ObstructionismThe Maryland Senate leadership showed on gun...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

April 06, 1994

Obstructionism

The Maryland Senate leadership showed on gun control that it knows how to get around an obstructionist committee chairman. I fail to see why the Senate cannot be as successful on scholarship reform.

Your March 30 item by Marina Sarris strongly implies that Sen. Clarence Blount, D-Baltimore, chairman of the Economic and Environmental Affairs Committee, won't let his committee vote at all -- or until it is too late -- on scholarship reform bills.

If that is true, and if he is allowed to get away with such obstructionism, it is an outrage that should be long remembered by those of us who believe that scholarships awarded by legislators amount to vote-buying.

While most state legislators may try to be objective in awarding their scholarships, they cannot help but benefit when they are remembered by grateful recipients of state funds at the polls.

That is a wrong that should be ended this year, not next.

Kenneth A. Stevens

Savage

Better Dead?

Let's see if I've got this straight. After denying financial support to a child born to a mother on welfare, elements of the General Assembly argue that "fairness" dictates an end to restrictions on tax-funded abortions?

But if, after deciding to punish life, the legislature then decides to reward abortion, won't it double the unjust pressure on poor women instead of neutralizing it?

According to national polls, low-income women, especially those belonging to racial minorities, oppose abortion more strongly than any other group -- yet they already have a much higher abortion rate, thanks to the social and economic pressures to abort.

Some in the General Assembly seem to think those pressures need to be increased further. Their message to the children of low-income families is clear: "You're better dead than poor."

This has not a thing to do with being "pro-choice." It has to do with people who think abortion is an appropriate remedy for poverty.

When the Nazis pushed Polish women to have abortions, the Nuremberg tribunals called it a crime against humanity.

When Communist China used "incentives and disincentives" to enforce its one-child-per-family policy, the world called it a human rights violation.

It appears we'll have another name for it here in Maryland: welfare reform.

Richard J. Dowling

Annapolis

The writer is executive director, the Maryland Catholic Conference.

More Goodmans

Perhaps Ben Wattenberg ("A Dramatic Drop in Human Fertility," Opinion * Commentary, March 18) misunderstands the purpose of the United Nations Conference of Population and Development scheduled for September, 1994, in Cairo.

The conference will focus not only on overpopulation but also on the quality of life of the world's people -- their health, access to education, freedom from terrorism and economic opportunities.

Birth rates are dropping in many parts of the world because governments realize that family planning, offered in a culturally sensitive manner, is enthusiastically accepted and is one of the best approaches to many of the world's problems.

Birth control is a basic human right, saves lives, alleviates poverty and is cost effective. It is no coincidence that the countries with the lowest birth rates enjoy the highest standard of living.

In denying that population growth is related to food shortages, resource depletion and environmental "despoilation," Mr. Wattenberg is at odds with many political and social observers, including a majority of this century's Nobel Prize winners in science, and at odds with common sense.

On the other hand, Ellen Goodman ("Poverty and Fertility," Opinion * Commentary, March 22) shows exactly the calm and reasoned approach we need to resolve some very real conflicts of interest.

Please give us more columns from writers like Ellen Goodman and fewer from those like Ben Wattenberg whose muffled voices must come from the holes into which they stick their heads.

Marion C. Mashburn

Owings Mills

New Talent Welcomed

Hire that boy, Victor Paul Alvarez, "copy boy at The Baltimore Sun and a student at Towson State University!"

I am almost Bukowski's age (73) when he died, but I had never heard of him until Alvarez' moving March 27 Perspective article. You may be sure I will soon be haunting Borders Book Store's Bukowski section to reduce my poverty of knowledge of his poetry.

Thanks also to your Perspective section for the continued enlightenment on matters from Somalia to El Salvador.

Joy G. Wheeler

Towson

____________

Thank you for introducing readers to a delightful new writer, Victor Paul Alvarez.

His essay was a tribute to his talent -- and to the caliber of students to be found at Towson State University.

The art work of Art Lien that illustrated the essay was also compelling.

I hope that both young men will have the chance to share their gifts with Sun readers often

Barbara R. Gormley

Baltimore

Defusing a Bomb

nTC

In its editorial of March 25, The Sun's reference to me as an "irascible bomb thrower" was a new height of hyperbole.

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