Informed choice basis of sound family, stateYour editorial...


March 07, 1996

Informed choice basis of sound family, state

Your editorial of Feb. 11, ''A blow to family planning,'' is right on the mark.

Cutting funds for international family planning programs is not the way to decrease abortions, nor is it the way to protect the health of mothers and children.

Family planning programs provide many benefits. In addition to the obvious health benefits of spacing and limiting family size and the obvious environmental benefits of reducing rapid population growth, family planning programs serve another important function.

Informed choice, the basis of couples' and individuals' decisions about family planning, is also the basis for a well-functioning free-market system and a democratically governed state.

People learn to make responsible choices at home in matters that affect them most directly.

Unless people can make these choices about their own families, and the number and spacing of their own children, surely it is unrealistic to expect that nations will be successful in managing free markets or running free elections.

Informed individual choice is a sound basis for reproductive health in the family and for sound economics and politics in the state.

The language in the recent continuing resolution that would cut family planning funds is both punitive and self-defeating.

Population growth, like the deficit, accumulates problems that are compounded over time.

The statesman-like act is to support voluntary family planning programs strongly, both in the United States and overseas.

!Phyllis Tilson Piotrow


The writer is director of the Center for Communication Programs, Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health.

Should identify drunken drivers

I think the proposal to allow police to place a striped "zebra" sticker on the license plate of any motorist caught driving with a suspended license is excellent. Sen. Leonard H. Teitelbaum, D-Montgomery, is to be commended for sponsoring the legislation.

Since all vehicles have license plates, why not have additional stickers identifying those convicted of drunken driving, deadbeat parents and others who don't play by the rules?

Maybe the humiliation of having their automobiles sit in their driveways with these stickers for all to see will cause them to think twice about breaking the laws that are created to protect them as well as others.

How many lives could be saved by having convicted drunken drivers identified on their license plates when they show up to pick up a date or give someone a lift to school or work? Certainly parents and friends would discourage people from riding in such vehicles and potential employers could readily spot those who might turn out to be troublesome employees, as related to

vehicle safety.

Jerry Wyfuss


'Business group' was conference

As president of the Maryland Distribution Council, I read with great interest Liz Atwood's and Kevin McQuaid's excellent and highly positive Feb. 27 report about United Parcel Service's plans to locate a major new distribution facility in Maryland.

The Sun made reference to Kent C. Nelson, UPS chairman and CEO, having made this important announcement to a "business group."

I am writing to point out a major omission: that the announcement was made at a regional conference entitled, "Distribution and Logistics: Moving the Mid-Atlantic into the 21st Century," co-sponsored by the Maryland Distribution Council and the Baltimore Metropolitan Council, at which 175 leaders from both business and government gathered to address how Maryland can compete aggressively in this vital sector of the state's economy.

Colleen R. Cross


Farrakhan's courtship of Saddam Hussein

If Louis Farrakhan is so fond of Saddam Hussein, and so distrusting and disenchanted with the policies of the United States, perhaps he should renounce his United States citizenship.

The citizens of this country would be all the richer.

Lawrence Schaffer


Sandtown approach differs from past

Antero Pietila's provocative Feb. 17 column, "Canute in Sandtown," sounds the appropriate cautionary note that in urban policy, as elsewhere, those who are ignorant of history are

doomed to repeat its mistakes. But he misses two crucial points. First, one component of his prescription for success in Sandtown is that the "community has jobs." But it's the residents who need the jobs, whether those jobs are located in Sandtown or elsewhere.

Most economically viable residential neighborhoods do not have jobs located within their borders. But what these neighborhoods do have are residents who have jobs and, therefore, skills that are valued in the marketplace.

The conundrum is that if urban revitalization policy shifts its focus to building the human capital of inner-city residents and ignores the need to rebuild the decaying physical infrastructure, residents who become skilled and employed will now have a choice of where to live and, based on past history, will leave at the first chance they get.

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