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Abortion should not be denied in every instance

To the Editor:

I have never before been privileged to hear so extreme a version of the pro-life view as that written by Chris Papineau ["Abortion is not the answer," Feb. 14]. It was enlightening. I feel that the MIT members of this organization have a genuine concern for human life. They are not like the extremists who bomb Planned Parenthood clinics. Nevertheless, several sections of the column merit response.

I cannot countenance the vicious and mocking tone of "If one is going to openly exploit one's sexuality," and "Runaway hormones create human life." If the people of pro-life feel that non-marital sexual relations are immoral, that is their concern, but these insulting phrases cloud the issue at hand and alienate some of the very people pro-life wants to reach -- namely, young people who are indeed having sexual relations.

I also have news for the organization. Young women do not have sex, and possibly become pregnant, because of "runaway hormones." Physical desire is a potent force, but the driving need for love, affection or self-esteem is far more powerful. The very girls who turn to sex as a source of the love they miss from their parents are the ones who, left standing alone and pregnant, are tempted to abortion.

Yes, abortion is an evil. It should never be done for convenience or the smooth running of one's career. Reproduction is a deep responsibility and sometimes, like other natural forces, must be expected to disrupt plans and opportunities. But pro-life is overly fanatic in its campaign against rape and health related abortion.

Rape is irreversible. The psychological wound never disappears. But only a woman who has been raped can know the horror of bearing the rapist's child -- carrying within her every hour, ever second, the reminder of how she was used. Bearing a child whose genetic inheritance carries the mark of his father. Bearing, and possibly raising, the child of her worst enemy. Which, of course, is what it used to be like. A man wanted a woman, and he took her. Perhaps she grew to love him; perhaps she hated him. Regardless, she bore his children. Or if she hated him enough, she found a way to avoid that. I'll spare you the details.

So a woman can't have an abortion even if death or an extremely defective child is the alternative? My mother would not be dead, and I would not exist, if that were enforced. The "life" of a radiation-deformed fetus was the price of my mother's life, mine and my brother's. I cannot feel too much guilt. How can one be concerned solely with life, without a thought as to the quality of that life? The thousands of people who are putting "no life support" in their wills and other legal papers indicate that there is a point at which mere existence is undesirable.

Papineau set forth many good points. The pro-life organization should concentrate on convincing people to accept the risks and responsibilities of consenting sex. They should try to halt abortions for convenience. They should work on making adoption and other alternatives accessible to women. They should encourage and facilitate the use of birth control by sexually active teenagers. They should not cling immovably to their extreme stand of "No Abortion -- Ever." It is hurting their cause.

Lori L. Zieran '89->