Men ill-suited to decide on female issuesThe latest...

The Forum

July 17, 1992

Men ill-suited to decide on female issues

The latest Supreme Court ruling on abortion and last fall's Clarence Thomas/Anita Hill hearings point out a gross inequity in our government: namely, that women, who make up half the population, are under-represented in our present government, not just at the top, but at every level.

From the Cabinet level down to the local city/county council, there are pitifully few women in government.

Women, who are taxpaying citizens just like men and who are governed by the laws of society just like men, do not have an equal voice in setting and interpreting those laws. This is tantamount to taxation without representation.

Abortion law, which affects only women, is decided by men in the Supreme Court, men in the federal legislature and men in state legislatures, who will never experience a crisis pregnancy and cannot possibly understand the implications of such a problem. Women are fed up with this kind of paternalism. What is needed is the evolution of a more equitable and representative government, i.e., more women in government.

Carol Calvert

Baltimore

Revive 'Lysistrata'

With all the anguish and ferment generated by the question of abortion rights, there doesn't seem to be any resolution in view. May I humbly offer a solution?

Women should take a page from the Greek play "Lysistrata" by Aristophanes, written sometime in the Fourth century, B.C. The women were tired of having their men going off to war, sacrificing their sons to war and generally being ignored by the establishment. Under the leadership of Lysistrata, they banded together and declared there would be no more sex unless men changed their ways.

If women have to pay the piper for having sex -- getting pregnant and being responsible for raising the child -- and then relinquish decisions about their bodies, perhaps they should follow Lysistrata's example and declare no more sex unless they can make their own decisions should a pregnancy occur.

Then, perhaps, men who appear to be in the forefront of defeating abortion rights, may change their minds.

D. A. Mednick

Baltimore

Defend choice

I am writing to express my gratitude for being born an American citizen. Although many of the laws, attitudes, customs and norms of this country are not to my liking, I am aware that being an American allows me many freedoms not experienced elsewhere in this world.

Being an American enables me to have the right to express my thoughts and ideas. In doing so, I follow my conscience, and that means that I allow others to express their thoughts and ideas.

I have found that many people in this county share my thoughts and ideas regarding "choice." I attended a flea market over the July 4 weekend in Charles Town, W. Va., wearing my "Vote FOR Choice on November 3rd" button. Several of the vendors and browsers commented on how important choice is and how angered they were that laws and Supreme Court decisions were standing in the way of their decisions and freedoms. Some comments were made by women, and some by men.

In a rural, small town flea market, I realized that I and my fellow activists are not alone in the feeling that choice is what Americans want. Now is the time for all citizens to realize just how close we are to losing our freedom of choice and to do something about it. All of us must defend our rights to choose.

Laura K. Larson

Baltimore

Legalized extortion

While some criminal defendants are acquitted because jurors find there is a reasonable doubt as to their guilt, many suspects under the federal asset forfeiture law are regarded as virtually guilty even when a reasonable doubt exists.

Since illegal drug dealing often involves large sums of money, authorities often have probable cause to investigate those who carry thousands of dollars in cash. But under the asset forfeiture law, there may very little investigating done before the assets are seized.

For example, the TV program "Street Stories" reported that a suspect had been deprived of life savings of about $35,000 -- apparently intended for the purchase of real estate -- even though he was never charged with any crime. The money was never returned.

Under this law, homes and businesses have been seized on nothing more substantial than the word of an informant who may have given information in exchange for a reduced sentence. To retrieve property seized under this law a person has to sue and prove himself innocent of any wrongdoing -- which stands the presumption of innocence on its head. Such chicanery is tantamount to legalized extortion.

R. D. Reese

Baltimore

No martial law

Once again we have the hue and cry about crime in Baltimore City. It is absolutely astonishing that the NAACP would suggest that martial law be put in effect.

The National Guard is certainly not trained in law enforcement and would eventually compound the problems of Baltimore City. Remember, the guardsmen are just citizen soldiers and are not equipped to handle the presently dangerous conditions in the city.

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