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The debate continues: Is abortion a right? | READER COMMENTARY

It takes two to create a pregnancy

All the discussion about abortion is centered around women. What about the men who are involved? As far as I know, women do not get pregnant all by themselves. If the states that want to criminalize abortion, then the men should be charged also. A vast majority of legislators and Supreme Court justice are men, and they have gotten a pass in this discussion for far too long. (”Five things to know about abortion access in Maryland with Roe v. Wade threatened,” May 8)

— Mary H. Brown, Baltimore

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Expand the Patient Safety Act to include abortions

I never can understand the stridency of the abortion debate in the United States. In India, where I come from, where the culture is conservative and society is traditional, abortion has been legal for 50 years. There, The Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act was passed in 1971. The emphasis of that act was on safe abortions. Women can get abortions up to 24 weeks of pregnancy, and abortions are 100% covered by national health insurance funds. The U.S. states that will ban abortions, when the Supreme Court overturns Roe Versus Wade, will stand shoulder to shoulder with countries like Congo, Nicaragua, Egypt, Laos, El Salvador and Senegal — not a reason for pride or joy.

The emphasis in all countries should be on access to safe abortions to prevent maternal mortality. This is the stance that the World Health Organization has taken. When abortions are not legal, historically women seek unsafe abortions. They die from sepsis, or they hemorrhage under the crude care of an abortionist in some back alley. If Roe versus Wade is overturned by the conservative zealots and extreme textualists of the Supreme Court, and if at least 23 states criminalize abortion and some impose a ban on travel for abortion and others make abortion a felony murder for abortion providers and their patients, chaos will rule in the lives of pregnant women who want abortion and of their doctors. Even sanctuary states for abortion cannot save these women from the sadistic laws of the anti abortion states in which they live and work. (”If Roe v. Wade is ultimately overturned, Maryland must become a sanctuary state for abortion,” May 3)

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I believe the federal Patient Safety Act of 2005 should be expanded to include abortions. That act already aims to ensure safe surgery and reduce the risk of health care associated infections, both of which will be unavailable to women in states where abortion is criminalized. Health care safety is a human right and a civil right. Absolutist states that will ban and criminalize abortion, should be sued by the U.S. Justice Department for violating the Patient Safety Act, the HIPAA Law, and the human and civil rights of pregnant women who seek abortions.

As deaths mount from unsafe abortions, the families of women who die from back alley or self induced abortions will sue the states that have made abortions unsafe. To every thoughtless and cruel law there is a remedy in the law and an equal and opposite reaction.

— Usha Nellore, Bel Air

You have the right to choose birth control

Everyone could, and should, consider and determine his or her ability to parent and make a conscious decision based on that consideration. It’s really not that hard. Everyone has the right to choose birth control. If the time, energy and money spent on abortions, and the debates, was invested into education and distributing birth control; abortions would likely be reduced by 90%. The hoopla would be gone and no one’s rights would be threatened nor denied.

— Marty Spence, Towson

An unborn fetus, not having been born, is not a citizen

Dear male anti-abortion zealots — including the four Catholic men who signed the leaked Supreme Court draft opinion reversing Roe v. Wade; and the Southern Baptists in the Louisiana legislature, 80% of whom are men. Louisiana State Rep. Danny McCormick, for example, wrote the “Abolition of Abortion in Louisiana Act of 2022” proposing to outlaw all abortions in Louisiana regardless of circumstances and “fully recognize the human personhood of an unborn child at all stages of development prior to birth from the moment of fertilization.” (”Maryland prepares to increase its abortion capacity as future of Roe v. Wade in doubt,” May 3)

I don’t know where to start pointing out the holes in Danny’s bill. What does “personhood” mean? If Sen. Marsha Blackburn can ask Judge Ketanji Jackson to define “woman,” it seems reasonable to ask Danny what “personhood” means. Good luck with that, Danny. Philosophers and theologians can’t agree on a definition, but apparently Danny can. Even if we could come up with a definition of personhood everyone could agree on, what rights does a fertilized egg have?

Look at Section 1 of the 14th Amendment, which guarantees citizenship rights and equal protection under the law: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside.” Applying simple logic to that sentence, one must be “born” first in order to be a citizen of the United States with the rights enumerated in the Constitution. An “unborn fetus,” not having been “born” yet, is therefore NOT a citizen of the United States.

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Maybe Louisiana legislators would like to rewrite the 14th Amendment to say “All human eggs fertilized in the United States are citizens.” But, wait — what if the egg is fertilized outside the United States? OK, Louisiana, how about this? “Any American egg fertilized anywhere in the world, or the solar system, or in a petri dish, is a citizen of the United States?” But I digress.

We’re not sure what your problem is, guys. Maybe you really are trying to relegate women back to the status of chattel so you won’t have to compete with women who are smarter than you. Maybe you’ve been watching too many sci-fi and comic book movies and it weakened your ability to distinguish what’s real from what isn’t. Or maybe before developing “a personal relationship with Jesus,” you should develop a personal relationship with REALITY.

In any case, please learn the meanings of these terms: child, baby, gamete, zygote, fetus. If we’re going to debate something intelligently, we need to use standard dictionary and medical definitions of words, not make up our own definitions.

You see, “unborn babies” and “unborn children” are not real things, except in your imagination, no more than square circles, soft rocks, lead balloons, cheerful pessimists or honest liars.

You can’t stick any two words together and think you’ve created something real.

— Paul Totaro, Bel Air

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Rather than demonizing one another, shouldn’t we be debating when life begins?

Neil Rauch makes many good points about the problems and threats of the divisiveness that exists in our society in his comments on Robert Reich’s piece, “What civilization demands and why we fight for it.” (”Abortion debate requires more listening, less shouting,” May 9.)

Both seem to support those who support a “moral imperative” to protect the weak from efforts to disenfranchise them, “while the opposing side pursues that goal with unabashed enthusiasm.” With regard to abortion, who are the “weak” who need to be protected? Is it a society that calls the right to destroy unborn babies (half of whom are female) a right of privacy guaranteed to women for 50 years? Or is it those voiceless, unborn babies with heartbeats, brain waves and unique DNAs who never get the chance to protest, vote or speak for themselves?

Rather than demonize the other side, as tempting as that may be, should we not be seriously debating the question of: When does life begin? If we can seriously examine that question and find a definitive answer then the debate goes away. Easier said than done, obviously. Wouldn’t that be striving for the “for moral exceptionalism” that Mr. Rauch refers to as an American strength?

Unfortunately, neither our neighbors, friends nor the media spend much time on this question. It is apparently easier to criticize religious zealots or radical baby killers. The answer to the key question of when life begins is paramount. And if we are to be a responsible moral society, it is too important to answer that question, and defend the science and logic behind that answer, before finger pointing and campaigns of disinformation proceed.

— L.G. Connor, Ellicott City

Restricting access to abortion before a certain point violates the First Amendment

All the efforts to overturn Roe v Wade are based on the assertion that the fetus is a human being. That is a religious opinion — not a scientific fact. The Catholic Church believes that the soul enters the fetus at conception. Judaism believes that the fetus is not human until the mother is on the birth stool — i.e. ready to be delivered. Islam believes that the fetus is not human until 120 days or 150 days depending on which faction you ask.

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Any state law which limits access to abortion within 6 or 15 weeks (42 or 105 days) prevents Jews and Muslims from the free exercise of their religion which is a violation of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Any action by government to ignore Roe v, Wade and curtail access to abortion is the establishment of religion. In this case, the religion is called Pro-Life.

— Lee Feldman, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania


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