Readers write: compassion in the abortion debate; not a Russian cold war this time

Letters to the editor for the April 11, 2016 weekly magazine.

Melanie Stetson Freeman
Lawyer Susan Hays (l.) and executive director Tina Hester have a conference call in the office at Jane's Due Process, on February 22, 2016 in Austin, Texas.

Compassion in the abortion debate

Regarding the April 4 cover story, “Inside Texas’ abortion wars,” John Yemma wrote in his Upfront column, “Long after Roe v. Wade, the woman making this excruciating choice and the child that might or might not result will deserve our utmost compassion.” We should have compassion for everyone talking and thinking about it.

Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh tells us, “Compassion is a verb.” This conveys a fuller sense that our compassion as individuals should be active and engaged, whether with our sincere thoughts and conversations, prayerful thinking, or all of these. Let’s remember that all of mankind is invested in the issue.

David K. McClurkin

Beachwood, Ohio

Regarding the March 25 online article “Indiana abortion law: Gov. Pence approves new restrictions” ( Indiana’s recent abortion ban based on prenatal disability diagnoses is anti-woman. The US Department of Agriculture estimates it will cost a family about $300,000 to raise one child. Care for youths with disabilities often costs twice to three times that amount. A woman who chooses to have an abortion has assessed her ability and desire to have a child. Her reasons for having this procedure are between her and her provider – and not the state.

Alana Black


Not a Russian cold war this time

Regarding the March 23 online article “US-Russia thaw? Kerry arrives in Moscow for Syria talks” ( A change in the Russia-United States relationship would not be a return from a situation like the cold war. In Russia, a real cold war would have meant no freedom of movement, no different parties in the State Duma, no private satellite dishes on apartment blocks. Very few in Russia suffer from, or even are aware of, what you call the freeze of the past two years. But virtually everyone has been euphoric over Crimea’s becoming part of Russia.

Mergen Mongush


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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

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