Abortions now limited in MarylandIt seems many Marylanders...

the Forum

July 07, 1992

Abortions now limited in Maryland

It seems many Marylanders believe that "abortion on demand" is a right of women in this state and that only a negative vote on Question 6 will limit this easy access to abortion services.

As a counselor who has struggled to find abortion appointments for many low-income women, I would like to point out this right already is severely limited in Maryland.

Most private clinics that offer general anesthesia and second trimester abortions do not accept Medical Assistance. The scenario for a woman who must rely on Medical Assistance to pay for an abortion is thus as follows:

If she is within the first eight weeks of her pregnancy and is capable of going through the abortion procedure with only a local anesthetic, she probably can get an appointment at a hospital or at one of the few clinics in Maryland that accept Medical Assistance. Even with the Medical Assistance, however, she still may have to pay a significant share of the cost.

All hospitals and clinics require that a woman first come for counseling and physical exams. She may also need to schedule a sonogram, then return a third day for the actual abortion procedure.

Not all hospitals offer abortion services. Those that do have very specific hours during which one can schedule an appointment.

If a woman is able to sort through these complexities and reach the hospital at the appropriate time she will then find an enormous waiting list for appointments.

If she is approaching her second trimester she may already be too far along to schedule an appointment within the legal time frame.

Even if she is ultimately able to get an abortion, the scarcity of appointments will have meant the procedure has been delayed a month or more after she discovered she was pregnant. Late abortions often are a direct result of limited abortion services.

"Abortion on demand" is a misleading phrase used to depict women as pushy and selfish in their requests for abortion services. In reality, many women do not "demand" abortions; they search and plead for them -- and still they are turned away.

$Carrie Armstrong Montague

Owings Mills

Church and state

The recent decision by the Supreme Court to ban organized prayer at graduations from government-funded schools will, I suspect, be interpreted by many as an attack on religion. I would like to praise the decision, however.

Just three days after our government renewed its commitment to state/church separation, the village elders in Barra, Pakistan, enforced Islamic rules by forcing a father to execute his son and the son's girlfriend for living together without being married.

It seems unlikely that such fanatics could ever gain power of the entire U.S., but it is easy to imagine a religious group choosing one city or town as its headquarters and having enough votes to get its religion passed into law in that place. Only firm state/church separation prevents it.

Returning to the single issue of graduation prayer, there were only two outcomes that would have been fair: Either representatives from all ethical or religious systems should have been invited by the government to speak, or none should.

I doubt that many in the Christian majority would enjoy listening to a humanist praising reason and rejecting superstition, or to a Jew looking forward to the first coming of the Messiah, or perhaps to a Hindu thanking all the gods for the wonderful educational opportunities given to the students present.

Too many governments in human history have persecuted people for having beliefs that differ from the beliefs of those in power. I applaud the United States of America for its refusal to do so!

M. Anson

Baltimore

Best in the land

I had my first opportunity June 27 to see the Orioles play in their new stadium. Since I'm not an avid baseball fan my reactions were, "It's bigger, more crowded -- just a ball park." Wrong.

My son, Tom, has put me straight. As of June 26 in San Diego, Calif., he has seen all the American and National League ball parks. This is a goal he began to work toward starting in 1969. He's seen Willie Mays play in Wrigley Field, watched Jose Bautista throw a two-hitter, been present when Bobby Thigpin broke an all-time single-season record in 1990 and watched Bob Milacki pitch a two-hitter.

Before this May, he ranked Wrigley Field, Fenway Park, Royals Stadium, Tiger Stadium and Dodger Stadium as the top ballparks. But now he says, "There is no other like it. Oriole Park at Camden Yards is the top, the Number One, the greatest ball park." I stand corrected.

Ruth O'Dwyer

Lutherville

Send in the troops

If we are short of police to handle escalating crime, why not involve our idle military -- Army, Navy, Coast Guard, National Guard, etc.?

Since they don't have a foreign enemy to contend with, let them earn their keep fighting our enemy within.

J. Small

Baltimore

Lost principles

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