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LETTER

Embarrassing Interview

You are an embarrassment. The interview with Miss Keum in The Tech on Friday, April 2 [ìMissiní Koreaî] makes you sound like a bigot. Letís see how well you do being interviewed by a racist in a language you speak poorly. I wouldnít be surprised if she decides to attend Harvard if she gets wind of this interview and the true motive behind it ó to make her look like a fool because you are threatened by her somehow.

Your article is nothing but self-indulgent, sexist, and xenophobic, and Iím really unimpressed with The Tech for printing it.

I suggest you write an apology to Miss Keum and the MIT community and have it published in The Tech.

Dan Roy '04

Editorís Response: At no point during the interview or writing of the column was it my intention to make fun of Na Na Keum. I printed the text of our conversation verbatim with no changes because I do not feel entitled to change other people's words

Akshay Patil
Features Editor

Fruitful Abortion Debate

I read Adam Kolasinskiís editorial [ìUntenable Unborn Child Dichotomy,î April 2]. He spoke more articulately and rationally than I usually hear when people talk about these issues. He is right ó normal people are outraged when a wanted unborn baby is killed. They have a disconnect when it is an unwanted child. I wish that the discussion of abortion could be more about this sort of thing than about fruitless arguments about whose ìrightsî should prevail. Thanks for the editorial.

Steve Savage

Mischaracterization of Pro-Choice Position

I was dismayed by Adam Kolasinkiís gross mischaracterization of the pro-choice position in ìUntenable Unborn Child Dichotomyî [April 2]. Although I agree with Kolasinskiís claim that the Unborn Victims of Violence Act sets a precedent which opponents of abortion will use to argue for the personhood of the fetus, I cannot agree with his subsequent conclusions. Kolasinski accuses pro-choice advocates of ìignoringî the question of the moral status of the fetus, but this misses the thrust of our argument. Supporters of the right to choose properly focus on the substantial burden that pregnancy imposes on a woman because this is a burden that everyone must acknowledge. We do not ignore the moral status of the fetus; we believe that there is no compelling reason to think the claims of the fetus outweigh the claims of the mother, at least until the fetus develops certain characteristics that are undeniable prerequisites for having rights.

Judith Jarvis Thomson has argued that a severe constraint on liberty ought not to be imposed on grounds that a woman is not unreasonable in rejecting, and a woman is surely not unreasonable in rejecting the claim that life begins at conception in favor of the very plausible claim that having rights presupposes having interests (a view which separates late-term fetuses from newborn babies). It is ironic that Kolasinski believes that the personhood of the fetus becomes ìmore apparentî from fetal imaging technology ìeven in the first trimesterî when most laypeople cannot distinguish between an ape fetus and a human fetus well into third trimester. The question of when a being acquires rights calls for careful moral inquiry, and most supporters of the right to choose draw the line well before birth, but positions grounded only in impulsive responses to 3-D graphics or clouded by an instinctive revulsion to violent crimes are not justifiable to the women whose freedom they would restrict.

Jason Abaluck

President, Perspective, Harvard Liberal Monthly Magazine

Imaginary Dichotomy

The recent column ìUntenable Unborn Child Dichotomyî [April 2] states that there is a logical fallacy in new federal legislation treating feticide as murder when the mother does not consent, but allowing it in the case of consensual abortion. However, there is actually nothing inconsistent about this dichotomy, either in the way the law currently is applied nor even in the way it should be applied.

A fetus may not be a legal person, but this does not mean the law cannot seek to protect its interests when those interests are not outweighed by other concerns. Animals are not legal persons, and yet anti-cruelty statutes prohibit people from intentionally harming animals unless it is for some socially sanctioned purpose.

Further, the psychological harm inflicted on the mother by a criminal who kills her fetus without her consent sufficiently justifies a category of offense that punishes such an act, even if the fetus itself is not capable of feeling pain at the point at which it is killed.

In the case of abortion, the rights of the mother outweigh the interests of the fetus (if any), so there is no logical fallacy there. The real question is why our legal system permits truly trivial human interests ó such as wearing fur garments for instance ó to win against animalsí interests in not being trapped, gassed or anally electrocuted.

The same logic that allows feticide to be punished when there is no competing constitutional interest at stake should also apply to criminalize extreme suffering inflicted upon animals to satisfy relatively miniscule human cravings.

Bryan Pease

Offensive Generalization

April 2ís ìSex and the SafeRideî [ìDonít Fly Solo: Wingman Tipsî] was objectionable in its entirety for its objectification of women and glorification of their ìconquest.î Particularly disgusting, though, was its use of the term ìhosî to refer generically to women. I donít usually support wholesale censorship of every politically incorrect term that might offend someoneís sensibilities, but to refer to all women as ìwhoresî (which ìhosî is short for, if Iím not mistaken) is possibly the worst kind of degrading generalization of a class of people that one can utter. It doesnít matter if it is part of an ìold adageî because it rhymes with ìbrosî; it is unacceptable, and The Tech owes all of MITís women and men an apology for printing it.

Isaac Moses G

Crossword Inaccuracy

Just to let you know (and whoever you get the crossword puzzles from), the answer to 1 Down in the March 30 puzzle is incorrect -- not because the letters were wrong or didn't fit, but because Sikhs are NOT Hindus. Sikhism is a distinct religion from both Hinduism and Islam, and is the fifth largest world religion.

I hope the fact-checkers will do a better job in future puzzles. Thanks!

Gurukarm Khalsa

[Editorís Note: Our crosswords come to us through KRT Campus, a national wire service for college papers, which receives them through the Chicago Tribune. While we have reported the error to KRT and they are discussing the puzzle with the Tribune, we will continue to remain at the mercy of their fact-checkers.]