While a recent commentary told of "The collateral damage of legalized abortion" (Opinion Exchange, Dec. 1), no recent article on the abortion controversy has mentioned the collateral damage suffered by unwanted children. The irony is especially evident when we see tragic news almost weekly of parents killing children, as in "St. Cloud mom charged in death of baby" (Dec. 2).
What are parents to do with an unwanted pregnancy? Adoption would be a desirable solution, but too often young mothers choose to keep the baby even if they have no parenting experiences or necessary resources.
If a decision is made to give up the baby, under safe haven laws, unwanted infants can be left at police or fire stations or hospitals, depending on the state, with no legal consequences for the parents.
But what happens when the child is 1, 2 or 3 years old and difficult to manage? There are no easy and smooth options for giving up a young child. And these unwanted children may become victims of abuse or be killed by frustrated parents. According to Child Welfare Statistics, 1,840 U.S. children died of abuse or neglect in 2019.
If the law forces women to bear unwanted babies, then it is incumbent upon our society to provide the necessary support these children need. Yes, that will mean more social programs for things such as mother and infant nutrition, clothing and housing, child care and parental training. If we are ready to change abortion laws, then our society must be prepared to support and protect the resulting unwanted children.
Jan Prazak, Hudson, Wis.
I offer my sincere gratitude to the writer in Thursday's Readers Write section describing her personal experience with abortion. Her courage is remarkable. Her service to this discussion is immeasurable.
One has to believe that her experience is far from unique. One is also reminded that we males — as much as we may try — can never really appreciate the agonizing decisions that people like the writer had to make.
Second, I wish to take issue with the position taken by Renee Carlson and Teresa Stanton Collett in "The collateral damage of legalized abortion." As evidenced by the letter I just mentioned, there is damage. No doubt. However, the damage is caused by an unexpected pregnancy — not by legalized abortion. I will not opine on the complicated debate regarding when life begins— other than to remind that this debate has been going on for centuries. However, the argument advanced by Carlson and Stanton Collett lacks substance. They offer no evidence that availability of abortion promotes sexual behavior or enhances the sex industry or dilutes personal relationships. By putting forth this specious notion, these authors further muddy the waters of this highly charged social issue. For further clarification, interested people might go to material from the Guttmacher Institute titled "Promiscuity Propaganda: Access to Information and Services Does Not Lead to Increases in Sexual Activity."
Richard Masur, Minneapolis
Like so many readers, my jaw dropped at the audacity of the arguments put forth by Carlson and Stanton Collett in Wednesday's opinion section. I had to reread it a few times to understand their arguments, which, by the way, I still do not. "The way abortion access has changed societal expectations regarding sexual relationships is a direct contributor to family destabilization." This was followed by a head-scratching trail of roundabout drivel. "Roe and Casey also accelerated changing social norms resulting in increasing sexual assault on girls by adult men." Really? Sexual assaults went up when abortion became legal?
The University of St Thomas is a fine, reputable institution. It should be embarrassed and ashamed to have its name attached to such a shoddy piece of opinion content.
Martha Wegner, St. Paul
Out of the many concerning statements that Carlson and Stanton Collett make, the most profound is that a person who is raped should give birth so their rapist can be charged with a crime. A person does not need to carry a baby to term to bring charges against their rapist. I do respect those who choose not to have abortions, but please, don't attempt to influence others with lies and deceit. To persuade people who are traumatized and vulnerable to make a life-altering choice based on falsehoods, guilt and your own self-interest is not life-affirming, it is cruel.
Betsy Sitkoff, Minneapolis
Carlson and Stanton Collett raise a practical question in their commentary against Roe v. Wade: Does the right to an abortion support family stability? They opine that the right to an abortion is "a direct contributor to family destabilization" because it separates "sex and childbearing." Sexual promiscuity results, they argue, leading to unintended pregnancies and thus unstable family structures.
This argument is profoundly specious. First, if one needs a reason why people don't always think about having kids when sexually active, we should look to birth control rather than abortion. If the solution to unstable families is to be found in outlawing abortion, the logic extends as much if not more to birth control.
Second, it's at best optimistic to think that people will confine sex to within a "stable family" or relationship once abortion is outlawed.
Families are stabilized through access to secure and safe shelter, food security, and so on. Forcing women to continue a pregnancy to term which they cannot afford financially or emotionally is counterproductive. If we are serious about family stability, we must maintain the right to an abortion, and support children and their families after they are born, not just before.
Craig Peterson, Minneapolis
If the Supreme Court decides that states can govern abortion rights, it may generate the greatest fundraising and political activity that could otherwise ever be imagined by abortion rights advocates. Remember what happened in Minnesota when a same-sex marriage ban was proposed. Not only did that proposal fail, but public support for legalization was energized to cause the opposite result. States passing legislation as in Texas and Mississippi may achieve a temporary win, but they may soon find that political winds can change, big time. The political fallout could be staggering for those seeking to infringe women's liberty.
Thomas W. Wexler, Edina
It strikes me that the people fighting to overturn Roe v. Wade don't seem to talk about other ways to end abortion. If I had a strong moral opposition to abortion, I would focus my efforts on eliminating the need for abortion. I would push for development of better forms of birth control and easy access to birth control for everyone. I would be concerned about the inevitable fallout of making abortion illegal, which will certainly result in an increased number of illegal and unsafe abortions, in addition to more unwanted children. Avoiding a larger family planning discussion makes the professed concern for life ring hollow.
Lori Wohlrabe, St. Louis Park
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