State abortion law deserves to be upheldMaryland Right to...

the Forum

July 16, 1992

State abortion law deserves to be upheld

Maryland Right to Life director Roger Stenson deplores our "secular society," which he says confers the right to "unlimited, unbridled sex," and bemoans our unwillingness to accept responsibility for its consequences (Other Voices, July 9). I agree our sexual mores need reform. However, Mr. Stenson has things backward. The problem is that too often the rights belong to the male, while the female is saddled with the responsibility.

The arrogance of the religious right continues to amaze me. How dare this man, who has never experienced pregnancy or childbirth and presumably has never been subjected to sexual intercourse against his will, preach to women about their sexual responsibilities?

What about the rights of the 13-year-old girl whose father has raped her? What about the 14-year-old whose boyfriend pressured her into having unprotected sex because condoms interfered with his pleasure?

What about the young mother whose husband insisted on exercising his "marital rights" who finds herself facing the prospect of bearing a child she is unable to care for? What about the woman who has been told the fetus she is carrying is severely deformed and that even if it survives it will never be more than a vegetable?

Must all these women be forced to continue pregnancies because some self-righteous busybody has decided that a fetus is a human being whose rights must be protected at all costs?

Mr. Stenson thinks Maryland's new abortion law is radical and extreme. It is neither. It represents a reasonable compromise on a complex and sensitive issue, in which the woman's right to exercise control over her own body is maintained until the fetus has a chance to survive outside the womb. It deserves to be upheld by Maryland voters.

Isobel V. Morin

Baltimore

Disruptive T-shirt

I reply to the article, "Woodlawn High student sues in federal court" (The Evening Sun, July 9).

The article deals with a Woodlawn High student and his right to wear a graphic anti-abortion T-shirt to school. Jeffrey M. Baus, 17, stated in U.S. District Court that he should have a constitutional right to wear the T-shirt, which displays a drawing of a dismembered and bloody fetus. Further, he claims that Woodlawn High administrator Louis J. Sergi violated his First Amendment rights by not allowing him to wear the T-shirt to school.

First, I feel the argument that as a result of the First Amendment he has a right to wear this provocative T-shirt is incorrect. The First Amendment does allow and provide for free speech. However, this does not mean a person can walk into a crowded hall or theater and shout, "fire, fire, fire."

It follows, therefore, that a youngster is not covered by the First Amendment when he wears a provocative T-shirt that can incite anger and hostility, leading to the disruption of the learning process. Today, more than ever before, schools face great challenges and problems. We cannot as educators, taxpayers, parents and concerned citizens allow students to come to school dressed in a fashion that leads to the disruption of the learning process.

I commend Louis J. Sergi, former administrator at Woodlawn, for taking a stand against this type of dress that would lead to a dangerous situation for the entire school.

I feel many will agree with me when I say a school should be a safe haven for our youngsters; students coming to school wearing T-shirts and other garments festooned with provocative illustrations or language that leads to disruption or injury should not be allowed.

John A. Micklos

Baltimore

The writer is a history teacher at Kenwood High School.

Family size is not the problem

I beg to differ with the opinion expressed in Mary Beth Kircher's letter, "Too many kids" (July 7), about how class size affects students' ability to learn and achieve.

I attended parochial school in Northeast Baltimore in the 1950s. Classes were large -- 55 to 70 students per class. Yet I was properly educated there and went on to graduate from high school and college. The number of students in a class wasn't the issue then and it shouldn't be a top priority today.

In the '50s, however, we had certain values that, sadly, are lacking or have totally disappeared today.

* Discipline: Teachers maintained order and discipline at all times.

* Respect: We were taught to respect ourselves so that we could respect each other.

* Family: The ideal was a two-parent family in which a mother and father established a home where religion, ethics, kindness, morality, discipline and respect were instilled.

Clearly by today's standards class size is an extra burden for teachers. But to try to address the problem by asking parents to curtail the size of their families misses the mark.

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