1. Opinion

Imagine if a teen’s parents insisted she have an abortion

Here’s what readers are saying in Thursday’s letters to the editor
Opponents of the SB 404, known as the "parental consent" bill, gathered at a news conference last month at the Capitol in Tallahassee. The bill requires girls under the age of 18 get a parent's consent before having an abortion. [AILEEN PERILLA  |  AP]
Opponents of the SB 404, known as the "parental consent" bill, gathered at a news conference last month at the Capitol in Tallahassee. The bill requires girls under the age of 18 get a parent's consent before having an abortion. [AILEEN PERILLA | AP]
Published Feb. 5

Why abortion rights are at risk in Florida | Editorial, Feb. 4

Imagine a teen who wants baby

Let’s say a 17-year-old high-school senior is pregnant. She wants to have the baby and marry the father, but her parents think what’s best for her is to have an abortion and go to college. Does anyone among us think that, in this situation, the parents should get their way? No one? Good, then we all agree: The decision belongs to her — not to her parents and not to the government.

Yet, when the situation is reversed, suddenly people become comfortable with taking the decision away from her and turning it over to a government that turns it over to her parents. These are the same people who are always complaining about Big Government intruding into our lives, yet they want the government to regulate something as private as the relationship between a parent and a child. If you have such a poor relationship with your teenage daughters that they don’t trust you enough to seek your guidance, the government can’t regulate your problems away. You need a family therapist, not government.

If conservatives truly wanted to reduce abortions, they’d take the money they spend on lobbying for unconstitutional abortion restrictions and spend it, instead, on helping struggling mothers provide their children with food, shelter, health care and education; young mothers know they’ll have to struggle to provide these things to their babies and have abortions because they don’t think they’ll be able to pull it off. Conservatives are interested in using the machinery of government to regulate other people’s family dynamics and bring them in line with their ideals.

James Shaw, Tampa

Triumphant Trump points to economy | Feb. 5

Disrespecting the president

Donald Trump is our duly elected president. Love him or hate him, we as Americans need to respect the office, regardless of its occupant. It’s as simple as, if you don’t like America or our institutions, then leave. When the speaker of the House disrespects the office of the president like a spoiled child, this is a new low for the Democrats. Why teach civics to our young when our leadership can’t show basic civility?

Craig Spry, St. Petersburg

Triumphant Trump points to economy | Feb. 5

Speaker was on a tear

Fact-checkers are having a field day debunking most of what President Donald Trump claimed as his economic successes during his State of the Union address. Not surprisingly, his speech contained no mention of the dangers his maladministration poses to future generations. Prominent among them are the effects of climate change, about which he is doing worse than nothing, and the current $23 trillion national debt. That debt is bound to climb indefinitely, given the annual trillion-dollar deficits projected by the Congressional Budget Office. Is it any wonder then that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made a point of publicly tearing up her copy of the speech when it was over?

Fred Kalhammer, Sun City Center

Rubio in anti-LGBTQ voucher fight | Feb. 5

Bigotry? Not on my dime

Lost in the argument about scholarships allowing students to attend schools that openly discriminate against some minorities is this question: Whose money is it? In effect, it is ours. Every would-be corporate tax dollar funneled by the Legislature into these schools raises the taxes of the rest of us. Sen. Marco Rubio can do what he wishes with his money, but I don’t want my money used to promote bigotry.

Stephen Phillips, St. Petersburg


  1. Florida has some of the highest auto insurance rates in the country. [Courtesy of Clearwater Police]
  2. Our democracy is under unprecedented attack from overseas, but the federal government has been unable or unwilling to protect our campaign-finance system.
  3. Cars sit locked in evening rush hour traffic on Dale Mabry near Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. The Hillsborough County Commission will discuss Wednesday whether to prepare a transportation tax for the November ballot now that the fate of the current tax rests with the Florida Supreme Court. [ZACK WITTMAN  |  Times] 
  4. In this Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2004, file photo, Tiffany Carr, executive director of Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence, left, speaks at a news conference held by Gov. Jeb Bush, background right, to announce a public awareness campaign designed to prevent disaster-related domestic violence, in Tallahassee, Fla. On Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis ordered an investigation into a nonprofit domestic abuse agency whose CEO, Carr, had received $7.5 million in compensation over a three-year span. (AP Photo/Phil Coale, File)
  5. Paula Dockery of Lakeland served in the Florida Legislature for 16 years.
  6. The United States' life expectancy has gone down four out of the last five years largely because of deaths in the 25-64 age range.
  7. Michael Bloomberg, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump
  8. In this image from video, the vote total, 53-47 for not guilty, on the second article of impeachment, obstruction of congress, is displayed on screen during the impeachment trial against President Donald Trump in the Senate.
  9. Nurse manager Amy Hunt holds the special stethoscope that allows nurses at Tampa General Hospital to record a heartbeat while they listen to it during a routine exam.
  10. Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections worker Andrea West adds mail ballots to an inserter at the Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections Service Center in Largo. Workers are preparing to mail 260,000 vote by mail kits for the November General Election.