Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Letter to Commonweal Magazine

Your editorial on the value of the Hyde Amendment misses the mark in several respects. You criticize Hillary Clinton for her position in opposing this law, because it might cost her votes. What this means is that you are advocating that her campaign decisions be made on cold and cynical political calculation, rather than on principle and integrity. Has it even occurred to you that perhaps Clinton is simply trying to do the right thing, rather than the most politically useful thing?
Another problem with your editorial position is that in arguing against any publicly-funded abortions, what you are doing is advocating for a public policy that allows rich people to obtain abortions, but denies that same right to poor people. Don't poor people also have the right to medical care?
While it is true that many European countries place a 12-week limit on abortions, it is not fair to compare this to the U.S.  The reason is that European countries generally have free medical care available to all, in stark contrast to the U.S. What this means is that poor women in Europe are much more likely to see a doctor early in their pregnancies and then get good advice about their options going forward.
Finally, you throw in the loaded and misleading word "elective" near the end of your editorial. This is a blatant mischaracterization of the very painful and gut-wrenching decisions women are called upon to make concerning their reproductive options. It implies that the decision to have an abortion is something made lightly, similar to the decision of what to eat for supper. The use of the term "elective" is highly unfair to the women of this country.

10-3-16 update.  The first issue after I sent this letter did not publish it, but instead had one from a representative of the group Catholics for Choice, which zeroed in quite well on the issue of the discrimination against poor people that occurs under the Hyde Amendment. The second issue, dated October 7, 2016, did publish my letter, and the magazine had the class to send me a complimentary copy of the issue by first class mail, at a cost of $1.57. Kudos to Commonweal for that!