Opinion » Letters

What about the common welfare?


In "Right to choose" (May 30), Nicole Dorfman and Sara Semmes make an impassioned plea for a woman's "right to make fundamental medical decisions regarding her family" and equate the right to abortion to the right to not vaccinate your child. They claim, "There is no place for such government intrusion in private health matters."

As a former RN, who worked at large teaching hospitals in New York when I was young, my experience taught me to welcome the coming of Planned Parenthood and the legalization of abortion. We all knew rich women never had a problem ending an unwanted pregnancy. Their doctors initiated the bleeding in the office or home, and the hospitals had to perform the clean-up. It was the poor, hapless, hopeless girl or woman who had no recourse but the dangerous, sometimes fatal, back-alley abortion.

Furthermore, reading the comments of some of those who propose (or legislated) no hope for those made pregnant by rape or incest, I wonder what their response would be if it were their adolescent child who was forced to risk her health or life to carry that fetus to term and raise it. These are the reasons I am appalled by the recent rush of bans legislated primarily by men who are blind to the implications for their own daughters.

The abortion question, however, is not analogous to the demand by families who do not want their own children vaccinated but feel they have a right to endanger other people's children by allowing their unvaccinated child to be in close contact with others in schools, parks, playgrounds, etc. If their desire to withhold their children's vaccination for the prevention of possibly life-threatening diseases is sincerely a statement of private rights to "freedom," then they should be willing to sequester their children forever. Public officials owe that common sense "solution" to protecting the common welfare.

Istar Holliday

Arroyo Grande

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