I am writing to respond to the misleading comment made by Helen M. Alvare, a spokesperson for the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, in your February 21 article ("Anti-Abortion Activists Look to Future," news story). I find it humorous at best and pathetic at worst that she described the goal of the anti-choice movement to be to "affirm a new notion of womanhood in which fertility is not a disability." If one accepts this comment, we must then assume that the anti-choice movement is actively doing something to reduce unwanted pregnancies in this country. These efforts must involve one of the the three ways to prevent pregnancies--sex education and birth control, abstinence or abortion.
The very nature of the anti-choice movement is to eliminate abortion as an option, but it then does nothing to strengthen the other two ways to prevent unwanted pregnancies. In fact, the Catholic Church, Harvard's own Alliance for Life and many other antiabortion zealots believe that sex education and the use of birth control are wrong and should not be encouraged. Their ultimate solution to unwanted pregnancies is that people should simply abstain from sex until they are ready to procreate. While this plan works theoretically, it is by no means in touch with societal reality.
Alvare's attempt to align the anti-choice movement with the more noble-sounding goal of stopping unwanted pregnancies becomes even more hypocritical in lieu of the recent opposition that has been raied against Dr. Henry W. Foster Jr.'s expected nomination for the office of Surgeon General. Dr. Foster has founded an extremely successful program for teenagers called "I Have a Future." This program works to build teenagers' self-esteem while preaching to them the benefits of abstinence. Yet a large segment of the anti-choice movement was really serious about stopping unwanted pregnancies, one would expect them to loudly applaud the nomination of Dr. Foster.
The reality of the anti-choice movement is that their only goal is to immediately stop abortions. All other considerations, including preventing unwanted pregnancies, become secondary to this goal. If the anti-choice groups would stop their rhetoric long enough to consider realistic ways to prevent unwanted pregnancies, they would find a lot of common ground with pro-choice activists and actually achieve their goal of preventing abortions a lot more quickly. Mike Evers '95 Former Co-President, Harvard-Radcliffe Students for Choice