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Trump and the Anti-Abortion Movement

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  • Detained in America
  • Helping People in Jail
  • Treating Vote Counting as Live Sports

Credit…Damon Winter/The New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “The Pro-Life Camp Paid for Its Trump Bargain,” by David French (Opinion guest essay, Nov. 22):

I appreciate the discomfort that Mr. French discusses. Electing Donald Trump president allowed him to appoint the conservative justices who overturned Roe v. Wade. But, he writes: “Trumpism is centered on animosity. The pro-life movement has to be centered on love, including love for its most bitter political opponents.”

I wish that the pro-life movement, including Mr. French, would focus more broadly on what it claims to be about: pro-life. Most people I have known or spoken with who call themselves pro-life have told me that they favor capital punishment and expansive gun rights and oppose guaranteed access to physical and mental health care and aggressive efforts to control pollution and global warming, positions that threaten far more lives than does abortion.

All lives are precious, not just fetal ones.

Gordon F. Boals
Sag Harbor, N.Y.

To the Editor:

David French’s essay was an interesting argument about the toxic influences of Donald Trump on the pro-life movement. It was also somewhat of an advertisement for a fantasied pro-life movement.

Well before Mr. Trump was in office, some pro-life supporters bombed clinics offering abortion services and others murdered doctors and nurses. Many more severely harassed doctors and women walking into clinics.

I do not believe that the hate and violence coming from the pro-life movement are because Mr. Trump hijacked it. It has been there all along. The recent election results have shown to me that the majority of Americans support abortion as a health care issue for women.

Paul M. Camic
London
The writer is a professor of health psychology at University College London.

To the Editor:

Thank you for publishing David French’s essay. As a pro-life Never Trumper, I felt my point of view was represented, and I think this stance might bring some hope for those who fear all pro-lifers. I appreciate The Times’s willingness to publish a point of view that balances two extremes.

Kathie Harris
Fayetteville, N.C.

To the Editor:

The problem with David French’s essay is that he ascribes humanistic motives to the pro-life forces and the politicians who want to ban abortion. Of course, there are true believers, both religious and secular, who think abortion is completely unacceptable.

But most voters understand that this is a political battle for votes. And the prime example is the one Mr. French cited — Donald Trump. His conversion to the right-to-life side is a political convenience. It’s essentially no different from Herschel Walker’s abortion beliefs — good as a campaign issue, but, hey, keep out of my personal life.

John Vasi
Santa Barbara, Calif.

To the Editor:

David French writes: “Walk into a crisis pregnancy center and you’ll often meet some of the best people you’ll ever know. These are the folks who walk with young, frightened women through some of the most difficult days of their lives.”

On the contrary, crisis pregnancy centers are intentionally dishonest, using deception to trick women who actively seek abortions into making appointments there instead of abortion clinics. Once inside, they ply these women, who we all agree are often young and frightened and in some of the most difficult days of their lives, with outright lies about biology and her options, and then attempt to guilt her into making a choice she doesn’t want to make.

Is tricking women and teenage girls into having unwanted babies really “pro-life”? What about the life these women want to live, a life that may not include parenthood then, or ever? Or is it just another tool in the tool kit of the forced birth movement?

Alexandra Eichenbaum
San Francisco

To the Editor:

I appreciate the compassionate tone of David French’s guest essay. I find it true that there’s an inherent spirit of unkindness in most pro-life messaging, demonizing the woman and the health care provider. In addition, red states are notorious for having strict and minimalist social services and income support programs for people who need them.

If we seriously want young girls and women to carry unplanned pregnancies through to birth, many will need social services, mental health and income supports, as well as health care and job protection. And those who keep or adopt the children may need additional publicly funded support.

So, if pro-life states say every embryo must be carried and delivered because every child is important, they must provide systems of care for these children and the families that raise them. Otherwise, it’s hypocrisy pure and simple, Trump or no Trump.

Dale Fleming
San Diego

Detained in America

Two Russian antiwar dissidents, Mariia Shemiatina and Boris Shevchuk, reuniting outside an Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention center in Pine Prairie, La.Credit…Emily Kask for The New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “Russian Dissidents Fleeing to U.S. Find Detention, Not Freedom” (front page, Nov. 29):

The outrageous and inhumane treatment experienced by two Russian political refugee doctors, Mariia Shemiatina and her husband, Boris Shevchuk, at the hands of ICE and in private for-profit prisons illustrates the need for drastic immigration reform.

Since the same system has treated nonwhite refugees this way for years, we need to ask ourselves why these injustices have been allowed to fester.

At the very least the Democratic lame-duck House must pass legislation that will provide proper oversight and enable early hearings so that those with legitimate claims can participate in the freedoms they risked so much to attain.

Tom Miller
Oakland, Calif.
The writer is a human rights lawyer.

Helping People in Jail

Dallas Garcia, the mother of an inmate killed in Harris County Jail, holding her son’s ashes.Credit…Brandon Thibodeaux for The New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “For a Growing Number of Americans, Jail Has Become a Death Sentence” (news article, Nov. 24):

The reporting on Harris County, Texas, emphasizes the dire need for more programs supporting incarcerated individuals with a serious mental illness, substance abuse problems, intellectual and developmental disabilities or a brain injury — cycling through the system in the county and nationally. The percentage of such people in jails has grown over the last few years.

The support services must include accessible and affordable housing options — safe shelters, rapid rehousing, permanent supportive housing and community-based behavioral health services.

With better staffing and oversight of jails, these programs have the ability to prevent many tragic outcomes and needless deaths, disproportionately affecting those who are Black, Indigenous and people of color.

Laurie Garduque
Chicago
The writer is director of criminal justice at the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

Treating Vote Counting as Live Sports

To the Editor:

Why is it that the media has to treat vote counting as if it were the fourth quarter of a football game and maybe there will be a miraculous surge by the losing team?

The votes have already been cast. The results have happened already; we just haven’t opened all the boxes yet. Yes, the vote tallies will change, but that’s not due to anything any candidate or other partisan does or does not do after the polls have closed. The votes are in, or in the mail.

Jay Goldman
Waltham, Mass.

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