Today it’s unthinkable - Hawthorne’s Hester Prynne, forced to brandish that scarlet "A" for her indiscretion. The stigma of adultery having practically vanished from society.


Perhaps in its place, condemnation of another reviled A-word, abortion. The spectrum of viewpoints surrounding the procedure vary - when, if ever; under what circumstances, if any; how, if at all, it should be sanctioned.


Even among the opposed there are exceptions – rape, incest, a threat to the mother’s life – in which termination of a pregnancy is considered not only acceptable but a humane course of action.


My intent is not to change those opinions, but to present some facts regarding the subject. Several came as a surprise as I researched the matter.


Astoundingly I discovered that 10-15% of pregnancies end with spontaneous abortion – commonly known as miscarriage. Through no fault of the woman, it occurs due to issues such as genetics, poor health or a severe birth defect.


The controversial extremely "late-term" abortion is so rare it represents .01% of all those performed.


One revealing incident involved Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She has been mercilessly slandered, called "baby killer" for her support of reproductive rights. Detractors should read of her battle on behalf of Susan Struck, a nurse serving in Vietnam.


Prior to 1970 women in the military were discharged for becoming pregnant. Struck was transferred to a base stateside where abortion was legal. Though she offered to give the child up for adoption, the disposition board’s decision was final; have an abortion or leave the military. Struck sued and Ginsburg serving as her attorney, succeeded in winning a stay for her discharge. The case worked its way through appeals, but before reaching the Supreme Court the Air Force was convinced to change the policy.


Senatorial candidate Dr. Barbara Bollier’s vote against a 2011 bill regarding abortion has garnered criticism by misrepresenting her position and glossing over the consequences of the bill.


Dr. Bollier explained her position, "The bill forced women to carry to term fetuses with no chance of living. Further, the bill explicitly stated that the mental and emotional health of the pregnant woman can’t be a factor. The inclusion in this bill of the requirement that a pregnant woman must carry to term a fetus diagnosed with anencephaly, is unconscionable. I vote "no" on HB 2218 firm in my belief that the government does not belong in this heart wrenching physician-patient relationship."


To clarify, anencephaly is a rare birth defect resulting in an underdeveloped brain and incomplete skull that happens during the formation of the neural tube. Carried to term, a newborn with the condition will likely be stillborn or live only a matter of hours or days.


In truth, abortions have been declining steadily largely due to safe, effective contraception including non-surgical options to abortion that prevent implantation in the uterus.


Termination of a pregnancy remains a painful decision. Equally as distressing is the politicization of such a deeply personal choice.


Kathie Moore, rural Hutchinson, is a freelance artist, retired from the U.S. Postal Service. Email her at klmnews45@gmail.com.