Letters to the Editor

Governance and the community

Let me comment on Barun Singh’s letter with a few short observations.

The issues that Barun raises are of profound importance to all of us. I believe he would be reassured to know the depth and intensity with which the Executive Committee and the Presidential Search Committee are engaged on the topics of governance and community.

Barun’s comments will certainly add texture to these discussions.

As an MIT graduate, I particularly appreciate hearing the perspective of students and, like Barun, I believe our practice of having recent graduates as members of the Corporation is a great avenue for those who want to engage.

John S. Reed ’61, Chairman of the MIT Corporation

Standing for life and women’s rights

In the wake of recent debate on legislation, there has been a wave of opinion articles, both on various websites and in print, suggesting that the pro-life movement is trying to undermine women’s health, and that pro-life policies are fundamentally anti-women. I would like to address these concerns, and argue that standing up for life is not only standing up for developing children but, in fact, also standing up for women’s emotional and physical health.

First of all, elective abortions pose a significant risk to women’s mental health. A study recently published in The British Journal of Psychiatry reviewed 22 previous studies on post-abortion mental health. Using the medical records of 877,181 participants, 163,831 of whom have experienced an abortion, the author concluded that “women who had undergone an abortion experienced an 81% increased risk of mental health problems”. In other studies, abortion is also linked to an increased risk of drug and alcohol abuse, eating disorders, suicidal thoughts, hospitalization for psychiatric treatment, and chronic relationship problems.

What about women who become pregnant as a result of sexual assault? Rape is always a tragedy I do not think anyone would dispute that. Advocates of elective abortions often refer to rape victims to justify their stance, saying women in this situation need abortions. However, their argument is misguided. First, most rape victims do not actually want abortions — 75-85% choose to give birth, according to a survey conducted by the Elliot Institute. Second, research shows that most of those who do choose abortion — frequently due to pressure from counselors and/or family members — regret their decision, while all who choose to carry their pregnancy to term are happy they did (see Reardon, Makimaa & Sobie, Victims and Victors: Speaking Out About Their Pregnancies, Abortions and Children Resulting from Sexual Assault (Springfield, IL: Acorn Books, 2000) 19-22.). Post-rape abortion does not help women heal, rather, it traumatizes them more. They not only have to deal with the emotional turmoil of the rape, but also that of the abortion.

The psychological effects are causes for great concern in and of themselves, but even more so when considered along with the physical effects. Approximately 10% of women experience immediate complications after an abortion, such as hemorrhage, cervical injury, or infection. Many health issues take much longer to develop, and manifest as overall decreased reproductive health later in life, such as an increased risk of miscarriage, premature delivery and ectopic pregnancy. The association of abortion with increased rates of cervical, ovarian, and liver cancer is also worrying. Teenagers (who account for 30% of all abortions) and women who have had multiple abortions are much more likely to experience these medical problems.

Having reviewed the emotional and physical harm abortion can do to women, now we come to the question: why would women want to subject themselves to all this? The answer is: they don’t. They are told it is OK, they are made to feel like it is the only logical decision if they face an unplanned pregnancy. While some claim abortion should be an available “choice”, many women feel they do not have a choice at all. Lately, some have declared pro-life efforts are a “war on women”. I do agree that there is, in fact, a war on women today. However, pro-life activists are not the ones wielding the sword. The real war is waged by those promoting abortion, whether they realize it or not.

Georgina Botka ’14

Anonymous over 10 years ago

I especially like the argument in the last paragraph -- the fact that around 1 in 3 American women have abortions is part of a massive liberal mind control conspiracy.

You also ignore the emotional and physical health risks of childbirth.

If you are really so sure that all women agree with you and don't want abortions, you shouldn't need abortions outlawed to eliminate the vast majority of abortions.

Anonymous over 10 years ago

I especially like the argument in the last comment -- the fact that all people are not good is part of a massive conservative mind control conspiracy. Around 1 in 133 American people will be murdered, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

This also ignores the emotional and physical health risks to friends of the murdered.

If you are really so sure that all people agree with you and don't kill, you shouldn't need murder outlawed to eliminate the vast majority of murder.

Angelika over 10 years ago

My daughter :-)

( Georgina )

Anonymous over 10 years ago

1 for number 2.

Anonymous over 10 years ago

"Pro-Life" or "Anti-Choice", which is it?

I'm not particularly in "favor" of abortions, and I'm glad you wrote this letter -- many of those statistics are enlightening and bring a different character to the whole debate. Ultimately, though, I'm not in "favor" of government taking away choices that should be between a woman and her doctor, and a decision that should be entirely someone's own. If you don't want an abortion -- don't get one. Hell, feel free to encourage your friends not to get them either. But by advocating that abortions be made illegal or otherwise inaccessible, pro-life campaigners only increase the likelihood that people will seek abortions in less-than-legal and less-than-safe conditions.

Oh, and while we're at it, I'm vehemently against legislation that allows, doctors to lie to their patients in order to further their own personal agendas. I'm blanking on the specifics, but there's been ample coverage of it -- essentially, a doctor would be allowed to withhold information, or provide FALSE information to a person contemplating an abortion.

If someone has strong moral convictions, that's fine. If those moral convictions prevent me from doing what I want, or adversely affect me, they've crossed a line; your right to swing your arm extends only until your arm hits my face.

Anonymous over 10 years ago

Let's change abortion to "honor killing", prevalent in some parts of the world, where a lot of people don't see anything wrong with it:

If you don't want to honor-kill your daughter -- don't . Hell, feel free to encourage your friends not to do it either. But by advocating that honor killings be made illegal or otherwise inaccessible, pro-life campaigners only increase the likelihood that people will commit honor killings in less-than-legal and less-than-safe conditions.

A person's a person. The situations are equivalent.

Sandra over 10 years ago

How many pro-lifers have adopted children or are interested in adopting children of the women they want to deprive of medical abortions? That's a statistic I would like to see.

JC over 10 years ago

I agree with comments 1,2 and most of 5.

The writer of the piece is dangerous, and the Tech was negligent by not

vetting it properly. What is the source for the so called statististics

cited? How large the populations being reported on, as in how relevant to

common state of the art medical practice as performed NOW?

Also, as alluded to in the rebuttal comments, what are the similar

incidence rates of complications and infections in pregnancy, (wanted, vs. unwanted) and the mental health

issues resulting in having to endure a prolonged period of worry.

Without using honest, and relevant numbers, and without making a direct

comparison to the control or comparator population, this piece is merely


Andrew over 10 years ago

Arguments 1-2 5-6 do boil down to the point of where do you define a human life. And to put it simple a handful of cells is not equivalent to a human life. Otherwise a cutting out a cancerous tumor would be like chopping off a limb, it is not equivalent. One is a collection of hardly if at all differentiated cells (up until week 6) while the other is highly organized.

Anonymous about 10 years ago

A tumor or a chopped off limb is never going to grow into a fetus, which then grows into a baby. That's the difference.

Angelika about 10 years ago

To " JC" / Nr. 8 /:


Georgina, as a "dangerous" writer of the piece? :-)




Best regards,

Georgina's mom from Hungary

Rasie about 10 years ago

Mind control, war on women, honor killings, propangda, a handful of cells, et al noted in above comments is poppycock. This issue is about having a conscience as innocent babies are killed by the thousands each day in our 'civilized' country while we listen to such illogical and debased contortions about the truth of abortion. Georgina's well reasoned delineations highlight the post abortion damage rarely noted and its relevancy on this continuing blight on our society.