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To the editor:

In “Psychiatrists Can Decide on Access to Abortions” (Opinion Guest Essay, The Sunday Review, June 5), Sally Satele suggests that mental health exceptions to the abortion ban encourage both physicians and their pregnant patients to lie. This assertion has led some states to ban abortions except in “physical” life-threatening emergencies.

Such fear-mongering ignores the fact that unwanted pregnancies often cause serious mental disorders. For example, under the ban on abortion in El Salvador, 38 percent of maternal deaths — hundreds every year — are the result of suicides by pregnant girls under 19. Of course, not all those who are forced into pregnancy will attempt suicide, but we should not doubt the serious mental health impact of being forced to carry an unwanted pregnancy.

Mental health exceptions require clinicians to confront the circumstances surrounding abortion—poverty, having to care for other children, bad relationships—and understand how being denied access can provoke a severe mental breakdown or suicide. This is the truth of their patients, not the lies that require these exceptions.

Michelle Oberman
Palo Alto, California.
The writer is a professor at Santa Clara University School of Law.

To the editor:

I had a so-called “therapeutic” abortion in California in 1969. At the time, as Sally Satel accurately describes, California was one of only three states to allow such abortions.

But in order to get an abortion, I was interviewed by two psychiatrists and confirmed that my mental health was hanging by a thread because of the unwanted pregnancy.

So the doctors had to lie; I had to lie. I’ve been guilty of lying, not abortion, for over 50 years.

Women should not be stigmatized or demonized for our decisions. The medical profession should not be involved, again, in illegal, unethical, but sympathetic practices.

Nancy Schultz
Vancouver, Washington.

To the editor:

I am a Family Nurse and over the years have had to take on most of the mental health work of my patients due to lack of access to psychiatrists. Many psychiatrists are not covered by insurance plans, and for my Medicaid patients it is especially difficult, if not impossible, to find a psychiatrist.

How would this affect the women in Sally Satel’s scenario if psychiatrists are called upon to decide who has access to abortion care? Will psychiatrists be available only to women who can pay for them?

I’m afraid this will be another way that those with the means can access abortion and those with less means can’t.

Abortion is a health concern. Mental health is health care. They both should be an integral part of our healthcare system, accessible to all.

Michelle Cochran
Washington

To the editor:

Re “Trump rejects aides over loss, denying reality” (front page, June 14):

As I watched the committee’s Jan. 6 interview with insiders advising President Trump to accept the 2020 election results, I couldn’t help but wonder about the enormous impact one person can have on our society.

Just think what a different country the United States would be today if Trump acknowledged the accuracy of the vote count, graciously conceded defeat, facilitated Biden’s smooth transition to the presidency, and then quietly retired to Mar-a-Lago.

Oh, how I would like to live in this country!

Bruce Harville
Madison, Wisconsin.

To the editor:

Re “Looking for Clues Why Action Movies Are So Young” (front page, June 2):

An article on why young people are disproportionately involved in mass shootings offers several plausible reasons, but misses an important point: Young people in many industrialized countries face social pressure, brain development and violent content on social media—and yet mass shootings (including school shootings) are extremely rare outside of the US

Most school shootings associated with an unprotected handgun. The ease with which these and other weapons can be obtained in the US—unlike other countries—creates the perfect storm in which the turbulence and loneliness of emotionally disturbed teenagers often find deadly expression.

Ronald W. Pais
Lexington, Massachusetts.
The writer is a psychiatrist.

To the editor:

Re “Pipes, guitars, violins and a little solace among Uvalde’s tears” by Rick Rojas (news article, June 5):

As a Mexican American mourning the massacre of 19 students and two teachers in Uvalda, Texas, I am grateful to Mr. Rojas for his outstanding tribute to the innocent lives lost, the mariachi musical tradition and its orphaned performers, and generations of immigrant families and Mexican Americans from all over the country united – in pain, anger and love – through this tragedy.

Culturally rich, analytically elegant, and emotionally respectful, Mr. Rojas’ presentation of our music and mariachi songs and how they apply to extremely difficult times in life should be read by all Americans, regardless of their race, ethnicity, or cultural background.

Unfortunately, the ongoing gun violence we face across the country has turned into a national crisis affecting all cultural communities.

Alejandro Lugo
Forest Park, Illinois.
The writer taught anthropology and Latin studies at several universities for three decades.

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