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Federal Diary: Abortion-payment story draws reader response

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"Many years ago, before the age of ultrasound and amniocentesis, I gave birth to an anencephalic baby [as did Feldman]. I have never fully recovered from the pain and grief of that experience. Now that we have the technology to identify these problems early in the pregnancy, we must make abortion available to women who choose to have one, and include the costs in health insurance. Who would condemn a woman to carry an anencephalic fetus or a fetus with a similar fatal defect to term? Abortion rights opponents would have the public believe that abortion destroys beautiful, healthy babies. They are wrong. Many of them are born to die."

-- Barbara T. Osgood,


"I was shocked and horrified at what happened to Mrs. Feldman with federal health-care insurance. I am a retiree of the federal government with 32 years service and never realized that they did not cover abortions for medical reasons. I gave birth to a healthy child at age 41 and I dealt with medical issues brought on by age. I cannot understand how this situation could not be anything other than a medical condition. Think about this poor woman having to carry a baby to term that is, in essence, dead. What psychological issues could that have brought on? Think about going through all the issues that come with a pregnancy: morning sickness, severe fatigue, weight gain, gestational diabetes, plus the additional risk of being 41 and finally the delivery of a full-term dead baby. It is amazing to me how women are treated in the health-care arena. You never hear anyone question the high cost of a Viagra prescription and it doesn't treat anything that's life threatening!!!! We'll pay to get a woman pregnant but we won't pay to get her out of trouble from complications?"

-- Maria Redmond,


Most who wrote agreed with Redmond and Osgood, but not everyone.

"I felt that the anonymity given to the story's subject was inappropriate. We are given quite a bit of information about the subject of the story (last name, age, location), but told we cannot know her first name or where she works because of privacy concerns. Now, I understand that this is a sensitive medical matter and I understand a desire for privacy. However, we are also told that she is lobbying to have abortion coverage in federal employee health plans. If she is lobbying and using her story to further a political cause in Congress, this is a public activity and should be covered as such. She cannot give only the information she wishes if she is publicly engaged in lobbying.

"The article features quotes from Ms. Feldman, her doctor and two prominent pro-abortion groups. There are no quotes from a disinterested doctor or lawyer, much less from an anti-abortion group explaining their position on the matter. Hearing from other groups would give the reader a chance to understand their positions on this important topic. Anti-abortion groups are just seen in shadows, presumably not caring about Ms. Feldman's plight."

-- Chris Rupar,


Regarding balance, the column did quote Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.), co-chairman of the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus, and from an Office of Personnel Management letter that stated a position favored by anti-abortion advocates. The column also cited a Washington Post poll that indicated majority opposition to using federal funds for abortion.

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