Fighting Feminists

Norah Vincent's latest Higher Ed column ["Spread 'Em," May 2] was the last straw. After the heroic struggles of young women to have access to abortions in college—something they likely do not have access to in their hometowns—for Vincent to define the hard work and consciousness-raising of pro-choice activists as ideological brainwashing is nauseating.

Many of my SUNY Purchase students who have children are the most vocal in their support of accessible, affordable abortion not because they've been influenced by the evil feminist thought police, but because they do not want other women to have to struggle to raise a child, work at least one job, and go to school.

I don't doubt that on some—but hardly all—campuses, an anti-abortion stance is pretty unpopular. If women feel silenced, that's a serious problem. But Vincent has some nerve to blame pregnant women's being a "particularly vulnerable minority" on feminists. Campus feminists agitate for abortion services and child care facilities, accessible contraception and woman-centered obstetrics. Vincent's mean-spiritedness was, up to now, a laughable irritant. Now it's closer to a destructive lie.

Sarah E. Chinn

Shame on Norah Vincent for using incomplete statistics. In her May 2 column, she states: "According to statistics provided to FFL [Feminists for Life] by a health care center and a nearby pregnancy care center at one university in the Northeast, in just one year, from a total pool of 3000 women students, 600 had pregnancy tests. Three hundred came back positive. Only six women had babies."

Is this supposed to imply that the other 294 (98 percent) had abortions? Did the health center and pregnancy care center have that information? What about the women who continued their pregnancies and received health care from other facilities?

While I support the right of those women to choose abortion, the statistics are unclear, and not in line with previous studies done on abortion rates by the Alan Guttmacher Institute.

Shannon M. Criniti

As co-editor of the book Prolife Feminism, Yesterday and Today, I would like to compliment you for publishing Norah Vincent's article on pregnancy discrimination on campus. I am one of those relatively rare pro-life academics in women's studies, and from my experience at the University of Colorado, I can attest to the types of prejudice and discrimination she describes. I would like to emphasize that while all teachers and counselors have an ideological agenda that they push with more or less respect for the other's subjectivity, there are some counselors who strongly suggest abortion, or assume that it is the only option, only because they see no viable alternatives.

If a pregnancy will seriously impair a woman's education or career, the counselor no doubt feels that she is acting in the young woman's best interests, even though this lack of vision reinforces the gender discrimination that has limited women's options in the first place. Pro-choicers and pro-lifers who want to help women and children need to help change the sociological factors that lead to unplanned pregnancies and make childbearing a liability instead of a creative power to be celebrated.

Linda Naranjo-Huebl
Aurora, Colorado

A hearty thanks to Norah Vincent for calling out universities on their policies (or lack thereof) toward pregnant students. Being a liberal yet unwaveringly pro-life student at NYU (yes—such people exist!), I can hardly imagine the treatment that a pregnant student would receive here, and I can't bear to imagine the number of tiny lives that have been squelched as a result.

Why are students so unprepared to deal with the consequences of their actions? Perhaps it's because so many are affluent, self-centered, and, as Miss Vincent suggests, influenced by a conveniently hardened and cost-efficient staff.

Lauren Alzos

The Edge

In "If a Cop Kills My Son, I Will Kill the Cop" [April 11], Peter Noel writes: "Maybe I had gone over the edge." Judging by his comments in your paper, I'd say he's right. Mr. Noel's "eye for an eye" justification for vigilante justice in New York is worse than reckless. White police officers are not hunting to kill black people in this city. Saying it will not make it so.

Ed Jacobs

Like it is

Peter Noel's article "If a Cop Kills My Son, I Will Kill the Cop" was brilliant, moving, and most of all, bold. In cutting through the bullshit that's been posing as debate in papers like The New York Times, it offered the rare opportunity to reflect on the issue of police brutality from a viewpoint that has so far remained inexcusably unexplored in the press: that of the nonwhite New Yorker who fears that his son will be the next target.

Christopher Zimmerman
Farmington, Pennsylvania

Public Enemy

I am an African American female who is ferociously upset over the recent rash of killings and executions of African American males by police. However, I am incensed at Peter Noel's rhetoric in the article "If a Cop Kills My Son, I Will Kill the Cop." Although I believe we should exercise "whatever means necessary" to deal with the situation, I find the attitude in Mr. Noel's article self-serving and sensational.

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