Letter: Sad Places

I'm writing to you about your article from July 5th—"Safe, Legal and Hours Away" by Rikki Hall. I am old enough to remember the days when abortion was not safe, nor legal. The only people who could get a safe abortion were those of means who were able to travel and pay a large amount of money. The rest of the population had to find other means to end an unwanted pregnancy. Unmarried women who became pregnant had major social cultural judgments about them (see Rush Limbaugh's rant on sluts).

The septic wards referred to in the article were sad places and a direct result of the laws prohibiting abortions. And really, many married women were among those who sought out and needed the help an abortion could provide. Women tried kitchen-table abortions by failed med students or worse. They tried using hangers. They tried douching with Coca Cola, Drano, Clorox and all kinds of other things. You name it, women tried it. Whether abortions are legal or illegal, women will find a way. All Roe did was make it safer for them.

These groups, who believe they are just making "sure young women are protected," really need to understand the issue with women who seek abortions. It is a misconception that abortions are used as birth control. Although this may be true for a very few, the majority who seek an abortion have deeper reasons. To just make a blanket judgment, as is popular with anti-choice groups, is to deny the respect and sanctity of human life itself. From my understanding, it is God who judges, not people (sinners all). If those who worked to pass this bill, and all the other bills across the country limiting access to abortions, became informed of the facts rather than running on their emotions, we could actually reduce the number of abortions.

The Life Defense Act singles out only abortion providers. To mandate the need for hospital privileges for these health service providers is misguided. If any outpatient providers need to have access to hospitals, I think it would be the ones doing surgeries where the statistics support the need, rather than the emotions dictating the desire. I find it interesting that it is many of the anti-choice people who seem to be the ones who want the government out of personal lives and yet here they are mandating this. I guess they believe women can't make personal decisions in rational ways and need the government to dictate to them what they can and cannot do. In a country that values freedom above all else, not being able to get such basic women's healthcare in 87 percent of all U.S. counties is very odd and pretty scary... it makes you wonder how free we really are doesn't it?

It is a shame that the two clinics here in Knoxville who serve such a huge area have to go through such turmoil and upheaval when they are providing compassionate, caring health care to so many. Remember, these clinics provide many other health services. It sounds like the situation is dire. They are having a difficult time finding physicians to work at the clinics due to the fear of violence that has been instilled into the culture on anyone associated with a clinic that provides abortions. This is very frightening. And this seems to be their intention. To promote fear among providers and shame among those who need the service.

They scream about Planned Parenthood and the federal dollars being spent on women's health care. Many of these anti-choice people do not realize that federal dollars are not spent on abortions at all. This fact is a testament to the strength of these anti-choice groups compared with the peace movement. I know many people who would love to see similar legislation that prohibits their tax dollars from going towards war.

And finally, no one I know in the pro-choice part of the debate want to see abortions happen. Not one of them is anti-life (the suggested meaning when anti-choicers use the pro-life terminology). To hide behind the statement that they "want to make sure women are getting the care they need" or that they want to "protect women" is nothing but false statements intended to misinform and circumvent any opposition to their agenda to make abortions illegal yet again. If this should happen, women will once again have to face the possibility of disfigurement, the possibility of losing the ability to bear a child in the future, and the possibility of death. While they may believe in the idea that they are only out to protect women, this is only because they are misinformed and ruled by their emotions, which we all know can be blinding. I value their belief, passion, and single-minded energies. I just wish they used it in constructive ways rather than destructive ways.

M. Hupfel