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Stand up for truth and common sense
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To the editor:

An Opinion Page article that came out last week entitled ‘Stand up for Life’ concerns me.

The portion that I found deceiving was talking about the fact that taking a life just minutes before birth in many states is legal and called abortion. This is false information. Similarly, the Florida governor, Ron DeSantis, has stated that post-birth abortions happen in some liberal states. These statements are not factual, nor is there evidence for such. This is misinformation and not true. Extreme statements like this are often used to manipulate public opinion.

While I value differing opinions on terminating a pregnancy, abortion is part of reproductive health care. Women can choose not to have this procedure. While other women may die without it, due to medical complications such as an ectopic pregnancy, severe preeclampsia/high blood pressure, and pulmonary hypertension. There may be genetic abnormalities in the fetus, and it may not be viable. The decision to have an abortion is complex, difficult, and personal. 

The Dobbs v Jackson ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in June 2023 concluded that the Constitution does not protect the right to an abortion, thus allowing states to ban the procedure.

Women had this right with the Roe v Wade decision in 1973, which allowed women to terminate their pregnancy with reasonable regulations and restrictions.

Criminalizing abortion does not stop people from having abortions, but it does increase complications and deaths. Women must have access to safe abortions performed by trained professionals in sanitary conditions to ensure their safety and well-being.

Access to contraception methods for people reduces the need for abortions as does sexuality education. This education can help teens prepare for and manage physical and emotional changes as they grow. Teens can learn respect for themselves and others, understand the definition of consent, and where to go for help. Knowing this information can help to reduce the risks from violence, exploitation, and abuse.

If policymakers were really concerned about the lives of babies and mothers, they would both be better cared for. Having universal or affordable health care and childcare, and paid family leave for mothers and fathers is important for the health of our country. 

Among wealthy nations, the U.S. has the highest rate of maternal mortality. This is defined as a death during pregnancy or up to a year afterward. Common causes include excessive bleeding, infection, heart disease, suicide, and drug overdose. According to the CDC in the U.S., there was an increase to 32.9 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2021 with Black women at 69.9 deaths per 100,000. In 2018 the rate was 17.4 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births. One of the safest places in the world to give birth is Singapore, a tropical island in southeast Asia. The statistics in 2020 showed there to be seven (7) maternal deaths per 100,000 live births. The country offers its residents universal health coverage which covers complications relating to pregnancy and childbirth. 

It is not so important as to Who is right, but What is right and truthful. I appreciate the American Medical Association’s code of ethics for abortion. It states that abortion is a safe and common medical procedure, about which thoughtful individuals hold diverging, yet equally deeply held and well-considered perspectives. Like all health-care decisions, a decision to terminate a pregnancy should be made privately within the relationship of trust between patient and physician in keeping with the patient’s unique values and needs and the physician’s best professional judgment. 

Janice Walker

Great Bend