Letters To The Editor


October 12, 2003

Only doctors can determine need for abortion

I must respond to Steve Chapman's recent column about the so-called partial-birth abortion bill that is soon to become the first federal ban of safe medical procedures ever signed by a president of the United States ("The myths vs. the reality of partial-birth abortion," Opinion

Commentary, Oct. 7).

Mr. Chapman repeats many of the disingenuous arguments made by President Bush and his allies in the anti-choice movement. They claim that this bill is narrow but, in fact, is it intentionally worded so vaguely that it could be interpreted to ban a wide range of procedures throughout the course of a pregnancy.

They also claim that the procedures in question are never medically necessary. But that simply isn't a decision for Mr. Chapman or me or Mr. Bush to make. That's a decision for doctors, who in many instances have found these procedures necessary to preserve the life, health or future fertility of their patients.

Mr. Chapman repeatedly quotes the American Medical Association. But that group withdrew its support from abortion bans such as this one in 1999. And a host of respected medical organizations, including the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, oppose the bill vigorously.

I'm willing to bet that they have a better understanding of medical necessity than Congress does.

It is time for our government to stop playing politics with women's privacy and reproductive health.

Kate Michelman


The writer is president of NARAL Pro-Choice America.

It's no surprise Bush can't find the leaker

President Bush says he doubts his administration will find the White House source responsible for leaking the name of the CIA agent ("Bush doubts investigators can find CIA leak sources," Oct. 8).

Why should we be surprised? The Bush administration can't find Osama bin Laden. It can't find Saddam Hussein. It can't find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

It's time for regime change in the United States.

Eleanor Rogers


Ethics Board is right to combat nepotism

After many years of neglecting the practice of nepotism by our City Council, Baltimore's Board of Ethics has finally produced legislation barring City Council members from hiring their children.

Nepotism in many cases results in a waste of taxpayers' money. It often results in unnecessary jobs being created and the hiring of family members who are incompetent.

What is Mayor Martin O'Malley's response? According to The Sun, he says he doesn't feel strongly that hiring relatives is a problem because council members have been doing it for decades - as if that makes it OK ("Ethics changes raise doubts," Oct. 7).

Mr. O'Malley would gain the respect of city taxpayers if he would unequivocally announce his opposition to nepotism in city government.

Philip R. Grossman


What good is an ethics board no one wants to listen to? And if the mayor and the City Council president were not willing to adopt the recommendations of the city's Ethics Board, why did they ask it to review the issue of nepotism?

According to The Sun, the mayor has "no objection to a grandfather clause and that he doesn't feel strongly that hiring relatives is a problem because council members have been doing it for decades."

Whatever happened to the concept of hiring qualified applicants?

And why should students waste time studying in schools or colleges, if city officials can tap a friend or relative for $20,000- to $30,000-per-year jobs?

Ornat W. Erby


Something is wrong at community college

What is going on at Baltimore City Community College ("BCCC dismisses at least 6 officials," Oct. 8)?

As a Maryland and Baltimore taxpayer, I am appalled to hear about $600 coffeepots, expensive computerized remedial math and English programs and the termination of end-of-semester proficiency tests.

I hope the board of trustees gives the concerns of the faculty the attention they deserve. Furthermore, I am fascinated to learn more about college President Sylvester E. McKay's vision for the college.

Jennifer L. Warfield


Keep the momentum of the recall rolling

After reading the editorial "Arnold" (Oct. 9), it seems to me that the appropriate way to continue the circus in California is for the voters immediately to initiate a recall of the incoming governor.

Edith Maynard

Hunt Valley

Opus Dei is at heart of Catholic Church

Reporter David Folkenflik missed the boat completely when he described the Catholic institution Opus Dei as "a conservative Catholic sect that is critical of the Vatican as being too liberal" ("Columnist Novak is caught in crossfire," Oct. 3).

Far from being a "sect," Opus Dei is very much a part of the Catholic Church. Indeed, almost 500 Catholic bishops, as well as about 300,000 other pilgrims, showed up when Pope John Paul II canonized Opus Dei's founder, St. Josemaria Escriva, last October in St. Peter's Square in Rome.

Furthermore, Opus Dei is known for fostering a deep faithfulness to the pope and to the teachings of the Catholic Church.

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