Responses to pro-life profile
Regarding the cover story "Pro-life's kinder, gentler face" (Aug. 15 & 22): To publish a short profile of Charmaine Yoest, even one characterizing her somewhat tendentiously as the "kinder, gentler face" of the antiabortion movement, would have done your readers a genuine service. But to blow it up to a six-page spread, with a singularly uncritical text and no fewer than three glossy photographs of Ms. Yoest, does a disservice to the journalistic standards for which the Monitor has long stood. In my nearly four decades as a subscriber, I don't recall another piece on a controversial topic that has struck me as so lacking in balance and objectivity.
It is refreshing to have a pro-life representative present her arguments calmly and without demonizing pro-choice advocates. However, Yoest glosses over the community resources that are lacking to support women who become pregnant through addiction, poverty, depression, etc. The pro-life community continues to focus on quantity of life over quality. Few believe abortion is a desirable outcome, but it is extremely undesirable to not have a choice in determining the quality of your life and your family's life. If pro-lifers truly wanted to stop abortion, they'd support contraception.
Anne French, MD
I am a retired registered nurse who worked in the OR recovery room in a Detroit hospital prior to Roe v. Wade. I spent many hours trying to save the lives of these girls/women who had dirty illegal abortions. No one takes this issue casually. Let pregnant girls/women make a safe, legal choice.
Underlying Yoest's activism is the belief some hold that personhood begins at conception. Not all of us believe that, and we should not be forced to live by that belief. I cannot and will not accept that a single cell is a human being with rights that are more important than the needs of its human host. Equally absurd and inhumane is the claim of some pro-choice advocates that the fetus is not a human being and not entitled to any legal protections until after birth. A fetus that is fully developed and days from birth is clearly a human being.
When does a fetus become a person? That is the sticky question we have been avoiding in this country by engaging in polarized all-or-nothing rhetoric. Modern science has given us a wealth of information about fetal development and fetal experience. It would take hard work and careful thought, but we could develop abortion policies that would be sensitive and fair both to women who need to terminate a pregnancy and to the gradually developing human beingness of the fetus.