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Letters to the Editor

Readers write about feminism and the pro-life movement.

October 16, 2008

The pros and cons of being a pro-life feminist

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Regarding the Oct. 14 Opinion piece, "Amid Palin hype, a pro-life feminist's dilemma": "Pro-life feminism" is a contradiction in terms. A woman who would deprive other women of control over their own bodies, by legally compelling them to carry pregnancies to term against their will, is not a credible advocate of women's rights.

Abortion is not an easy choice for any woman and it would be a good thing if the need for it were minimized through conscientious use of contraception. But the claim that a fetus is a person under the law has intolerable implications. A fetal "right to life" would define doctors who perform abortions, and women who undergo them, as murderers. This would be the case even for women who became pregnant through rape, or who were carrying profoundly defective children.

The law should protect the pregnant woman's right to decide what to do. Any other policy is opposed both to feminism and to the broader concept of individual rights.

William H. Stoddard
San Diego

I am a Christian and I am not pro-choice. But this great country of ours embraces the separation of church and state. Therefore, I feel as bound to accept that concept as I do the tenets of my religion. Bill Clinton said something in his speech at the Democratic National Convention that was quite meaningful to me: "People the world over have always been more impressed by the power of our example than by the example of our power." I see an analogy there. If, by my example rather than my insistence, I can change how people see things, I have accomplished a great deal.

Diane Otten
Garnet Valley, Pa.

I am a practicing Roman Catholic woman who is both pro-life and pro-woman. I understand the struggle of determining which party better suits my inclinations.

This year I have decided to support Barack Obama. I believe the Democrats, at this time, are more honestly intent on addressing the needs of the poor in this country. In the end, I am not only pro-life and pro-woman; I am pro-dignity, as well.

Rita McGill Vondracek
Wells, Minn.

I was hoping for more from this commentary, such as an explanation of what "pro-life feminists" are, what positions they take, and why they take them. All I know is that Ms. Kays-Burden is antiabortion; she lists no other women's issue or other political issue she cares about. Also, I disagree that the only reason that women's groups don't support Palin is because of her abortion stance. There appear to be a whole host of reasons why Palin is not finding support among feminists. For example, one of her budget cuts as mayor of Wasilla resulted in sexual assault victims having to pay for their own rape kits.

Laura Tompkins
Milford, Ohio

Angela Kays-Burden is apparently unfamiliar with the people who vote Republican and leans on a false dilemma. We Republicans most certainly do support the mother facing an unplanned pregnancy. For the most part, we prefer to spend our own money and time, rather than using government resources, by supporting the pregnancy care centers that abortion proponents call "antichoice."