1. Archive

Abortion referral ruling brings reader comment

Re: Supreme Court ruling on abortion referral. Presidents may be impeached by the House, tried by the Senate and, if judged guilty, expelled from office. Members of Congress may be reprimanded, censored or expelled. Local officials may be recalled by voters.

My question is: How do we get rid of the five Supreme Court justices, appointed for life, who have violated the constitutional right of free speech for personnel working in family planning clinics? And that is exactly what the court did last week when they not only forbade any counseling or referral of patients desiring abortions, but also had the audacity to dictate the exact words those personnel should use to answer inquiries about abortion.

The court's claim that the decision was based on the fact that family planning clinics receive some of their funds from the federal government was pure hogwash. All it really was, was to foster their beliefs against pro-choice for women. I, for one, am tired of the judges, who are appointed to protect each citizen's rights under the Constitution; instead, they are legislating against our rights.

Guy M. Hunicutt, Seminole

I am saddened, frightened and angered by the recent Supreme Court decision regarding federally funded clinics giving information to clients regarding abortion. As a registered nurse who works for an agency that receives federal funds, I cannot believe that the information I may impart to our clients will be censored.

Regardless of whether one agrees with abortion rights, it is a legal option that a pregnant woman may consider and choose. To impose a law that essentially does not allow medically indigent pregnant women to receive information on abortion if they so desire is discriminatory. In my position as a nurse, I have spoken to pregnant women who stated that they had considered their options, had decided to have an abortion and would like information about where they could obtain one. Telling such a client that the clinic does not consider abortion an "appropriate option" is biased and unethical. All clients _ even those who utilize the services of federally funded clinics _ should expect and receive information about any medical condition (including pregnancy) and should not have that information censored and dictated by law.

Sadly, there is no 100-percent effective method of birth control. Even abstinence is not effective in the case of rape. Unwanted pregnancies do occur, and abortion is an option to those women who have unplanned or unwanted pregnancies. Those women should have a right to knowledgeable information on all of their options.

I wonder what to expect next of the Supreme Court. How far away is the day that I, as a nurse, will not be able to counsel a teen-ager about birth control without "breaking the law"? Just how far will this infringement on human rights _ and, in particular, women's rights _ go?

Lynn Moneck, R.N., Clearwater

Re: The abortion police at work, by Robert Pittman, May 26.

The soul brothers of Mr. Pittman's deacons are against abortion because a baby dies. That is the truth. The mother may choose one of several options about what to do with the child when born. Killing the child is not an option.

If we were more responsible about our sexuality instead of looking upon sex as mere "fun," there would be fewer unwanted pregnancies.

Roger Tuttle, Palm Harbor

Re: The abortion police at work, by Robert Pittman, May 26.

Mr. Pittman, get real! You say that the immediate victims of the decision banning abortion clinics from advising their patients about abortion are the women who seek abortions. The immediate victims have been the 1.9-million babies scraped or sucked out of their mothers in one year. The women themselves have been victimized by these atrocities.

Lastly, the taxpayers have been victimized by picking up the tab for all of the above. The money that they won't be receiving from the government is what the clinics are concerned about.

Mary C. Schrader, San Antonio

I wish Robert Pittman would tell us what motivated him to leave the fundamentalist mind-set and the enforcer deacons that he described Sunday.

Did he start to think and reason?

Perhaps he was like the small boy's kittens.

"What kind of kittens are those?" a neighbor asked.

"They're humanist kittens," the boy replied. "They opened their eyes."

Ray A. Blett, St. Petersburg

Messages to Payton

Please convey my compliments to Jack R. Payton for writing a splendid article titled It's time for U.S. to take a look at itself, May 28. This article represents a true picture of the lack of concern for our country today. I truly believe we should really be concerned, and it should be our concern.

How long can this go on?

John Chiljean, Lecanto

Memo to Jack R. Payton:

That yellow fruit you have been sucking on lately is beginning to show. Your columns are really sour these days.

We are not so great, but the good old United States of America is not as bad as you make it out to be. As foreign editor, maybe you could show us some of your model countries. Honest, we will do our best to emulate them.

So, pack in a bushel of nice Florida oranges. The change in citrus could do wonders for your outlook. Lighten up. There are some scenarios other than doomsday out there.

Alex Mangani, Safety Harbor

New criminal class?

A new criminal class is afloat in Florida _ boaters.

That is the net effect of scores of local, county and state regulations outlawing living on, cruising, even anchoring a boat for any reason.

All boat owners are hurt by anti-boating ordinances being enacted throughout the state. On this coast, Madeira Beach, Sarasota, Clearwater, Fort Myers, St. Petersburg, Naples, all already have or are considering anti-boating ordinances.

The ordinances carry a variety of names _ live-aboard laws, marine sanitation ordinances, regulations claiming to protect the marine environment. They have one element in common. They affect not only the long-term live-aboard, the person whose boat is his only home, they affect the vacationing cruiser, the weekender, even the day-tripper.

An organization has formed in Florida _ Concerned Boaters _ to try to combat these ordinances. Valerie Jones, founder and president, will be in Madeira Beach on Saturday to discuss these ordinances. Madeira Beach has a hearing scheduled in June on an ordinance to regulate all boats.

All boat owners should attend this meeting, at 2 p.m. Saturday June 1, at Holiday Isles Marina, to learn how these laws affect them.

The fact that most of these anti-anchoring ordinances are illegal in light of both federal and state law has not stopped their proliferation. The result is that I can cruise a foreign country, such as the Bahamas, with more freedom than I can travel in my own state of Florida.

Boat owners themselves must pull together to work toward a solution. Too often, the boaters' response is to move on. Or to think that it's not their boat that will be affected. They must stand and fight. Sailors, powerboaters, fishermen, live-aboards, cruisers are all affected.

They must join together, get involved, show that they care, prove they're responsible. Vote. Most of all, they must abide by the laws that exist: show an anchor light, make sure the head is legal, have the correct safety gear.

The problem lies not with the boats or the boaters. The solution lies not in passing more regulations, but in enforcing those that already exist. Please attend Saturday's meeting to learn more about these issues.

Bob Collins, Madeira Beach

Americans in Southeast Asia

Re: GOP charges coverup of POW cases.

The report by the GOP Committee, as well as that by the former chief of the Defense Agency's Special Office for Prisoner of War and Missing in Action, only substantiates what Vietnam veterans' groups, as well as others, have been saying for a long time: There are Americans still alive in Southeast Asia.

We as individuals must be concerned. Those held in captivity cannot help themselves. Even if only one American is still alive and held prisoner it is unconscionable that we tolerate it. We as individuals must write to our representatives and senators demanding that a full and open accounting of the POW-MIA issue take place. Post cards and letters do get action from our representatives, but only if in sufficient numbers to shake their self-assurance.

Richard H. Thibodeau, Vice-President,

Suncoast Vietnam Veterans of Pinellas County,

St. Petersburg

Protection for carriage horses

Humanitarians! The most abused of all domestic animals _ the horse _ needs your help. Few individuals or humane organizations know much about this faithful, patient, long-suffering friend of mankind, so it is generally overlooked. Now, however, is a chance for all who care, to do something to protect it.

This committee keeps receiving complaints about horse and carriage operations in Florida. Some cities have wisely banned them, but others are the main cause of the complaints. Horses are standing and working in Florida's broiling sun, with no shade; their feet are on surfaces many times hotter than the air you and I breathe (which is unbearably hot as it is!); they inhale exhaust fumes from motor vehicles, and they have to fight their way through traffic. This is no life for any animal.

In collaboration with Friends of Animals, this committee has drawn up a bill that will provide protection for Florida's carriage horses if introduced in the Legislature in Tallahassee. We urge every caring person to ask his/her state representative and state senator to sponsor our bill. (You can get their names from your library or League of Women Voters. Remember, these are your state legislators; Congress is not involved.) Contact your legislators now for next session, or they may say you didn't contact them soon enough. Thank you on behalf of the horses.

Greta Bunting, St. Petersburg

Yield to emergency vehicles

Today as I was coming home from work there was a fire truck coming toward me on State Road 50 with lights and siren on. I pulled off the road as did the car in front of me. The car behind me plus a few behind him passed by us. The cars on the same side of the road as the fire truck just kept on driving like the truck wasn't even there. The fire truck was forced to slow down to almost a stop. When I arrived home I phoned the sheriff's office to see if this is a law that all vehicles pull off the road to any emergency vehicle and was told "Yes it is."

Come on, motorists, it may be you or a loved one in that ambulance that needs to get to a hospital fast. Stop and think about it.

Mrs. D. Gilmore, Brooksville

Miracle or tragedy?

Re: Television flock proves forgiving of Swaggart, May 23, referred to the return of Jimmy Swaggart with the line "In the salvation business, miracles seem to happen."

Miracle? I think tragedy is a better word. It does demonstrate one lesson: never underestimate the gullibility of the public.

Brent Yaciw, Seminole

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