Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

September 20, 2004

Many centers provide help to women in crisis

The suggestion in the headline of Gregory Kane's column "Helping pregnant women with nowhere else to turn" (Sept. 15) that the Greater Baltimore Crisis Pregnancy Center is the only facility in the Baltimore area providing counseling and responsive care to poor and pregnant women in Baltimore is simply irresponsible. There are many women's health facilities throughout Baltimore that offer comprehensive reproductive services, including abortion, to poor women.

Furthermore, all women, especially poor women, should have the option of choosing between abortion and pregnancy -- that is their right under our Constitution.

It is also appalling that The Sun would allows a male columnist to dictate reproductive values, and abstinence in particular, for women.

Countless public health studies show that abstinence education is not effective in preventing unwanted pregnancies or sexually transmitted diseases.

Public education and access to quality, comprehensive reproductive services, including abortion, are the appropriate options.

Duchy Trachtenberg

Bethesda

The writer is president of the Maryland chapter of the National Organization for Women.

Women must know full range of options

Gregory Kane's column regarding the virtues of the Greater Baltimore Crisis Pregnancy Center was disturbing, to say the least ("Helping pregnant women with nowhere else to turn," Sept. 15).

Women faced with an unintended pregnancy need accurate and factual information about the full range of options open to them, including abortion, adoption and prenatal programs.

Encouraging women to go to programs where they are given biased information about adoption, abortion and family planning often creates confusion and fear at a time when a woman needs to be supported in whatever decision she makes.

A woman should not be placed in a position to receive judgment, scorn or biased religious-based counseling when she is experiencing a crisis pregnancy.

John W. Nugent

Baltimore

The writer is president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Maryland.

A tax hike to pay for Bush tax cuts?

According to economists Robert B. Archibald and David H. Feldman, the main reason for our exploding federal deficits is not excessive spending but the Bush administration's tax cuts ("A trail of red ink," Opinion * Commentary, Sept. 15).

According to estimates by Alice Rivlin and Isabel Sawhill of the Brookings Institution cited in the same column, one-fifth of all individual income taxes will have to be used to pay interest on the higher debt incurred, in part, because of President Bush's tax cuts.

If I understand correctly, this means we'll have to raise taxes to pay interest on debt caused by cutting taxes.

This kind of logic works very well in Alice in Wonderland, but it certainly won't fix the fiscal mess created by our president.

Howard Bluth

Baltimore

Maryland's votes won't be secure

It is disheartening to learn that Maryland voters will be denied the right to a verifiable vote on Nov. 2 ("Ruling on state balloting affirmed," Sept. 15).

Election officials have not taken the steps necessary to make sure electronic voting is honest and free from computer manipulation, and every voter should be concerned.

Although Congress made funds available to states to replace poor or unreliable voting methods (for example, the notorious "hanging chads" of Florida's paper-punch system), parts of Maryland had an excellent system in place. The optical-scan ballot, according to experts, is the least likely to be tampered with; in the event of a recount, the ballots may be easily reviewed by machine or by hand.

Why did our governor and state legislature jump so quickly to replace an effective and reliable voting system with an inadequate and unprotected one?

Let's bring back the optical-scan machines and warehouse the touch-screen machines.

Shari B. Zaret

Columbia

Particles from sun can be retrieved

To paraphrase Mark Twain, reports of the Genesis mission's death have been greatly exaggerated ("Here comes the sun," editorial, Sept. 9).

Although this daring science mission to recover particles of the solar wind didn't get style points for a perfect landing, we do believe we can achieve many of the mission's primary science goals.

We are encouraged that initial examination of the Genesis capsule reveals that large pieces of the wafers that the probe used to collect solar wind particles are intact. Further, it appears that the capsule's hard landing did not result in significant contamination from dirt to our science package.

Scientists at our Johnson Space Center in Texas will soon be carefully examining the capsule's contents with the expectation that we can extract and study these charged atoms from the sun.

The samples we hope to investigate are of crucial scientific importance and may lead to a better understanding of the role of oxygen in the formation of the solar system and of how planetary atmospheres in our solar system evolved.

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