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Adding Responsibility to Choice on Abortion

March 26, 2004

Re "When Choice Becomes Tyranny," by Jonathan Turley, Commentary, March 21: Now into my early 80s, very proud of the trio I planned and birthed, I have long felt that the pro-choice position is fair. Women should have sovereignty over their own bodies. But pro-choice does involve more than a simple yes or no. Because pregnancy can be interrupted legally in the very early weeks, the decision made early is of consequence mainly to the mother. In my long life I have been aware of abortions but have never heard of anyone who regards the choice as easy. Abortion is physically and emotionally wrenching. But the need for abortion appears to be stimulated by the same lobbyists who oppose contraception.

That said, I'll move on to add to Turley's views: An early decision to terminate a pregnancy is a legal choice determined by the mother alone, but the decision to carry a child to term, once made, must revoke the mother's sovereignty over her body. From that point until delivery, one caveat remains. The fetus deserves a prenatal environment free of alcohol, nicotine and addictive drugs. The mother-to-be must provide it. And she, in turn, may need to be provided for too. I am reluctant to shift my pro-choice stance even this much, but America's well-being and our planetary well-being requires thoughtful, equitable concern for those waiting to be born.

Roxy Edith Battles

Redondo Beach

Re "Ashcroft's Fear Tactic" (editorial, March 19), on Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft's request for records on abortions: Medical records without names are only statistics -- hardly something to get excited about.

Robert M. Doumakes

Los Angeles

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