This article was originally published by Mennonite World Review

Absolute, not extreme

I appreciated the “Pro-life peacemakers” editorial. I am a retired 90-year-old physician who interned at Cook County Hospital in the early 1960s — before Roe v. Wade. Even though abortion was illegal, the hospital devoted an entire ward for desperate women (mostly poor) with medical problems from an abortion attempt.

Abortion remains controversial. Many pro-life proponents view this as a moral issue and feel there should be few or no exceptions. Pro-choice advocates view abortion as the lesser dilemma of carrying an unwanted pregnancy to term or opting for abortion. Both sides should be able to agree on steps to minimize the number of abortions.

We need to have medical care available and affordable for all, including contraceptive services. Second, we as a society we need to address the issue of poverty. In the last 40 years public policy has markedly increased the gap between rich and poor. Those in poverty are increasingly entrenched in poverty and unable to escape. Third, for women who choose to carry pregnancies to term, we need to provide resources to enable them to care for their children in such a manner to escape continued poverty, including free child care, a livable wage and affordable housing.

It’s time we work together to “solve” the abortion problem. Make it a prevention issue rather than a legal prohibition issue.

John Bertsche
Normal, Ill.

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