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Some additional arguments on abortion for the justices to consider

The scene outside the Supreme Court in Washington, where oral arguments were heard this month in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization case.Al Drago/Bloomberg

Throwing rules back to the states would be ill-advised

Climate considerations sometimes affect longevity for those who spend their entire lives in different states. To date, however, no scientific evidence has concluded that fetal development fluctuates from state to state.

Regardless, the Supreme Court seems poised to legitimize alternate state abortion deadlines. Congress refuses to enact a uniform national timetable for access to abortion, and Roe v. Wade is in jeopardy. Several justices seem destined to allow states to establish their own abortion time restrictions, and such a ruling, lacking in any scientific standards, would be ill-advised.

The justices of the Supreme Court and their families undoubtedly are provided prompt access to medical care that probably includes reproductive services. Without question, these health services are more readily available to them than those services provided to residents of rural Mississippi. Nevertheless, several justices cling to so-called originalist, antiquated constitutional principles to empower states to independently determine the viability of a fetus and availability of abortion for women who face perhaps the most crucial decision in their lives.

One additional brief should be submitted to the Supreme Court to assist the justices in the Mississippi abortion decision. The document should be prepared by the residents of rural Southern Mississippi. It should simply state, on one page: “Walk a mile in my shoes.”


Steve Kramer


This would put the nation’s state legislators in a tricky position

The recent Supreme Court discussion regarding abortion rights hints that one finding may be to leave rule-making to the individual states (“Reshaped court seems ready to roll back abortion rights,” Page A1, Dec. 2). Here’s one reason why that might not be such a good idea.

According to estimates, more than 20 percent of women in the United States will have had an abortion by their 45th birthday. I must assume that state legislators follow the national statistics on this matter. So, let’s assume, say, even 1 in 5 legislators has had an abortion, is married to or otherwise cohabitating with a woman who qualifies, or has a daughter or granddaughter who qualifies.


Having researched the recusal rules in each of the 50 state legislatures, I discovered that, as expected, most have rules barring members from voting on legislation from which they would financially benefit. But a number of the states have another provision. Here, for example, is Delaware’s: “A legislator who has a personal or private interest in any measure or bill pending in the General Assembly shall disclose the fact to the House of which he or she is a member and shall not participate in the debate nor vote thereon.”

Therefore, a number of legislators will have to publicly disclose the presence of an abortion in his or her immediate family, or they’ll have to lie in order to vote. Many states require their members to vote unless they recuse themselves for cause.

Is that what the Supreme Court intends?

Robert J. Vincent


Government control of women’s bodies is most undemocratic

The subject of abortion continues. Again the wrong argument is being used to revisit the debate. Any woman who does not choose to be pregnant should have the right to terminate the pregnancy by having a legal abortion. It is beyond the role of any state or governing body to control a woman’s right to make her own decision.

The idea that the government could be more in control of the female uterus than the owner of the uterus is most undemocratic in the truest sense of the word. It goes against every fight that has been fought and the many lives lost to protect our freedom. We have not fulfilled that dream if we deny a woman the right to make her own decision regarding her body and her life.


Priscilla J. Ham


Apply equal treatment to men — that would be justice

The Supreme Court has let the Texas abortion law stand for now (“Supreme Court rules Texas abortion clinics can sue over state ban, but won’t stop law from being enforced,” BostonGlobe.com, Dec. 10). We know that it will continue to stand when it returns to the court, just as we know that the Mississippi law will also stand.

If the court wants to dictate to women what they can or cannot do, it should apply equal treatment to men to the full extent. If the laws are to stand and pregnancies result, do not fail to hold the men that impregnated the women responsible. Make their names public. Require them to care for the child (financially) and have them share the responsibilities of being a parent. It takes two to create a child.

The laws must succeed in holding men equally as responsible as women. If you call yourself a justice, make the laws just.

J. Phillip Berezin


Woman’s choice is vital, but doctor overstepped in advising on pursuit of an abortion

As a disability rights feminist, I believe that women should have the full range of reproductive choice, but that means choice that isn’t influenced by medical and social pressures. In her Dec. 7 Opinion column, “From Texas to Massachusetts for an abortion,” Joan Vennochi discusses a case in which a woman in the middle of pregnancy was given “advice” by her doctor to get an abortion after tests revealed fetal developmental anomalies.


Vennochi does not say whether the issues were lethal or would just cause disability, but it seems to me that the doctor overstepped. He or she should have given the woman the objective facts of the fetus’s condition insofar as they were known, and discussed any ambiguities, but should not have expressed any opinion or bias on whether the pregnancy should be continued. Neither a woman’s choice nor the acceptance of human diversity is promoted when a doctor presumes to steer a woman in any direction.

Lisa Blumberg

West Hartford, Conn.

Justice Barrett’s line of questioning is appalling

Is Justice Amy Coney Barrett all brain and no heart? In her questioning in a hearing of oral arguments this month before the Supreme Court, she suggests that the answer is simple for any woman who is pregnant with a baby she does not want or cannot feed or care for or that results from rape or incest: Just carry the baby to term (with all the challenges of a pregnancy) and then give the child up for adoption (“Amy Coney Barrett’s focus on ‘safe haven’ laws during Supreme Court abortion arguments draws attention, scrutiny,” BostonGlobe.com, Dec. 3).

My husband and I are appalled that this woman is part of the small group that determines the laws of our land.


Hanna Bartlett


A pointed query for the originalists

I wonder how many of the Supreme Court justices who claim to follow originalism when deciding on a woman’s right to control her own body would also follow originalism regarding the Second Amendment. As I see it, Americans have the right to own a musket, not semiautomatics that can kill large numbers of people, including schoolchildren.

If the justices really believe that they are following the Constitution, not their own political or religious views, then they should be consistent in their interpretations of all laws.

Judy Kaplan