In his column on June 29, Andy Schmookler argued that the abortion controversy boils down to the religious question of at what stage of development a human being is "endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights" such as the right to life. In short, he argues that from the pro life side, the abortion issue is basically religious. I would respectfully disagree.

Consider the following syllogism. Premise one, it is wrong to intentionally kill an innocent human being. Premise two, abortion kills an innocent human being. Conclusion, abortion is wrong.

Premise two is a simple scientific fact. That which is growing in the womb of a pregnant woman is undeniably human, and undeniably alive. Quoting from an old Planned Parenthood pamphlet titled Plan Your Children, "An abortion kills the life of a baby after it has begun." Nothing scientists have learned about embryology since that was published disputes that premise.

Admittedly, premise one, that it is wrong to intentionally kill an innocent human being, is similar to the Biblical injunction against murder. However our country has laws against killing, and I doubt that anyone would argue that these laws are forcing a religious viewpoint on those who have no religious compunction against killing others.

I am a Christian, but my opposition to abortion is based on what I know as a physician to be scientific fact. As a physician, I am sworn to recognize, protect and defend the intrinsic value of all human life regardless of ethnicity, creed, gender, economic status, or stage of development. The most basic right we have as Americans is the right to life and I believe that should be extended to all human beings, born and unborn.

Gregory Byrd, Edinburg