Limits on abortion aid will prompt more abortions...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

January 30, 2001

Limits on abortion aid will prompt more abortions, suffering ...

The Sun's headline "Bush blocks foreign aid for abortion" (Jan. 23) was so wrong it demands a conspicuous correction. The article itself is correct, but too many people will see only the big headline.

As the article explains, "Bush's action blocks federal money from going to organizations that use their own money to perform abortions or to promote or lobby for laws allowing them. Federal law restricts taxpayer money from subsidizing abortions overseas."

In fact, federal law has kept U.S. foreign aid from ever being used for abortions for the past 27 years.

The terrible irony here is that President George W. Bush's action, although taken to please abortion foes, will result in many thousands of additional abortions.

It will end funding for some of the biggest and best providers of family planning services. With their services cut, women will be desperate to end the unwanted pregnancies they could not prevent.

Cliff Terry

Baltimore

President George W. Bush's decision to limit the family-planning services available to the world's poor will lead inevitably to an increase in the number of children born into circumstances that guarantee them a life that is both brutish and short,

When a baby is born in Zimbabwe with AIDS or an unwanted child is born to a mother living on a trash pile in El Salvador, perhaps Mr. Bush can provide us a definition of "compassionate" we can pass on to them to ease their suffering.

Perhaps, he can also provide us an explanation of how this foreign policy decision advances "clearly defined U.S. self-interest," which is Mr. Bush's stated standard for our foreign policy.

Do our foreign policy goals call for increasing population in countries already overwhelmed by overpopulation and its companions -- poverty and disease?

Jim Emberger

Baltimore

... as `gag rule' compromises freedom of expression

By announcing his intention to reinstate the gag rule, President George W. Bush appears not only to renege on his promises to heal our nation's wounds but to pour salt into them ("Bush's abortion `gag rule' order sparks strong reaction from Md. lawmakers," Jan. 23) .

This is no more than a payoff to the religious right, since surely he and his advisers are aware that no U.S. foreign assistance has paid for abortion anywhere in the world since the 1973 Helms Amendment.

Reasonable individuals can disagree on abortion issues; but American presidents, especially at a time when nations everywhere are considering or adopting democratization, should never condone abridgement of free speech.

By denying U.S. funds to foreign family-planning organizations that even talk about abortion, this is precisely what the gag rule does.

Werner Fornos

Washington

The writer is president of the Population Institute.

Treatment of Judge White shows Ashcroft is unworthy

John Ashcroft's treatment of Judge Ronnie White disqualifies him for the office of U.S. attorney general.

He attacked Mr. White's reputation, charging him with being "soft on crime" based on a couple opinions, while ignoring the majority of Mr. White's opinions.

As a lawyer, and former attorney general of Missouri, Mr. Ashcroft knows it is improper to put forward evidence that supports your position while withholding evidence that contradicts it.

Someone who is willing to abuse his power in a way that violates such a basic principle of justice is not the kind of person we should have as attorney general.

Eileen Franch

Baltimore

At least Bush has united the loyal opposition

President George W. Bush is living up to his campaign promise to be a uniter, not a divider: Some of his choices for Cabinet posts have certainly united the opposition.

Karen Guertler

Baltimore

Have blacks judged Ashcroft too harshly?

As an African-American, I am disturbed by all the negative responses to John Ashcroft.

Are we not guilty of judging Mr. Ashcroft without giving him an opportunity to prove his capabilities? Are we suggesting that a person's past is enough to condemn his or her future?

Are we implying that people with certain convictions, whether right or left, are not worthy of consideration? Or is it Mr. Ashcroft's Christian beliefs that worry us?

He who is without sin among us, let him first cast a stone at Mr. Ashcroft.

The Rev. Lynwood Hudson Leverette

Baltimore

Lieutenant governor deserves credit for grant to city police

The Sun is right: The money for 200 new police officers is the largest gift the Baltimore police have ever received from the federal government and it is indeed a tribute to the mayor and to the police department under the energetic new leadership of Commissioner Edward T. Norris ("Baltimore gets boost for its crime fighting," editorial, Jan. 21).

But what The Sun left out is that this money is the direct result of determined and vigorous advocacy in Washington by Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend.

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