I’m wondering why Pem Schaeffer (“Don’t be deluded by ‘medically necessary’ abortions,” Sept. 20), in response to my previous letter on abortion (“Numbers show Mainers support abortion,” Sept. 5), mentions that he doesn’t know any woman who wants someone else to determine if and when she gets pregnant. Does any state propose that women be forced to get pregnant? Unless there is such a law, defending this right is not needed.

However, in many states, women are forced to give birth. This is a real infringement on women’s lives. In those states, abortion bans can be a death sentence for women with treatable health issues. Some are forced to carry to term a fetus that could never be viable. Schaeffer says that he has never met a woman who wanted to terminate a viable life. If that’s true, it is because he has never spoken with a woman who was turned away for treatment of her malady because her doctor has been terrified of prosecution for giving such care.

The crime is that any state legislature believes it has the right to outlaw care for the mother because it decided that a clump of cells in her womb has more value than the woman’s actual life. Women are not mere vessels for fetuses.

Regarding Mike Nelson’s letter (“Intentionally taking life is murder, abortion no exception,” Sept. 18), no, abortion is not affecting a child’s body, and is therefore not murder. The fetus is not a child until it is born. Until then, it is actually a part of the woman’s body – a part that is not “viable life” until it is able to live outside the womb on its own.

Forcing children to be born into a world which will not provide them the care and support they need to survive is arguably a form of infanticide. If you call yourself “pro-life,” it must entail that you actually care about children and their mothers.

Nancy O’Hagan

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