Letter to the Editor | September 2018 | Letters to the Editor | Hudson Valley | Chronogram Magazine

No More Wire Hangers

To the Editor:

This letter is in response to Richard Murphy's letter in the August issue. Fact: By the age of 45, nearly one in four women will have had at least one abortion.

I am one of those women. I became pregnant twice using birth control that failed. I was a married woman both times and had no children.

Decades later, I am extremely grateful I was able to go to an excellent clinic with my husband and have a safe, legal abortion after two weeks of pregnancy. My 34-year-old son was planned; my life has been blessed.

I am also grateful to Planned Parenthood, not just for the three percent of their necessary work involving abortions, but to the other 97 percent: providing inexpensive health screenings and birth control for both women—and men. This fine organization helped thousands of us through our college years.

Had I been born earlier, I would have not had a right to my own life or the ability to control my body. Some members of new generations seem to have no idea what "The Days of Wire Hangers" were like.

Richard Murphy will never become pregnant nor lose control of his life due to his biology. He doesn't believe in abortion? Perhaps his wife, his sisters, and his women friends will obey his dictate, if faced with an unplanned pregnancy. Thankfully, they have the freedom to decide.

Richard Murphy's beliefs will never impact those of us who believe in choice—but only if we speak out about our abortions and stay vigilant regarding our constitutionally protected right. Choice is no longer guaranteed in the American future. We may return to a shameful era when women died at the hands of back room abortionists. Let us not be complacent.

Joanne Michaels, Woodstock

Michaels is the author of 10 books and publisher of Back Rooms: Voices from the Illegal Abortion Era by Ellen Messer.

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