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Choose life until the end

To the Editor:

I applaud Kathryn Eastburn for her insightful, inspiring and informative article on palliative care ("Going All the Way," Sept. 28). While reading the article, I kept anticipating the personal testimony of someone who chose physician-assisted suicide to end his or her life. To my surprise and delight, I did not find it anywhere. Eastburn did not even hint at the idea that physician-assisted suicide is an end-of-life option. I want to thank her for firmly and lovingly showing that palliative care is more than just an option.

The article traces Kay Arnold's process of choosing hospice care, planning her funeral, reflecting on her life, writing her obituary, spending time with her family, and gently approaching death. Had she chosen physician-assisted suicide, she would have abruptly shortened her time to plan and say goodbye to her family, especially since her hospice center encouraged and supported her in all of these actions.

I hope that after reading her story people will pause and take a closer look at physician-assisted suicide. Individuals suffering from terminal diseases often choose to end their lives out of fear of losing control, of experiencing unbearable pain, or of becoming an emotional and financial burden to their families. While physician-assisted suicide claims to bring a peaceful, speedy death, it does not appease any of these fears. Palliative care, on the other hand, offers psychological, emotional, medical and relational support.

If you or someone you love is nearing the end of his or her life, do not be afraid of choosing life, as Kay did, and of going all the way.

--Stacy Patterson
Colorado Springs

Yes on 25

To the Editor:

How long did it take you to decide which college to attend? How long did it take you to decide which car to buy? How long did you take to decide which house to live in? For most people, these decisions take far more than 24 hours. Amendment 25 is asking for only 24 hours to consider a life-altering decision.

We are women who have experienced abortion. We share a common bond with all women who have had abortions. We bring a needed perspective to this debate.

There is not a day that goes by that we do not think about our babies and regret the decision. We as women are told to trust our doctors. Yet, those of us who had our abortions in a clinic never met or talked to the doctor until the time of the procedure. We were never given information about fetal development, we did not hear about adoption or parenting options. We were told there would be no pain (abortion is very painful).

Many women are ambiguous when they first discover that they are pregnant. Often in an untimely pregnancy, denial is a part of the experience. We were alone, scared, emotionally distraught and very vulnerable at the time of our abortions. We felt pressured to have an abortion. Yet, we were told that abortion would be a solution, not a source of future grief as it was for us. We were told the procedure should be done as soon as possible. We were not given time to consider this most personal and important decision of our lives.

Amendment 25 will ensure that women will be given a comprehensive understanding of all the options for pregnancy and the consequences of a decision to abort. If the Woman's Health Act/ Woman's Right to Know had been in place at the time of our abortions, our choices would have been informed and may have been different.

It is our wish that any of our sisters who may face an unplanned pregnancy will not have to suffer the effects of abortion as we did. We want all women who face this dilemma to have the truth presented to them as they would for any other medical procedure. Please vote YES on Amendment 25.

--Jean Park
Nancy H. Mutek
Jody Petry
Cheryl Martinez
Colorado Springs

No on 25

To the Editor:

This November, Colorado voters will decide whether or not the government should interfere in personal, private decisions by telling women what they have to read, see and hear before they could choose to have an abortion. Amendment 25 sounds simple, but it is actually complicated and full of red tape. Like most ballot initiatives, voters are warned to read the fine print.

Amendment 25 is another anti-abortion measure petitioned onto the ballot by groups that want to eliminate all access to abortion. Amendment 25 is sponsored by the same groups that put two anti-abortion amendments on the ballot in 1998. They keep relentlessly chipping away.

This latest attack on choice masquerades as a "Woman's Right to Know" law, but it really targets doctors and jeopardizes privacy. Doctors would be forced to file reports with the government about their patients and the abortions they provide. These reports would be compiled by government bureaucrats for publication. Doctors would also be subject to criminal felony charges if they do not follow government mandates for obtaining informed consent.

Whether you personally support or oppose abortion, it's wrong for anti-abortion groups to force their views on others. Abortion protesters are using Amendment 25 to do just this. This is a deeply personal and private decision that should be made without government interference.

Doctors and medical clinics like Planned Parenthood will do a much better job than government bureaucrats to ensure that women get the information they need to make an informed and responsible choice. Planned Parenthood does more to prevent abortions each day by providing responsible sex education and family planning services than the anti-abortion groups ever will. If they truly cared about women's reproductive health care, they would support the work of Planned Parenthood, but they don't. Their only desire is to continue to chip away at reproductive choice, and that's what Amendment 25 is all about.

Before you vote on Amendment 25, ask yourself if you trust the government to collect reports of medical information from our doctors. Ask yourself if it is worth half a million dollars in the first two years to set up this new bureaucracy to keep tabs on doctors. Ask yourself if you think doctors should be subject to criminal prosecution for providing legal medical care. And most importantly, read the ballot carefully; there is more to Amendment 25 than meets the eye.

--Cindy Shealy
Public Affairs and Education Coordinator, Planned Parenthood
Colorado Springs

Another wrinkle in 25

To the Editor:

Your article on Amendment 25 ("Amendment 25 raises sticky issues...," Oct. 5) was excellent in showing the bill's drawbacks regarding abortion rights as well as the threat to doctors' privacy.

However, I believe that people should be aware of a stealth tactic buried deep within the bill, the text of which can be accessed at

The bill includes a slick little phrase that few notice. In paragraph 25-6-303 (3) it defines "conception" as the "fusion of a human spermatozoon with a human ovum." This is in contrast to standard medical practice, which considers conception to be the point at which the fertilized egg implants into the uterus, approximately 7 days after the egg has been fertilized by the sperm.

This switch makes it possible for this bill to apply from the time of fertilization, automatically classifying all birth control methods that prevent implantation as abortifacients, meaning that they cause an abortion. This includes oral contraceptives, IUDs, Norplant -- everything other than barrier methods.

Women wanting prescriptions from their doctor would be subjected to the same anti-choice video and literature as women seeking abortions of confirmed pregnancies. They, too, would have to wait 24 hours and sign consent forms before obtaining birth control.

Passage of this Amendment would represent a grand coup d'tat for abortion opponents, since this battle has been about contraception all along.

--Janet Brazill
Colorado Springs

A little more poetry, please

To the Editor:

I think what Mary Crow is up to is a great thing ("Flight Lessons," Oct. 5). We do need more poetry in our public schools, smiling the children and lifting spirits through what Mary calls "the natural language of adolescents."

Maybe when we learn to slow down and listen to the poetry all around us, we may be able to connect on a new level with our children. Thanks, Mary.

--dk rakkow
Colorado Springs

P.S. I wonder what Mary would think of a poetry page in the Independent?

Into the woods

To the Editor:

It appears Ali Macalady doesn't really know what the National Rifle Association (NRA) is all about ("A Hunter for Gun Control," Sept. 28).

First, the NRA is the nation's leader in providing firearm safety education from the "Eddie Eagle" program which teaches kids to "stop, don't touch, leave the area, tell an adult" when they encounter a firearm not under adult control, to training programs for law enforcement officers. The NRA has the largest group of certified firearm safety instructors available.

The NRA Foundation, the nonprofit, nonpolitical arm of the NRA, funds hunter education, youth firearm safety, conservation and range development programs throughout the country.

Ali claims to enjoy hunting but supports "Hunters for Gun Control." Does she really believe the SAFE and HCI people will be satisfied with eliminating handguns? All we need do is look at England and Australia to see what has happened to hunting and shooting sports in the name of "sensible" gun control.

Yes, Ms. Macalady, "suburban moms and hardcore environmentalists" will be joining you in the woods for hunting. The only problem: They are hunting you and our right to keep and bear arms.

--Bernie Herpin
Colorado Springs

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