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Advocates Respond to New York Times Columnist Douthat

Advocates Respond to New York Times Columnist Douthat

January 10, 2011 — Several letters to the editor of the New York Times responded to Ross Douthat's recent column regarding abortion, adoption and infertility. Douthat suggested that legalization of abortion has made adoption less common, arguing that the "paradox of America's unborn" is that "[n]o life is so desperately sought after, so hungrily desired, so carefully nurtured. And yet no life is so legally unprotected, and so frequently destroyed." Summaries of the letters appear below.

Anne Davis, Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health

Davis, an obstetrician and medical director of PRCH, writes that Douthat "seems to be suggesting that women with unintended pregnancies should bear children rather than have abortions because infertile women want babies." Douthat's argument "ignores the serious health risks that pregnancies sometimes incur," Davis says, adding, "Should women with unwanted pregnancies be compelled to take those risks?" (Davis, New York Times, 1/8).

Frank Pavone, Priests for Life

Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, writes that Douthat "provides an eloquent analysis of the abortion conundrum." Pavone argues, "We embrace the humanity of our 'wanted' children while we strip the human rights from those whose conception was unplanned and unwanted" (Pavone, New York Times, 1/8).

Joan Malin, Planned Parenthood of New York City

Malin, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of New York City, writes, "Douthat offers no evidence that fewer abortions would mitigate complex fertility treatments or the enormous amount of bureaucratic red tape surrounding the adoption process." She concludes, "Conflating fertility, adoption and abortion in no way alleviates the myriad challenges involved in deciding whether or not to become a parent" (Malin, New York Times, 1/8).

Randie Bencanann, Adoption Connection

Bencanann, co-director of Jewish Family and Child Services' Adoption Connection in San Francisco, writes, "Abortion and adoption are two ends of the same spectrum -- women having choices about their reproductive lives." Bencanann disagrees with "Douthat's appraisal of adoption as an answer to unplanned pregnancies and infertility." She adds that "the agony of a woman placing a child for adoption cannot be understated" (Bencanann, New York Times, 1/8).