Readers write: The abortion debate, magazine layout

Letters to the editor for the May 23, 2016 weekly magazine.

Melanie Stetson Freeman/Staff
Colored tabs outside an exam room at one of the Planned Parenthood clinics tell staff who the patient sees next, in Austin, Texas.

Language for abortion debate

In the April 4 cover story, “Inside Texas’ abortion wars,” the Monitor describes one side positively, by what it’s for, and the other side negatively, by what it’s not for. Calling one group “abortion rights” while calling the other group “antiabortion” legitimizes the first and discredits the second. Both sides in this debate should be referenced by the positive descriptor of their own choosing: hence, abortion rights and pro-life, without quotation marks.

Perhaps the Monitor was striving to be evenhanded, but a pro-choice slant was evident, especially in the widely differing tone of the two related articles. The reporting on judicial bypass featured no interviews or critiques from opponents of that practice, while the report on crisis pregnancy centers gave significant space to sharp criticism from activists on the opposing side. Let’s have evenhanded treatment.

Grace Weber

Weybridge, Vt.

Editor’s note: Like many news organizations, the Monitor uses impartial terms such as antiabortion and abortion-rights to describe advocates on opposite sides of the issue. Terms like pro-life and pro-choice are too general, and some people object to their use. 

Readability in the magazine

I am writing with regard to the Points of Progress feature. I very much appreciate these reminders of worldly progress. However, my habit (as it probably is with most readers) is to begin reading from left to right. In so doing, the column on the left page is the first taken in, but it directs you two pages away to its conclusion, thereby passing up the text on the map. To me, it would flow better if the column were on the right-hand page, making the natural transition to turn the page after having read the two-page feature.

I have much gratitude for all the Monitor provides our world. I have especially looked forward to the dovetailing of one article to the next throughout the issue.

Gerry Bates

Chickaloon, Alaska

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