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Letter: Keep Abortion Legal and Safe 

To the Editor:

My letter is in appreciation for the reminder provided by nurse Dawn Griffis of what the conditions of abortion were prior to Roe v. Wade. She recounts exactly what happened to my family.

My mother died at 34 following her abortion, which was performed with the help of a friend. She was survived by five children; I was 6 at the time.

I was sent to Baltimore, and the five of us were separated because no one in the family could absorb that many children. We lost our mother, our father and each other in two weeks. No family should go through such trauma.

The experience led me to devote much of my life to prevention; my objective was to instruct poor women in family planning methods, for which I was trained by Dr. Charles Lee Buxton and Estelle Griswold in contraceptive methods. They were, of course, involved in the famous U.S. Supreme Court case of June 1965, protecting the privacy of the bedroom. Before that landmark decision, I had learned that contraception was illegal when I moved to Connecticut in 1958. Learning that I was a law-breaker, I said to myself that this would not stand! Anthony Comstock, who was the nemesis of Margaret Sanger and was responsible for sending her to jail, wrote the anti-choice, anti-human sexuality education that is being urged today by politicians in Washington and across the states.

The present political climate that attacks women’s rights is unbelievable to me, and should be to any thoughtful human being. I have worked to make abortion possible as a safe, accessible, affordable medical service to women in need. We are half of the human race — your mothers, sisters, daughters, wives. Privacy of the bedroom is the law! Many thanks to Dawn Griffis for her Forum letter.

Linn Duvall Harwell

New London