Sorting out different types of contraception | March 5, commentary
The insult of 'informed consent'
I think it's wonderful that Dr. Joseph Spinnato, a local practitioner, made a point to explain in medically accurate terms the differences in the many methods of contraception available today. I also commend the Tampa Bay Times for publishing a concise and relevant article in the midst of an inflammatory debate where politics and rhetoric have taken center stage over the health care needs of women today. But what I do take issue with is the term "informed consent" as it is currently and solely being applied to women's medical care.
The term "informed consent" suggests that women are of low intelligence, not capable of reading scientific information and understanding it, or of seeking such information on their own.
According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, in the 2009-10 academic year 48.3 percent of medical school graduates were women. When will women be able to access health care services without the gender-biased barrier of informed consent? When 100 percent of medical school graduates are women?
M.A. Russell, St. Petersburg
Fight for religious liberty March 2, commentary
Friday's paper contained a wealth of items that beautifully illustrate the scope and confusion of our current debate on religious freedom. Besides pieces on abortion law and school prayer, two other articles complemented each other so well I had to comment. You should have put them together.
On page 13A, Pam Bondi's missive supports allowing religious beliefs to supersede the federal requirement for employers to pay for health insurance that covers birth control. Our attorney general apparently believes a religious ideology usurps a woman's individual, God-given, freewill choice to avail herself of any legal medical options when, or if, the time comes.
Then, on page 9B, I read the story about the Florida House passing HB 1209 to prevent all state legal authorities from "using religious or foreign law" to decide cases. The 50 people from religious organizations opposing the law who gathered Tallahassee were not even given a chance to speak against the bill before it was approved.
I almost hope the law passes. It would be fun to see what happens. Does Pam Bondi know about this?
Roger Crescentini, Tampa
Don't impose religion
I almost admire Attorney General Pam Bondi's apparent willingness to have sharia law imposed on all American women including herself. But perhaps when she speaks of religious freedom she's only speaking of Christian religion, and only part of it at that. If that's so, then someone needs to explain to her what religious freedom means: It means all religions, which is why religious freedom must be freedom from all religions and not freedom for all religions to make public policy.
Jim Perry, Tampa
Trigger bill moves forward | March 3
Try a 'teacher trigger'
The irony of this nefarious attempt to privatize public education is staggering.
As a public school teacher, I can honestly tell you that when parents are involved, students come to school ready to learn and perform at a high level.
When parents are not involved, students don't always come to school, are not ready to learn and do not have the motivation to perform at a high level.
Maybe what "failing" schools need is a "teacher trigger." When students skip school constantly, don't do any homework, are repeatedly disobedient and don't show any desire to perform, we take action against the parent, the true source of the problem.
Joel Melvin, Clearwater
When will enough be enough? Florida continues to be the laughingstock of the country as back-door politics is used to get the business of the state done and elected officials operate under a cloud of suspicion.
Suspicion of what? How about dishonesty, not being forthright with the people of Florida, making deals to line their own pockets — just to start. The voters in Florida have to make up their own minds how much more of this they want.
I would like to see someone in Tallahassee rein in Sen. JD Alexander with respect to the road to nowhere in Central Florida, since he seems to need some assistance understanding more about this — he says he "knows nothing about it" — but will profit by it should the road be built. Costing whom? Florida taxpayers.
Jerry Rosen, Lutz
Rear view cameras to be required | Feb. 28
An easier solution
Those of us who have been involved in AARP safe-driving classes have discussed the problem of hitting and injuring people when a driver backs out of a parking space.
There is a simple solution. Instead of backing out of a parking space, we have learned to back the car into the parking area. Then when we pull out, we can clearly see what is in front of us. Learning to back in requires only a few times of practice.
This habit could save each of us the several hundred dollars the carmakers have said rearview cameras will cost.
Lenore Frontczak, New Port Richey
Food truck debate | Feb. 24
Let competition reign
We already have mobile catering in St. Petersburg. Think of the hot dog vendors in carts on the street corners. They are licensed and the traditional restaurants do not bother with them. Their overhead is low.
I am in favor of mobile vending, including food trucks. The free enterprise system is based on competition.
David Springer, St. Petersburg
Christians who observe meatless Lent help reduce chronic diseases, environmental degradation and animal abuse. In the past four decades, dozens of medical reports have linked consumption of animal products with elevated risk of heart failure, stroke, cancer and other diseases.
A 2007 U.N. report named meat production as the largest source of greenhouse gases and water pollution. Undercover investigations have documented animals being raised for food under abject conditions.
Lent offers a superb opportunity to honor Jesus' powerful message of compassion and love for all living beings. Entering "vegetarian lent" in your favorite search engine provides ample tips and recipes.
Susan Carter, Tampa