Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

November 10, 2003

Abortion ban keeps doctors from doing job

As the CEO of Planned Parenthood of Maryland, I am outraged that President Bush signed the so-called Partial Birth Abortion Act of 2003 ("Bush OKs ban on abortion process," Nov. 6).

This reckless and dangerous ban prevents a woman, in consultation with her family and doctor, from making decisions on the best way to protect her health and life. Medicine should not be practiced by governments and politicians.

Anti-choice hard-liners again are trying to politicize a health issue. But there is no procedure in medicine known as "partial-birth abortion." And the ban contains absolutely no exception for cases when the health of the woman is at risk.

The best way to make abortion rare is to make sure women, families and teens have access to family planning, counseling and information.

But when a woman chooses to be pregnant and that pregnancy goes terribly wrong, we believe doctors need to be able to provide women with the best and most appropriate care.

And this ban prevents physicians from living up to their vow to "do no harm."

John Nugent

Baltimore

Abortion procedure is never necessary

For once, let's tell the truth. Partial-birth abortion is never about the physical health of the pregnant woman, it's about the pregnant woman's decision at the end of gestation not to become a mother ("Bush OKs ban on abortion process," Nov. 6).

In all truth, this procedure is more life-threatening to the mother than a complete birth, which may be the reason that the American Medical Association stated its position in 1997 that this procedure is never needed as a medical necessity.

Let not the courts intervene where the people and Congress have spoken the truth.

Gary Gamber

New Windsor

Pedestrian signs send right message

It is unfortunate that the recent article about the new pedestrian way finding system was based more on speculation than fact ("Pointing the way to confusion," Nov. 4).

The Mount Vernon Cultural District and Downtown Partnership labored for two years to build consensus for a much-needed pedestrian way-finding system in Baltimore.

The pedestrian signage system has several benefits. It directs visitors and residents around the city, helping them discover Baltimore's great destinations and neighborhoods beyond the Inner Harbor. It increases civic pride by reminding Baltimoreans of the many wonderful places that make up our city. Finally, it sends the message that Baltimore is worth our attention, that this city believes in itself and wants everyone to discover what we have to offer.

Given all these positives, The Sun's negative connotation about the system is misguided. Similar pedestrian way-finding signage is used in the vast majority of urban centers without resulting in confusion.

We are confident that the thousands of pedestrians who frequent our city's attractions and cultural institutions will look upon this way-finding system as another "sign" that Baltimore is indeed a great place to live, work and play.

Constance R. Caplan

Michele Whelley

Baltimore

The writers are presidents, respectively, of the Mount Vernon Cultural District and the Downtown Partnership of Baltimore.

MTA is the source of paratransit problems

I disagree strongly with the letter "Poor service for the disabled" (Nov. 3). I use Yellow Transportation's paratransit service 10 to 12 times a week and only have a problem once in a while.

Yellow provides good service. Its record is better than those of the transportation services in most major cities. And as chairman emeritus of the Independent Living Foundation, it alarms me that the Maryland Transit Authority (MTA) wants to give this transit contract to out-of-state companies that don't know how to get around Baltimore.

Our worst fear is a repeat of what happened the last time the MTA changed contractors. It was a disaster. On-time service dropped from nearly 90 percent to 50 percent and then to 30 percent. It got so bad that the state canceled the contract and asked Yellow to come to the rescue on only 30 days' notice.

The truth is that the MTA, not Yellow, mishandles our calls for service.

And with new, out-of-state paratransit operators, the situation will only get worse - and we, the disabled riders, will be the ones to suffer.

Joel Myerberg

Baltimore

Zoo's move illustrates much bigger problem

The growing problem of captive wild animals has hit a new height with the Baltimore Zoo's announcement that it will need to find new homes for two elephants and hundreds of reptiles and birds ("Zoo's elephants must pack their trunks," Nov. 5). Because of the continual breeding, selling, exhibiting and general profit-making off of wild animals in the United States, there are not enough good homes for them.

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