The Debate Over Abortion
Thank you for your front-page article on physicians who perform abortions (March 20). The story quite truthfully describes the predicament of these physicians who are being vilified, harassed and placed in physical jeopardy by anti-abortion zealots.I, too, served as an intern in a haunting scene of bleeding, infection, misery and death--the Infected O.B. ward at Los Angeles County Hospital in 1956--reminiscent of a war zone nursing station before the time of Lister and antiseptics.
The legalization of abortion brought an end to this hideous scene. Since Roe vs. Wade, thousands, possibly millions of women have safely undergone termination of pregnancy performed efficiently and cleanly by skilled professionals. Women seeking abortion today can at least face the mental and physical discomfort of the process with a reasonable expectation of survival, to pursue normal lives, and if they wish, further pregnancies.
But now a new specter has appeared on the scene, threatening to force young womanhood to return again to that dark era. Fanatic anti-abortionists are seeking to accomplish this turnabout--by intimidation, constant harassment, threats, property damage, arson, and even physical violence and murder.
Our society should rise up in indignation at these assaults on physicians and legal abortion providers, and certainly should extend to them community support and protection against harassment and violence.
ROBERT F. FORAN MD