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Letter to the Editor   |    
Comments on Abortion
NADA L. STOTLAND, M.D.
Am J Psychiatry 1998;155:1305-1305.
View Author and Article Information
Chicago, Ill.

Book Forum

To the Editor: The figures of H. Keith H. Brodie, M.D., and Leslie Banner, Ph.D. R481559BCEBBJCG, outlining public opinion about the legality of abortion fail to address the stage of gestation at which abortion is performed. People’s opinions are highly sensitive to stage of gestation.

The choice of "a mother’s health and safety over the fetus’s" R481559BCEBBJCG is somewhat artificial. The health and safety of a pregnant woman are nearly always closely linked to the health and safety of her fetus. Nearly anything that adversely affects her adversely affects her pregnancy.

On an issue such as this, it is essential to distinguish between what people say in an opinion poll and how they feel, think, and behave in private and in a situation in which they or a family member is actually faced with a pregnancy experienced as problematic for any reason. There is ample anecdotal and epidemiological evidence of this distinction. For example, self-identified Roman Catholic women are as likely to elect abortion as are members of religions that do not oppose abortion. It is much easier to oppose abortion in the abstract than when one is facing the realities of an unwanted or unsupported pregnancy, delivery, and motherhood.

Brodie HKH, Banner L: Normatology: a review and commentary with reference to abortion and physician-assisted suicide. Am J Psychiatry 1997; 154(June suppl):13–19
 
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References

Brodie HKH, Banner L: Normatology: a review and commentary with reference to abortion and physician-assisted suicide. Am J Psychiatry 1997; 154(June suppl):13–19
 
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