Your thoughts on access to abortion

In a recent commentary for NCR, anti-abortion and disability lawyer Madison Chastain argues that criminalizing abortions won’t stop them, because having access to abortions isn’t what causes them. “We can recognize that legalizing abortion represents some form of public complicity in allowing grave sin to occur,” she writes. “But are we allowing it less without changing the causes of abortion?” The following are reader responses to this comment that have been edited for length and clarity.


This article brought tears to my eyes. Finally a smart solution to the abortion problem. An unwanted pregnancy is the cause of most abortions. Planned Parenthood has empowered women with safe, effective, and affordable ways to prevent unwanted pregnancies and has prevented millions of abortions.

We must also provide prenatal and postnatal care for mothers and children. It is one of the most profitable medical practices.

It’s a win-win solution. Thanks. You are a real Christian.

GRACE BRANDS
Camarillo, California

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My thanks for this excellent analysis on the reality of this tragedy by Madison Chastain. Legal restrictions have never done anything concrete and positive to reduce, let alone eradicate, this human tragedy that affects both the fetus and the pregnant woman. It may make some feel like they’ve “won” a battle with sin or whatever, but the only thing they’ve accomplished is to be wrong and overlook the real suffering that has led to such a desperate decision.

In a way, it’s like condemning someone who has attempted suicide to the death penalty. The true response of any caring human to this tragedy lies, as Chastain pointed out, in eliminating the various root causes. And as someone who is really trying to be a Christian, there is no point in passing an ineffective law, when you are not prepared to bear the cost of making these injustices disappear.

In the Gospel according to John, Jesus wastes no time in useless discussions about who has sinned and is responsible for the situation, in the face of the suffering of the man born blind. He says, “We must do the works of him (God) who sent me.” If Christians, especially their pastors (bishops and priests) did it more often, abortion would certainly decrease, with or without prohibitive law. If they don’t, abortion will always increase.

(Eng.) GEORGES CHEUNG, SJ
Rose-Hill, Mauritius

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There’s kind of a false proposition in the public domain that it’s about women’s rights. It is a balance between the rights of women and the rights of (fetal) children.

Deciding to have an abortion is a terrible decision because we all know deeply that it is about killing a person in a nascent state.

On the one hand, it is very difficult to appreciate the pressures if you haven’t been there, imagine you are holding a ticking time bomb in your hand. But there is no constitutional right to abortion.

On the other hand, there is the completely blameless person growing up in what should be the safest place on earth. There is a constitutional right to life and the pursuit of happiness.

This is where the Supreme Court will focus. And they are right.

But the real responsibility lies with society as a whole. We let it happen but shift both the blame and the consequences to the most innocent: the baby and its mother.

And the only option we offer is the quick fix of abortion, a permanent solution to a temporary problem. If we prohibit abortion, then we must also protect the future mother.

Morally, such as not throwing stones, emotionally, by sharing the stress, concretely, by finding aid and plural solutions, economically, in financial support, politically, in structures and subsidies.

ERLAND TEGELBERG
Bosch in Duin, Netherlands

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It’s a curious thing that this article is both surprisingly nuanced and also surprisingly devoid of nuance. I am an anti-abortion, pro-choice moderate who wants to see abortion partially criminalized. Madison Chastain doesn’t seem to recognize that people like me exist, despite the majority of people in this country being pro-choice moderates.

The decades-long failure of Democrats and pro-choice organizations and activists to take a moderate pro-choice stance is the major root cause of the gains made by the anti-abortion movement. Most Americans would agree with federal and state protection of the Democratic right to pre-cortex abortions and the criminalization of other elective abortions. This position would alienate extremists on both sides, but pro-choice and anti-abortion extremists should be alienated and marginalized by all sane and moral people.

Yet, for some reason, Chastain recognizes no common ground beyond his own anti-abortion, anti-criminalization perspective. In the end, I fail to see how his position differs from that of the “personally opposed to abortion” Catholic politicians whose pro-choice extremism has accomplished nothing.

JEFFREY JONES
Hamburg, New York

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This piece is a fervent plea for sanity in an otherwise insane world. The author states the obvious that life is not fair. Those who make the rules win the game. Strength (money) does good. And those in power are rewriting history in their favor.

That abortion soon loses its legal status will reverse the struggle for women’s progress and set it back more than 50 years. There are already calls to criminalize those who have abortions, accusing them of murder.

There is a tendency to limit human rights in some states. About time deer v. Wade became the law of the land, the Equal Rights Amendment was passed in Congress and sent to the states for ratification. We view both events as a moment in time, however, decades of struggle preceded them and, we see now, the struggle continues. The Equal Rights Amendment was never completed because 15 states did not ratify it.

America claims to be a Christian nation. Some parts of the country take great pride in labeling themselves “the Bible belt.” There is one Bible but countless ways to interpret it – usually through the prism of a male-defined politico-religious lens. There is often no room for equal rights on their agendas.

These same people are rejecting the Equal Rights Amendment because they fear it will infringe on their rights. Maintaining the power you have means preventing others from gaining it, even if the rights sought are basic human rights based on the Bible.

MICHAEL J. MCDERMOTT
Tyler, TX


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