Letter: Responding to ISD columnist’s take on abortion


Amber Mohmand/Iowa State Daily

Hundreds gathered at Cowles Commons and marched to the new federal courthouse under construction — at the intersection of Locust Street and Second Avenue — to fight for reproductive rights and safe access to abortions.

Eleanore Tisch, Guest Columnist

In a recent opinion piece for the Iowa State Daily, one Lucas Ramey writes that “Conversations around abortion have been disappointing, to say the least.” I write this response not to debate the merits of abortion. I write this response to show some (by no means all) flaws in the arguments that were presented and to question the author’s qualifications to speak on the subjects he has raised.

A note about my own qualifications in the subject. I have a uterus, and any kind of abortion debate directly affects my access to healthcare. I am also a Jewish woman, and the first amendment entitles me to practice my religion without interference from the state, which includes access to abortion. 

My academic training is in public policy, communications and textual analysis. I do not claim some authoritative objectivity; I am not an impersonal bystander. My point is that neither is the author of this opinion piece nor are the authors and enactors of legislation. 

Ramey writes, “I think it’s important that we all stay level-headed and rational about our opinion regarding [abortion].” This is a statement made by people for whom this issue is one of theory and theory alone. If it was the author’s bodily autonomy being stripped away, they might find themselves a bit less “level-headed” about the matter. 

The author writes, “Usually, the conversation around abortion is, in my opinion, plagued with a lack of charitability and originality….” None of the arguments given are all that original, either. And what charitability there is to be found is a veil, behind which lies a snarky, holier-than-thou tone and arguments so recycled they have lost even the shine of their shock value. 

It is historically inaccurate, laughable, to say that Marxists have not been subjected to moral condemnation because of their beliefs. The resources provided by the Miller Center at the University of Virginia described in detail the hysteria of McCarthyism and the Red Scare. People had their lives destroyed precisely because government bodies claimed their beliefs were so worthy of moral condemnation that it was appropriate to imprison them.

I would like to know, also, what the author’s involvement has been in the fight for racial justice in this country. If it is, as they say, a comparable issue, that we must fight for the rights of the fetus because “rational and moral human beings have an obligation to protect the rights and well-being of other persons,” I imagine they would be as active in the fight for reparations as they are in the fight for “unborn children,” writing pithy little opinion pieces in favor of affirmative action and police abolition, as they have chosen to do in defense of abortion bans. 

Lastly, no one is using these arguments to “justify infanticide.” Are there sources that purpose otherwise? The utter perversion of these arguments leads me to again question your qualifications. Are you an economist? A political scientist? Do you study the philosophy of ethics or some other related field? Medicine or sociology?

Yes, this piece was written for an opinion section in a student newspaper, but if your opinions are not founded in anything, what does that make them? This is not a matter of personal preference, of coffee or tea or pineapple on pizza, where your opinion can be based on taste buds. Since you are advocating that over half the population of this country ceases to have control over their own body, it would behoove you to provide your reader with a morsel of documentation that supports the claims made in this piece.