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Repeal outdated, unenforceable criminal penalties for abortion care

Lawmakers convene on the House floor during a session at the Illinois State Capitol in Springfield. | Seth Perlman/AP file

There is a lot of noise these days about abortion. Tweets and speeches from partisan places bounce around in our heads, creating doubt and replacing facts with lies. This OB-GYN would like to set the record straight: No one is murdering newborns or ripping them out days before birth. Contrary to the way some headlines are presented, 88 percent of all abortions occur in the first trimester. Only 1.3 percent occur after 20 weeks gestation, and the vast majority of these are for dangerous fetal or maternal medical conditions I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.

I should know. I ended a loved and wanted pregnancy in 2009 in the second trimester, after learning my son, Thomas, would have suffocated to death had he been born. For my family, this was intrauterine palliative care. I am on the front lines of women’s health care. I have story after story of women and families who have ended pregnancies. It is never simple, never flippant.

It is always health care. It is always personal. It is never a place for government.

As a mother and OB-GYN, I strongly support HB 2495: The Illinois Reproductive Health Act. This bill would repeal the outdated and unenforceable criminal penalties for abortion care. It is terrible legal design to have multiple, contradictory laws on the books.

Counseling women on their pregnancy choices is my job. I trained long and hard for it. I spend sleepless nights worrying about moms and their babies. I have always found it ironic that those who call for the smallest government want to squeeze it into my exam room and uterus. Medical providers, like me, are the ones to listen to for health care guidance — not politicians.

Abortion is health care and has been since ancient times. It has no place in the criminal code.

Dr. Cheryl Axelrod, Wilmette

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Repeal parental notification of abortion

I commend the Sun-Times for its editorial “For safety’s sake, repeal the Illinois Parental Notification Act” (Tuesday). I also commend our state legislators for advancing SB 1594, the bill to repeal the act and, in doing so, protect the health and safety of the young women of Illinois.

State law cannot dictate family dynamics. Young women who may decide to have an abortion will tell a parent, if they can. For those who can’t, they must have the ability to make their own decisions about their own future. Requiring judicial intervention is an extraordinary obstacle and punishment. Please contact your legislators now and entreat them to vote yes on SB 1594.

Laura Zupko, Ukrainian Village