Pro-Choice Republicans Challenge Ferguson

Gil Ferguson is encouraging Republicans to avoid being divided over the issue of abortion. Yet his description of pro-choice Republicans as pro-abortionists and feminist activists is, in itself, inflammatory and divisive. The Republican Party has not been split by pro-choice Republicans but by legislators who ignore our party's platform that historically supports the lack of intrusion into the private lives of American citizens.

As fiscal conservatives, pro-choice Republicans are also concerned with the impact that an anti-choice platform will have upon the taxpayer. Approximately 80,000 abortions are annually performed in California to women living below the poverty line. With some overlap, 50,000 abortions are obtained by teens. California taxpayers currently pay over $3 billion a year in AFDC (Aid to Families with Dependent Children), MediCal and food stamps to support women who became mothers as teens and their children (UC San Francisco Institute for Health Policy Studies).

Who will pay to support the tens of thousands of additional children that anti-choice legislation demands will be born? Where is the morality in insisting on these births when we cannot fund our current health, welfare and education programs? Why don't anti-choice representatives, such as Gil Ferguson, work as vigorously to develop legislation forcing fathers to support the children that they would force mothers to bear, or are taxpayers to assume these costs?

Gil Ferguson doesn't understand the division among Republicans, for he fails to grasp what every woman, Republican or Democrat, "rich or poor, black or white, Christian or Jew," must confront for much of her life--the possibility of an unintended pregnancy. He blames women when their pregnancies are unplanned but works to deny them access to family planning information and affordable contraception by combatting programs designed to provide these services. Ferguson vilifies organizations such as Planned Parenthood, whose primary mission is to provide education and contraception to low-income women. Yet the success of Planned Parenthood's programs in Orange County is evident in that less than 1% of its annual budget is used for abortion.

TRICIA NICHOLS, Laguna Beach. Tricia Nichols, a Republican, is president of the board of Planned Parenthood of Orange and San Bernardino counties.

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