We'll start with Jennifer Stockman, the co-chairwoman of the Republicans for Choice:
Re “Abortion Politics Didn’t Doom the G.O.P.,” by Ross Douthat (Op-Ed, Dec. 7):
The leaders of the anti-choice movement need to understand that pro-choice Republicans are not absolutists. The inflexibility of social fundamentalist leaders and the inability of the party and the McCain-Palin campaign to acknowledge that the G.O.P. and the country have changed since the 2000 and 2004 elections contributed significantly to the party’s loss.
According to a poll conducted last August by Republican Majority for Choice, 78 percent of Republicans say the issue of abortion should be decided by a woman, not the government. In fact, pro-life voters are not absolutists. An overwhelming 66 percent of self-described “pro-life” voters believe abortion should be decided by a woman.
This year’s election actually brought more pro-choice members to Congress and saw the defeat of every anti-choice ballot initiative in the country. The G.O.P.’s approach on the issue of personal choice should fall in line with its core tenet of smaller government — less intrusion in our pocketbooks and our personal lives.
Mr. Douthat’s attack on the pro-choice movement is a ruse, and his encouragement of opportunistic extreme policies will hurt the G.O.P. further. If the G.O.P. is to succeed in rebuilding its broken party, it needs to move past a failed plan for party realignment toward the extreme and revive its broad appeal to its true moderate majority.
Jennifer Blei Stockman
Greenwich, Conn., Dec. 9, 2008
Now, here's Rita Herzmansky:
To the Editor:
Anti-choice advocates may try to paint a rosy picture of their intentions, but they can’t accurately be considered pro-life advocates when the results of their actions can end up hurting and even killing women.
An unexpected, unwanted pregnancy can be mentally, emotionally and physically devastating for a woman. It can be a financial catastrophe (more than half of all teenage mothers end up on welfare) and can result in a woman’s death. Exactly which part of this agonizing ordeal is Ross Douthat willing to compromise on?
Democrats have been promoting educational and informational programs that lead to fewer unwanted pregnancies, and these programs have helped reduce the number of abortions in humane and compassionate ways. Inexplicably, conservatives in the Republican Party have forcefully opposed many of these educational programs, so it is Democrats who actually represent the real pro-life party.
President-elect Barack Obama and the Supreme Court must continue to protect the lives of women by maintaining pro-choice laws. On this there can be no compromise.
New York, Dec. 8, 2008