It’s Personal – NYTimes.com
To the editor:
In Mr. Keller’s article [States Gone Wild, Monday, March 25] he repeatedly mentions his strong aversion to restrictive abortion rules…Has Mr. Keller previously shared his rationale for this strong opinion? For example, is it based on his interpretation of the Constitution or perhaps a personal understanding of when life commences. I ask if he might consider replying to this inquiry with a succinct summary of his position. Thank you.
This will not be “succinct,” or simple, or likely to satisfy anyone who can reduce abortion to a slogan.
The closest thing I have to a guiding text on the subject of abortion is not a volume of constitutional law or a summary of the latest biological research on the origins of life. It is a black, three-ring binder containing hundreds of letters from readers who lived and suffered with the subject.
The letters arrived in response to a column called “Charlie’s Ghost,” which The Times published on June 29, 2002. It recounted the decision my wife and I made to end a badly troubled pregnancy, and the strong countervailing emotions that decision entailed.
The letters poured in, intimate and candid and heartfelt, full of experience and mercifully short of political cant or judgment. There were stories from parents who had given birth to children with the direst physical or mental defects; some rejoiced in the sacrifice, some lamented that this decision had brought misery to their families. There were letters from parents who had terminated pregnancies gone wrong; some were at peace with that choice, others never fully overcame the sense of guilt. If that volume of letters has a theme, it is something like: the heart grades on the curve.