LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Conversation about women's health needs to reflect complexity

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

Recently there seems to be a significant amount of media surrounding the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. The anniversary has increased the dialogue surrounding this issue; however, the dialogue that often results is hostile and polarized.

I believe this often stems from the absolute terms used when discussing a woman’s right to safe and legal abortion. The labels “pro-choice” and “pro-life” do not capture the complex thoughts that most Americans have on this topic. Unfortunately, these loaded labels also polarize legislators as well as the general public, resulting in proposed bills that continue to create barriers for women to obtain abortions.

The divisive rhetoric surrounding abortion seems to also encourage politicians to weigh in on the subject, invading a woman’s right to make private medical decisions without the interference of her elected official. It is my hope that state politicians discontinue their relentless attacks on women’s health.

We get so wrapped up in the debate surrounding abortion that we often overlook interventions that have been proven to work to reduce unintended pregnancies.

“Pro-life” camps are so set on demonizing family planning services that they often refuse to have a conversation about preventive services such as comprehensive sex education programs or free contraceptives.

It is time for the public dialogue to evolve and reflect the complexity of the issue and time for politicians to remove themselves from the conversation.

Ben Edes is a Columbia resident.

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Joanne Schrader January 24, 2013 | 1:47 a.m.

Mr. Edes seems 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.

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.

While Planned Parenthood stresses women's health and prevention in every sound bite, the fact is they are the nation's largest abortion provider. Their latest annual report shows they performed over 333,000 abortions. Their comprehensive sex education and contraceptive prevention efforts are obviously not working. They're having the opposite effect because their abortion numbers go up every year. Though the amount of government funding they receive also continues to rise yearly (it's up to half a billion), their cancer screenings went down. Despite what Obama says, they don't do mammograms.

So you see Mr. Edes 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.

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