Letter to the Editor: Freedom to choose is what this nation is about


Off year elections of 2010 and 2012 Republicans sweep into power, taking control of not only a majority of the state legislatures but governorships as well.

Their first priority, it seems, is to pass laws restricting a women’s right to a legal abortion. They include requirements for women to observe an ultrasound view of the fetus, clinics meet the standards of surgery centers, and doctors have admitting privileges in a local hospital. These laws are driven by ultra-religious fundamentalists whose ultimate goal is to outlaw and criminalize all abortions with no exceptions.

Anti-abortion zealots justify their opposition to abortion on the principle of “respect for the sanctity of life,” claiming that life begins at the moment of conception. If that were the case, then Mother Nature or if you are theist, God, is the biggest baby killer of all time. By some estimates, up to three-quarters of fertilized eggs never make it to personhood due to natural causes. Some never implant in the uterine wall and are discarded, some that do implant are terminated before the woman even knows she is pregnant, and others end up in premature birth long before survival is possible. Two million miscarriages occur annually to the great disappointment of the parents.

This is a women’s right issue. In 1973 the Supreme Court ruled that the Constitution’s protection of privacy included the right of a woman to have an abortion under certain guide lines, not abortion on demand as the opponents would have you believe. This has led to a dramatic improvement in the lives of women, allowing them to pursue economic opportunities on an equal basis with men.

Since abortion was legalized, 56 million abortions have been performed, about 1.35 million a year. That rate has slowly declined in the last two years due to sex education and the decline of unwanted pregnancies. Our ultimate goal should be to make abortion legal, safe, and most importantly rare.

Finally, like the death with dignity issue, this is a matter of choice. The freedom to choose. That’s what this country is all about.

Gene Rigelon, Front Royal