In a society propelled by competition and capital, it makes sense that male politicians are grasping at ovaries and uteruses to help them maintain power. Few things will debilitate a woman quite like the paralyzing financial toll of having to feed another child, perhaps without child support (though she could swear he was there nine months ago actively participating); few things will debilitate a woman quite like having to leave her career because child care expenses are extravagant and cost far more than her expertise (under)pays her for; few things will debilitate a woman quite like death — where, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's 2020 findings, the U.S. already holds the highest maternal mortality rate for developed countries with approximately 700 deaths a year.
With the potential overturn of Roe v. Wade, the increase in forced birth would only exacerbate this number, disproportionately impacting lower educated, nonwhite, uninsured, poor individuals. Are we as a nation truly comfortable bending to the outcries of "abortion is murder" but not to the statistics and realities that "birthing kills"? Instead of criminalizing abortion, we should be focusing on big-picture solutions ensuring women's ability to lead a life of dignity aided by livable wages and access to affordable health care, maternal care, contraceptives and child care. So, happy late Mother's Day to all the women forced to become mothers, and to all the mothers who never made it out of the delivery room. We speak up for your safety, autonomy and memory.
Caroline Reigel, St. Paul
The presently successful anti-abortion spokespersons have gloated their sanctimonious assertion that they alone have been supporters of "life." That claim requires some analysis. Their reverence for "life" clearly does not extend to all life. They are not followers of Jainism who refuse to injure even a mosquito; my guess is that they swat mosquitoes and flies with savage glee. Nor are they committed vegetarians; most, I suspect, willfully encourage the slaughter of cattle, pigs and chickens for their own consumption.
No, the "lives" they pride themselves on saving are "human" lives. But they are not intent upon saving all human lives; many of them support the death penalty, as well as lethal gun ownership, and even more of them support our military and are proud of service that may include killing the enemies of the U.S.
Their "sacred" concern for the preservation of human life is restricted to "innocent lives," by which they mean the unborn. What about the unborn makes them "innocent"? Fetuses are innocent insofar as they are preconscious; they are not capable of making reasoned choice.
I would argue that it is precisely the capacity to make reasoned conscious choice that distinguishes human life from other life-forms. The anti-abortion reverence for life precisely excludes the exercise of those capacities which define us as humans; it is deeply anti-human. The "innocent" fetus is to be cherished as a potential human life, but it is bad faith to identify that fetus as fully human.
Michael Ormond, Minneapolis
What is great about wedge issues is that those who want to use them can frame them in the most favorable way possible. The problem here is that Justice Samuel Alito is acting like a judge, not a partisan political operative. Instead of ruling on abortion itself, he is ruling on the constitutional issue as he sees it. He is ruling on the issue of who, under our constitutional system of government, should make the decision about abortion, the decision whether or not to have a child. Roe, with its arguably flimsy reasoning, says that the decision about abortion should be generally made by the woman, not the state legislature. It's this holding that Justice Alito says is not just wrong, but egregiously wrong. Justice Alito says it's state legislators who are most up to this task.
It's a debatable issue, I suppose, in constitutional terms. But there are numerous political realities it sort of defies. Most people facing the most intimate, personal decisions of their lives don't look to their state legislators for advice, let alone allow them to make the decision.
For me, the fact that Justice Alito's reasoning is debatable at least, and certainly worthy of public discussion, is the very best thing about the leak. Supreme Court decisions on controversial issues have always presented us with done deals. Any discussion of them is an irrelevant commentary after the fact. The fact of this leak gives America the unique opportunity to act as a 10th justice in the marketplace of ideas. We can weigh in, like the justices on this opinion, in the marketplace of ideas, as the founders envisioned for our country. For the first time in our history, we really can, in effect, rewrite a Supreme Court opinion, and in this most important of issues. Let's not waste this opportunity.
Jon F. Miners, Crystal
A persuasively argued letter to the editor from Monday concludes, "The issue of abortion is like no other — it demands a women's right to life be forfeited for a political cause. I challenge [George] Will to provide examples in which all men are similarly demanded to forfeit their right to life."
Not to muddy the waters, but the example that springs to mind is the military draft. The Selective Service law allowed for conscience exemptions, based upon moral, ethical or religious beliefs that play a significant role in the draftee's life.
In my time of draft eligibility (the late 1960s), the local draft board decided if conscientious objections to war had merit. Like the Supreme Court's, my draft board's decision was driven by old white men.
Hal Davis, Minneapolis
Let the planning begin
Wow! What a great moment for Minnesotans with disabilities and the state in general ("Special Olympics coming to Minnesota," May 7). When I found out that the Special Olympics USA Games would be coming to the Twin Cities in June 2026, I was surprised but gleeful. It is the opportune time to put adapted athletics even more in the mainstream so the public can get visibility of disabled athletes and how they take competing seriously, and learn more about modified events.
As a disability advocate, I have communicated with a couple people about the possibility of bringing a big adapted athletic event to a major venue and even building a facility specifically for adapted sports in Minneapolis. It is now confirmed that one of those will come true, and I couldn't be more thrilled!
Having various programming and resources for individuals with impairments, plus world-class facilities, Minnesota is a perfect fit for the Games. The Twin Cities pride themselves of having accessible arenas and stadiums, and that will cater nicely to all 4,000 athletes and nearly 75,000 spectators who will partake in 20 events. The planning committee should really consider using U.S. Bank Stadium as a venue for certain sports, including the Opening Ceremony. That would be the utmost recognition that these deserving competitors are part of us, and it would give them a memory of a lifetime.
This will be a great event that should receive outstanding media coverage. In recent years, ESPN has aired the Games, and that will continue. Moreover, the Twin Cities media must form a plan to provide extensive coverage of the biggest Special Olympics event. As a suggestion: Television personalities could be live and hold newscasts at the complexes that will host.
Thank you, Gov. Tim Walz, U President Joan Gabel and UnitedHealthcare for bringing this competition to Minnesota! Let's start planning!
Michael Sack, Minneapolis
In 1991, my husband and I hosted the parents and an uncle of a young Special Olympian who competed in the butterfly competition in swimming. He was part of the United Kingdom team; he was swimming for England. Our young man and the team took many golds in their areas of expertise. Before they all flew home, we hosted the team and coaches at a BBQ in our backyard.
I would encourage anyone who can to volunteer to host the relatives or friends of team members from around the world. It really is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Nancy Lanthier Carroll, Roseville