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Forum, June 9: Abortion a difficult, personal decision


Saturday, June 08, 2019
Abortion a difficult, personal decision

The abortion issue has again, sadly, become a daily discussion in all forms of media. Why? The decision to have an abortion is difficult and personal and should be made by a woman, her family and her care provider, not lawmakers. What other health care procedure is controlled by legislation?

If an abortion is chosen, it should be done in a safe manner by an individual trained to perform the procedure. As an ob/gyn physician who began practice in 1963 in New York City, I personally witnessed the disastrous outcomes of unsterile, back-alley procedures. Women often developed an overwhelming infection and many died, leaving young children without a mother. Fifty years later, the memory of those women and their deaths still haunts me.

Banning abortions will not stop women from having abortions. The rich will have access to a safe abortion while the poor will suffer from unsafe procedures, just as it was years ago. I have two adopted children and two adopted grandchildren, but that does not change my belief that the best decision for some women is a termination of pregnancy.

We should be celebrating that the incidence of abortion has markedly decreased in the past 10 years as sex education and contraception have been more available. Our efforts should be in preventing unwanted pregnancies, not in banning abortions. States that have provided the most affordable contraception have had results proving how successful these efforts can be.

I commend Sister Joan Chittister for pointing out in her books that many “pro-life” folks seem to be more “pro-birth,” forgetting about supporting the mom and her baby when they leave the hospital. This is most true in many states where infant and maternal deaths are highest.

There are many women who would never have an abortion, and that is their choice. But there are other women who will choose, with their provider, to terminate a pregnancy safely. Legislators should not be stepping into the physician-patient relationship and the privacy of a woman’s decisions about her pregnancy.

BARRY D. SMITH

Norwich

The writer is chairman emeritus and professor emeritus of obstetrics and gynecology at The Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth.

Climate change action is happening

Climate change mitigation is a topic gaining momentum among state and federal legislators. We all want to live in a cleaner and greener environment. The last few months have been a turning point for climate legislation on the state level, like New Hampshire’s HB 568, which mandates that New Hampshire’s energy strategy consider the impacts of climate change.

Local solutions are crucial, but national climate change action is equally important to making a difference. The Climate Action Now Act, HR 9 — co-sponsored by New Hampshire’s U.S. Reps. Annie Kuster and Chris Pappas — is aiming to do this. Recently, U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen introduced companion legislation in the Senate, the International Climate Accountability Act, in solidarity with HR 9. This puts New Hampshire at the forefront of climate action and the potential for positive national change. Both of these bills hold the U.S. accountable for meeting the greenhouse gas emission reduction standards the Paris agreement requires, regardless of official membership.

Thank you, Sen. Shaheen, for being a climate leader and taking bold action on climate change.

SAM JONES

Grantham

The writer is an intern at Environment Maine, a statewide, citizen-based advocacy group.

Don’t impeach — censure

Why bother to impeach President Donald Trump, even though it’s more deserved than at any time in our history? It won’t pass in the no-conscience Senate, but a simple majority in the House can vote to censure him, which will hurt his vaunted ego mightily.

As with l’affaire Clinton in the mid-’90s, why doesn’t some U.S. representative introduce a bill to “censure, and move on”? And yes, that’s where the name MoveOn.org originated.

MICHAEL WHITMAN

Lyme

Want vibrant downtowns? Shop there

As I watched the owners of Bouteille Wine & Gift Merchants on Opera House Square packing up and closing down, I was saddened once again at the loss of yet another downtown business.

My sadness was combined with anger, though, as I recalled the almost constant line of customers they had over the last couple of weeks as they offered price reductions of 50% and more. Perhaps if some of these shoppers would have been loyal customers, the shop could have survived and even flourished. Who knows? What I do know is that no store or restaurant is immune to the apathy of citizens who claim to want a vibrant downtown — “like the good old days” — yet who neglect the businesses they claim to want.

So, if you want restaurants, gift shops, locally produced goods and, yes, a bookstore, you need to vote with your shoes and your wallets. We can’t survive without you.

LAUREL EATON

Claremont

The writer is the owner of Violet’s Book Exchange in Claremont.

A worthy front-page photograph

Thank you, Jennifer Hauck and the Valley News, for the magnificent front-page photograph of Mimi Baird at the Women For A Change event in Woodstock (“Vote of Confidence,” June 5). To me, the photo depicted serenity, wisdom, purity, clarity, beauty, grace and hope. It was well worthy of front-page placement.

SALLY PAGE

West Lebanon