LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Politicians shouldn't be involved in women's health choices

Tuesday, January 22, 2013 | 6:00 a.m. CST

Forty years ago this month, the Supreme Court decided Roe v. Wade, the landmark case that recognized that a pregnant woman has a right to make her own decision about whether to have a child or have an abortion. Since then, some politicians have tried to wrestle that decision out of a woman’s hands. In the past two years alone, these efforts have reached record levels with elected representatives passing 135 provisions designed to interfere with a woman and her family’s private decision about abortion.

Although we don’t all feel the same way about abortion, we should be able to agree that this difficult decision is better made by a woman and her family than by politicians. Indeed, the American people have shown they don't want politicians to interfere. Who can say what the tipping point was? The bills that require a woman to have an ultrasound and look at the picture before she has an abortion? Or that all-male panel that testified before Congress about whether a woman’s insurance plan should cover her contraception? Or Todd Akin’s comment about “legitimate rape”? Regardless, one thing is clear: the American people have had enough.

Together we can stop politicians from interfering in a woman’s private health care decisions if we take the time to let them know how out-of-touch and out-of-date they are. Please join me in keeping a vigilant eye on proposed legislation in 2013.

Sheila Greenbaum is the president of the American Civil Liberties Union of Eastern Missouri.

Like what you see here? Become a member.

Show Me the Errors (What's this?)

Report corrections or additions here. Leave comments below here.

You must be logged in to participate in the Show Me the Errors contest.


Joanne Schrader January 24, 2013 | 2:06 a.m.

You also seem to belong to the moral relativism camp and reflects the ideology behind Planned Parenthood's new campaign of "Not in Her Shoes". The fact is that there some things which are intrinsically evil, thus immoral. The deliberate direct act of taking innocent human life is one of those things. Abortion falls into that category because a living human being is purposely destroyed in the womb. Politicians should act to protect and defend all human life, which is our first inalienable right. Unfortunately, some set aside that obligation. In fact, when polled the majority of Americans are uncomfortable with unlimited abortion on demand and want the 135 provisions enacted in the last two years. They elected representatives and senators to do that very thing.

Furthermore, virtually all abortions on done on healthy mothers with healthy babies. Abortion is a violent unnatural act on mothers and pre-born children's bodies.

It should also be noted that politicians pass all types of regulations concerning our bodies, medicine, and which decisions are legal e.g. food/beverage consumption, drugs, smoking, alcohol, tanning, salons, cosmetics, etc. Yet, abortion is somehow so sacrosanct that for pro-life legislators it's completely hands off? Come on, get real.

Health and safety regulations and inspections save women's lives from unscrupulous abortionists. One only has to look at Kermit Gosnell's House of Horrors, the pictures of a that recently closed facility in Muskegon, or the mill that received a 76 page deficiency report in Alabama after sending three women to the hospital. This is but a recent tip of the iceberg. Planned Parenthood in St. Louis sent four women to the emergency room following elective abortions since November 21, 2012. What kind of dangerous quackery is going on there? Yet, the abortion industry has nothing to say about shoddy practices happening this very moment. Not much different than the bad old days.

Actually, it was not an all male panel that testified before Congress on insurance plans and contraceptives. The first five participants were male, and two women were in the second group of five.

So you see Ms. Greenbaum politicians should not remove themselves from this important conversation. And the pro-life public refuses to sit down and shut up when so much is at stake. The right to life is the human and civil rights issue of our day.

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking January 24, 2013 | 6:33 a.m.

Joanna Schrader wrote:

"Yet, the abortion industry has nothing to say about shoddy practices happening this very moment. Not much different than the bad old days."

So would women be better off in the bad old days, when septic conditions and unlicensed abortionists were the rules rather than the exception?

If you don't want an abortion, don't have one. Other than that, it's absolutely none of your business. Contrary to what some believe, abortion is typically the most difficult choice a woman makes. It is a private decision involving the women, her doctor, and hopefully the father (if he's around, his not being often being the reason abortion is being considered in the first place). It is often the best of several bad options. It is immoral to *not* allow a woman to have that choice.


(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith January 24, 2013 | 7:23 a.m.

The only reason I agree with legalized abortion is the sanitation aspect: no coat hangers applied in back alleys, thank you.

(Report Comment)
frank christian January 24, 2013 | 7:37 a.m.

Ellis Smith - Where the hell, have you been?

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith January 24, 2013 | 11:42 a.m.

@ Frank:

I now live in a condo (composed of 44 free-standing homes, plus clubhouse and swimming pool) located in a suburb of ~50,000, which in turn is part of a metro complex of 0.5 million. Not huge, but large enough to have just about everything. Locally, we are home to one the the country's largest public junior colleges and a Deere & Co. factory that makes a wide variety of farm equipment, including what is needed to plant and harvest cotton.

(Report Comment)
frank christian January 24, 2013 | 1:04 p.m.

Ellis - I had thought of adding to my crudely written question, "If it's embarrassing, don't answer!"

Your reply doesn't imply embarrassment, but about all we know, is that where ever you have been, you are still there and plan to stay. Quite satisfactory. Good to hear from you!

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams January 24, 2013 | 1:27 p.m.

Hey Frank and Ellis: You see what happened to the largest outdoor exhibition in the nation, the Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show?

And why?

Way cool. Now THAT'S the way to boycott.

Sheriffs and shows: The backlash begins...........

(Report Comment)
Joanne Schrader January 25, 2013 | 12:14 p.m.

To Mark Foeking and Ellis Smith:
Illegal abortions were mostly performed by people with medical training who did them after hours or on the side. These abortionists came out in the open after Roe and went on record about their pre-Roe methods. Read Dr. Bernard Nathanson's book regarding the pre-Roe days and his co-founding of NARAL.

Did you look at the disgusting pictures of the LEGAL abortion facilities I mentioned? If these photos and a 76 page deficiency report isn't enough to move you, I can list many more just like them e.g. Rockford, IL, Kansas, etc. Are you willing to let them continue operating business as usual, so there is no going back? Can't you agree women deserve better than unsanitary sub-standard LEGAL facilities?

Mark Foeking writes "If you don't want an abortion, don't have one. Other than that, it's absolutely none of your business."

I am also against rape, child abuse, domestic violence, pollution, exploitation, etc. Would you be content that I and others stand by and don't say anything about these things? I think not. It is our business to defend human life and offer vulnerable moms information and assistance.

Mr. Foeking, I am well aware of the difficulty of the decision that women make regarding these pregnancies. I have been there. I have spoken to moms who were abortion minded and to moms after the fact. It has been said that women choose abortion like an animal "chooses" to chew off its leg to get out of a steel trap. Women deserve better than choosing abortion as the "best of several bad options".

(Report Comment)
Jimmy Bearfield January 25, 2013 | 12:23 p.m.

"It is a private decision involving the women, her doctor, and hopefully the father (if he's around, his not being often being the reason abortion is being considered in the first place)."

Right. So if a woman who cannot afford to support her child, with or without the father's help, chooses to have one anyway, the rest of us should not be forced to chip in via WIC, TANF, Medicaid, etc. Private decision = no public money.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith January 25, 2013 | 1:54 p.m.

Bearfield says it's a decision for tne women [sic] and her doctor. I'll go along with that.

"Against abortion / Then don't have one." That's been a bumper sticker.

I side with the person who said they want to see abortion legal, as safe as is posible, and practiced as litle as possible.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams January 26, 2013 | 10:17 a.m.

"Private decision = no public money," says JimmyB:

Right. Saying an abortion is a private decision that should be paid for by public money is like a fat couch-potato smoker saying, "My lifestyle is my own damn butt out...except I want taxpayers to pay for any illnesses caused by my own health decisions.

I don't see how you can advocate for one but not the other.

(Report Comment)
Jimmy Bearfield January 26, 2013 | 10:36 p.m.

Ellis, the sic goes to Mark because I was quoting him.

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking January 27, 2013 | 5:07 a.m.

Joanne Schrader wrote:

"I am also against rape, child abuse, domestic violence, pollution, exploitation, etc."

Except all of those things affect people other than the person doing them, and involve sentient, thinking beings. There's a fundamental difference.

Again, this isn't a decision we should make for anyone else. We should make abortion as safe as possible - if there are deficiencies, correct them. The only person that can decide if abortion (or any other outcome) is right for her is the mother, with the support of others as she sees fit. it's often better a fetus not live as an unwanted child - will the pro-life organizations physically and financially support a mother who was forced to have a child she did not want and knew she couldn't raise?


(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking January 27, 2013 | 5:58 a.m.

The sic goes to me because I need glasses.


(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith January 27, 2013 | 11:00 a.m.

I should have known. Bearfield make a mistake? Not likely. :)

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith January 27, 2013 | 12:43 p.m.


Too bad you don't live closer to me, as there are some super deals here on glasses, including bifocals.

Communication can be a problem, especially when you work with people whose first lanuage isn't English and you lack proficiency in their first language. :)

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking January 29, 2013 | 7:38 a.m.

Hi Ellis and welcome back - just read you moved. I don't pop in as much as I used to anymore as often a discussion can't be sustained for more than a day.

I have glasses, but do I use them? Obviously not as much as I should...


(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith January 29, 2013 | 8:30 a.m.


I went to my 40s not needing glasses; since then I need bifocals. When I was working in factories (up until age 75) it was tough because the weight of the glass required to meet safety standards was substantial. That's no longer a problem.

Here, they vision test old folks every two years for driver's licenses. I passed, but only wearing my glasses.

(Report Comment)

Leave a comment

Speak up and join the conversation! Make sure to follow the guidelines outlined below and register with our site. You must be logged in to comment. (Our full comment policy is here.)

  • Don't use obscene, profane or vulgar language.
  • Don't use language that makes personal attacks on fellow commenters or discriminates based on race, religion, gender or ethnicity.
  • Use your real first and last name when registering on the website. It will be published with every comment. (Read why we ask for that here.)
  • Don’t solicit or promote businesses.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through. If you see something objectionable, please click the "Report comment" link.

You must be logged in to comment.

Forget your password?

Don't have an account? Register here.