Integrity Matters
April 23, 2003

Peterson case raises ethical questions

Question: (S-011)
I read with interest that the authorities have filed two murder charges against Scott Peterson, to include the death of his unborn son. How on earth can the authorities approve abortion, on the one hand, and charge Scott Peterson with murder for the death of his unborn child? The death of an unborn child is not the death of a person, if abortion is legal! If it is the death of a person (a murder, i.e.), then abortion is murder. Without taking a stand on abortion -- a separate issue -- where is the integrity in our legal system?

Your observations are thought provoking. The legal system is charging Scott Peterson (the husband of one victim, and father of the other, unborn victim), with two counts of murder.

Your questions do emphasize the seeming contradiction of causing death (abortion, prior to the birthing process) and the ending of a life of an already born and functioning human being. Those who practice law and jurisprudence can distinguish the differences. Did the murderer or murderers take the life of one person or two? Obviously, this depends upon the definition of when life begins?

You asked about the integrity of the legal system and you seem upset with actions taken so far. What we have seen to date is the proposed administration of justice. We know that police officers do not practice law, they administer the law.

You are pinpointing the contradictions between when life begins for those who choose legal abortions and when life begins for those who are charged with murder of a yet unborn infant. Integrity requires that one have a consistent definition of when life begins. There are some who suggest that human life begins only when the unborn can exist outside of the mother’s womb. Others define life as early as conception.

The reporting of the events so far might lead one to conclude that this hideous set of circumstance will be tried by the media, but that is unlikely. Even those who want to convict immediately and harshly will come up against a system that does understand due process and will steadfastly pursue justice – for all parties that have been afflicted and affected by these atrocious deaths.

The integrity of the legal system is not yet in question. When the case is resolved, each of us can then judge the integrity of our judicial system. Because integrity matters, we will watch this case carefully.

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