What Would Susan B. Anthony Do?
Lorrie Klosterman’s interview of Michelle Goldberg [“Sex, Power, and the Future of the World,” 4/10] raised several questions. It was mentioned that botched abortions were the second-biggest contributor to maternal mortality in some countries. The blame was put on restrictive abortion laws. Yet, according to the 2009 UN World Health Organization (WHO) report on the subject, Mauritius, with one of the continent’s strongest legal safeguards on preborn life, is the country with the lowest maternal mortality rate in Africa. The document also shows how countries such as Ethiopia that have legalized abortion in recent years, often under pressure from Western organizations like International Planned Parenthood, haven’t lowered their dramatic maternal death rates. Ethiopia’s mothers die at a rate 48 times that of Mauritian mothers. In South America, according to WHO, Chile has the lowest maternal mortality rate while protecting preborn lives in its constitution. At the same time, Guyana, the country with the highest maternal death rate, 30 times that of Chile, has had virtual abortion on demand since 1995. Ironically, a major argument for legalizing abortion there was the “attainment of safe motherhood.” On the other hand, Nicaragua, in spite of outside pressure, amended its laws three years ago to grant full protection to preborns and lost $20 million dollars in foreign aid from Sweden as a result, but statistics show that maternal deaths have gone down there since 2006. The WHO report shows a similar story in South Asia, where Nepal, with no legal protection for preborns, suffers the region’s highest rate of maternal mortality, while Sri Lanka’s is 14 times lower, with laws very protective of preborn life. The country with the lowest maternal death rate on the entire planet also prohibits abortion, Ireland.
To cite just one other instance of questionable information contained in the interview, it is mentioned that in parts of sub-Saharan Africa women who were abstinent before marriage and faithful in marriage now have AIDS. “That is why the conservative policies of abstinence and fidelity are such a cruel joke,” Ms Goldberg added. Of course, for abstinence and fidelity to work it has to be mutual on the part of both husband and wife. No double standard. Helen Epstein, in her book The Invisible Cure: Africa, the West and the Fight Against AIDS writes about abstinence and fidelity: “Partner reduction has been more effective than condom use in fighting AIDS in Africa. Yet condom worship continues unabated.” And, the director of Harvard’s AIDS Prevention Research, Edward Green, affirmed that “The condom does not prevent AIDS. Only responsible sexual behavior can address the pandemic.” The most responsible sexual behavior revolves around abstinence and fidelity. Green added after the Pope’s visit to Cameroon last March that as a scientist he was “amazed to see the closeness between” what the Pope said there and the results of the most recent scientific discoveries. Susan B. Anthony probably would not have been amazed at all. She recognized abortion as a great male convenience for irresponsible sexual behavior more than a century ago. Too bad the Supreme Court did not heed her.
Dick Murphy, Beacon
REJECTION LETTERS WE SHOULDN'T HAVE MAILED
We recently received a submission purporting to prove the existence of reincarnation. The essay was accompanied by reproductions of paintings, from antiquity through the 19th century, all showing a woman similar in features. We declined to publish the piece, and below is the response from the writer, whose name has been withheld.
By denying the validity of the Truth of what I wrote, you have called me a liar. And I call you a fraud. Your heavily inked, full-color magazine is an insult, like your words to me, to our delicate environment. It took forever to burn in the fireplace and obvisouly releases a lot of toxins into the atmosphere. You, like your magazine, are a fraud. You are nothing but an ad man exploiting a moment and a movement. And why New York remains the caboose on this wreck of a train called a country. You are an unevolved thug. And look like one. Baloney, Mahoney.
Luckily, second grade prepared me for this kind of thing.