To the Editor:
I applaud your April 26 online editorial for laying out the case for reforming El Salvador’s extreme abortion law, but was deeply disappointed to see El Salvador’s leadership miss a historic opportunity to do right by its citizens (news article, April 27).
As a Catholic committed to social justice and women’s autonomy, I am brokenhearted to see time and again the Catholic hierarchy playing politics with women’s lives. In El Salvador, a potent power punch of religious conservatives, business interests, and political and social elites continue to uphold this cruel law, which has hurt and killed so many poor women and girls.
Catholics revere the primacy of individual conscience, including the sacred right of each and every individual to make her own ethical decisions over her body. From Chile to Ireland, citizens in traditionally Catholic countries have been given the chance to debate the morality of draconian abortion laws that punish women, especially poor women.
And as we saw in Chile, the majority of Catholics ultimately come to the conclusion that we must trust women and put their freedom and dignity first. It is upsetting that El Salvador’s leaders have reneged on this moment to reform an unjust law that has brought so much pain, especially to the most vulnerable women.
JON O’BRIEN, WASHINGTON
The writer is president of Catholics for Choice
This letter was originally published in The New York Times.