Gloucester Daily Times Debate on Abortion (59), October 23, 1986

A “No” Vote Gives You a Choice

(invitational My View Column)

 (Dawn LeVie, 20, is a native of Gloucester and the mother of a 3-year-old boy)

The question of legalized abortion is a many faceted and complex one, to which there is no simple answer.

Pro-lifers argue that abortion is “murder,” “the willful destruction of a human being,” to quote John Rankin, whose recent letter prompted me to write this.

If even modern medical science cannot determine when a fetus can be considered a human being, what gives anyone the right to claim it so? Religion? What then happens to the separation of church and state that keeps this country a free one? Everyone has a constitutional right to her or her own religious beliefs, but no one has the right to impose them others.

The pro-choice movement advocates say just that — choice — the right to say yes or no to abortion. Should our government have exclusive rights to its female citizens’ bodies, so much so that it can force life’s most critical decision making upon the unwilling? Indeed, childbearing and raising is just that.

I have always been an advocate of pro-choice, and as the single parent of a three-year-old, I was at one time faced with a decision about abortion. I opted to say no, just as thousands of women have said yes. Circumstances will prevail. It is a very personal choice and never an easy one.

We have all heard pro-choice arguments of necessitated abortions, e.g., rape, incest, strong history of birth defects, drug addiction, etc. These are all legitimate reasons for abortion. Voters should consider the rise of teenage pregnancies and parenthood in the 80s, the growing number of cases of child abuse and neglect reported each year, and the numerous unwanted children who love in orphanages and foster homes across the country.

Take a few minutes to ask yourself these questions:

When slavery was an institution in the south, did slaves escape to the North via the underground railroad?

During Prohibition, was not alcohol still produced and used?

Is prostitution illegal? Does it exist?

Are narcotics dealt illegally on the street?

How may women were mercilessly mutilated and left to die in back alleys when abortion was illegal?

I am not condoning prostitution, drug use, or abortion. The point I am making is clear. These situations exist and will continue to be present in society, because the government can only control them to a certain extent.

If abortions are made unlawful again, they will still be performed — only not in hospitals by competent doctors under sterile conditions, but in back rooms and alleys, by anyone with minimal knowledge of the human body, looking to make a quick buck. How many women will be mutilated or sterilized — their bodies ravaged by infection? How many more will bleed to death in those back rooms and alleys?

These are not fictitious questions. Before the Roe vs. Wade decision in 1973 legalizing abortion, thousands of women died trying to terminate unwanted pregnancies.

I urge you to consider these facts, do some of your own research, and then decide “yes or no” to question No. 1. It’s your choice!