Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

March 06, 2006

Plan B pills can cut the rate of abortion

When I read The Sun's article "Plan B battle shifts to the states" (Feb. 24), I was greatly concerned to see that anti-abortion groups are ignoring accepted science and medicine in their effort to deny women greater access to emergency contraception.

Emergency contraception is, as its name indicates, contraception, plain and simple. It is a dose of ordinary birth control pills that works to prevent pregnancy if taken soon after unprotected sex. It is not a form of abortion, and will not work if a woman is already pregnant.

The Food and Drug Administration's advisory panels recommended allowing emergency contraception to be sold without a prescription.

The FDA's decision to withhold approval means that science and research have been overshadowed by sectarian ideas and interest group pressures.

Here in Maryland, groups opposed to legislation that would allow for greater access to emergency contraception perpetuate misinformation by denying that it is a form of birth control ("Bill targets Plan B access," Feb. 16).

If their view is allowed to prevail, not only would women be denied greater access to emergency contraception, but they also could be denied access to regular birth control pills.

Emergency contraception has been proved safe and effective. But it must be used within 72 hours of unprotected sex to work.

If women do not have quick access to emergency contraception through pharmacists, their right to needed medical care could be threatened.

Greater access to emergency contraception could reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and thus the number of abortions.

This should be something all Marylanders can get behind.

Sara Love

Bethesda

The writer is a member of the board of the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland.

Don't close schools for religious reasons

Recent articles about the Baltimore County school board setting the holiday calendar for the 2007 school year and the attendant objection by the Muslim community that it does not including closings for Muslim holidays should serve as a civics lesson ("Muslim solution proposed," March 1).

The establishment clause of the First Amendment prevents the government from creating a church, endorsing religion in general, or favoring one set of religious beliefs over another.

The 1947 Supreme Court decision in Everson v. Board of Education of Ewing Township said that the establishment clause was intended to erect a "wall of separation between church and state."

The state, therefore, should clearly not close schools for any religious holiday - Christian, Jewish, Muslim or that of any other sect or belief.

And reading all of the articles about children's performance in schools would certainly suggest they could use the extra class time.

Bill Sears

Essex

Some academics live in fantasyland

Lionel S. Lewis, a professor at the State University of New York, Buffalo, laments the fact that a Columbia University professor was "publicly chastised" by his employer for expressing, in a teaching situation, his wish for the deaths of thousands of American soldiers in Iraq ("Academic freedom under siege from right," Opinion * Commentary, Feb. 28).

I, too, am shocked by this punishment. It was a slap on the wrist. That professor deserved to be fired.

Mr. Lewis and his ilk demand an "academic freedom" so unrestrained as to amount to anarchy.

This proves the very thing that he denies - that some members of academia are afloat in "the fantasy world of college," a place separate from the real world, in which words and actions have consequences.

Jeffry Mueller

Eldersburg

Concern over voting comes way too late

Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. says that he is concerned about voting safety in Maryland ("Ehrlich's concerns about voting persist," March 2).

But where has he been over the last three years as these problems have been well documented, particularly in a report by Johns Hopkins University computer scientists that received national attention?

True leadership would have meant showing concern about this problem long ago, not just at a time when it is nearly impossible to fix the problem before the fall elections.

Tim Eastman

Baltimore

Quiet isn't easy for some families

In response to Kevin Cowherd's column "In the market for a little peace and quiet" (Feb. 27), I would suggest that perhaps the frantically wailing young boy in the grocery store has a developmental disorder such as autism that makes routine public activities, such as shopping, a difficult and sometimes unbearable experience for the challenged child as well as for the parent who is attempting to manage and balance the child's needs with the needs of family life.

The public environment where Mr. Cowherd hopes to find peace may never be peaceful for a child who finds it to be a sensory nightmare. The mother in question may have been trying to handle a challenging situation in the least-disruptive way possible.

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