Listeners Weigh in on Abortion, Kilpatrick Scandal

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This week, hear thoughts about one woman's decision to have an abortion, and how people are reacting to the scandal surrounding Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.

LYNN NEARY, host:

Now it's time for Backtalk, where we lift the curtain on conversations on the TELL ME MORE blog and get the chance to hear from you.

Lee Hill, our Web producer, has the latest from cyberspace.

LEE HILL: It's been a long week here at TELL ME MORE. There are a lot of headlines in the news, including a fair share of drama that have our listeners talking and blogging.

First, January marked the 35th anniversary of the Roe versus Wade landmark Supreme Court decision which allowed women the right to have an abortion. Well, on Monday, we brought you the story of Kimberly Matthias. Now, when she was 19, Kimberly decided to terminate her pregnancy. She talked to us about how she does not regret that choice.

But one of our listeners, Val, wrote to us after that conversation, and she wanted to share her own story.

VAL: As an African-American woman who has had an abortion some 20 years ago, I can say that I truly regret the decision, and it took an extremely long time for me to forgive myself. I did not want the scrutiny of having a child out of wedlock, especially since the father was married. Fast forward, I'm happily married and unable to successfully carry a baby full term. Our choice to grow our family: adoption. I am so glad that the biological mother did the most unselfish act ever, and that was to place her baby in a loving and waiting home.

HILL: Val, we thank you for writing, and we are glad that you found peace with your situation.

Turning the corner a bit here to another story that has a lot of folks talking, I got to tell you, earlier in the program, we talked about the scandal involving Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick. We also talked about it last week in the Barbershop.

And in response to that conversation, we heard from Kelly, who wrote to say: Be fair to the mayor.

KELLY: It is unfortunate that allegations of this nature continued to persist in this day and age. We, however, must remind ourselves that these are allegations. If they hold true, indeed, it is a sad day. If the allegations proved unsubstantiated, we have to consider how scandals of this nature will prevent quality individuals from seeking political office in order to truly make a difference.

HILL: Okay, Kelly. But Mayor Kilpatrick is in a lot of hot water with other people out there. Some of our other bloggers say not only did he fail to fulfill his duties as mayor, but he also failed to set a standard for young African-American men.

So, we take your point.

And finally, today is February 1st, which also means the start of Black History Month. Earlier this week, Michel did a commentary on why she is a fan of the commemorative month. And then we heard from Robert, one of our listeners who wrote in. He had this to say.

ROBERT: What a wonderful, informative piece on Black History Month. It seems in the past couple of years that it has become fashionable to diss Black History Month as something of a dinosaur whose time has come and gone. I'm of the opinion that it is still relevant and much needed.

My only regret is that I would like to see a more African diaspora world history. I also thank you for including the meaning of other people's history.

HILL: Thanks, Robert. But we want to mention, among all the other commemorative months, Michel neglected to mention that November is American-Indian Heritage Month. If you're reading her blog, you know she feels terrible about it. She would have mentioned it to you herself, but she lost her voice today.

NEARY: That was our Web producer, Lee Hill, with this week's Backtalk segment.

And remember to tell us more about what you think and see what our other listeners are thinking. Go to npr.org/tellmemore and blog it out.

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