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Letters to the Editor should be exclusive to The Globe and Mail. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. Try to keep letters to fewer than 150 words. Letters may be edited for length and clarity. To submit a letter by e-mail, click here: letters@globeandmail.com

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Access to abortion pill

Given the confusion, differing opinions and attitudes surrounding the abortion pill’s use, perhaps it should be renamed the “misconception pill” (The Abortion Pill Works, If It’s Available – editorial, July 17).

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Rick Walker, Toronto

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As your coverage of access to medication-abortion has pointed out, 73 per cent of prescriptions for Mifegymiso have been written in Calgary. Most of these have come from Kensington Clinic, the only free-standing abortion clinic in the city.

It should be noted that solutions to access issues outside Calgary and Edmonton were being explored before the spring election. As well, the safe-access-zone legislation that was passed in 2018 was intended to provide a measure of protection to all physicians in the province from the outside harassment that sadly often comes along with this important health-care service.

Stigma is indeed the root of the problem, and requires strong leadership and meaningful support for reproductive services if we are to effectively address this health-care system failure.

In the meantime, Kensington has made access as simple as possible for patients, particularly those travelling to us, by providing all preoperative care for both surgical and medical abortion in one visit. And we can direct patients from outside Calgary to physicians who are at least willing to provide non-judgmental follow-up care.

Celia Posyniak, executive director, Kensington Clinic, Calgary

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While it seems illogical that widespread access barriers for the abortion pill exist, doctors may in fact be exercising their best professional judgment in limiting access to this abortion method. Terminating a pregnancy is a serious procedure that should not be trivialized to the point of simply taking a pill. Regulatory bodies should enforce high standards of physician training and patient counselling surrounding this form of abortion.

Thomas Johnson, Montreal

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What a disappointment that the advent of the “abortion pill” did not eliminate the obstacles many Canadians face in obtaining an abortion, especially if they don’t live in a large urban centre. Many primary-care providers avoid prescribing the drug because they don’t want to be seen as an abortion-provider, or perceive the pill as too complex to administer.

Some provinces create additional barriers, such as only covering the pill if it is obtained from certain clinics, or requiring a doctor to take in-person training before being allowed to prescribe it. While some doctors have striven to increase access, for example counselling and prescribing by videoconference, abortion care remains a low priority or something to avoid for many others.

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The uneven access to abortion – surgical or pill-based – whether by province, proximity to a large urban centre, or the attitude of care-providers, and the myriad attempts in the U.S. to restrict access to abortion, illustrate that women must never take their reproductive rights for granted.

Madeline Weld, president, Population Institute Canada

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Re Our History With The Abortion Pill Is Shameful (July 17): Depending on your bias, Canada’s history with abortion is shameful (full stop).

Ricardo Di Cecca, Burlington, Ont.

Stampede deaths

Re After Horse Deaths, Stampede To Review Chuckwagon Races (July 17): The next time a chuckwagon horse or some other rodeo animal is injured to the point it must be euthanized, I suggest that Stampede staff do the deed in the full view of the crowd. Why not display the vet administering the lethal injection on the Jumbotron? Why sanitize the event? Why not expose those in attendance to the full consequences of their “entertainment” choices?

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Tom Johnston, Lethbridge, Alta.

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How many cattle died so that the million-plus visitors to the Calgary Stampede could have a steak or burger whenever they wanted? How many animals die annually in Canada so we can eat meat? I can imagine that the horses died doing what they loved to do. Not so for the other animals.

Derryck Smith, Vancouver

‘Pied Piper of Bile’

Re House Votes To Condemn Trump’s Recent Comments Targeting Congresswomen Of Colour (July 17): Donald Trump says he hasn’t “a racist bone” in his body. If that’s the case, it must be a different body part that houses his all-too-evident racism.

Just a few examples: Two convictions against his management company for racial discrimination in housing in the early 1970s are in the public record; the birther movement he spearheaded was pure racism at its worst; calling for the executions of the Central Park Five – even after their exoneration; his remarks about Mexicans being rapists and murderers. Heck, even former House Speaker, Republican Paul Ryan, called Mr. Trump’s comments about a Hispanic judge “the textbook definition of racism.”

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Mr. Trump is already known as the Liar-in-Chief. He’ll likely go down in history as the Racist-in-Chief as well. What an embarrassment to America’s promise he is. Good on the House of Representatives for condemning his hateful, racist words.

George Olds, Hamilton

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Donald Trump’s bigotry has been obvious for decades. His legions of supporters, certainly those in Congress, know full well who (and what) he is. If they are willing to abide, ignore or even support their leader’s views and actions, are they any less racist?

And what of the many millions of red hats – his ultimate enablers – ever-ready to cheer his verbal flatulence? How should we perceive them? Misguided en masse? Or was this bigotry always in their hearts? Were they simply waiting for this Pied Piper of Bile to set it loose?

This is not only a problem for the United States. Our American neighbours may be deluged daily with previously unfathomable headlines, but the spectre of populism is seeping into democracies around the world.

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Wayne Ennis, Winnipeg

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I would have thought we’d be well past the point of needing to debate Donald Trump’s “racist” bona fides by now. The talk is all of semantics (what do his vile words mean?) and political (what is his aim vis à vis 2020?). Like a drug addict who will sacrifice anyone and anything for his next fix, DJT cares not a whit for the frightening consequences of his rhetoric, and will do anything to have the world talking only of him. Anything. The time for pundits has passed. Bring on the white coats.

Johanne Gregory, West Vancouver

Hmm …

Re In The 20th Century … (July 17): A letter writer wonders if it was Neil Armstrong or Neil Young who walked on the moon.

As everyone knows, credit for the moonwalk most certainly goes to Michael Jackson.

No confusion there.

David Lindsay, London, Ont.

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