The Last Abortion Clinic
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Join the Dicussion: What are your thoughts on the ever-increasing number of laws and regulations being passed at the state level that limit access to abortion?  Do you believe it is changing the face of abortion politics in this country?

Dear FRONTLINE,

I strongly believe in the Constitution-given right to life and that every human life should be protected. Since the medical determination of whether or not a person is living is by his or her heartbeat, than an unborn child should also be extended the protection of the Consitiutional right since a fetal heartbeat can be found at 24 days (after conception).

I also believe that each and every state should enact a parental notification law. It is not an invasion of privacy for a parent to have a say about the health care provided to their minor child. Abortion is a life-altering decision that carries with it the possibility of numerous medical and psychological "side-effects" - including post-abortion hemorrhaging or infection that requires additional care, depression, low self-esteem, suicidal tendencies, and an increase in the possibility of future miscarriage and/or sterility.

States that have enacted regulations that require an informed consent are actually showing a concern for the woman's future. Women need to know of these possible detrimental physical and psychological "side-effects". The mandate of a 24-hour wait period following counseling only ensures that the woman has had time to consider all of the facts.

Would you please consider doing a Frontline for post-abortive women who are suffering from "post-abortive stress syndrome"? It is important that they know help is available for them. One such group is Project Rachel, which assists both women and men who have been involved in an abortion.

L Christianson
Rockford, IL

Dear FRONTLINE,

Imagine three sisters....one had a back alley abortion before Roe v. Wade; one had an abortion in New York City at the cost of thousands shortly after Roe v.Wade when her choice was motherhood or college; and one had an abortion before the anti-abortion political right came to power when faced with poverty or work. Now, the first sister has no children due to the botched back alley abortion; the second sister graduated Phi Beta Kappa on full scholarship and has one daughter; the third is the mother of two sons and strongly belives in abortion as a right. My sisters and I made personal and thoughtful choices- the access to the procedure determined our fate as mothers.

Katherine Gauntt

Dear FRONTLINE,

Those who claim to be "Pro Life" are really only PRO PREGNANCY.These are the same people who deny poor children access to health care by eliminting them from the state Medicaid program.Once the child is brought to term, thier concern for the welfare of the child ends.

Keyon Jeff
Houma, LA

Dear FRONTLINE,

I've been reading the comments people have posted before. Thanks to all those who basically forecasted that I, as an "unwanted" child, would be doomed to a life in prison or become a dysfunctional adult who'd never known a stable childhood. I am happy to prove you all wrong. And thanks to my biological mother and the most selfless decision she ever must have had to make, my adoptive parents now have 2 adopted children, my (pro-choice) husband has a wife, and my future children (adopted and biological) have a mother. Count me in as a 29 year old, graduate school-educated, professional woman who is proudly pro-life. Just because you don't want the child, doesn't mean he/she isn't a human being.

Kerri Vitalo Logan
Arlington, VA

Dear FRONTLINE,

As a young, and somewhat isolated feminist, I really appreciated the thoughts the women in this discussion put forward. There has been a lot of public emphasis on which side of the debate you attach yourself to, but I think what this discussion showed was that, no matter what we think in the end, we are all asking the same questions and struggling with the same issues. Abortion is not a black and white issue and it is certainly not something that we as a society should shy away from. More than anything, I believe that the taboos surrounding engaging disucssion and debating the issue of abortion is much more detrimental than any one group's standpoint. By not asking the questions, not discussing attitudes and perceptions of sex, pregnancy, marriage, religion, education and the gamut issues which directly affect the abortion discussion, we are ensuring that any "decision" made from a legal or governmental standpoint surrounding access to abortion will not acurately reflect society's attitudes and thus be ineffectual and ultimately extremely detrimental.

Jennifer Chisholm
Nova Scotia, Canada

Dear FRONTLINE,

I think you did a good job covering a very, very hot topic. Abortion, to me, is a grave moral evil, but it is a necessary evil. In this society, the "right to life" seems to end the instant a baby peeks his or her little head into this world. I would be much more supportive of making abortions illegal if women had government sponsored support for their children, like health care, daycare, educational opportunities, and other forms of social assistance. Mississippi--one of the poorest states in the Union--has few services to help women once their children are born.

Similarly, men need to be held accountable--legally and financially--for parenting children. "It takes two to tango," as they say.

My only real problem with the show is that pregnancy was treated like catching a cold or something. That women have few choices when they are pregnant misses the point that they certainly had choices BEFORE getting pregnant. You don't just wake up one morning pregnant: sex is a choice, and there are consequences for all of us.

Anonymous Anonymous

Dear FRONTLINE,

Thank you for taking the time to document this powerful issue. I agree with those who claim that there is a lack of support for abortion, a lack of support for birth control and a very sad lack of support for the single women that the government encourages to have children.

Teaching abstinence only is absurd. People will have sex, we need to adress this issue with open eyes not ignorance. We need better birth control support. People who don't believe in abortion should look at how many children are up for adoption; who are wards of the state with no parents. Many grow into adulthood never knowing a stable, permenant loving home. Many end up at my moms work place, Prison. Who will take responsibility for them? We do, through our tax dollars. Why? Because as a teacher I can not teach about condoms or show a teenager who asks me how it works.

Michelle L
Seattle,, WA

Dear FRONTLINE,

I think that anti-choice proponents have failed to realize that nothing ever stops abortion. As a historian that has researched the topic of pregnancy and childbirth I can state that abortion has been in existance as far back as we have written records about pregnancy. Nothing will ever make it go away, they just make it more difficult to get Legally. My grandmother died following one such illegal abortion and made my fathers life much more difficult. I must say that I had an abortion when I was 19 and I have never regreted it. I had it at a medical school practicing CVI. It was just not a good time for me to be a parent. I have since had two children that I adore and am in grad school. I will always believe that not having a baby back then was the right choice. I would never have had my husband, two great kids or my education. We really need better birth control access.

Anne Peck

Dear FRONTLINE,

I thought one perspective that was understated in the argument about Mississippi and the question of abortion access is that it is the people of the state who are passing these laws through their elected representatives. After the Webster and Casey decisions, state legislators (who are accountable to the voters who put them there) were finally free to pass laws that reflected the views of the people. This is what democracy is supposed to be.

The Supreme Court rightly decided a similar issue in the Washington v. Glucksberg decision on assisted suicide in 1997 - the decision which said that the question of assisted suicide belongs to the people, not the courts.

States passing laws that limit abortion just reflects what the people want. If abortion rights advocates don't like common sense laws like informed consent and parental notification, then they must not be in tune with a majority of states who have already enacted each.

Daniel McConchie
Deerfield, IL

Dear FRONTLINE,

Your program tried hard to be neutral on the issue of abortion. It really was not however. Your portrayal of many of the religious folks was somewhat narrow. You neglected to mention the kind of holistic work being done at many Catholic Charities agencies around the country. Catholic Charities is fully anti-abortion. I say fully because that means that there are support services for people who make the choice to have the baby and give the child up for adoption. Your program came across as if there is no real support for women who choose to have the child. This is why I say your program was biased toward pro-abortion. There are real programs across the country to help people after the baby is born. Abortion is not a woman's rights issue. It's a human rights issue. We are all responsible for the care of the most vulnerable around us. If we could spend more time and resources on the post birth support of the birth mother and father we would get to the real issue here. Respect of all human life.

Lawrence Goodwin
Phoenix, AZ

Dear FRONTLINE,

Somewhere it is said there will always be poor, and the poor will get poorer and the rich will get richer. It seems that the United States is determined to keep poor people poor. It seems unfortunate in our society we become blind to poor woman and children. We seem to know what is best for them. We seem to know what is best for their bodies. Mississippi has created an environment of fear for a young woman to choose an abortion. Who are the real terroists? If other states follow what a sad victory for them. If our government takes away a womans right to choose. What other rights will it take away from women? A womans right to vote? What about religious rights? Who are we to throw stones at a young woman who would want an abortion. Why not perserve the right to a safe abortion? Why not provide safety for the doctors to perform the abortion? Why not respect a woman's right to choose? Because the terrorists are among women today. Those terrorist who want to control the lives of others, those terrorists that want to promote their religious ideology to control others. Do not sleep on this issue. For every woman who at one point or another needs to make a decision for an abortion that decision should be given the respect and dignity it deserves.

Connie Ricci

Dear FRONTLINE,

The diverse views expressed by the participants on both sides of the abrtion issue are powerful evidence that the existence and extent of so-called privacy "rights" in general and abortion "rights" in particular are, at bottom, political questions, and that the contours of these "rights" are best decided in the state legislatures and not the federal courts.

Joe Hood
El Paso, Texas

Dear FRONTLINE,

Fifteen years ago Carl Sagan and his wife Ann Druyan wrote an article about abortion in Parade magazine. It still can be found at http://www.2think.org/abortion.shtml As usual with Sagan's writing this piece called for people to THINK, not just repeat slogans. It remains some of the most thoughtful writing I've seen on the subject, and more honest than most. Take a look.

Dr. Douglas Duncan
Boulder, CO

Dear FRONTLINE,

This program provided the most clear cut information I have seen to date. An issue that could be explored more at length is how these "trap" laws are affecting the poor in our country and their right to choose. Thank you for your program.

Jim Ellis
Tempe, Arizona

Dear FRONTLINE,

As someone very invested in the pro-choice movement, I found your documentary provocative and informative; one facet that is so often ignored is the fact that with effective birth control, people cannot become pregnant! So many of these states with restrictive abortion rules do not provide for ways for women to NOT become pregnant, but when they are, they also shut off the options. A dialogue needs to open up regarding birth control. I think it is a middle ground that both the pro-choice and pro-life communities should spend more time on.

Christine G

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posted nov. 8, 2006

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