Women's first choice is responsiblity

Kudos to Julia Gorin for having the conviction to discuss the necessary issues that surround the abortion debate ("Reinterpreting a woman's 'choice,' " Aug. 15). I too, tire of militant feminists who proclaim that women have the right to choose, but then overlook key problems, and therefore solutions, to solving the problem of unwanted births in this country. As a young woman, I feel strongly about my right to choose, but do not view it as an "easy way out" or a simple solution to a much larger problem. Hopefully, pro-choice activists and feminists alike will face up to the challenges that Ms. Gorin articulated so very clearly.

Kim Snipes Shepherdstown, W. Va.

In regard to Julia Gorin's opinion piece "Reinterpreting a woman's 'choice' " I applaud her recognition that the solution to the abortion debate is "to encourage a woman's choice not to get pregnant." As a left-wing feminist, I have consistently engaged my right-wing Republican father in debates about controversial issues such as abortion. The one thing we both agree on is that the only hope is to move the discussion to an earlier point: Let's not argue about when a life starts, let's simply prevent the pregnancies in the first place.

Ms. Gorin asserts that to do this prevention work, we must talk about the proper use of birth control, but I find that accessibility and improved methods are also a great concern. She argues each camp pushes the other to the extreme, which freezes the dialogue. I argue that the real debate about the proper use, access to, and improvement of birth control has never had a chance to begin. I look forward to the day when my father and I can sit down to have that discussion.

Katherine McCall Oakland, Calif.

Julia Gorin's opinion piece on "Reinterpreting a woman's 'choice' " is marvelous. I am glad to see someone point out that women need to recall their forgotten choice: to act in a personally responsible manner.

Ann Mundy Boca Raton, Fla.

Julia Gorin, while accusing both pro-life and pro-choice zealots of shutting alternative viewpoints out of the argument, does the same thing herself. She seems to confuse morality and legality as being the same. She decries those who would make the issue about "rights." But in the end, that is exactly what it is about. But it's not the rights of the mother, fetus, father, etc. It is the rights of the government that are in question.

Ever since the state has taken it upon itself to decide what is "good" parenting, both in and out of the womb, the state of parenting has declined precipitously, especially in those communities most dependent on public aid and therefore more beholden to the state's mandates. The question shouldn't be about whether the state should outlaw abortion or enshrine it as a right, but whether the state should hold any sway on the issue at all. There is a strong case from both moral and utilitarian grounds that the state should stay out of it altogether. I guess that makes me grudgingly pro-choice as well.

Joseph V. Casile Monroeville, Pa.

More to learn about disabled persons

Susan Kaplan's Aug. 8 opinion piece "A different footing" is something I can relate to: I've been there and experienced many of the same emotions. My father was handicapped most of his life, and when it happened to me I saw him in a whole new light. Unfortunately our society still has a long way to go in understanding the wealth of knowledge that goes unused in the minds of the disabled or those who are perceived to be disabled. Appearances are only superficial, after all.

David Waddell Hollister, Calif.

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