Letters to the Editor

By Pitt News Staff

As members of Campus Women’s Organization, we were appalled at Wednesday’s editorial… As members of Campus Women’s Organization, we were appalled at Wednesday’s editorial “Pro-Choice Groups Try to Influence Voters” and the idea that abortion is not an important issue. We were stunned to learn that, according to The Pitt News, the power to veto or appoint Supreme Court Justices are trivial ones that pro-choice organizations shouldn’t worry about. Keeping abortion legal will always be a top-tier issue because it is constantly under threat. During Bush’s presidency, abortion has remained legal but many other reproductive rights have crumbled. College students can attest to this since birth control prices have risen exponentially – often from $15 to $40 a month, and women under 18 are no longer allowed to purchase emergency contraception over the counter. This situation, however, is often avoided altogether by pharmacies refusing to sell the important contraceptive to anyone. Planned Parenthood supports not only candidates who will keep abortion legal but also candidates who will ensure that all reproductive rights are protected. Women’s autonomy, freedom and health are important issues that deserve to be mentioned openly instead of swept away. If reproductive rights are not important now when they’ve been under attack throughout Bush’s presidency, when will they be? Should candidates only worry about pro-choice issues when women are once again stuck in the back allies? Reproductive rights are complex and important.

Sincerely, Campus Women’s Organization

Wednesday’s editorial “Pro-Choice Groups Try to Influence Voters,” starts out by discussing how the sitting president has caused for more attention to be given to the abortion debate in elections. It goes on to state, “Abortion is not a presidential issue.” While the intention here may be to suggest it should not be a presidential issue, reality dictates otherwise.

It is the voters who decide which issues are most important, and exit polls from the last presidential election clearly show that social issues matter. Furthermore, to contend that education and social security are more important than fertility issues is illogical. The biggest demise of developed nations is not poor education or insufficient old-age security, it is fertility rates below replacement levels.

The article also trivializes the president’s power to make Supreme Court appointments. It was the Supreme Court that legalized abortion, and realistically it will only ever be the Supreme Court that can ban it. Essentially, the president has the most power over abortion laws. He chooses the people who choose.

While so many current presidential candidates cry “change,” it would be refreshing to see a change in the abortion debate. A wise man once stated, “No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.” Individuals must change their perception of the real problem, discern what their choices can lead to. Fertility is not a disease. Justin M. Romeo Sophomore Economics and Political Science

I agree with some of the sentiments expressed in Wednesday’s Pitt News editorial regarding Planned Parenthood’s plans to advocate for the election of pro-choice candidates. However, I disagree with the statement that “abortion is not a presidential issue.” A president, as de facto leader of his party, has the ability to set the agenda for his party, can issue executive orders pertaining to abortion regulations and can influence the introduction of legislation. Our current president, in addition to his U.S. Supreme Court appointments, has influenced federal funding decisions about abortion, sexual education and other related areas (not to mention his two vetoes of embryonic stem cell research and his signing the partial birth abortion ban). Likewise, former President Clinton’s two vetoes of the partial birth abortion ban had a major influence on abortion policy. This year’s presidential election is vitally important because it includes the prospect of a pro-choice Republican, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. His ascendancy is a direct challenge to the near monopoly the Religious Right has exercised over the Republican Party, and his support for abortion rights reflects a respect for the secular values under attack by the religious right. I hope that pro-choice advocates realize what a victory Giuliani winning the nomination would be for them, and they accordingly support his candidacy vigorously.

Amesh A. Adalja, M.D. UPMC