Jersey City, N.J.

As a longtime subscriber, I wish Katha Pollitt had had the sensitivity to postpone using her Christmas column to solicit funds for abortions to another holiday [“Subject to Debate,” Dec. 31].

I realize that to Pollitt the birth of Jesus Christ is not an occasion on which to show respect, that for her these days are not Christmas but “the holidays.” But the fact remains that historically and socially many all over the world, including many Nation subscribers, are moved to show compassion and generosity to the poor, the imprisoned, the sick and the dying on this day because of the life and teachings of Jesus. To many the very vulnerability of the newborn Jesus is an argument to respect life in the womb. Pollitt may not believe this. But it would be more appropriate if she solicited funds at Christmas for unwed mothers and selected the birthday of some famous person other than Jesus on which to ask for money so that more of the unborn may be killed.


Pollitt Replies

New York City

No disrespect intended. I always enjoy hearing from Father Schroth. However, the holiday donations list is not a Catholic fundraiser, and The Nation is not a Catholic magazine. The holiday donation list offers a smorgasbord of causes so readers can find one that appeals to their own sense of urgency. Some choose to help a low-income US woman get an abortion with a donation to the National Network of Abortion Funds. Others decide to ensure healthy pregnancies and safe deliveries by donating to the just-founded Women’s Health Initiative in Liberia. Maybe some donated to both! Nation readers have already contributed $12,000 to the latter, by the way, which is pretty amazing. It’s not too late to give: HEARTT Women’s Health Initiative, Box 1097, Stratford, CT 06614.


Children Having Babies

Sioux Falls, S.D.

Having seen Juno recently, I enjoyed Katha Pollitt’s column “Maternity Fashions, Junior Size” [Jan. 21]. But I disagree that the movie was saying “for a high school junior to go through pregnancy and childbirth to give a baby to an infertile couple is both noble and cool.” When Juno is left crying and disconsolate after the birth of her son, the heartache and sense of loss a mother feels when losing her child is made clear. Juno’s raw emotion vividly portrays the idea that her action is anything but “cool.” It is devastating.


New York City

Any movie that helps remove the stigma from adoption should be applauded, not disparaged. Adoption is a viable alternative to teen motherhood. Most children raised in adoptive homes have a better chance than those raised by teen mothers. Most teen mothers who decide to raise their children do so at a terrible cost to their own futures and those of their children, in loss of education and life opportunities.

I have worked in inner-city schools for eighteen years, and while it’s true that abstinence-only education is at fault for the increase in teen pregnancy, many of the teens here who become pregnant know about birth control. A girl in our school who is pregnant had an abortion the first time she became pregnant–not an unusual pattern. When I suggested adoption to a guidance counselor, she replied, “We don’t do this in our community.”


Asheville, N.C.

Lack of sex education is not what’s causing the explosion of births among entertainers. Is it possible the same people who arrange deals for Britney and Nicole to drink Starbucks and wear Juicy Couture also arrange that the new must-have accessory is a double stroller?

Forget about the long struggle to free women (and men) from the biological drudgery of proliferation; the increasing vogue is to spawn. Over the past ten years or so, when women in the entertainment industry have taken a hiatus to replicate themselves, they have graced the covers of fashionable magazines in all their stripped-down-to-a-mere-biological-function glory. “Articles” have been splashed across the pages of checkout rags desperately attempting to glamorize one of the more grotesque aspects of life.

Babies are good for profits, and if you have enough babies, in twenty years they are good for keeping labor in its place. Encouraging girls to get pregnant has less to do with religious conviction than with the almighty dollar. We need to start looking at this as the mass-marketing campaign it is, now with movie-length commercials encouraging consumer replication.