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Letters

February 28, 2005



'Moral trickle down' and intricacies of abortion debate

David J. Garrow's last point in his Feb. 23 Opinion piece, "Pro-choice groups giving up too much?" must not go unchallenged. He argued for "a more honest public conversation about how often childbirth then leads to child abuse." Like most Americans, I'm in the middle on Roe v. Wade issues, but I suspect Mr. Garrow is seeing trees while missing the forest. Isn't it just as likely that the increase in child abuse since Roe v. Wade is a result of the diminished respect for life codified and sanctioned by that very decision?

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Call it moral trickle down, but some of us worry that the "convenience" abortions performed since Roe v. Wade engender and sanction a more casual approach to love and life in general, and that children unborn and born suffer the results.

The Monitor has been a steadfast supporter of more adoption; who would argue with that?
Gordon Imrie
Hinsdale, Ill.

An excellent article on the abortion issue. I have seen many unwanted children end up abused, in foster homes, or in juvenile detention centers - together with petty and serious criminal offenders. I do not like abortion. I, however, do feel that it is best to let certain people not have children. The neglected, the abused, the unwanted, and the unloved child is truly a sad story. Abortion, sometimes, can sadly be the lesser of two evils.
Mark Findler
Taichung, Taiwan

It seems Garrow implied that because some children are abused or have terrible things happen to them they would be better off being aborted. If that is the standard, should we kill the great number of children alive today who are leading terrible lives? If it is compassionate to kill the unborn who may live a terrible life someday, it surely would be more compassionate to kill the ones who are leading terrible lives right now.

Second, how will we identify in advance these unborn children who will lead terrible lives? How can we be sure we won't kill some babies who would have had good lives?

Garrow is also assuming - but provides no evidence - that most unwanted pregnancies lead to unwanted and abused children. If legal abortion reduces child abuse by making sure that every child is wanted, then where did all of the children being abused today come from? And more important, how many more abortions must there be before Garrow's scheme begins to work?
Arden Morley
Sugar Land, Texas

David Garrow is concerned about the direction of pro-choice discourse. He cites my work - which calls for public moral consideration of both women's rights and fetal value - calling it risky for pro-choice groups. He prefers older messages, which he believes are more powerful, such as "every child a wanted child," which stress the fact that some unwanted children are abused, become criminals, or otherwise make our lives miserable. The fact is these messages don't work. In the three decades since Roe was decided, the majority of Americans believe abortion should be legal but restricted; the percentage of young people who are "pro-life" has increased; fewer doctors perform abortions; and we have among the worst, most restrictive laws on abortion in the industrialized world - no funding for poor women, parental-consent laws that do nothing to help adolescents, inane waiting periods that do not facilitate moral reflection, and inaccurate government-mandated speeches read to women by weary clinic staff.

These measures passed whether Democrats or Republicans were in power. With conservative Republicans now in charge, the biggest risk for those who support abortion rights is to stay the course and continue to use failed arguments.
Frances Kissling
Washington
President, Catholics for a Free Choice

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