Emotional effects of abortion

to see him again. I keep thinking, "What if?" Maybe my baby would have been perfect. I know I would have had a lot of pain with my back, but I could have stood that. I know it wouldn't be fair to bring a child into the world if he were retarded or deformed, but how do I know that would

have happened? And now I feel I will never forget and will always feel

I did wrong. Should I have chanced it? Could I have made it just fine

and had a healthy, normal child?

I know you probably will think I'm nuts (and maybe I am) to write such a long and personal letter to a stranger. And I suppose only God knows the answer. But if I could just get your opinion, perhaps I might feel better. I read your Newsletters, and you seem so nice and under- standing. I know your time is precious, and if you even bother to read this, I appreciate it, and I love you dearly for doing so.——G.R.

My associate editor, who has become a person of great stoicism after reading every letter that has ever been sent to my column and Newsletter, cried when she read your letter.

Your doctor's after—the—fact advice about the dangers of Soma was correct——the prescribing information clearly states that this drug, indicated for the relief of discomfort associated with acute, painful musculoskeletal conditions, has not been extablished as safe for use in pregnancy. The manufacturer warns, "Therefore, use of this drug in pregnancy, in nursing mothers, or in women of childbearing potential requires that the potential benefits of the drug be weighed against the potential hazards to mother and child."

Even if you did not know you were pregnant at the time you took those prescriptions, the drug company warned the doctor who prescribed the drug about using Soma in women of childbearing potential. Did that doctor pass on to you that warning which the drug company had so frankly shared with him? Did he ask you whether you might be pregnant before his pen touched the prescription pad? Did he recommend that you have a pregnancy test before you had the prescription filled? Did he apologize to you——when he recommended that abortion——for his earlier failure to properly warn you? Despite your doctor's classification of you as a geriatric mother, would you have had an abortion solely on the basis of your age if you hadn't taken those drugs?

Rather than continuing to blame yourself and your husband, it is high time to closely examine the crucial role your doctor played in creating the need for you to face that awesome decision.

I just finished reading the letter from the woman who grieved so deeply about the baby she had aborted. I also had an abortion several years ago. My husband was such a difficult person that I could not tolerate the thought of carrying another baby for nine months. I already had two daughters and had had two miscarriages prior to this pregnancy. No form of birth control seemed to work for me, and I am such a poor surgical risk that the doctor refused to tie my tubes or do a hysterectomy.

My husband refused to have a vasectomy.

All this was pure hell, but nothing like the anguish I suffered after the abortion. At night, I would dream about putting my baby in an inciner- ator and watching it burn. I finally forced myself to go back to the hospital where the abortion had been performed. I sat there for a while, realizing that this experience was over, and I had to continue to live for the children I had. I think I've become a more understanding person. While I often think about the baby I could have had, the hurt and pain isn't what it used to be. I no longer condemn myself for what I did.

Tell the lady who wrote you that there are no magic buttons or levers to