It started with a phone call.

You didn’t know who would answer. The woman who answered didn’t know you. You and she were a pair of links in an elaborate chain, and what you discussed was illegal.

But she said she could help.

Before 1973, the year when a U.S. Supreme Court decision made abortion legal in all 50 states, there was an underground network of known, safe abortion providers in Wisconsin, said Sarah, who agreed to be interviewed on the condition that her real name not be used.

She was a student at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse in 1971, where she learned of a secret phone tree that connected women seeking abortions with sympathetic nurses on the eastern side of the state. Risking loss of career and jail time if caught, the nurses provided illegal abortions in secret, ever-changing locations.

“Abortions were not frequent to my knowledge,” she said. “But when you live in an all-female dorm, you learned about it fast.”

Others traveled as far as New York, Sarah said. A student in Baird Hall knew where to go, and others helped raise money to cover the cost of round-trip plane tickets and the cost of the procedure.

“Self abortion attempts were awful — usually they ended up with sepsis,” Sarah said. “I knew of one suicide of a pregnant girl. No one knew she was pregnant when she died.”

While the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling made abortion legal nationwide, the decision did not settle the question. Americans remain polarized, and many state legislatures, including Wisconsin’s, have gradually tightened regulations, testing the limits of that high court ruling.

Opponents of legal abortion have applauded such regulation and pushed for further restrictions, while supporters of legal abortion have decried the diminishment of women’s reproductive freedom.

Then and now, for women who choose abortion, the stigma remains. Like Sarah, the women who shared their abortion experiences for this story all did so anonymously – not because they felt shame or remorse, but because they feared the repercussions for their families. Each wished she could speak openly.

“No matter what a pregnant girl did in response to her pregnancy, it wasn’t right because of the fact that she was pregnant,” Sarah said. “It was on her and her alone.”

A struggle for access

More than 40 years have passed since Roe v. Wade, but access to abortion is still a challenge for Wisconsin women.

With just four abortion clinics in the state — one in Madison, two in Milwaukee and one in Appleton — 93 percent of Wisconsin counties do not have a provider. Those counties house 67 percent of Wisconsin women.

“Access to abortion services in Wisconsin is very, very limited,” said Nicole Safar, public policy director for Planned Parenthood Wisconsin.

The closest abortion clinics for La Crosse-area women are in Madison and Minneapolis. Wisconsin’s mandatory 24-hour waiting period, which requires that a woman receive in-person counseling at the clinic before an abortion, means either two trips or an overnight stay.

“That is really, really troubling, especially for rural women and those in lower income brackets,” Safar said.

The decision to end a pregnancy is already difficult enough, said Amy, who was a 17-year-old high school senior living in rural Jackson County when she became pregnant with twins 10 years ago.

The child of a teenage mother, Amy saw firsthand the impact of an unwanted pregnancy. Her mother had her at 16, dropped out of high school and kept her for the welfare money, Amy said. Eventually, Amy moved in with her grandparents.

“I know what it’s like to be so small and have no one care and not be able to do something about your situation,” she said “My mom loved me, but she didn’t want me. I was an inconvenience.”

Amy said abortion was the right choice for her. She was preparing for college in Eau Claire in the fall. She saw the opportunity to get an education as a chance to break the cycle. But with parental consent laws in Wisconsin and Minnesota, she had to wait nearly three months until she turned 18 -- putting her within two days of her second trimester. She secretly withdrew $700 from the bank and had a friend drive her to Minneapolis.

“I couldn’t tell my grandparents, because I knew how disappointed they would be,” she said. “I didn’t want them to think that history was repeating itself.”

Can a woman get an abortion in La Crosse?

The city is home to two major hospitals, each with a full complement of surgical services. It might seem a plausible assumption that abortion is available in La Crosse.

Not so fast.

Gundersen Health System routinely releases the following statement when asked about abortion: “Gundersen Lutheran believes that pregnancy and fertility are confidential concerns between patient and physician and it is the Medical Center’s policy not to interfere.”

The media department hasn’t updated the statement to reflect the recent name change to Gundersen Health System: It’s the same line officials have given for years. Beyond that, hospital officials have no further comment. And abortion opponents regularly picket Gundersen.

With its Catholic affiliation, Franciscan Healthcare, an affiliate of Mayo Clinic Health System, does not offer abortion services, spokesman Rick Theisse said. None of its pharmacies stock Plan B emergency contraceptives. The hospital does, however, provide birth control.

On Friday, Mayo opened a sterilization clinic in Onalaska, but that clinic is under the Mayo banner alone. Franciscan Healthcare is not a clinic sponsor.

As an institution, the Rochester-based Mayo Clinic Health System “has a long-held policy that the matter of abortion is a private decision to be made by a patient and her physician,” spokesman Brian Anderson wrote in an email.

“We believe that little would be gained from sustaining a debate on this issue,” he said.

La Crosse's only reproductive health clinic is Options Clinic on the North Side, a federally funded affiliate of Gundersen Health System. As a provision of its Title X funding, Options Clinic does not perform abortions, nor does it provide referrals, its executive director, Beth Hartung, said.

There are 18 Title X clinics in Wisconsin that provide contraceptives, pregnancy testing and counseling, sexually transmitted disease testing and cancer screenings to their patients with the goal of reducing poverty and improving quality of life by helping women manage their reproductive health and plan their pregnancies.

“Options (Clinic) tries to prevent unintended pregnancies with a reproductive life plan,” Hartung said.

Despite the fact that Options Clinic neither performs abortions nor refers women to abortion providers, members of the Life League of La Crosse demonstrate outside the clinic on Wednesdays, displaying signs, reciting prayers and offering literature to clinic patrons. To them, contraceptives and abortion are the same thing, said Sister Rosalia Bauer, a member of the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration who regularly attends the protest.

“The problem with contraceptives is that they fail,” Bauer said. “When they fail, people have abortions.”

Social pressure drives policy

Both the Wisconsin Medical Society and the Wisconsin Hospital Association declined to comment on the scope of abortion access in the state or the process by which medical institutions determine the procedures they provide.

But the reasons are “so complex, it’s simple,” said Doug Laube, a professor and former chairman of the University of Wisconsin department of obstetrics and gynecology and former president of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

“It’s a confluence of the influence from the Catholic bishops, frightened hospital administrators and a divided public that prevents these things from happening,” he said. “It’s an issue of not wanting to be tainted and not wanting to be stained by the controversy.”

Laube was a resident at the University of Iowa when abortion became legal in 1973. He remembers the shift clearly. The university hospital system set up a clinic for the procedure on an elective basis. It was part of the residents’ training. There were no questions asked. 

But over the decades, pressure from abortion opponents mounted and began to influence policy, Laube said. The procedure shifted out of hospitals and into clinics, many run by Planned Parenthood.

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“It was a very convenient way for (doctors) to avoid the whole issue,” he said. “They didn’t have to get their hands dirty."

Declining providers

In 2008, clinics performed 94 percent of abortions despite only accounting for 47 percent of abortion facilities, according to the Guttmacher Institute. In contrast, hospitals performed 4 percent of procedures and accounted for 34 percent of facilities.

Now, the number of abortion providers is in decline. Wisconsin lost 11 percent of its providers between 2008 and 2011; an abortion clinic in Green Bay closed in 2013.

Nationwide, about 50 abortion clinics closed between 2010 and 2013, many a result of targeted restrictions on abortion providers -- laws such as mandatory ultrasounds and requirements for clinic physicians to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals.

For anti-abortion groups, the decline is welcome news. But for those who argue for access, it’s a troubling trend that puts women’s health and safety in the political crosshairs.

“(Abortion) will always be necessary and it will always be done,” Laube said. “If it becomes something that is so limited that you can’t do it legally, people will do it illegally.”

Safe, legal and rare?

Access to abortion in western Wisconsin was of little concern to Mia until she became pregnant just weeks after the birth of her second child.

“The doctor said, ‘congratulations,’ and I just started crying,” she said. “This was not good news.”

The newborn had colic. The older daughter was still a toddler. Mia and her husband ran a business from their small, two-bedroom home. They talked about trying to make it work.

They decided it wouldn’t.

“It wasn’t that we didn’t want another child,” she said. “This just wasn’t the right time.”

She called her doctor at Mayo and was shocked to learn she couldn’t get an abortion in La Crosse. She and her husband drove to Iowa City.

“I was devastated,” she said.

Two years later the economy tanked, and the family lost their business and their home. With their income cut in half, it was difficult enough, surviving with the two children they planned for, Mia said.

“Sometimes, having another child affects more than just the man and woman that made it,” she said. “I think we made the right decision.”

An estimated one in three women in the U.S. will have an abortion by age 45. And with an average of 1.4 million legal abortions performed annually in the U.S. since 1973, it is one of the most common medical procedures.

First trimester abortions are relatively simple surgical procedures done under local anesthesia, sometimes accompanied by a light sedative. They can be completed in less than 10 minutes and account for 90 percent of all abortions performed.

The procedure is safe. A 2013 study published in the Journal of Public Health showed that 1.3 percent of 11,500 abortions resulted in complications, only six of which — 0.05 percent — were major: two uterine perforations, three infections and one hemorrhage.

The same study found that newly trained nurse practitioners, certified nurse midwives and physician assistants can perform the procedure with success equal to that of physicians.

Medical abortion uses a series of pills to end a pregnancy within the first nine weeks. It requires no hospitalization –- only a prescription. The second half of the regimen is taken at home.

“I have often wished that Gundersen and even now Mayo would step up and say ‘we’re going to do this, it’s a necessary service,’” said Kate, a social worker in La Crosse who had an abortion in Madison 30 years ago. “Health care should be health care -- it shouldn’t be based on religion or politics.” 

A declining rate

The national abortion rate in 2011 in fell to 16.9 per 1,000 women — a 13 percent drop since 2008 and the lowest rate since Roe v. Wade.

The numbers come from a study released in January by the Guttmacher Institute, a New York-based think tank known for both support of abortion rights and meticulous data collection and analysis. Wisconsin saw a decline as well, with the number of abortions falling from 8,229 in 2008 to 7,249 in 2011.

Abortion rights supporters see the decline as proof that their efforts to increase access to birth control are working. Anti-abortion groups point to increasingly stringent legislation restricting access to the procedure at the state level.

“Having 1.1 million abortions is far too many annually, but it’s certainly gratifying that it’s down from the high of 1.6 million in 1990,” said Barbara Lyons, executive director of Wisconsin Right to Life. “We think that’s a very good outcome for mothers, babies, families and society.”

Lyons cited the closure of 87 abortion clinics nationwide in 2013 and 205 pieces of antiabortion legislation passed between 2011 and 2013 as major factors in the decline.

But the Guttmacher report studied the period before those laws went into effect.

Researchers Rachel Jones and Jenna Jerman pointed to increased use of contraceptives -- particularly long-acting reversible contraceptive methods -- as one likely driver of the change. The U.S. birthrate declined with the abortion rate, suggesting fewer unplanned pregnancies.

Planned Parenthood agrees.

“This report really shows what those of us who work in women’s health have been saying for a long time,” Safar said. “When women have access to birth control and tools they need to prevent unintended pregnancies, the abortion rate will drop.”

A shifting landscape

Always controversial, abortion policy took a dramatic shift in the past three years, with states enacting more abortion restrictions between 2011 and 2013 than in the entire previous decade. The Guttmacher Institute listed 13 states as “hostile to abortion” in 2000; by 2013, that number jumped to 27. Wisconsin is among them. 

Few states saw as big a shift in policy as Wisconsin, which in 2012 changed leadership from Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle, who vetoed bills restricting access to birth control and signed a law requiring hospitals to provide emergency contraceptives to rape victims, to Republican Gov. Scott Walker -- who in his first term signed an unprecedented number of laws restricting abortion.

In July of 2013, Walker signed a controversial bill that requires women seeking abortions to first undergo a transvaginal ultrasound and bans doctors without admitting privileges at nearby hospitals from performing the procedure.

The second provision of the law is being challenged in federal court. If the lawsuit fails, two of Wisconsin’s four abortion clinics will close.

The legislation earned praise from anti-abortion groups and caused concern among those who favor abortion rights. NARAL Pro-Choice America gave Wisconsin a D+ on its 2014 report card on women’s reproductive rights.

Abortion opponents have proved a powerful lobbying force in recent years. But 2014 could be the year the abortion rights movement goes on the offensive.

Earlier this month, the Vermont Senate voted to repeal a series of anti-abortion laws. California expanded abortion access in 2013 by allowing nurse practitioners to perform abortions. In Oregon, lawmakers are considering a bill that would prevent unregulated, anti-abortion crisis pregnancy centers from disseminating false information about abortion. Washington's House passed a bill requiring insurers who cover maternity care to also pay for abortions.

In Wisconsin, the tide could turn in 2014 as well. Democratic challenger Mary Burke said she would work to repeal the Republican anti-abortion measures, specifically the transvaginal ultrasound requirement. If Walker wins reelection in November, the trend of restriction could continue.

“I think we’re in a dangerous position,” Safar said. “We were able to do a lot of work up until 2010, but with Walker, we’re fighting to sustain the gains.”

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(69) comments

verso 'l alto

Another biased op-ed. Please give equal time to those who value the sacredness of human life at all stages, and the inviolable beauty of motherhood.

Comment deleted.
David Jarzemski

Top commenter, we all are unwanted at some point in our lives, so according to you we should be snuffed out too. Suggestion: bring some common sense to the table next time, not some nonsense posing as a reason to kill unborn humans in the womb.

Wake up America

It is not ok when ANYBODY kills! Period.

Wake up America

It is amazing that for a country that tries to represent itself as fundamentally Christian and in the same breath, encourage and allow women to kill their own babies when they decide it is not "convenient" for them, and how ANYBODY could justify that as acceptable is beyond comprehension. If you do not wish to have a baby child, then either abstain or use birth control. Do not murder your own child! You will live with the guilt of being the most important person that was supposed to protect that child, his or her own mother, and you will be judged by God for taking a life no different or less selfish than any murderer that is in prison. By killing your own child, you will condemn yourself in this life and the life that God promises his people. And, for the ignorant person that wants to justify killing her baby because God had the firstborn killed in Egypt for their king not obeying, is putting herself (or himself) on the same level of authority as God. You may wish to read on.


You need to wake up....we are not a Christian Nation. Most Christians are not christian.....just by saying you are does not make you one. And abortion was never called a sin in the Bible. And if you approve of a God killing innocent first born children then you sir or madam are no one I want to associate with and your god is a scumbag.


>>> If men were getting pregnant and had the responsibility to carry a fetus to a 9 month term, abortion franchises would be more popular than McDonalds.<<

Indeed.....and the right to an abortion would be the 1st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Comment deleted.

If men want babies themselves they only have to find themselves a woman willing to carry such a baby to term......running around sowing your oats and expecting you have some'rights' to the result is typical misogynist bs. If men were getting pregnant and had the responsibility to carry a fetus to a 9 month term abortion franchises would be more popular than McDonalds.

David Jarzemski

It is obvious to the intellectually honest observer that the stigma of abortion is logical, since it is the killing of one's progeny, just about the worst evil to ever appear in the human mind. And even more evil is that it is legal. Oh, the shame, oh the anti human, oh the anti life, oh the barbarism of abortion on full display for all to see.


I'll pose the question to you David Jar.....just how many disfigured and severely handicapped orphan babies are you taking care of? Case closed.

David Jarzemski

Truthsayer, that question is a non sequitor, and you know it. If what you posed is the standard in determining what is evil, nothing would be evil based on that pre requisite.


Dude...the planet is overwhelmed with human life....abortion is extremely logical, there is no shortage of human life on this planet....no dire emergency for humanity due to any lack of orphans and babies.


Start your eugenics in New York then.


How many disabled orphans have you adopted Veritas? You preach a lot of krappe but fail to live up to the 'standards' you set for everyone else. What a clown.

David Jarzemski

Truthsayer, what a complete lack of respect for human life. Your reasoning would justify mass murder too. Next time this issue comes up, bring your brain to the table, not your rear.


Similar to your make-believe god demanding that Abraham murder his son as a human sacrifice.....right, David? Similar to slaying every first-born of Egypt....right, David?

Oh, the barbarism.....the horror.....

David Jarzemski

Monteee, I did not bring God into the discussion, so your red herring falls flat on it's face. Oh, and by the way, if what you are trying to show is that because there is evil, evil should be legal, then Katie bar the evil door.

Comment deleted.

LOL.....you really got me there, little buddy. ;-) ;-)


What's wrong with birth control, or waiting 9 months,deliverng the baby and putting it up for adoption to a loving home. These are choices also.


It's too bad nobody is able to just mind their own business and stop trying to dictate what others do with their private lives.


And for further "enlightenment" from the founder of Planned Parenthood, read this. She was promoting eugenics, especially for Blacks and the disabled. Enuf to make you sick.



I suggest you go read up on Margaret Sanger from other sources. She talked about purity in the sense of eliminating genetic disabilities based on what was known at the time. She did not tolerate bigotry in her followers. She also opened a clinic in Harlem to teach about birth control.
Until you have a terminally ill newborn in NICU that you know is going to die from genetic defects and you watch her flinch every time she is touched from all the procedures, I don't think you can criticize those that choose not to carry a pregnancy through.


Truthsayer knows nothing about me and as a matter of fact, he is wrong.

Zrae, please point to where I criticized anybody other than Margaret Sanger and we obviously disagree about that.


Well lefse...we are waiting then. How many horrifically disable kids have you taken responsibility for? If an opinionated loudmouth like you can';t do it why should anyone else?


lefse.....how many sick and disabled orphans have you adopted ?

Thought so. Now go back to your cave.


First of all, there is a chance that taking antibiotics while on birth control pills could very well reduce the efficacy of the pill. It's not proven simply because they can't really do a study like that which results in a pregnancy, but the literature speculates about it and my own daughter got pregnant while on the pill and antibiotics...so use additional caution.

Second, so what is so bad about the Wisconsin requirements? Having an abortion and ending a life is serious business and should be treated as such. An ultrasound is a painless procedure and verifies the age of the fetus. And last, requiring doctors to have admitting privileges in a hospital only makes sense. Would you go to a doctor for any procedure that might require hospitalization if complications ensue if that doctor didn't even have hospital admitting privileges?


wake up, Verifies. you think you can put everyone in the same box who is pro choice? i don't wear skinny jeans, glasses, and I'm not trib lib. I am a man tho. but not the pathetic kind you speak of. i have two beautiful amazing daughters that i raise like a "real man" with my wife and their mother.


What are you talking about? The Tribune is HARDLY a liberal newspaper. In fact, it's about as conservative as it gets. Between their constant religious articles (that nobody cares about) and their push for Scott Walker as Governor (the Tribune endorsed him daily and acted like he was sent from Heaven to save WI), you really need to learn what liberal means.


Would you object if your mother aborted you?
Could you imagine if you never existed because of your mothers "choice"?


Sharknado, a hypotheical question at best, because you are asking something no one would know. That’s the question that anti-abortion folk think will trump all possible argument from a pro-choice person and leave them sputtering vainly. And given the onslaught against Planned Parenthood and any other access to abortion that American women are facing now. The erroneous assumption that a pro-choice woman would always choose abortion. I don’t know my mother was. But if she was, and thought she had no choice – or was surrounded by enough people who were, to take her choice away from her – then no, that would not make me glad.


My mom was forced into a hysterectomy because she had a "mongaloid Imbecile" (Downs syndrome). The state felt she was going to get overwhelmed with 3 other kids and him. On top of that, the State (California) forced them to place him in a state hospital. He was pretty high functioning and healthy but he died, at age 3, shortly after being placed there. I never asked her what she would have done given the knowledge of his health and well being. I don't deal in speculation on what if's. I do know that the state intervened where it shouldn't. My parents had no choices before or after his birth.


Read the Book of Job snarknado.....Job wished he was never born and he was God's most favored human.


I can just smell you trib-lib males with your skinny jeans and your Sarah Palin glasses (picture Tim Kabat) that like to act all noble about defending a woman's right to her own body. But in reality you like that you can use abortion as birth control and not have to raise a child like a real man. Pretty pathetic fellas.


You are one screwed up little man....


Hey veritas...what if we discovered that dividing up your body parts would save the lives of 20 people? Do we have a right to do so without your consent?

You would argue, correctly, that no one has a right to use your (undoubtedly toxic) body parts without your permission.

Same with a fetus...without the consent of the host, the pregnant mother, the fetus has no rights to use her body parts to survive. It's very simple.


That's what you New Yorkers think huh? Perfect for that cesspool, but in Wisconsin men protect babies.


How many disabled and genetically disfigured orphan babies are you taking care of 'Veritas" ? Thought so. Loudmouth hypocrite.


your body, your choice.

no name no slogan

I imagine abortion is polarized because most Americans refuse to be convinced murder is ok. You don't need to be Christian to disapprove of murder.


What sentence should a judge give to a girl or woman for getting an abortion?

Comment deleted.

LOL.....Top Ignorant Commentator, I made that comment about patriarchy, and I'm a red-blooded, heterosexual MAN. I've never taken any women's studies courses, but I do have a history degree. I just recognize the facts - both historical and current - about what men have done to women and everyone else over the past 5,000 years.

You obviously know nothing about world history and Western history in particular. It would be best for you to quit while you're behind.

Comment deleted.

You think women are unhappy because you aren't being "nice" to them? Talk about a Cinderella complex! I remember the 50's and all the special social rules for women.
When was the last time something was specifically legislated with the word Man or Men in it?


pt. 2

When you say a fetus has a right to someone else's body parts until it is born without their consent you do two things:

1) You are granting a fetus more rights to another person's body than any person already born.

2) You are awarding a pregnant person less rights to their own body than a corpse.


Abortion is a woman's right.....and none of you can say anything to the contrary. Here in America we have a concept under the law called "Bodily Autonomy"....bodily autonomy means a person has a right to control his or her own body, who or what uses it and for what and how long it can be used. It is why you cannot be forced to donate organs, tissue or blood....even if you're dead....even if it would save 10 lives. This is why no one can touch you, have sex with you, or use your body in any way without, what is called, continuous consent.

A fetus is using someone's body parts and under 'bodily autonomy' it is there by consent not by any right. It needs a persons continuous permission. If consent is denied or withdrawn the pregnant person has the right to remove them at that point in time. A fetus is equal in this regard because if I need someone else's body parts to survive, that person can legally deny me their use.



This is not about clumps of cells. It is about BABIES! Please read about one of the greatest pro-life activists of the 20th century - former abortionist and NARAL-cofounder Dr. Bernard Nathanson.

Nathanson, who was personally responsible for tens of thousands of abortions, famously converted to the pro-life cause in the 1970s after he saw an unborn baby on ultrasound recoil from a vacuum abortion device before being sucked from its mother’s womb. The ultrasound footage was later turned into the famous and extremely influential pro-life video “The Silent Scream.”


Very good article. I had a great aunt who died back in 1984 at the age of 93. She never had any children but she had a number of abortions and none of them were legal. Curtailing legal abortions will not stop them. Women all over the world get them one way or another. Many years ago I witnessed a woman on the floor with a group of women taking turns kicking her in the belly with the result being a miscarriage. The anti-abortion stance actually has nothing to do with the fetus and everything to do with men controlling women.
I have very much respect for the franciscan sisters. They do a lot of good, but for this nun to suggest birth control is wrong because it might fail is ridiculous. Human beings are animals just like dogs and bears and monkeys. Sex is going to happen. If you doubt that just look at all the people everywhere you go. They all got here the same way. Our planet is overpopulated as it is.


Women who are pregnant and unable to provide everything a child needs (including a father to whom they are married) will often seek abortion. We are imperfect creatures who have sex too young, with too many men, for all the wrong reasons and with little consideration for the results: a baby. If abortion is not legal, woman will still seek it. We fail, sometimes birth control fails. Either way, it does no-one (and least of all the future baby) any good to bring him into the world when you can't cope. We are not brood sows put on earth to populate mindlessly and with no plan in place.


What a sad commentary on a society that praises the ability and desire to kill innocent unborn children. Women have been blessed with a gift to carry a living child inside of them, and yet people classify this wonderful gift as a "burden" that needs to be murdered for the Moms convenience. If you can't or don't want to raise the child, there is always adoption. Murder is a horrible choice and shouldn't be celebrated.


Icarus, since you say abortion is murder, what sentence should a judge give to the girl or woman for aborting her pregnancy?


Tell that 11 year old girl that was raped and is now pregnant that she's a murderer if she doesn't have the baby.


Thank you for this article. This article did an excellent job of presenting the facts when it comes to women's health and the attempts at restricting and limiting our options. I find it appalling that I live in a state that makes a point to interfere in women's health care. The abortion issue is far more about an attempt to make women second class citizens than it is about the procedure. Certainly there is no similar discussion surrounding vasectomies. Again, thank you for your hard work on this article Alison.




>>>The abortion issue is far more about an attempt to make women second class citizens than it is about the procedure.<<

Indeed......when men made all the decisions regarding a girl or woman's pregnancy, everything was fine and dandy. Now that women have the power and legal right to decide the fate of their pregnancies, the patriarchal mainstream throws a fit.

It's ALWAYS been about power and who gets to wield it. The ignorant and gullible masses of pro-birth zealots haven't figured that out yet.


I believe an abortion should be a decision between the mother AND FATHER of the child. It's not about who has a power trip.


I'd like to commend the Tribune for writing/publishing this article. Silence about issues is so much more concerning than stories with real people's experiences and a spectrum of opinions about an important topic.


TinyShell, do you ever wonder what your baby that you killed who have looked like? How many times you would laugh at the things they did? How excited they would get just to see their mommy? No, you decided to not give that child a chance! You decided that since you were not aborted that gives you the right to terminate another life. The baby was not abusive, your man was. So you killed the baby and not the man? Someone just had to pay for what he did to you, so you kill the baby? Seems backwards to me!


Back in the day, pregnant single women were often sent to the county poor farm on the signature of a male relative and a physician. All to often, the baby was either taken away, unseen by the mother or raised on the poor farm. After all, for a woman to have a baby out of wedlock was nuts because of the social ramifications. Now those kids are the welfare kids the GOP wants to cut food benefits. They are supported by us in money only. There is little or no support from the pro lifers once the baby is born on parenting, education, and the simple needs of life. I once picked up a pregnant girl hitch hiking to the hospital to have her baby, her family threw her out and she ended up going to a commune at age 14. Another was so traumatized by her catholic family over her baby, she totally blacked out that she had a baby until years later. Seems the parents had her sterilized


So Whitey1624…it's okay to kill an abusive man? So what you're saying is that it is okay to kill? Hmmm…seems to go against your pro-life stance. Oh, and no, I don't wonder what my life would be like with that child.


Yes, Whitey.......SHE decided whether that child was to live or die. The woman's legal right to control her own body and her pregnancy trumps any imaginary rights that the embryo/fetus is believed to have.

It's HER decision - not yours - and that terrifies you, doesn't it? You self-righteous blowhards are a joke.


Seems to me that your pro-life stance is a joke! you want the Government to force a woman to have a child… and after it's born you want the Government to put it to death for committing a crime, or starve it to death by cutting food stamps.

Just love to see those religious Right morals and values.

Tell the truth, isn't you stand on abortion based on your religion? So what you're really saying is that you want Government to force your religious beliefs on everyone else….. it's a good thing you're not Muslim.


Protect life people! There is nothing noble about killing babies.


One of the best articles written in the Tribune in a long time. Women should have access to abortions. I can tell you that I had no psychological ramifications from having an abortion. It allowed me the ability to get out of an abusive relationship. Is it a happy decision…no…is it the best decision that some have…absolutely.


I graduated from college in 1970. I know that women I knew in college got abortions before 1973. Unwanted pregnancies have always existed. Women will find a way to end them in safe or unsafe ways. It makes some people uncomfortable, but it is true.


Legitimate studies of the ill effects of abortion on the psychological health of women show that there is little to no negative impact. As a matter of fact, women do not, as a rule, come to regret their decision to end an unwanted pregnancy. The psychological impact, if negative, is likely due to actions of the pro-life zealots in this country .


In china women are forced to have abortions, right to life cares about life from conception to birth.


Well that explains all the abandoned girl babies in the orphanages. Many left in the elements to die because their mothers did not abort. It also explains the increase in baby trafficking.
I think the operative word here is "Choice". Don't assume it means choice to abort. It means choice to plan your family. We have baby trafficking here as well.


What a sham of an article. How about showing the terrible consequences of abortion on the psyche of a woman who was coerced into murdering an innocent baby for the convenience of the father or some other illegitimate reason. This is the most evil policy ever conducted by "civilized" humans.


Perhaps the solution is to regulate sperm. We have the ability to store it. Collect and store it when they are young and utilize it when they are able to afford children and have the capability to parent them.
Either that or incorporate uterus's. There is not so much regulation.
Convenience of the father? Get real. You really don't think women don't think these things first out do you? Give them the tools NOT to get pregnant first. Every woman I know wants to plan her family.


Ironically, Veritas, that's exactly what men did before the 20th century. MEN decided when the girl or woman was to have an abortion (or hysterectomies, or any other procedure); she had no say in the matter. MEN who decided which babies were to die (for the convenience of the father or family). Some of the early 20th century Suffragettes campaigned for women's right to NOT have abortions. They wanted to KEEP their babies, yet were forced to abort them. How ironic indeed....

Today, women have control over their bodies and THEY decide when babies are to be aborted. This is THE reason for all the self-righteous anti-abortion hysteria. How typical of this patriarchal, sexist society.....it's OK when men kill, yet when women start doing the same thing, all of a sudden, it's pure EVIL....

Patriarchy is the biggest evil ever created by humans. It's the #1 cause of pain, suffering, violence and death - via warfare, violent crime, domestic violence, rape....and killing babies, too.


You are the sham....envious of a woman's power to control her own body.

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