There has been a lot of discussion recently regarding Rio Arriba CountyCommissioner James Martinez’s plan to propose a pro-life proclamation before the County Commission. Some stories report the potential proclamation will have language in support of all life, including life that begins at conception.
In response to news of the proclamation, a misguided critique of the proposal was published, titled “Reproductive Rights over Commissioner’s Religion.” This piece argues that religion is strictly personal and that people of faith do not have the right to force their pro-life beliefs upon others.
Religion, however, is not required to know when life begins. While testifying before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, Dr. Michelle Matthews-Roth of Harvard Medical School definitively stated, “It is incorrect to say that biological data cannot be decisive….It is scientifically correct to say that an individual life begins at conception.”
It is also not required to believe that human life is priceless and worthy of protection at all stages, and that no one has the right to take that life away. For example, New Mexico has laws—just like every other government in the world—that say the unjustified killing of a human being is a crime.
You do not need religion to agree with this perspective—though the origins of this law can be traced back millennia to people of faith. Remember “Thou shalt not kill?”
The truth is we have come together as New Mexicans, Americans and members of the human race to pretty much agree, for an infinite number of reasons, that it is wrong to take an innocent life. Faith may or may not have anything to do with that belief, and just because someone has a religious reason for believing killing is wrong does not make them wrong.
The same is true for abortion. Many people believe aborting babies in the womb is wrong because it is the unjustified taking of an innocent life. And that is where the aforementioned letter to the editor got it wrong.
The “reproductive rights” letter was clearly written based on the assumption that abortion is a “women’s rights” issue—an assumption with which many, such as myself, disagree. As both a woman and mother, I can boldly say that abortion is not a “women’s rights” issue at all. Rather, it is a “human rights” issue.
It seems to me that Commissioner Martinez understands this, and as our County commissioner, he is working to preserve the health, wellbeing, equality, freedom and safety of mothers and their children. Commissioner Martinez believes we should protect them both—mom and baby. I believe that too and I hope the other Commissioners—Leo Jaramillo and Danny Garcia—feel the same way.