Letters to the Editor

Right-wing drivel trivializes abortion | Letters to the editor

It's between a woman and her doctor ... and Walter Backstrom.

Guest columnist Walter Backstrom ("Abortion: A matter of choice?" Aug. 23) seems a decent fellow, a bit too pious, a bit too proud of himself, a bit too pompous — he has a permanent dent in his back from patting himself on the back so often — but a decent kind of guy!

So I really doubt if Backstrom would walk across the street to his neighbor and tell Mrs. Calabash that she should plant marigolds instead of petunias. But somehow, Backstrom feels quite comfortable and self-empowered to tell Mrs. Calabash and all other women how many children they should have and when they should have them.

Backstrom includes an arcane quotation from Margaret Sanger for some slightly unclear reason. Sanger was a tireless crusader for women's rights, primarily in the area of contraception. She of course was harassed, vilified and imprisoned by the male legal power structure.

Families often had 10, 12 or even more children. Women were literally pregnant until their child-bearing years were over, unless they died first, as many did. And why was such abuse heaped on Ms. Sanger for advocating safe and effective contraceptives for planned parenthood? Because as guest columnist Karen Backman noted in the Aug. 23 Mirror ("My body belongs to me"), it's about male control and domination — who owns a woman's body, her or the Walter Backstroms of the world?

Backstrom makes his support for this male domination clear when he says "the male has no say." He then goes on to trivialize a woman's most private and personal and emotional decision by saying you can have an abortion on Monday and "make it to the party on Saturday."

Backstrom of course believes life begins at conception — maybe even before! I can still remember my freshman college orientation in 1956. The dean of students warned of the dangers and horrors of masturbation — not even the dean was beyond the "you will go blind" scare tactic, although I do notice a lot of my friends had to wear glasses at a young age. The dean was concerned about the "spent seed" and the "wasted seed of life."

I have no doubt Backstrom would want to account for every sperm seed and every egg!

I often wonder how many cancer curers, how many songwriters, how many Shakespeares are flushed down the toilet.

Backstrom doesn't want to be labeled as a "right-wing kook trying to take away a constitutional right." But that is exactly what he wants to do. Mr. Backstrom, if you don't want to be labeled as a right-wing kook, don't hang out with right-wing authoritarians, and don't write right-wing drivel.

Backstrom, after inserting the word "abortion" into the Ten Commandments (it's never been in my copy), can't find the word in the U.S. Constitution. Yet he refers to Roe v. Wade. Is he in some fantasy land? Does he think Roe v. Wade is a city ordinance?

The Supreme Court recognized the great injustice done to women and declared once and for all that women have the constitutional right to control their own bodies, to decide their own reproductive lives, to no longer be controlled and dominated by the state.

And let's be clear: Even if tragedy strikes and "Old John" appoints four more right-wing neanderthals like Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia, this democracy will not ever return to the dim dark days of the past where some believe they have some right to control and dominate their fellow citizens.

Backstrom says he "swings from anger to sadness." Perhaps some anti-depression medication could help him. I think all people believe in Backstrom's right to oppose abortion.

And I think in unison, we all cry out "Walter, DO NOT get an abortion!"

Frank Gibbs


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