Sunday's article "Seeing a future after Roe" (front page) highlighted the high costs and inconveniences for women who need to travel for an abortion. What I would like to see is more coverage of why these women have no other choices. Where there is demand for abortion, there are unsolved problems, like employers ignoring workplace protections for mothers, unsupportive partners and women living in poverty who cannot afford to care for children. Rather than eliminating the babies and continuing with our lives, we need to provide women with real solutions. Abortion solves nothing. Allowing an abusive partner or parent to coerce a woman to abort does not improve a dangerous home. Encouraging a woman to abort so the state has one less mouth to feed does not elevate her out of poverty. The woman whose employer will not consider her for a promotion if she is a mother goes back to the same inflexible workplace. The minor being trafficked continues to be victimized after her abortion.
We focus our gaze on a woman's swelling belly and ignore her devastating circumstances. Ending a pregnancy erases the visible reminder of our responsibility to each other. A pregnant woman deserves better than abortion. She should not be required to leave school or work if she chooses childbirth. She deserves dignity — affordable housing, education, workplace protections, prenatal care, medical leave, child-support enforcement and a supportive community. If we are about to live in a post-Roe world, let Minnesota lead with women-centered solutions.
Adrienne O'Connor, Minnetrista
As a person with a uterus, a mother and an OB-GYN physician, I am horrified at the leaked draft Supreme Court majority opinion overturning Roe v. Wade. I struggled with fertility, I experienced a heartbreaking miscarriage, I have a daughter who I adore, I'm carrying another planned and loved pregnancy — and I know that my personal reproductive health journey has no bearing on anyone else's. Many people who are anti-abortion hold their beliefs with some misconstrued notion that they're "saving babies," and they see pregnancy through a lens solely crafted by their own experiences or perceptions. They cannot imagine the varying social, emotional, mental and physical circumstances that lead to the decision to terminate a pregnancy. Even the most desired pregnancy in the healthiest person can go wrong in a second. Eliminating the right to termination of pregnancy will lead to deaths and life-altering negative outcomes for pregnant and postpartum people — this in a country where maternal morbidity and mortality, neonatal morbidity and mortality, and support systems for parents are already incredibly dismal.
Whatever your personal views on termination of pregnancy, know that this ruling will extend beyond abortion. This will inhibit the safe management of miscarriages and ectopic pregnancies. This will create further barriers to contraception access (leading to more unplanned pregnancies and worsening the health of those who use birth control for additional reasons). This will likely impact the option of in vitro fertilization.
It doesn't end with reproductive health, either. Weakening the justification of the "right to privacy" will call into question legal precedent for a broad range of civil rights. Whether you believe it or not, this decision will directly impact you or someone you love.
I am enraged that my daughters face the possibility of growing up with fewer rights than I have now. I won't stand for it. None of us should stand for it. We must all urge our lawmakers to pass the Women's Health Protection Act and to fight against this blatant disregard for humanity.
Dr. Erin Stevens, Minneapolis
The Supreme Court is evidently ready to overturn Roe, per a draft leaked on Monday night. This court includes two members who were credibly accused of harassing or assaulting women (Justices Clarence Thomas and Brett Kavanaugh). Kavanaugh was installed by a president who boasted on tape of assaulting women. They help determine a conservative majority on the court. These are the people deciding whether women can control their bodies and their lives.
Let's not call this a decision in favor of life. It would be decision in favor of the subjugation of women and against the establishment of happy, functional families.
Ingrid Stocking, Minneapolis
It is astonishing to read the pledges of President Joe Biden, Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Bernie Sanders, and other liberals promising to adopt legislation installing the right to an abortion nationwide. They even assure the readers they will demolish the filibuster if necessary to achieve this end. What is most concerning is the failure of these politicians, many of whom are lawyers, to acknowledge that the abortion issue is constitutional, not legislative. If Roe and Planned Parenthood v. Casey are overruled, the court will find, as the leak points out, that the Constitution does not grant a right to an abortion but by its silence leaves the issue to the individual or the states if the latter choose to legislate. The Constitution also does not afford the Congress or the executive any authority to regulate abortion. As the draft opinion notes, the Constitution is silent on abortion.
The entire debate from the left is alarming. They leave no consideration in place for where in the law a 12-week-old fetus, for example, lost any entitlement to life. The absence of this consideration is particularly strange given that it is a felony in Minnesota (and elsewhere) to kill an unborn fetus of any age, regardless of intent, even if its existence is unknown (Minn. Stat. 609.2662). The mother's exemption from this statute is a strange dichotomy in the law.
Phillip A. Cole, Eden Prairie
If the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe and returns abortion rights to individual states, then abortion rights could change every couple of years as new legislatures convene. The court ruling could mobilize women and men like never before to elect representatives who will support abortion rights. This could be the Republican Party's greatest gift to the Democratic Party. There are so many varieties of overreaching criminal penalties created by these anti-abortion laws that the freedoms of every American citizen who even contributes to medical and counseling agencies could be endangered. There are so many reasons why the result would offend free speech, association and medical privacy. In the short run, the Supreme Court would likely be doing a great favor for the Democratic Party. The apparent Republican victory will be temporary only, and their offensive laws will be repealed.
Thomas W. Wexler, Edina
The Sunday article "Seeing a future after Roe," about how states like Minnesota will become "islands" for abortion access, describes Whole Woman's Health more like an oasis than an abortion clinic. The recovery room is "decorated with images and inspirational quotes from famous women."
The first requirement to becoming a famous woman is to not be aborted. The world will never know the potential of millions of female fetuses whose lives were ended in a "procedure room." In 1973, Roe declared their lives had zero value.
Ann Redding, Minneapolis
Overturning Roe requires another law be passed that ensures men bear equal responsibility for pregnancies. Call it the "Personal Responsibility Act." Using DNA as a verification, paternity for every embryo should be established and the male responsible obliged by law to support the woman and the child through the child's majority, including medical costs, living costs, education — all the costs a father normally assumes for his child. In addition, the child should have a full share of the father's estate if and when the father dies. If women cannot decide whether or not carry a child, fathers should not be able to decide whether or not to support the woman and the child. It's about time men assumed responsibility for the consequences of their pleasure.
Robert Veitch, Richfield