In the News

New York Times Letter to the Editor

Sunday, January 11, 2009
Silvia Henriquez and Melanie Zurek
The New York Times

To the Editor:

In your article, abortion is called “safe, legal and inexpensive.”

While this common procedure is safe and is mostly legal, despite aggressive regulation, it is not inexpensive. An abortion at 10 weeks’ gestation costs $523 on average, often out of pocket.

To term this “inexpensive,” especially in the current economy, is ludicrous.

Many women struggle to raise the money for an abortion as their pregnancy progresses. Sixty-seven percent of poor women having an abortion report that they would have preferred to have an earlier procedure.

Regarding abortion’s “widespread availability,” that is perhaps true for some in New York, but not for all women.

Self-induced abortion does raise questions about women’s experience, but glossing over the challenges of gaining access to abortion services does nothing to answer these questions. It neither reflects the reality of abortion delivery nor the reality of women’s lives.

Melanie Zurek

Silvia Henriquez

Cambridge, Mass., Jan. 6, 2009

The writers are executive directors of, respectively, the Abortion Access Project and the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health.