Wondering about this latest Tennessee anti-abortion bill and its real aim? The present day reminds me of what was happening in the U.S. at the turn of the 20th century.

Before then, abortion wasn't really on any legislative agenda, except in the mid-1800s when doctors sought to make abortions safer under their purview. Even the Catholic Church wasn't strident about abortion as long as it was performed before "animation of the soul" (at quickening).

But by the late 1800s and early 1900s, in response to more an influx of immigrants and fewer white children being born, the states began enacting laws making abortion illegal. Teddy Roosevelt accused white women of contributing to "race suicide" by not having enough children.

Today, we hear the same drumbeat: too many immigrants, white women having fewer children. Again we see a concerted effort to block and deport immigrants of color, and coerce women, especially white women, to have more children by blocking access to legal abortions.

It explains bills stating life begins at conception, which are aimed at outlawing many contraceptives that anti-abortionists claim are abortifacients, even though they are not. (When Japan faced this dilemma in the 1990s, they offered families more money and child care, not punitive measures.)

If you want to reduce abortion and show your pro-life bona fides, here's what works: Comprehensive sex education, access to contraceptives, good educational systems, and care for all children, not just "yours." None of these approaches are in the Tennessee bill.

Nancy Hatch Woodward


Websites need oversight

Once again, a terrorist has killed and injured numerous people. And, once again, the commentators have trotted out the usual suspects: too many guns and mental illness. However, there is a third factor that is mentioned most of the time, but only in passing: The terrorist has been radicalized by internet sites such as 8chan.

When the founding fathers enshrined the right to free speech in the Constitution, they had in mind a person who stands up on a soap box in the middle of the town square and says what they have to say, not some troll hiding under a bridge.

Every newspaper in this country that publishes letters to the editor requires that the letter be signed by the author and include the address and phone number of the author.

We should hold internet websites to this same standard. I hope that Congress will pass a law that requires that every posting on any website include the name and address of the author.

Anyone can spew hate and vitriol while hiding under the cloak of anonymity. Let's see how many radicals and bullies we have when we can identify them by name.

Jim Olson