Letters to the Editor

The anti-abortion movement lives; trepanation advocates have little to lose.

By Letters to the Editor
May 5, 1999 8:00PM (UTC)
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Has violence killed the anti-abortion movement?



Jeff Stein missed a vital fact: The vast majority of those who identify themselves as
pro-life are, and always have been, opposed to violence as a means of
addressing the abortion issue. I have never chained myself to a clinic door
nor waved a bloody-looking placard, and am horrified at the idea of murder
and clinic bombings. What I, and millions like me, have done is quietly
live out the pro-life ethic by supporting compassion-driven crisis pregnancy
agencies; aiding individual single moms and their children; sponsoring
abstinence education and responsible behavior; encouraging adoption; and
picking up the pieces when hurting women, convinced that abortion is their
only "choice," regret that decision later. We look for balance and mercy in
this explosive, complicated issue, knowing that societal change occurs not
at the point of a gun, but in the persuasion of individuals.


-- Sharon L. Shannon

Stein states that abortion mills are having problems recruiting abortionists. If anything, what Stein calls "violence" has stopped a lot of innocent babies from being murdered and has stopped a lot of the killers from killing more children.

-- Rev. Donald Spitz

Director, Pro-Life Virginia

Chesapeake, Va.


Is the pro-life movement dead? Ask the thousands of women who, under
severe pressure to abort, have turned to pro-life volunteers to help them
give their children life. Ask the women whose schools have responded to
Feminists for Life's college outreach program by making more resources
available to parenting students. Ask the Center for Gender Equality.
Their recent poll showed that 53 percent of American women favor legal abortion
in, at most, the "hard cases" of rape or incest or to save the mother's
life. That number is increasing, by the way; in 1996, it was 45 percent.

The only way to declare the pro-life movement moribund is to ignore all
those women, and instead concentrate on the self-aggrandizing antics of a
(relatively) few people on the fringe. To then refer to those fringers as
the "leaders" of the right-to-life movement only compounds the injustice
done to the millions of pro-lifers you've ignored.

-- Jennifer Roth


Despite what Operation Rescue member David Lackey
told Jeff Stein, there are still three abortion clinics operating in
Birmingham, Ala.: New Woman All Women, Summit Medical Center and Planned
Parenthood. Lackey is apparently telling as many reporters as he can that
there is now only one, presumably to make his organization look more
effective than it actually is.

-- Nicole Youngman

Mobile, Ala.


The hole story

Your article on trepanation was extremely irresponsible. The author
clearly was sympathetic to the proponents of this utterly dangerous and
profoundly idiotic practice. He didn't even mention
the most likely and serious negative consequence of the procedure: brain
damage. Anyone foolish enough to drill into his own skull has no way of
knowing when to stop, and a millimeter too far can be deadly or profoundly
disabling -- even if you don't wind up with an infection.

Brain surgery is an option of last resort; even experienced neurosurgeons know that one slip in the wrong place can destroy a personality, paralyze a body, blind, deafen, make speechless, make impulsive and unable to plan, and in many other ways ruin a life.


Though perhaps anyone dumb enough to try it has little to damage in the
first place.

-- Maia Szalavitz

Horrible Harvard


I just read Gottlieb's article about her horrendous interview experience
at Harvard Medical School, and was left wondering if the arrogant, prejudiced
institution she described was the same place where I was interviewed a few
months ago. The man who received the interviewees at the conference table in
the morning was kind, joked with us and did his best to put us at ease. My
first interviewer was a warm man who spoke with me for close to an hour and a
quarter about various things -- very much a "getting to know you" interview.
The second interview, also with a physician, was shorter but still quite
friendly. I was not accepted to Harvard Medical School, but I'm fairly
certain that that was a fair decision, based on the merits of my application.
I think Gottlieb had a very bad interview experience, without a
doubt, but the character of the interviews depends on the
interviewer, not on the school.


-- Dorit Koren

Having just read Lori Gottlieb's whine about her Harvard interview, I'm duly impressed. That an individual with an undergraduate degree in French and a business background was even granted an interview for any med school is an amazing event. As
Lori may realize by now, most interviewees have close to a 4.0 GPA
with two to three years of course work in math, chemistry and physiology. I presume she was
granted an interview only so that Harvard could meet its requirement
of interviewing a certain number of "diverse" (read "unqualified")
candidates for their select positions.

-- Kim L. Hossner, PhD

Associate Professor

Department of Animal Sciences

Colorado State University

Fort Collins, Colo.



I have a 4.0 from Yale and Stanford, am a member of Phi Beta Kappa, got the
highest final grade in every science class I've taken (more than those than
meet the requirements for med school), and used to teach Calculus at
Stanford. Unqualified? None of the other top medical schools to which I was
admitted agree with you.

This is me saving my life"

Anyone who has read a single interview with Sinead O'Connor must know
that she had a rather horrible upbringing, ending up in
reform schools after being rejected by a mother who "wished her dead"
-- and must know what a terrible inheritance that must be when the girl
becomes herself a mother. For McKay to say
in one breath that O'Connor "took 20 Valium tablets and three glasses
of vodka ... on the eve of a court hearing to determine custody of her
daughter," and then in the next breath say that "she
claimed to have found religion and averted her
own suicide," is an announcement that rings, not with "irony" as McKay would have it, but
the simple truth. Happiness does not come cheaply in this world -- not
as cheaply as wise-guy irony, at any rate -- and whatever happiness the
troubled soul may find here, she should be welcome to it, without cheap sneering from the

-- Kenneth Jones


It seems like Sinead O'Connor has found insanity rather than religion. I
wonder if family and friends have suggested psychotherapy and/or
psychiatry to help her? I hope that she is not too rich nor too famous
for someone to try to tell her the truth of how her actions appear,
rather than coddle and coo over her. This woman
and her child need all our prayers, whether they be to the Pope or to
Buddha or to Goddess.

-- Jamie Joy Gatto

New Orleans

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