Minnesota Citizens for Life invites us to "fresh dialogue" specifically in response to the Supreme Court ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization (Opinion Exchange, June 25). How odd, then, that their articulation of the pro-life view is utterly mute on the subject of law. Whatever the merits of their argument that abortion violates the "demands of love," Dobbs compels us rather to examine the extent to which we are prepared to impose legal enforcement of those demands.
Think of how often we're approached by worthy organizations, credibly assuring us that our generous support will "save lives." Love surely demands that we all do what we can: Should we also be legally required to do so? For a closer analogy, imagine an emergency at which there happened to be present a lone individual with the knowledge, skill, material means — whatever — to save another's life. We may consider it morally reprehensible for that person to fail to act, but would or should they be legally prosecuted?
The analogy falls admittedly short in the case of pregnancy. Again the continued life of one individual depends wholly and solely on another individual. Here, however, it is inaction that may preserve the life, deliberate action that would end it. As to the morality of this action, the American public is nowhere near consensus. The lack thereof may well be lamented, but not denied, by people of all shades of belief.
So if the goal is really to initiate a forthright new dialogue, pro-life advocates would need to lead with their reasons why, in this singular instance, we would do well to enlist our system of criminal and/or civil law to enforce the law of love. They would also need to render fully explicit just what and whom we would wish to punish, and the nature of that punishment.
Brad Wronski, Red Wing, Minn.
I heard South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem on TV saying, "We will support pregnant women." Just a few details short. Exactly who are "we," and what support will there be?
What will be done to support the girl pregnant due to incest? Find her a solid foster home to get her out of an abusive situation, get her medical care, a psychologist to help deal with the damage that has been done to her? And after she gives birth, then what?
Any psychologists on hand to help a woman who has been violated and can't move forward because she is pregnant by her rapist?
And what if the woman is Black and chooses to give up her child? Have they lined up potential adoptive parents for Black babies? Or will the child end up in a troubled foster care system?
What about the teenage girl who was booted out of her home because she is pregnant? Any foster care homes available for pregnant teenagers? Or are they thinking of unwed mothers' homes? Are there any?
Talk is cheap.
Mary McFetridge, New Hope
We must urgently expand access to abortion care in Minnesota. As our neighboring states criminalize abortion, more people will come to Minnesota to receive care. While organizations like UnRestrict and Our Justice work tirelessly to dismantle policy and financial barriers limiting access to abortion care, the health care community must also step up to help. We have too long been complacent, believing that our patients would be able to get care at dedicated abortion centers in our state. This is no longer enough.
The Minnesota Medical Association and local organizations representing internal medicine, family medicine, pediatrics, and obstetrics and gynecology doctors all support unrestricted access to abortion. Most abortion care happens during the first 10 weeks of pregnancy and is done safely and effectively with two oral medications. Given the legislative barriers to abortion access in Minnesota, it is difficult for physicians who work in small independent practices to meet the regulatory burden needed to prescribe these medicines. On the contrary, it is relatively simple for our large health care organizations to take this on.
Abortion is health care. It is time for the health care community to openly incorporate it into the practice of comprehensive primary care. While we will continue to fiercely protect the privacy of our patients, we can no longer be quiet ourselves. Our major health care organizations: Allina, Essentia, Fairview, HealthPartners, Hennepin Healthcare and the Mayo Clinic must normalize the practice of abortion care in their clinics and support clinicians who incorporate this care into their practice.
Dr. Hannah Lichtsinn, Mendota Heights
The writer is a primary care physician.
To Gov. Tim Walz:
On behalf of all women, thank you for signing an executive order on reproductive health ("Walz affirms abortion laws," June 26). This tells me that I, as a woman, am respected. This is a way to protect the health of humans who are women, and it helps women heal to know they are respected after the Supreme Court loudly said we were not respected.
Come this November (and earlier in the primaries on Aug. 9), you will have my vote.
Kerry Anderson, Plymouth
If life begins at conception, then so should child support. If the father cannot or will not pay, then the states enacting forced birth laws should have to pay. Enacting life-altering laws against women should not be free for men.
Karen Greene, Brooklyn Center
Here's an idea: Until there is reliable, affordable and accessible birth control for every woman who wants and needs it, let's have a national mandate to insert tiny silicone plugs in the vas deferens of every male over the age of 12. It'll probably be reversible; we can figure that out later. Certainly, we'll pray for these boys and men. Maybe we can even find funding for support groups.
If you're male and you feel a visceral revulsion to the idea of anyone messing around with your reproductive organs, what does that tell you?
Judy Budreau, St. Paul
Recent stories in the Star Tribune concern how unhappy a large population is over Supreme Court decisions. I do not need to give my opinion on the decisions to point out that the U.S. Constitution is not cast in stone.
Rather than trying to write new laws that try to fit the existing Constitution, it is possible to amend the Constitution. If a significant fraction of the populace truly disagrees with either finding, those people should be contacting their representative and senators. I cannot believe that attending rallies is less work than a letter or phone call to elected officials. I guess the rallies are supposed to send a message to them, but I believe personal messages have more impact. It is easy for them to see how many they get — much easier for them than counting people in attendance at rallies.
Donald R. Stauffer, Coon Rapids
For the nation's consideration:
All persons possess a fundamental right to personal autonomy in matters of conscience, including but not limited to decisions regarding procreation, gender identity, and sexual relations, which right shall not be infringed by the United States or any member state or territory thereof except as may be necessary to serve a compelling governmental interest and then only in a manner narrowly tailored to achieve that interest.
James M. Hamilton, St. Paul