In 1971 I had an illegal abortion. It was a nightmarish experience complete with an angry male doctor who sexually assaulted me as a part of the initial exam. It was his little perk. The actual procedure was done under an anesthetic and I have no idea what else might have happened. Afterward I was sent outside to my car and told if the bleeding didn't stop to go to an emergency room and not to come back. Well, the bleeding stopped, but that was just the beginning of my understanding of the rage I felt as I was victimized by stigma, by the doctor, and by a health care system that wanted to dictate to me what is and is not acceptable. I survived, but many women didn't. My rage survived very well.
When Roe v. Wade was handed down in 1973, I reacted gratefully, knowing that women could now get a safe and legal abortion. Over the 50 ensuing years I thought maybe the issue had dissolved within me and that we would continue to be able to make appropriate health care choices forever. I was also aware that the GOP and far-right groups started beating the old drum of the right to life and whittling away at the decision in any way possible. (Texas recently passed the most restrictive abortion law in the country, and ironically, Roe v. Wade started in Texas.)
Now, with the advantage of a lifetime of watching how little changes when everything needs to, I have no delusions about those who seek to overturn this decision. The people who condemn abortion are those who wish to keep women enslaved to childbirth, enslaved to men, and enslaved to a system that forces all women into second-class citizenship.
That will never work.
All that needs to be said is this: Get your laws off my body. Health care is a right! Stop the insanity of trying to legislate feelings.
Blake Lynden, Minneapolis
The Supreme Court under Chief Justice John Roberts has demonstrated that the long-honored principle of stare decisis (that is, adhering to precedent) is less than compelling. So, despite the precedent of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court is invited, in a recently argued Mississippi case, to reconsider, and to reverse, that decision.
One of the reasons for reversal is Justice Samuel Alito's contention that Roe v. Wade is "egregiously wrong." Perhaps that's the new standard of review that the court will apply.
If so, the court needs to reconsider several other watershed decisions that can be plausibly said to be egregiously wrong. Among these are: the Heller Second Amendment case in which the court completely ignored the prefatory clause that stated the reason for the amendment ("A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state ... ."); (2) Citizens United, which gave money First Amendment free-speech protection; (3) Shelby County, which in essence declared that racial discrimination in this country has been eradicated, so there is no longer a need for the federal government to preapprove voting laws enacted by certain states that have been notorious in discriminating against African American voters; and (4) Benisek, which said claims that states have gerrymandered election districts so as to ensure partisan, single-party rule are nonjusticiable. That case set many states off on a redistricting frenzy.
These four — among others — egregiously wrong cases have enabled the proliferation of gun violence throughout the nation; caused elections to be unduly influenced by dark money megadonors (including undisclosed foreign donors); have encouraged states with the worst records of voter discrimination to enact even more restrictive laws to burden minority voters; and have given states carte blanche to engage in anti-democratic gerrymandering with impunity.
Although I rarely agree with Justice Alito, I'm with him on this point: Let's review all the egregiously wrong Supreme Court decisions over the past several decades.
Gordon Shumaker, Woodbury
Nearly all of us would agree — there's way too much violence in our lives: shootings (especially of small children) and crimes based on sexism, racism and all other forms of hatred. Why can't we see that abortion is a form of violence against unborn children? I challenge anyone who calls themselves pro-choice to witness an ultrasound abortion — most who do make a complete 180 on the issue.
That being said, overturning Roe v. Wade will not be enough. We need to look at why women have abortions in the first place. It's often not a "choice" but a sense of desperation on their part. As a caring and compassionate society, we need to meet those needs. They say a civilized society is measured by how it treats its most helpless members. That should include unborn children as well as animals.
Kay Kemper, Crystal
Thank you to a recent letter writer for sharing the story of your abortion. It makes me and so many others feel less alone.
I'm grateful she was able to make the right decision for herself, on her own timeline. For her, this happened before 15 weeks gestation — the limit that Mississippi set in a new law now being reviewed in the Supreme Court — but for others, including myself, making a choice in this time frame is not always possible.
In 2016 I was pregnant with my second child. At the 18-week ultrasound my doctor told me the pregnancy was "incompatible with life." I would either miscarry or the baby would die moments after birth. Because of this diagnosis, I chose abortion. This was one of the hardest things I've ever been through but I never once questioned my decision. I was able to end this agonizing experience on my terms and start healing, which ultimately allowed me to bring another beautiful baby into the world one year later.
When the Supreme Court heard oral arguments for the Mississippi case, Justice John Roberts asked, "Why is 15 weeks not enough time?" My story, and the story of so many others, is his answer. And more, this timeline is exacerbated for those adversely affected by systemic disparities.
I hope the Supreme Court ensures we can all make the choice right for ourselves — even in the most difficult of circumstances. The futures of so many depend on it.
Liz Van Heel, Minneapolis
Welcome, finally, to the Hall of Fame
Yes, Casey still struck out, and the Twins 2022 season is on hold as the players and owners squabble over the sizable pie that is Major League Baseball.
But on Sunday, two of our favorite Twins were elected to the Hall of Fame ("Oliva, Kaat get call to Hall," Dec. 6). Both Tony Oliva and Jim (Kitty) Kaat were selected by the veterans' committee as 2022 inductees.
We all have treasured Tony for not only his baseball talents, but also his joyous presence at all things Twins since his retirement.
A special and frankly unexpected gift was Kitty's inclusion. Long a terrific baseball analyst, Jim was a stalwart pitcher for the 1960s Twins and his longevity as an effective starter lasted many years after the Twins bid him goodbye.
With so little to celebrate and anticipate for the 2022 season, the induction of these two fine people give some warmth to Twins fans as we face a cold winter's reality.
Joe Carr, Eden Prairie
Oliva finally in the Hall of Fame! Justice exists, but is often way too slow. No scandals, never overpaid, just the best pure hitter (with power) anyone in my generation ever saw. Oh, happy day to have him in your lineup!
Dan McInerny, Excelsior
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