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I had to respond to Patricia Magaldi's letter about the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and your editorial supporting ratification of this treaty ("Women's Rights around the World," Letters, January 2005; Editor's Note, October 2004). I've read about CEDAW; its only agenda is to promote women's rights in all aspects. And yes, that does include reproductive rights. But nowhere does the CEDAW mention abortion, although it mentions family planning (contraception).


Women from Third World nations need complete, unbiased access to medical care. A health care provider should always refrain from imposing her religious and personal beliefs on her patients. I'd never deny care, access, information, or support to any patient just because she doesn't share my beliefs.


As for the claim the CEDAW actually endangers women's status, I challenge anyone to prove it. Women need control over their lives and bodies. Enforced pregnancy won't make any man more responsible; ask any single mother who has had to fight just to get child support here.


Patients don't need false sympathy. True human compassion comes with no strings attached.