely describe relationships between living things.

The crux of the matter is whether a woman should have the right to legally abort a foetus which has not reached a suitable level of development to be recognised as human.

In fact, the majority of fertilised human ova fail to develop to full term and miscarry naturally, often without the woman being aware of the fertilisation in the first place.

The right to abort a foetus is in no way akin to infanticide, since the newborn's needs can be met by any person and not just the mother.

What I am asking is that proper scientific terms should be used by all sides of the debate.

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DAVID FULLERTON

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