Safe-haven legislation wouldn't give infants protection...


March 16, 2001

Safe-haven legislation wouldn't give infants protection they need

While sounding very humanitarian, the safe-haven legislation pending in Maryland would erode protection of the most defenseless of citizens -- the helpless newborn.

And for the authors of the column "Unwanted babies need haven," Opinion

Commentary, March 9) to use the disturbing case of Tanisha Montague as a rallying point is entirely contradictory.

As the authors note, protection against prosecution only applies when "the infant show(s) no signs of abuse or neglect." This child was delivered in a bathtub and wrapped in a plastic bag. Is there a more abusive way of entering this world?

The real problem is that Tanisha Montague was born into a society that is schizophrenic about the value of human life. Had Ms. Montague sought the services of an abortionist earlier, she would have been merely undergoing a routine medical procedure and would face no charge of attempted murder.

Unfortunately for this innocent child, her mother took a cue from society that children are not intrinsically valuable but, like any other consumer product, valuable only those who happen to want them.

This schizophrenia is underscored when the authors use an economic argument for saving the life of an abandoned child: "It is considerably less expensive to treat a child who has been safely delivered to a licensed health-care provider than it is to treat a child who has been abandoned." What if it happens to cost more?

Undoubtedly Ms. Montague thought it would cost less -- in terms of effort, energy and bother to abandon than to care for her child. Did she just do her math wrong?

Our laws must unambiguously underscore the sanctity of all human life by fully protecting it from conception forward.

Cal Oren


Curbing unwanted pregnancy is best defense against abuse

The authors of a recent column regarding safe haven legislation under consideration in the General Assembly were right that the bill would not fully address the problem of infant abandonment and that more programs are needed for at-risk parents ("Unwanted babies need haven," Opinion

Commentary, March 9).

However, they failed to mention that ensuring women access to the full range of reproductive health services could prevent more of these tragic occurrences.

Preventing pregnancy is our first line of defense -- and is also much less costly (financially and emotionally) than unintended and unwanted pregnancies.

Wendy Royalty


The writer is a vice president of Planned Parenthood of Maryland Inc.

Kane's column showed no respect for fallen officer

I find it hard to believe that any human being could be so thoughtless as to compare our Baltimore City Police Department to Nazis, totalitarian communists, and "Keystone Kops" as they mourn the death of Officer Michael Cowdery -- the fifth officer to lose his life protecting the people of this city in the last year.

Yet, that is precisely what Gregory Kane did in his column "Police get blame for verdict, not jurors" (March 14).

I am saddened that Mr. Kane -- blinded by his personal animosity -- could not see how hurtful his words would be to the Cowdery family, the men and women of our police department, and the people of this city, as we bury yet another hero who died too young.

And I am particularly disappointed that, in making the decision to run that column on this day, The Sun did not show better judgment -- and some compassion.

Just because you have the power to do something, doesn't always mean it's the right thing to do. I hope The Sun will do better in the future.

Martin O'Malley


The writer is mayor of Baltimore.

Is Essex land owner merely an opportunist ...

As president of the Essex-Middle River Community In Action Association, Richard Impallaria should be making revitalization happen. Instead he has taken advantage by asking for an outrageous sum for his property ("Foe of revitalization law seeks to profit from plan," March 8).

How is the county supposed to spend this much money on one property and still have funds left for other improvements?

It appears that Mr. Impallaria is not interested in the improvement of the Essex-Middle River area, but only in his own financial improvement.

I hope the community will see Mr. Impallaria as the opportunist he is and ask that he step down as president.

Katherine Heinz


... or an activist fighting to protect his community?

The Sun's article "Foe of revitalization law seeks to profit from plan" (March 8) was misleading.

I have never been an opponent of revitalization nor have I ever asked Baltimore County to buy my property.

Revitalization is a positive thing. I believe that the community as a whole should benefit from it. I don't support the confiscation of private property to benefit big developers or well-connected people and neither did 70 percent of the Baltimore County voters last November.

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