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Letters to the Editor: I saw a woman die before Roe vs. Wade. We’re going back to a dangerous time

Young women hold signs and wear T-shirts that read, "I am the pro-life generation."
A scene outside the U.S. Supreme Court building in Washington in 2018.
(Associated Press)

To the editor: In 1965, I was a recent high school graduate working in a medical clinic when I first saw the results of a coat hanger abortion. A woman, badly hemorrhaging, was brought into the office by a friend. The doctor examined her and directed the friend to take the woman to the emergency room at the local hospital immediately. (“Supreme Court signals Roe vs. Wade will fall after allowing Texas to ban most abortions,” Sept. 2)

Three days later, the friend brought the woman back to the clinic. She was much worse and had tetanus. She later died.

The woman chose to abort the child because her husband had recently been sent to prison and they already had five children. She could not provide for a sixth. They lived in the local housing project. Birth control was not readily available. After the woman was hospitalized, the doctor went to see if her children were OK. He found a near-empty apartment, mattresses on the floor and very little food in the cupboards.

Obviously, Texas legislators and the Supreme Court justices who allowed that state’s six-week abortion ban to take effect do not understand poverty and all its ravages. When Roe vs. Wade was decided in 1973, I said a prayer for the woman who essentially left five children orphaned. I was thankful that no other woman would have to find herself in this situation without a safe alternative.

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If you have never been poor, if you have never felt that you had no where to turn, if you have never felt so alone without emotional or financial support, then you cannot understand why we need Roe vs. Wade. I never want to see another desperate woman resort to a coat hanger abortion. It is truly horrendous.

Yvonne Gandara, Alhambra

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To the editor: As an independent voter, I had been opposed to liberals’ ploys to end the filibuster and pack the U.S. Supreme Court.

But with the high court allowing Texas’ new law banning abortion after six weeks of pregnancy to take effect, I’ve changed my mind. Such a blatantly misogynistic law signals a war on democracy.

President Trump’s underhanded, rushed appointment of Justice Amy Coney Barrett enabled the high court to be dominated by religious conservatives.

Desperate times call for desperate measures. If ending the filibuster and packing the high court provide the surest way to avert our democracy’s slide toward theocracy, so be it.

Arthur Stone, Beverly Hills

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To the editor: An antiabortion letter writer says “pre-born children” (fetuses) are human beings entitled to the protection of the 14th Amendment by guaranteeing equal protection “to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

As a lawyer, woman and Jew, I must respond.

A fetus is not a person. The writer’s statement to the contrary is a construct of his religion, not mine. We Jews believe that the fetus is not a person separate from its mother’s body until birth begins and the first breath of oxygen flows into its lungs. Furthermore, under Jewish law, it is not possible to murder a fetus.

In addition, we believe that abortion is healthcare, and that abortion access is an essential component of family planning, reproductive and sexual health and maternal health services.

To underscore this position, more than 1,000 rabbis and cantors have signed a pledge to speak about these reproductive rights in their rabbinic capacity.

To people who believe a fetus is a person, I say this: I do not impose my religious beliefs on you, so please don’t impose yours on me and others who have a different belief, the right to which is guaranteed by the 1st Amendment.

Nathalie Hoffman, Marina del Rey


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