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For clarification

Letter to the Editor | Monday, October 27, 2008

I am pro-choice. I think women, and all human persons for that matter, should have the right to the freedom to make their own decisions. However, in the years I have been actively involved in pro-life work, never have I encountered or heard of a woman who ‘wanted’ or ‘chose’ to have an abortion, rather she always has said, “I have no other choice.” I believe the late Pope John Paul II expressed it best when he said, “Free will is not having the freedom to do as we wish, but having the freedom to do what we ought.”

A pregnant woman ought to be able to give birth to her unborn child. A pregnant woman who finds herself in a position in which abortion seems the only answer (whether it be for reasons of health, economics, sociocultural, academics, familial, etcetera) is not being afforded the right to choose, she is being denied the right to exercise her free will to act as she ought. For one to claim to be “pro-choice” in the capacity of being “pro-the-woman’s-choice-to-have-an-abortion-if-she-chooses-to” (Lindsay Schwartz, Viewpoint, Oct. 13) is to be “pro-abortion.” Being in favor of the availability and accessibility of abortion is to be pro-abortion.

Let us avoid language technicalities and look at the stark reality. To be pro-life (anti-abortion) is to be pro-woman and to be truly “pro-choice.” To assume that the pro-life mission is “to get the message out to … respect the life of an unborn [child]” (Schwartz, Oct. 13) is to overlook, perhaps deliberately, a significant portion of the mission and work of any pro-life association. It is no coincidence that any crisis pregnancy center is concomitantly referred to as a women’s care center. This is because it is generally recognized by most pro-life people that, before any baby-saving can occur, the life and well-being of the pregnant woman must be saved first. The full and healthy life of her unborn child is dependent upon the full and healthy life of the pregnant woman so that she can fully exercise her rights.

The humanitarian, Mother Teresa, once said of abortion, “It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you choose.” In this sense, “abortion is a terrible predicament to experience” (Schwartz, Oct. 13). Just as poverty is a risk to the rights of an individual to choose to live a full and healthy life, a pregnant woman placed in a position to seek an abortion feels that she does not have the right to choose to be able to give birth to her unborn child, a true poverty. For these reasons, Right to Life included two signs declaring, “Women deserve better than abortion,” and a four-foot tall cross memorializing the 50 million women who have been hurt by abortion, in the United States alone, in their South Quad Cemetery of the Innocents last Tuesday and Wednesday. Like Ms. Schwartz, I, too, hope that I will never be in a situation where abortion is a choice I would have to make. Because, then, it would not be a choice

Mary K. Daly


Welsh Family

Oct. 13