Birth ControlEditor: A recent Sun editorial ("Birth...


December 13, 1990

Birth Control

Editor: A recent Sun editorial ("Birth Control in City Schools," -- Nov. 21) stated, "Many favor urging abstinence -- sound advice, but inadequate without information on protection."

This editorial ignores and obscures the fact that abstinence education is advice on protection. In fact, abstinence is the only sure, dependable protection against AIDS, other venereal diseases and premature pregnancy.

It seems ironic that during a time when a sexually transmitted plague is spreading through the populations of the world, the public schools still teach early sex education which instructs children in human sexual reproductive technique.

To call a moratorium on sex instruction for children would be constructive in halting the teen sexual epidemic (as well as the AIDS epidemic) but certainly to begin teaching abstinence as the best policy to follow would be a step in the right direction.

But to incorporate abstinence education and continue the early sex education for children would be self-defeating. If we do not want them engaging in early sexual activity, why continue to teach them how to engage in such activity early?

And if we want them to abstain from engaging in sexual activity and to choose to abstain from it, why accompany the abstinence education with free accessories and information on contraceptives and abortion?

To accompany advice to abstain with education that suggests to young people that the negative consequences of engaging in sexual activity early can be reduced, avoided, eliminated or accommodated by society is to suggest that being sexually active is a somewhat viable, acceptable, prepared for alternative which society is ready, willing and able to deal with, and that it is an activity which is expected of them.

Such ambiguous, contradictory and inconsistent policies in the public schools seem to do no one any good.

Charles Scardina.


Nightingale Was First

Editor: In a Nov. 29 Sun editorial titled "Hands-on Nurses," you credit Clara Barton with creation of the nursing profession.

Clara Barton was a distinguished leader in many endeavors. She was an outstanding teacher who founded a free public school. She was the first and for many years the only female employee of the federal government.

During the Civil War, she received permission to nurse the wounded at the battlefront. Following the war, she established a network for tracing missing soldiers and established a national cemetery at Andersonville. She is best known as the founder of the American Red Cross.

However, the credit for the founding of the first school of nursing belongs to Florence Nightingale. Her school was founded in London in 1860.

Florence Nightingale established levels of education and nursing practice which raised nursing to the profession it is today. For more than 100 years, nurses have traditionally taken "The Nightingale Pledge."

Emily Wehner, R.N.

Baltimore. Editor: I am glad Secretary of State James A. Baker III has brought our primary objective in the Middle East down to where the average American can understand it. "If you want to sum it up in one word, it's jobs."

Now that that's settled, and being on the brink of war, should we charge the exporters of American jobs to Japan, Germany, Singapore, Red China and everyplace else with treason? How come no one in the Washington halls of power noticed what went on in the past 10 years? Why were our leaders not only dangerously unobservant, but supportive of a so-called free market that sold jobs by the hundreds of thousands down the drain? I remain confused as usual.



War Victims

Editor: Every year I receive requests for charity from the forgotten disabled veterans of past wars, and I am dismayed, feel a great shame for myself and my country that we do not accord them not only the highest of honors, but what the nation owes them without stint: the very best of care, medical and other needs such as those grasping politicians in Washington have created for themselves and their families at the expense of the American taxpayer and that of those sacrificed to keep them in their glorious power.

Now President Bush and his warrior-mimicking sidekick are on the verge of creating another class of disabled veterans to be shelved and forgotten, most if not all of whom will come from families of poor or modest means unlike the oil barons, our president and the vice president who come from families of big wealth and influence.

Sure, other nations voted for the use of force, but what they really voted for was for American youth to pay the price of becoming lifeless and disabled bodies, minds and spirits -- and their own youth to escape it -- so they could enjoy cheaper and unlimited supplies of Arab oil.

I suspect our American forces have become in fact the unwitting agents of the bloated international oil cartels to regain the interests they have lost.

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