Abortion is a controversial, divisive and emotional subject. In Jeff Paschal’s recent column (“I am a pastor. And I am pro-choice, too,” May 5), he approaches the issue head on, from a perspective of compassion and understanding.

The government’s access to a woman’s body holds a direct line to a slippery slope. Some groups want to grant a fetus equal rights. The courts would overflow with cases determining if a woman was risking her fetus. Fetal risk could be anything from taking chemotherapy to save the mother’s life, hiking up a steep mountain or any behavior deemed a danger to the fetus.

Effective in 2017, via Donald Trump’s executive orders, the government now prevents nongovernmental organizations that receive U.S. funding from performing or providing abortion information or counseling. This policy expands to all U.S. foreign assistance programs, not just family planning.

The result is that care is limited. According to the World Health Organization, unsafe abortion is one of the five central causes of maternal mortality worldwide. The other four are hemorrhage, eclampsia, sepsis and obstructed labor.

The WHO has determined that unsafe abortion accounts for 13 percent of maternal deaths worldwide. And recent research has shown that lack of education, including birth control, actually leads to more unwanted pregnancies, more unsafe abortions and death, and higher rates of sexually transmitted diseases.

A recent United Nations Security Council resolution condemned sexual violence in wartime. However, the American delegation insisted that references to protecting women’s “sexual and reproductive health” be removed.

Demanding that raped women during war be denied abortions?

This reflects the United States’ hostility towards women all over the world.

We need to provide compassion and understanding — and to give value to the relationship between a woman and her doctor — during an extremely difficult decision

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The writer lives in Greensboro.