Re: “For an Open Abortion Dialogue,” (Sept. 20): I should start by saying that, though I personally am fervently pro-choice, I think it is a pity that Elizabeth Henry feels that pro-choice students have been intolerant toward her beliefs. I completely agree with Henry that an open dialogue about abortion is important.
Yet I think that there are two major points in Henry’s column that were misleading or outright untrue.
First, Henry (a sophomore) writes, “Women like me are horrified during Freshman Orientation when abortion is promoted as a means of birth control.” Her statement is either a grave error or a blatant lie. During this year’s Freshman Orientation, abortion was never promoted as a form of birth control. Never. In fact, I hardly remember abortion mentioned at all. The author should apologize for such a serious, false charge against Yale.
Second, Henry writes, “Women like me who oppose abortion are forced to support a health plan that provides unlimited abortions to all Yale women.” That, again, is horribly misleading. No one is forced to pay for Yale’s health plan; for example, I am not on Yale’s health plan. In this same disingenuous vein, Henry writes, “Yale Health should accommodate pro-life students in the health plan by offering policies that do not cover abortions — just as Yale Dining accommodates vegetarian students by offering tofu in the dining halls.” As far as I know, Yale does not offer a vegetarian dining plan and a non-vegetarian dining plan. There is just the option to not eat meat. Those morally opposed to abortion have the same freedom. Meat is a valid choice in the dining halls, and abortion is a perfectly legal medical procedure. What Henry seems to misunderstand is that, just as no one is forced to eat bacon, no one is forced to get an abortion.
Henry’s supposed premise was that abortion should be discussed in an open and tolerant way. I completely agree. But her obvious dishonesty is far from conducive to this dialogue. Abortion should be discussed, and it should be discussed frankly, but within the realm of fact.
Arguing about abortion is not my goal here; rather, I want to facilitate the truly open dialogue about abortion Henry claims to seek. The issue of abortion, with both sides fundamentally in disagreement, is difficult enough as it is. Lying to make a point certainly doesn’t help.
The writer is a freshman in Branford College.