Anne Philiben

This is written to all women of childbearing age who have not yet mailed in your ballot. I would like you to understand what a vote for Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan and Greg Walden will bring. During my nursing career I took care of women who died from their illegal abortions. And contradicting some horrendous statements made by Republicans lately, I have also cared for children who were pregnant as a result of incest and women who died as a result of their pregnancy.

In the days before Roe vs. Wade, wealthy women could go to Europe or Puerto Rico and have a safe abortion. A poor woman who found herself pregnant and unable to have the baby had few choices. You cannot legislate morality. People have sex, and there is little anyone can do about it. We can’t go back to those days.

Women were amazed when Todd Akin, a Republican state representative in Missouri, stated that women who were “legitimately” raped couldn’t get pregnant because their body had some magical way to shut things down. He attributed this theory to “some doctors.”

It may surprise you to know this was theorized by doctors in Nazi concentration camps. Starving women were unable to conceive. The fact that around 30,000 women who are raped become pregnant every year apparently doesn’t count.

Akin and Ryan supported a bill (HR 3) that only victims of “forcible rape” would qualify for federally funded abortions. “Forcible rape” isn’t defined in the criminal code. So acts of rape that don’t involve overt violence like a woman who is drugged or has a limited mental capacity, or victims of statutory rape, like a 13-year-old girl impregnated by an older man or victims of incest if they’re older than 18 would be on their own. Walden and Ryan voted yes on HR 3.

Ryan’s view is essentially that rape is just another manner of conception.

Just recently, a Republican candidate stated that pregnancy that results from rape is an act of God. The horror of these statements leaves me breathless.

You don’t have to have been a rape victim to know how horribly offensive both of these statements are. Apparently, they are oblivious to what happens to a woman’s body during pregnancy. The fetus is not just a thing you carry in your uterus for nine months.

The idea that every kick and movement of that fetus would be a constant reminder of the horrific act is unconscionable.

A Republican congressman recently stated that women don’t die from pregnancy. According to the Centers for Disease Control, “Each year, 300 to 500 pregnancy-related deaths are reported in the United States.”

The Republican leaders of the current, 112th Congress have declared passing anti-choice legislation a “top priority.” I can find no evidence that Walden sponsored any of the 40 bills passed by the Republican Congress that restricted women’s rights, but he did vote for them.

Romney has stated he has no plans for any anti- abortion legislation; he also told Mike Huckabee that he supports an amendment that states, “Life begins with conception.”

This would not only make abortion under any circumstance illegal, it would also outlaw many forms of contraception and in-vitro fertilization. This amendment is part of the Republican platform.

So please think before you vote. We can’t go back again to the days of coat hangers and carbolic acid.