What Tissue From an Early Abortion Shows

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  • After Beating Tyre Nichols, Officers ‘Celebrating’!

Pregnancy tissue after an abortion at seven weeks.Credit…My Abortion Network

To the Editor:

Re “Early Abortion Looks Nothing Like What You’ve Been Told,” by Erika Bliss, Joan Fleischman and Michele Gomez (Opinion guest essay, Jan. 23):

I am incredibly grateful to The Times for printing the opinion piece on early abortion, and even more for the accompanying photos of early pregnancy tissue.

I’m sure that, as the writers state, some will question the accuracy of those photos and suggest they have been manipulated. I can attest, from my experience as a health worker in an abortion clinic for over 40 years, that those photos do accurately represent what is visible to the naked eye in the early weeks of pregnancy.

I applaud these physicians for their efforts to correct the gross manipulation of public opinion by anti-abortion activists, whose tactic is to frighten and shame women to accomplish their aims.

I hope these images will be widely shared and help to relieve women of those unwarranted feelings. Many thanks.

Jane Munson
Concord, N.H.

To the Editor:

The doctors who wrote the guest essay are right: It helps to know what an early abortion looks like.

Over 35 years ago, after receiving an aspiration abortion at about five weeks of pregnancy, I asked to see what was removed.

“Are you sure?” the doctor asked. My husband looked concerned.

But, feeling a need to face reality, I said yes and steeled myself against the fear of seeing something awful that I’d never be able to unsee.

However, when I saw, I was incredulous: “Is that all?” Just a tiny scrap of tissue, a few cells very far from fulfilling any potential of becoming a human being, nothing like what the scary billboards showed, and also much less than the discharge I’d experienced from a spontaneous naturally occurring abortion years earlier.

I returned home to my beloved baby and preschooler even more sure than before that my decision was not only what was best for my family’s well-being, but also one that I would never regret as morally wrong.

Louise Rehling
San Diego

To the Editor:

The essay fails to reveal what abortion at about six weeks looks like if you look closely.

Many women may find it misleading to say “nothing is there” and then, after their abortion, to find out that something was there; it was just too small to see with the naked eye.

At 45 days, inside the gestational sac, a beautifully formed embryo is only about 1/12 of an inch and isn’t visible to the naked eye as anything more than a tiny dot.

Bill Davenport
Kentville, Nova Scotia
The writer is the executive director of the Valley Care Pregnancy Centre, a Christian organization.

To the Editor:

I believe absolutely in a woman’s right to decide what is best for her when faced with an unexpected or unwanted pregnancy, or one where the fetus has abnormalities. That said, I found your guest essay on this topic misleading. As such, I found it a disservice to those who support a woman’s right to decide.

Years ago, I went through a Ph.D. program in human genetics at Johns Hopkins that included the first two years of medical school as part of the curriculum. Nevertheless, I was shocked when my obstetrician showed me the real-time ultrasound of my first pregnancy, which he dated at eight weeks.

What did I expect to see in the ultrasound? I expected to see a round blob — a mass of cells with no discernible human features.

What did the ultrasound show? A shape that looked like a tiny human baby! There was a head, a torso, two arms with hands and two legs with feet.

In that moment, I gained a new awareness for what the abortion proponents are up against. Many abortions mean the destruction of a form that, even when microscopic, looks like a human being, which makes a decision to terminate tough.

It does women no favors to ignore that reality and to suggest that macroscopic views of the sac that resemble nothing looking like a human means pregnant women should have no second thoughts about an abortion.

These decisions to terminate are and should be profoundly difficult decisions. And because the decisions are profoundly difficult, they should be made only by the pregnant woman and, if she chooses, in consultation with the father, her doctor, her family and any other trusted confidants.

Jennifer Davis
San Mateo, Calif.

To the Editor:

The writers use the same argument other apologists for abortion have relied on for the past 50 years. Essentially, they say: “See, abortion isn’t this messy procedure of killing a baby as the pro-lifers have told you. It’s just gestational tissue.”

Take a closer look, and you see a set of chromosomes unique to the individual who was living.

No, the “tissue” that Dr. JoanFleischman removed from Jewel’s womb did not look like a near fully formed baby, and we would not have expected it to. When embryos live a bit longer, they develop the unmistakable markers of a fetus. By the 10th week of pregnancy, no one would mistake an unborn child for “tissue.”

A reminder: Each of us had as humble a beginning as the tiny human.

Scott McBride
Bozeman, Mont.

To the Editor:

The Times is to be congratulated for demonstrating that an early pregnancy is not a child, not an infant, not a neonate, not even a fetus recognizable as a human being, but rather a collection of cells characterized by the potential within its genetic program.

The next step is to educate the public that form and even function are not what make us valuable to ourselves and to others: It is feeling. Feeling is a function of consciousness, and consciousness does not develop until late in gestation and does not reach full development until after birth.

John Brodsky
Swarthmore, Pa.
The writer is a retired general practice doctor.

After Beating Tyre Nichols, Officers ‘Celebrating’!

Credit…Memphis Police Department

To the Editor:

As a former state and federal prosecutor in Tennessee, I have reviewed the video of the fatal beating of Tyre Nichols with professional interest as well as personal horror.

The most telling piece of evidence to place in front of the jury is the celebratory fist bump exchanged by the officers after the fatal beating.

Look closely. They are celebrating what they have done.

Charles W.B. Fels
Knoxville, Tenn.

To the Editor:

I’m a white man who was driving in a “white” Connecticut town when I was pulled over for what the state trooper thought was an improper turn. When I rolled down my window, the officer was already screaming at me. Screaming!

I was stunned. Why was he so angry?

I remember thinking how different that traffic stop could have been if I were “different.” And that good policing has to start with not hiring the wrong people to do it.

Maybe most cops do begin with a protect and serve mentality. How that devolves into an “us versus them” predisposition must be addressed.

Peter Keating
Charlestown, R.I.

To the Editor:

Why don’t we have a separate traffic department whose only focus is on traffic violations and to write citations? Why are armed police in charge of managing traffic issues? Isn’t their primary job to fight crime and make communities safer?

Why does this keep happening? Is it not time to take away control of traffic from police departments?

Vivien Eisenberg
Evanston, Ill.

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