Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

April 08, 2005

Information on abstinence fosters safety

In the April 1 Sun, I thought there was an April Fool's joke.

According to the article "Government site urges abstinence," the Health and Human Services Department has a Web site that is designed to help parents talk to their children about many high-risk behaviors, including sex.

The site states that "abstinence is the healthiest choice." I am aware of no scientific study that refutes this fact.

Sexually active people of all ages run a higher risk of contracting a sexually transmitted disease. Many STDs make it difficult or impossible for the infected to conceive, and some can result in death. Sex is a health issue.

The truth is that the only safe sex is a commitment to a single partner for life. Abstinence is the healthiest choice until two people make this commitment.

What I thought was a joke (and maybe it was and the joke is on me) was that the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Education Association are asking the government to shut down the site.

I though the ACLU's purpose was to advocate individual rights. Doesn't an individual have the right to know the facts about risky behavior? What is it about this government site that infringes on an individual's rights?

I thought the NEA was a labor union committed to the promotion of public education.

This government Web site is informative and available to parents of public school children. If students are healthy, aren't they in a better condition to learn? Aren't public schools a better learning environment when good health practices are promoted?

Let's promote discussion about healthy choices and stop obstructing the dissemination of information that can improve our children's lives.

This is no joke.

Mik Megary

Ocean Pines

A value that is worth promoting

Can you believe it? The government has the sheer audacity to promote a value. That's right, a value.

Teenagers can now click on a Health and Human Services Web site that tells them "abstinence is the healthiest choice" ("Government site urges abstinence," April 1).

Not to worry: Incensed at such a flagrant invasion of privacy, the American Civil Liberties Union, gay rights groups and others have expressed their righteous indignation and have demanded the Web site be shut down.

Sure, I know what you're thinking. You're thinking that if young people practice abstinence, there's no chance they'll have an unwanted pregnancy or contract a sexually transmitted disease, including HIV/AIDS. And that there's not even the possibility of an abortion.

OK, so you're right. But at what cost? Need I remind you that the government is promoting a value?

Why, even the National Education Association is piqued over HHS' high-handed presumption. And you thought education was partly about teaching values.

Ha, shows how much you know.

Andrew Todaro

Baltimore

Require warnings for toxic seafood

There may be debate about the usefulness of labeling fish based on their country of origin, but consumers do have a right to know what faraway land their food comes from ("Grocers to label fish by origin," March 29).

What hits even closer to home is their right to know whether their seafood is contaminated with mercury, a toxin the Food and Drug Administration has issued consumption warnings about.

Albacore tuna and swordfish, for example, are the subject of advisories, but how is a shopper to know that?

The FDA should require these warnings to be posted in grocery stores where tuna and swordfish are sold.

Jackie Savitz

Washington

The writer is director of the pollution campaign for Oceana, an ocean conservation organization.

Timely reminder of limits of faith

Will Englund's editorial "God, art and irony" (April 2) was certainly a timely eye-opener for all of us, perhaps especially for ultraconservative U.S. Christians.

Many of the faithful in this country have bought into a dangerous approach promoted by a leader who has become the king of "with us or against us" moral certitude.

The more humble faithful realize that there are gray areas and that we need to allow freedom of worship to flourish while the politicization of religion that has divided this nation must be questioned wherever it raises its immoral head.

Elizabeth W. Goldsborough

Owings Mills

Most Catholics back stem cell research

Nancy E. Fortier of the Maryland Catholic Conference called the House of Delegates passage of the Stem Cell Research Act of 2005 "really a slap in the face to Catholics in the state" ("Stem cell research bill passes House, 81-53," March 29).

One should recognize that Ms. Fortier is not speaking for all Catholics or probably even for the majority of Catholics in the state.

I am a Catholic who, burdened with Parkinson's disease, has supported this legislation. Along with scores of my friends, many of whom are Catholic, I see stem cell research as a "life" issue and my best hope for a cure.

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