Today's Letters: Let women make choices on abortions

Published May 3, 2007

Women's regrets become part of debate on abortion April 30,  story 

The "sample" of 2, 000 women who had abortions was obviously unrepresentative, as I and many women I know who have had abortions experienced no regret but primarily experienced feelings of relief.

Of course, we were fortunate to have had access to legal abortion. A friend who went through an illegal abortion prior to 1973 almost died. She has been traumatized by that experience.

Women need to know the truth about all their options: abortion, adoption or keeping their baby. Each option can present possible negative reactions. I have worked in the mental health/social service field for almost 30 years and have encountered numerous women who have experienced "negative reactions" for years after giving their child up for adoption. Current child abuse statistics point to the "negative reactions" that may occur if a girl/woman decides to keep a child she is not adequately prepared to parent.

Women need to be allowed to make their own choices without being called "baby killers" if they choose abortion. Perhaps "toning down the rhetoric" would help alleviate any negative feelings regarding their choice.

The Supreme Court was wrong in not soliciting testimonials from a cross section of women who have chosen to have abortions.

Linda Darin, Seminole

Regret is common

Finally, the media printed the other side of abortion. I am so thankful for these women who have stepped forward to share their stories about their aftermath with abortion. I am thankful that a Supreme Court justice has listened and valued these reports.

I volunteered as a crisis pregnancy counselor for more than 10 years in Michigan and Tennessee. I facilitated more than 25 postabortion groups and one-on-one counseling with these women. Their stories were quite the same as reported in this article. Many of their stories included multiple abortions. It is much like posttraumatic stress syndrome, involving flashbacks, depression, relationship problems and suicidal tendencies.

The main issue of the aftermath is the realization that what some refer to as a mass of tissue is indeed a baby. This over the years triggers many of these symptoms, most often when the woman is ready to have children. The crisis pregnancy centers throughout the United States do not condemn these women. They offer grief counseling and renewed hope through forgiveness for all those involved. Many of the volunteers at these centers know the pain of this decision, and now they are the among the many voices for the right to life.

Sandra Carney, St. Petersburg

Women's regrets become part of debate on abortion April 30, story

Regrettable decision

It is appalling to learn that the U.S. Supreme Court was "swayed" by letters written by women with regrets regarding abortions in the Gonzales vs. Carhart decision. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, which represents 90 percent of OB/GYN physicians in the country, opposed this law, which changed the way abortions can occur. Three circuit courts ruled against this law, primarily because it does not protect the health and safety of a woman.

Make no mistake, the intent of prolife groups is to overturn Roe vs. Wade. They invented the emotionally charged term "partial-birth abortion, " which does not exist in medicine. The medical term for this procedure is dilation and extraction or evacuation. By allowing the term "partial-birth abortion" to become part of the lexicon it is easy to mix politics with medicine and confuse people.

Further, what right does Justice Anthony Kennedy have to say this law will protect the health, especially the moral health, of a woman? He implies we are not rational enough to make moral decisions on our own.

This law allows legislators to scrutinize medical procedures best left to the decision of a woman and her doctor. It puts the right of a fetus above the health of a woman. While the law does allow a woman to go to court and get an exception if her life is at stake, that is very difficult if not impossible when a crisis exists. Over time, more women will die.

Eleanor Cecil, Tampa NOW, Lutz

For self-determination

Monday's newspaper article Women's regrets become part of debate on abortion should be a wake-up call for women who value their personal freedom. Alarmingly, the abortion issue has touched women's authority to be their own agents and to make sound decisions about their lives.

According to our Supreme Court, women have to be protected from themselves to make decisions that could be emotionally damaging to them. It not only degrades American women, but also deprives them of their right to self-determination.

If the women who submitted the testimonies about their deep psychological distress after an abortion cannot cope with responsibility, it should not become a burden to women's rights to choose. Besides, nobody will know about their states of mind if they had not had an abortion.

Bruny Hudson, Ruskin

Women can decide

The reporter who wrote about women who regretted their abortions might like to know that women who are glad they had that option have told their stories in magazines and books, including The Choices We Made.

When abortion was illegal, plenty of women still had abortions, and some may have regretted it. On the other hand, some women resent having children or the health consequences they suffered.

We make many hard decisions in life. But some of us believe that women should be trusted to make decisions about their own bodies.

Suzie Siegel, Tampa

A love that rewrites law May 1, story

This is important?

It was so comforting to know that on Tuesday the Senate was voting on an important bill that would address whether a dog's ashes can be put in its owner's coffin.

My taxes are out of sight, my insurance is out of sight, etc., but I will sleep much easier tonight knowing that my tax dollars are hard at work.

Can you imagine what these lawmakers could do to help us if they would put as much energy into tax and insurance relief as they do for where the ashes of our beloved pets go?

I know what it is to lose a dog that has been with you for years. It is devastating. But where the ashes go, in my opinion, is not for the state Senate to waste time on when there are so many other issues affecting the state.

Rachel Metivier, Palm Harbor

A love that rewrites law May 1, story

Government meddling

Lawmakin' Sen. Jim King, having "lots of clout, " manages to get around a problem created by lawmakers - he can't be buried with his dog. Unfortunately, the irony of this is lost on both him and your writer, who miss the larger point: In regulating cemeteries, the Department of Professional Regulation (a.k.a. Department of Turf Protection) is meddling where no public interest is being threatened.

The language in the law about "human remains" should no more prohibit interment of pet ashes with his body than it should prohibit leaving the gold fillings in his teeth.

But what purpose is served by the law anyway? It protects Sen. King's "friend and cemetery operator" from competition, but does nothing to protect you and me. Who would be hurt if Sen. King wanted to be buried with his dog in the pet cemetery?

Peter Ray, Parrish

GOP marching quietly to doom May 1, David Brooks column

Nature of the beast

David Brooks' column describing the rut that the Republican Party seems to have fallen into leaves out a very fundamental reason for their inability to change: They are conservative. Conservatives by definition dislike change.

It reminds me of a joke that can be modified: How many conservatives does it take to change a light bulb? Three: one to change the bulb and two to talk about how the old one was really just fine.

Glenn Sills, Clearwater