Mar 23, 2012

Mary Larson ask an important ? in today's LTE

Who should control a woman’s life? 

Last week Maureen Dowd of The New York Times wrote an extraordinarily provocative column titled “Why have men become so hostile toward women?” She wrote of several inane steps that legislators, mostly men, are taking to curb women’s freedoms.

In my lifetime I have seen how Roe v. Wade has affected women’s lives before, during and now close to after its legality. In the Sound Off portion of the Sun Herald there have been a few questions raised as to why women should feel their rights have been diminished. If some of proposed legislation is passed, we could return to the “good old days” before Roe.

Women had little control over when they were to be in a family way. Contraceptives were not easily obtained due to stigma and cost, and some refused to use them.

Before women would be offered a job, prospective employers asked about marital status and, if married, whether they were pregnant, which could be disruptive to work schedules. Businesses could hire men who would not need to take time away from work. Banks and mortgage companies also were worried about women losing pay due to maternity leave. They routinely requested that a man -- husband, father or brother -- sign for the loan.

There were no legal and safe abortions. Women sought after willing doctors regardless of procedural safety. Those who could not avail of a doctor’s help, helped themselves. Oh yes, women, if prevented from terminating an unwanted pregnancy legally, will find another way. When women are coerced into giving birth for adoptions, they will spend the rest of their lives wondering whether the people they see might be the children they had to give away.

Are we going back to women dying because of unsafe abortions, leaving babies in doorways or even in dumpsters, and more mothers and children being relegated to welfare?

This issue is not about killing babies. I believe it is about controlling women’s lives. Free and available contraception, along with sex education, cuts the need for the procedure. Abortions should be the last resort. Crosses in church yards that represent the number of fetuses aborted indicate the lack of contraception options. As women have fewer choices, more will be forced to choose the old methods of determining when to have children. Control as to when and if women give birth should be theirs.
Remember the movie about the Stepford wives? I recall it presented a chilling message regarding women’s roles. Could we be headed backward?

MARY LARSON
Biloxi

 Letters to the Editor Sun Herald

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