In “Abortion debate becomes … well, vivid” (Aug. 16), D. J. Tice muses that our descendants may be aghast that some of us could be so blind as to advocate abortion rights, and he compares that to previous tolerance for slavery. Maybe future folk will consider forcing poor women to bear unintended children tantamount to slavery and will mock us in retrospect for quibbling about the fate of a relative handful of fetuses while millions or billions of us, who have actually made the break from being components of women’s bodies and have achieved consciousness, are made to suffer wretched lives and brutal deaths. Perhaps future folk will note how we exaggerated the preciousness of fetuses by emphasizing that they (eventually) have the body parts of cute little babies. Perhaps they will wonder at the kerfuffle about alleged trade in those fetal body parts when it is obvious that whatever laws apply to the parental role in the disposition of the remains of a deceased child should also apply to a mother and fetus.

What’s real depressing is Tice’s suggestion that defenders of choice who acknowledge that abortion is a difficult personal decision that should not be forced on anyone undermine the credibility of their cause. In order to be taken seriously, should pro-choicers be “pro-musters,” insisting on abortions for everyone? What about anti-abortion folks who would make exceptions for cases of rape, or incest, or to save the life of the mother? No resolve? Undermining their cause?

David Craig Smith, Minneapolis

• • •

Most of the moral outrage I’ve seen over the Planned Parenthood videos seems to stem from a squeamish “this looks icky, so now I’m angry” logic. I would suggest those so outraged by dead bodies being treated like the lumps of inert organic matter they are should watch a video of an adult autopsy. There’s a particularly well-directed one called “The Act of Seeing with One’s Own Eyes” that you can watch for free on Vimeo.

Kevin Thomsen, Eden Prairie

• • •

Tice’s column addresses the moral ambiguity of abortion. Like most social issues, this is complex, and I’d like to point out a few overlooked facts. In some countries where abortion is illegal, having a miscarriage can land a woman in prison, being falsely accused of having had an abortion, and a 10-year-old girl, having been impregnated by her stepfather, can be forced to bring the pregnancy to term. Is there any moral ambiguity in these courses of action? At the other end of the spectrum are countries where abortion isn’t a major social issue as it is here. Perhaps people in those countries are more comfortable with moral ambiguity and with the privacy of personal decisions, but there clearly are different cultural norms around abortion.

How many abortions could be prevented if we focused on some of the key factors that lead girls and women to seek abortions: incest, rape, domestic violence, sex trafficking, poverty, lack of sex education, lack of access to birth control? When we’ve eradicated these roots that lead to abortions, then we’ll have done something constructive to end abortions.

Lisa Wersal, Vadnais Heights

• • •

Tice’s column reminds me of a question from my then-12-year-old son following the Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court decision in 1973.

Steve was unable to sleep and came into the living room to talk with his parents. When asked if something was bothering him, he said, “Isn’t it true that in America we are considered innocent and that someone has to prove us guilty before punishing us?” I answered “yes.” “Well, then,” he responded, “who would have defended me when I was inside my first mother if she had wanted an abortion instead of adoption?”

This question is still unanswered 42 years later.

Dr. Vincent R. Hunt, Hudson, Wis.

• • •

Earlier this year, we had a small kitchen fire. As sometimes happens, the damage caused by putting out the fire was greater than that actually caused by the fire — a small price to pay compared with that of losing our entire house.

It occurred to me as I was reading Tice’s column on Planned Parenthood that there is an illuminating parallel. I don’t like abortion, just as I don’t like the extensive water damage we’re still dealing with. But arguing against abortion is rather like saying we shouldn’t have called 911 because water is used to fight fires.

It seems to me that the best way to prevent abortions is to eliminate the need for them, which is what Planned Parenthood actually does, by providing women’s health care and family planning information and support. Attacking Planned Parenthood for supporting the use of fetal tissue for research is like attacking architects and engineers for researching ways to prevent fires.

In the best of all possible worlds, there would be no need for abortions — or fire departments. In the real world, the best and most morally responsible thing we can do is reduce the need for them.

Jeff Moses, Minneapolis



A flaw in the appraisal of state income growth rates

The economic growth rate assigned to Texas Gov. Rick Perry in the Aug. 16 analysis of presidential candidates’ records is way too generous (“Good governor, good president?”). While the process used to assign growth rates of per capita income in each governor’s state seem, on the face of it, to provide dependable data, that is not the case. The official population of Texas is around 27 million people. However, that does not count the millions (plural) of undocumented workers and their families in Texas. These workers contribute significantly to the overall economy of the state. But “undocumented” means just that — not counted as part of the population. Until they are all included in the calculations, the results listed in the article are worthless. Results for Govs. Jeb Bush, Mike Huckabee and Bobby Jindal are equally flawed, as they, too, will have much larger populations of undocumented workers than do the northern states.

Billie Reaney, Georgetown, Texas



Why stop at the college level?

I fully agree with the Star Tribune Editorial Board’s assertion that the University of Minnesota would be well-served by hiring a female athletic director (Aug. 16). I would also propose that more female athletic directors are needed at the high school level in Minnesota. Step up to the plate, ladies; your time has come!

Rachael Davis, Woodbury



It has better moral standing

One last comment about Minnesota cutting UCare from its health care list: UCare is the only insurance company to have given back $30 million in profits when Minnesota was in financial straights. Maybe it’s because UnitedHealth, Blue Cross/Blue Shield and Medica were saving up for a soccer team. What I do know is that I have UCare and have had many hospitalizations and have never paid a penny, except for copays. The state should consider more than a low bid. It should consider quality of care, cost of health premiums and what the patient will actually pay after treatment. Why give contracts to insurance carriers that never give back when they are supposed to be “nonprofit”?

Michelle Peterson, Plymouth



Next up in our sights …

After decades of hard work and millions of dollars spent, trumpeter swans have made a recovery (Outdoors Weekend, Aug. 21). So … when do we get to start shooting them?

Ken Hayes, Minneapolis