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Opinion | A Serious Threat to Reproductive Rights

To the Editor:

Re “I Refused to Vote for Trump, but I’m Grateful for His Court Picks,” by Erika Bachiochi (Opinion guest essay, Dec. 9):

Ms. Bachiochi’s argument rests on a false dilemma: that we can either expand abortion access or build a robust safety net to support pregnant and parenting people.

The reproductive justice movement shows that it’s possible — and necessary — to advocate for both the right to end a pregnancy and to have a child, and to raise that child in a safe, healthy environment. The movement was born nearly three decades ago, when activists of color mobilized to expand a public reproductive rights discourse that largely centered on the needs of white middle-class women.

Ms. Bachiochi’s essay represents an ongoing strategy by the anti-abortion movement to reframe itself as pro-woman, even feminist. The rhetoric might be softer than the fire-and-brimstone condemnations coming from the movement’s more militant wings. But the ideology — birth at all costs — remains as oppressive as ever.

Megan Lessard
The writer is an organizer with New York City for Abortion Rights.

To the Editor:

Erika Bachiochi writes that the vision of Betty Friedan expressed in the original statement of purpose for the National Organization for Women does not call for “abortion on demand (or abortion at all) but instead for the country to innovate new social institutions which will enable women to enjoy the true equality of opportunity.”

Ms. Bachiochi’s interpretation distorts Ms. Friedan’s views. We know that Ms. Friedan did not waver regarding the rights of women to control their own bodies, including their right to an abortion. In her 20s, as an activist reporter in New York, she helped arrange abortions for desperate friends. She was, in fact, one of the co-founders of what is now NARAL.

She valued what Ms. Bachiochi refers to as the “economic and social value of homemaking and child care,” but also maintained a lifelong commitment to women’s reproductive rights.

She wrote at the end of the preface to “The Feminine Mystique” that “in the end, a woman, as a man, has the power to choose, and to make her own heaven or hell.”

Kirsten Fermaglich
Lisa M. Fine
East Lansing, Mich.
The writers, professors of history at Michigan State University, were co-editors of “The Feminine Mystique: A Norton Critical Edition.”

To the Editor:

Proponents of abortion bans often rely on a very convenient untruth. They speak as if ending the right to abortion is the same as ending abortion itself. Make it impossible to obtain a safe abortion without legal risk, and just like that, the practice itself will disappear.

But history and knowledge of human behavior tell another story: one of shame, exploitation, injury and death when there is no legitimate channel for ending an unwanted pregnancy.

In places where abortion is outlawed, we would simply be ending legal abortion, not abortion.

Sarah Cunniff
Berkeley, Calif.

To the Editor:

Re “Pushed Aside by G.O.P., Cheney Finds Spotlight in Inquiry” (news article, Dec. 15):

With our very democracy under attack from within by a major party corrupted by Donald Trump, it is inspiring to see Representative Liz Cheney almost single-handedly rise up to save that which all Americans should hold most dear.

Liz Cheney, God bless you, and I hope you are successful. Anything less will not end well for America and her citizens.

Peter Mc Cabe
East Brunswick, N.J.

To the Editor:

My team will trade for Liz Cheney and a player to be named later in exchange for Joe Manchin. The second player will also have to put truth over lies, country over party. Is there another such player on their team?

Ron Kemper
Berkeley, Calif.

To the Editor:

Bravo and thank you for the eye-opening article “Inside Texas’ Unusual Effort to Arrest Migrants” (front page, Dec. 12).

I was stunned at how cruel my fellow humans can be toward migrants! People flee poverty and violence to save their lives or seek a better life; to undertake a long, perilous journey toward freedom of opportunity is admirable.

Apprehending migrants has always been the federal government’s job. It is so disturbing that in typical meanspiritedness, Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas has allowed state and local law enforcement to apprehend migrants for trespassing on rancher land in their flight to safety. Even though the migrants have not harmed the ranchers (and could work as low-wage workers), the ranchers lock their doors and are armed.

When did we become so cold that we demonize our fellow humans? My heart bleeds for the migrants, who deserve a chance to live.

Leslie Ebert
Catonsville, Md.
The writer is a licensed social worker.

To the Editor:

I was saddened to read “Is Santa Real? Bishop Delivers Hard Truths to Young Flock” (Italy Dispatch, Dec. 15).

When we teach children to read at an early age, we instill in them a function of imagery. It is part of cerebral development. Santa Claus is an innocent form of imagery. It didn’t do any of us harm to imagine that there is someone out there who is kind and considerate of “good little boys and girls.”

Why does anyone want to deprive children of this fleeting venture at a time when they have to develop imagination? Just think: It was a good opportunity to teach that someone knows if “you’ve been bad or good.”

Goodbye to Santa Claus, imagination and morality.

Ernest G. D’Amato
Maplewood, N.J.

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