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Reproductive Rights

I just wanted to tell you how much I love your book. I read my mom's from about 20 years ago or whatever, and was moved. it encouraged me to stand up for my rights in school, gave me another side of the story on all issues my teachers were opposed to, and helped me understand WOMEN MATTER! You may be wondering why I say "school" and "teachers." See, I go to Catholic school. This week is "pro-life week." My teachers, especially religion teachers, are always telling us how horrible abortion is. They tell us suicide, assisted and self-induced, and drugs that speed death, used often in luekimia and other terminally-ill patiens, are WRONG! I just feel like hitting my teacher. She clearly has never been terminally-ill or pregnant! She even says that women who have been raped should not have abortion! She also says soldiers should not be allowed to go to church.

I just want to scream "SHUT UP!" in class! my grandmother fought a fifteen year battle with emphysema, and was given really high pain killers, and I think the doctors sped up her death, only given at her wishes. But this teacher just doesn't understand! And a pro-life speaker came to school, and told another class that in partial-birth abortion "they chop the baby's head off and suck out his brains." How true is this? I never get the whole story in school, like why women can't be priests!


Thanks for your note to FEMINIST.COM. I think your note was really intended for Gloria Steinem, however, I wanted to take the time to respond. Iím sorry that it has taken me so long to respond. I was away from my computer for a week and am only now uncovering from the massive build-up. The good news about the delay is that by now, hopefully, pro-life week is over. The bad news is that you are probably in great need of the "right" information.

The one good thing to come out of the whole "partial birth abortion" debate was that it forced everyone to figure out what exactly abortion was. However, we are still left with many dilemmas. What exactly an "abortion" is, often depends on when you are having it - i.e. how long into the pregnancy. If you have an abortion early in the pregnancy, the procedure is a vacuum aspiration, which essentially consists of sucking the fetus out of the womanís womb. If you have an abortion latter in pregnancy - you first have to kill the fetus and then remove it. Where the question comes in is what people think a fetus is. Some people think it is just that - a fetus - until a baby is born. Other people, i.e. the "prolifers" - think that life begins at the moment of conception and, therefore, oppose any interruption of this life, in some cases even if it is to save the life and/or health of the mother. And still other people refuse to consider what is being aborted, because for them it is purely a matter of choice. I think that you can believe any combination of these, but what people have to remember is that we entrust the woman to make this decision, not us. We canít force our morality and judgement onto them. Of course, some women will make bad choices - but that is only because we have deemed it "bad." Regardless, we canít take this choice away from anyone.

Does that help? If not, please write back and together, we can develop some good messages for you.

Thanks for writing - and for being true to your beliefs. My guess is that those "pro-lifers" in your school are probably following someone elseís dictates, rather than their own intuition. You should feel proud that you have enough sense to have your own opinions.


Amy

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