Letters To The Editor


January 13, 2004

Maryland must start regulating abortion clinics

As a former unwed mother who was subjected to pressure to get an abortion at a substandard free clinic, I think David Nitkin's article on state Sen. Janet Greenip's proposed Women's Health Protection Act was devoid of pertinent facts and strongly biased ("Abortion foes propose regulating Md. clinics," Jan. 7).

Mr. Nitkin writes, "Abortion providers and the state's top health official said more stringent regulations are not needed because there is no evidence that facilities pose a health risk."

But there are, in fact, no current regulations governing state abortion facilities -- and they are the only medical facilities to be unregulated in Maryland. Veterinary clinics in Maryland are regulated, but abortion clinics are not.

A recent statewide poll of 806 registered Maryland voters conducted by Gonzales Research & Marketing Strategies asked: "Do you think facilities that perform abortions should be held to the same health and safety standards as other medical facilities, or not?"

Ninety-two percent of respondents replied in the affirmative. The poll also showed no statistically relevant difference in opinion between Maryland Democrats (91 percent in favor) and Republicans (93 percent in favor); black (88 percent in favor) and white Maryland voters (93 percent in favor); and men (93 percent in favor) and women (91 percent in favor).

Far from restricting access, Ms. Greenip's bill would ensure what the majority of voters want: for regulations to be brought up to standard, so that when they or their daughters make the difficult choice to abort, they will be safe when seeking help at a time of crisis.

I hope the day is over when a radical minority of the pro-choice movement can prevent women from receiving adequate care because they place ideology before safety.

It's time for both sides of the abortion debate to take a hard look at the issue of clinic safety in Maryland and work together for reform.

Clare McGrath-Merkle


The writer is executive director of Pro-Life Maryland Inc.

Sewage fee tightens vise of rising costs

The governor's proposal to add a $30 surcharge to municipal sewer users is just another hole in the pocket of homeowners ("Ehrlich proposes sewage fee to protect the bay," Jan. 9).

The news of the economy rebounding, the rising stock market and federal tax refunds has yet to make the average homeowner feel any better about the seemingly endless flow of notices of increases in utility fees, cable fees, city and state registration fees, insurance costs and, of course, real estate taxes.

Throw in other little fees, such as the city's very resourceful home alarm registration fee, and the average homeowner is starting to get nickel-and-dimed to death.

When will someone help homeowners keep a few pennies for themselves?

Mike Rogers


New GOP fee sounds much like a tax hike

Our Republican governor can now have a new campaign pledge: "Pouring Your Money Down the Toilet," to describe his new fee for sewer users ("Ehrlich proposes sewage fee to protect the bay," Jan. 9).

Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. can call this a "fee," but I think it is a selective $66 million tax increase.

This plan is a strangely Democratic action (trying to lower pollution by improving sewer plants via taxation). And it is amusing that when Republicans increase our costs, they call them "fees," but when Democrats do it, the GOP calls them "taxes."

Jeff Tarleton


Morgan has no feud with Pete Rawlings

The university deeply regrets the continuing effort to revisit past differences of opinion between Morgan State University and the late Del. Howard P. Rawlings. The university has not conducted any personal investigation or compiled any secret dossier of the delegate, as was most recently alleged in The Sun's article "Russia sings praises of Morgan's choir" (Jan. 7).

More important, the delegate is now deceased, and the university considers the matter closed. Any effort to rekindle the controversy cannot serve any useful purpose, and university officials refuse to be a part of it.

Earl S. Richardson


The writer is president of Morgan State University.

Both parties back elements of the elite

I agree with Peter Savodnik that the Democrats appeal to those with an elitist attitude ("Too cool to rule," Opinion * Commentary, Jan. 4). However, I must take issue with his implication that attending fund-raisers filled with "black people or Jewish comedians" shows "disdain for all things bourgeois: SUVs, white picket fences, flags, monogamy, organized religion."

Many African-Americans, including myself and my family, are monogamous, patriotic and attend church regularly. If he visits any predominantly African-American worship service, Mr. Savodnik will see that we share the same values as most Americans do.

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