To the editor:

Professor Weaver’s recent letter, written in response to Jess Coleman’s column, epitomizes a major problem with the abortion debate: It is discussed and decided mostly by men. Everyone is entitled to share their opinions, but shouldn’t the people making the decisions be those most invested in and affected by the outcome?

By stating, whether he meant it seriously or not, that no one under the age of 25 should be allowed to write about abortion, Weaver marginalizes those most affected by abortion law — young women. According to the CDC, in 2008, women aged 15-29 accounted for 73.3 percent of all abortions. Weaver makes it clear in his first sentence that he has no respect for the opinions of undergraduates, but it is precisely women in their teens and 20s who should have the most to add to the discussion.

Weaver continues to show his misunderstanding of the issue when he relates pro-choice arguments to people who choose to forego vaccination. He claims, rightfully so, that those who are not vaccinated are dangers not only to themselves, but also to society, because of the possible spread of diseases that were previously eradicated. However, this argument is not at all analogous to the abortion debate. If a woman decides to get an abortion, the people around her are not medically affected. Her decision has no bearing on the health of others.

Weaver also comments that Coleman’s article “emphasizes bodily autonomy issues, particularly in regards to women’s bodies.” Who else’s bodies are relevant in this discussion? Certainly not men’s. Again, it is women who are affected by abortion, it is women who have to undergo the procedure and deal with the consequences, and it is women who should be at the forefront of this discussion. For many of us, the fight is not over fetal life, but rather our right to choose what to do with our own bodies and lives. I would argue, then, that it is a very important topic, and it should not be dismissed as Weaver so inconsistently does at the close of his letter.

Sammie Ruthenberg
Class of 2013