Ross Olson's Web Site

Social Issues: Letters

To: Editor Star Tribune
Subject: Same Old tune

Ellen Goodman has given a virtuoso performance of "The Symphony of the Deceived" ("Another all-male cast of candidates campaigns on abortion" 1/31/2000).

The first movement is a variation on the familiar theme, "Pregnancy is an infectious disease that strikes without warning." The second is the ever-popular, "We want to be just like men -- sexually irresponsible without visible consequences." The finale with a flourish is the appealing, "Abortion is a magic potion that even its detractors would drink at need."

The antiphonal strains are not heard in this rendition. I might recommend a good sex education course for the first movement. Looking at the Virginia Slims ads -- "You've Come A Long Way, Baby" -- might remind women that they can do a lot better than that. In-depth interviews with women who have experienced abortions and are honest about their feelings will reveal that it is no solution, but a life sentence of remorse.

Ross S. Olson MD
5512 14th Ave. So.
Minneapolis MN 55417

Response from a reader

February 8, 2000

Ross S. Olson, M.D.
5512 14th Ave. S.
Minneapolis, MN 55417

Dear Dr. Olson:

If Ellen Goodman is playing an old familiar symphony, then your response to it is an even older, tireder tune, except that you have managed to play it in a new key, one that is simultaneously sanctimonious, vituperative, and mocking, and which does NOTHING to enhance the lives or wellbeing of women or children.

You suggest that a glance at a Virginia Slims ad should be all the reminder of women's liberation that any modern girl needs. Do you, a medical doctor, need to be reminded that these ads were conceived to SELL CIGARETTES, addiction to which leas to a multitude of health problems and early death? How far have women really come when a male doctor feels no compunction about mocking them, in print, with the fact that men have the option of sex without responsibility, while women do not? How far have women really come when they can be raped or coerced into sexual relations by a man they trust, and then expected by quite a lot of people to bear the child of this forcible union? (Talk about,a lifetime sentence!)

Unless you are doing something to reduce the need for abortions (and yes, there IS a need), such as providing contraception and information about its correct use, and more to the point, adopting children whose biological mothers for whatever reason are unable to raise them, and speaking out AGAINST the exploitation of women by men (not for it, as your letter to the Star Tribune implicitly seemed to be doing), then you are part of the problem. Period.


My answer to the responder

February 20, 2000

Dear Ms. ______,

Thank you for signing your letter responding to my letter to the Star Tribune. I do not know if your failure to add your address was intended to imply that you wished no further reply, but since your name was in the phone book, I will take the liberty of responding. My letter was terse because the Star Tribune will not publish extensive thoughtful pieces on the subject. Perhaps the condensed nature of the thoughts made it difficult to understand or perhaps it was your emotional response to someone you think is "anti-woman."

To begin and the end, yes I have adopted. My wife and I adopted two children of single mothers, placed for adoption by those courageous women because they wanted them to live and have the best chance for a family. We raised them along with our two biologic children. Yes I do preventative work in my pediatric practice, teaching boys to respect girls and girls to avoid boys who want sex without commitment. I teach families that often teens get into sex because they lack warm loving relationships with their parents, particularly the often absent or irresponsible father.

The point about Virginia Slims is that women need not follow men into foolishness. Smoking is a bad idea. Why in the world view it as a sign of liberation? In the same way, sex without commitment is destructive. The swinger may think he is having a wonderful time but he destroys himself along with many others and is not to be envied.

The final point, which the Star will not publish, is the clear evidence that abortion is emotionally destructive, to the women, to the men involved, to later-born children and even those idealistically involved in the abortion movement. I ask you to read the enclosed papers, then wait, cool down and read it later. I would value your response. I hope that you will give this matter serious thought. And at the very least, even if you can never bring yourself to agree, I hope that you will see that because I truly believe this, I am only being caring to try to dissuade those who see abortion as a "solution."


Ross S. Olson MD
5512 14th Ave. So.
Minneapolis MN 55417

Enclosed "It's Not Good For Women (Or Men)"

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