March 8, 2024 at 2:10 p.m.

A response to past Editorial

Dear Kenyon Bennett, 

Please allow me to share a differing viewpoint from your opinion column Feb. 22. I have worked for +20 years as a teacher and over a decade as a medical interpreter.  The ideas you presented in your opinion column do not match up with my lived experience. As I read your column, your opinion is that women are being punished because they are not allowed to abort their children.  “Health care” in your article, actually means abortion. You write, “Stand up for women with difficult pregnancies to be allowed health care [abortion], especially when a failing pregnancy or a pregnancy with a defective fetus must be terminated. No woman should be punished!”  Women are punished because they cannot abort? And how would you define a defective pregnancy? 

I have a niece who has a medical syndrome (probably a defect to you).  She is happily married and pregnant, and has learned through genetic testing that her child also will have this syndrome. She has been, shall we say, “encouraged” to end her pregnancy and her healthcare team has given her information on how to do so. Time and again this has been brought up at her appointments.  How do you think my niece feels about this?  Her baby will have the same medical issues as her…and they encourage her to abort.  So my niece would have been better off not to be born at all? Think about the message this sends.

Teaching was a very rewarding career for me. I’ve had the pleasure to teach thousands of students, many with disabilities (visible and not). What about these children? So if they aren’t perfect, they’d be better off dead? With learning or speech disabilities? Physical and mental limitations? Don’t we all have these to some extent?  Should the kind, sweet, always smiling boy with Down syndrome, who had the whole gym on their feet for his wrestling matches and pep rallies, who baked goodies and passed them out to his teachers, who helped the new boy (also with disabilities) kindly get settled into a school routine, have been aborted?  Have you ever considered how his very existence, example and influence teach people compassion, empathy, love and happiness? And shouldn’t we all be striving to be such people in life?

Jennifer Wahlin

Dodgeville, WI