Opinion: An illegal abortion killed her classmate. Decades later, this grandmother fears more deaths

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To the editor: When I was 15 years old, a student in the year above me died as the result of having an illegal abortion. (Abortion was illegal in England at the time.) She was a serious student, a good daughter.

I am surprised that I ever think of her, but every time the abortion issue is raised, I remember her. As a teenager I thought about her. When I became a mother, I wondered how her mother coped with such heartbreaking news. Now, as a grandmother, I think about her grandmother.

I wonder if any of these family members ever recovered from this devastating news. If I have thought of this tragedy for more than 60 years, how must her parents and grandparents have felt every minute of their lives? And the boy, the father of the child, how did he survive?


Had abortion been a legal option, this girl probably would have received counseling; she might have even decided to deliver the baby.

She would have lived.

Joyce Johnstone, Los Angeles