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Letters to the Editor: Even with Roe, pregnant people are targets. It’s going to get much worse

Abortion rights advocates demonstrate outside the Supreme Court on May 3.
Abortion rights advocates demonstrate outside the Supreme Court on May 3.
(Jacquelyn Martin / Associated Press)
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To the editor: Columnist Robin Abcarian warns, “Just wait until states start jailing people for having miscarriages or crossing state lines to obtain abortions.”

Unfortunately, it’s already happening. Moreover, women have been jailed just for being pregnant, allegedly to prevent them from engaging in conduct, such as ingesting drugs, that could potentially harm the fetus. Texas recently charged a woman with murder for a self-managed abortion.

The onslaught has only just begun, and the backlash will be fierce.

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Eleanor Egan, Costa Mesa

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To the editor: A little historical perspective may be useful. Probably the reason neither the Bible nor the U.S. Constitution mentions abortion is that when they were written, abortion was an accepted procedure performed by midwives.

The Bible defines life as breath — in other words birth, not just having a heartbeat. St. Augustine lays down Catholic dogma that sanctions abortion for limited amounts of time. The “religious beliefs” that abortion is a sin comes from the late 19th century. Abortion was considered a crime only after “quickening,” or when a pregnant person starts to feel movement.

Abortion was not widely condemned until the 19th century, when laws were passed in Britain and the U.S. that made abortion a misdemeanor. It wasn’t until 1869 that Pope Pius IX forbade all abortions. The American Medical Assn., whose doctors were competing with midwives, wanted to restrict abortions.

Linda Oster, Escondido

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To the editor: It is important to elaborate on Abcarian’s observation on how the current Supreme Court was constituted.

Two Republican presidents have been elected since 2000 without winning the popular vote. Justice Samuel Alito, nominated in 2005 by George W. Bush (who was reelected in 2004 with a popular vote majority), would not be on the court had some of the 97,000 Ralph Nader voters in Florida not foolishly indulged themselves in the 2000 election.

Democrat Al Gore lost Florida to Bush by fewer than 600 votes. While Gore won the national popular vote by more than 500,000, he lost the electoral vote to Bush because of Florida.

Democrat Hillary Clinton, while winning the national popular vote by nearly 3 million in 2016, lost the electoral vote to Donald Trump, who went on to appoint three Supreme Court justices. Arguably, voters for Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein and Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson cost Clinton the states of Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, and thus the electoral vote.

The lesson: Elections and votes matter, and elections are choices.

David Perel, Los Angeles

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