GUEST COLUMN
For Dear Life

November 2000By Robert Greer Cohn

Robert Greer Cohn is Professor Emeritus of French at Stanford University. He is Jewish by birth, and considers himself a Judeo-Christian.

Proponents of the rights granted by Roe v. Wade speak of abortion as a “choice”; they are “pro-choice.” But to many of us, the word sounds inappropriate in this context: It tends to put on the same level two very different entities, as if it were a matter of mere whim or mood, as in the trivial case of two flavors of ice cream put before us for our selection.

But, in actuality, what is before the “chooser” is the alternative between two totally unequal, imminent conditions of a budding human being: death or life.

Recently, an American surgeon opened a mother’s womb to operate on a prenatal malformation in her fetal child. He reported that the unborn infant, three months or so in development, stretched out its little hand and clutched his finger.

Who has not been moved by that gesture in a newborn, reaching out for something to hold onto — as if our finger were a pole tendered to a drowning person, a lifeline to cling to?


You have two options:

  1. Online subscription: Subscribe now to New Oxford Review for access to all web content at newoxfordreview.org AND the monthly print edition for as low as $38 per year.
  2. Single article purchase: Purchase this article for $1.95, for viewing and printing for 48 hours.

If you're already a subscriber log-in here.



Back to November 2000 Issue

Read our posting policy Add a comment
Be the first to comment on this story!


©