March 16, 2006
In the wake of South Dakota’s abortion ban, I write to you with a concern for both women and unborn children. Abortion is an immoral practice that should ideally be considered in only the direst of circumstances. I question the Supreme Court’s citing of “privacy” as justification for the 1973 ruling. Should “privacy” be the reason for legal abortion then we might as well legalize rape when committed in private. The Supreme Court’s reasoning fails to acknowledge the existence of the unborn person affected.
Although I oppose the reasoning of the Supreme Court, legality should not be the issue at stake right now—not in the case of abortion. When we look to foreign nations for examples, it is clear that the legality of abortion is not highly correlated with its popularity. In the interest of women and children, I have researched the policies in other countries that do and don’t work. Accordingly, the lowest abortion rate in the world belongs to the role-model nation we know as the Netherlands. Several factors have lead to the Dutch’s success in preventing the killing of its unborn citizens, and ironically none of them has been an abortion ban.
In the United States, the teenage abortion rate is seven to eight times higher than the teenage abortion rate in the Netherlands. The Dutch broadly accept that teens will be sexual and they reject abstinence-only idealism. The social environment in their country is much more open to discussions of sex and communication in relationships. There is also widespread provision of sexual and reproductive information, easy access to contraception, and high quality healthcare services. Most importantly, they accept abortion only as an absolute last resort.
Strong scientific research inspired these policies. Thus, I urge you to direct your political energy away from bans into the Clinton-Reid Prevention First amendment to the budget resolution, which includes expanding preventative healthcare and sex education, increasing insurance coverage, and other productive measures. As pro-life suffragist Susan B. Anthony said in regards to abortion: “We want prevention, not merely punishment. We must reach the root of the evil.”
Protecting the unborn is unfortunately not as simple as a legal ban. Today’s youth are in need of your leadership to stop the pitting of women against their own children. In the words of early feminist Sarah Norton, I pray that “…there will come a time when...an unmarried mother will not be despised because of her motherhood...and when the right of the unborn to be born will not be denied or interfered with.”
Let the not-too-distant future be that time and lead our horribly misguided country towards it. And above all, support Prevention First—the key to that future.