Give teen-agers information, contraception

The Sun is absolutely on mark in condemning the General Assembly for trying to legislate parent-child relationships ("Keep it out of court," editorial, March 9). It is irresponsible to require all teens seeking abortions to notify parents when many could be in abusive situations.

The Sun is also right in that our lawmakers need to pass legislation making emergency contraception more easily accessed for women who need it.

Along with emergency contraception, responsible sexuality education is the other key to preventing unintended pregnancies throughout Maryland. Right now Harford County is revising its sex education materials, which were last updated in 1983. Our children deserve better than that. Our children also deserve more than simply being left in the dark about sex. A law introduced in the General Assembly last week would do just that by censoring information about contraception in schools. It also makes contraception more difficult for students to obtain.

There is no evidence that keeping youths ignorant works to prevent pregnancy. Even worse, by keeping valuable information and contraception from teens, we endanger their lives as seen in the rising rates for sexually transmitted diseases among youths.

Kris Maccubbin


The writer is chair of Maryland NARAL (National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League).

It still destroys a human life

The editorial "Keep it out of court" (March 9) spoke of "emergency contraceptives" as averting 51,000 abortions in the year 2000. This was touted as a "pro-life statistic if ever there was one." I believe The Sun has a poor misunderstanding of the pro-life perspective.

Abortion kills an innocent, unborn human being. The use of "emergency contraceptives" does the same, even if the methodology prevents implantation instead of surgical destruction. So while you may correctly note that some abortions would be prevented, the destruction of human life remains.

Thus the reduction of abortions via a different method of destroying human beings is neither a pro-life statistic nor a viable pro-life position.

David P. Gilmore

Glen Burnie

Rebuke off target on weapons search

U.S. District Judge Andre M. Davis is a very competent jurist, obviously, or he wouldn't be sitting on the federal bench.

The drug case he ruled on appeared to contain errors in the affidavit in support of the search-and-seizure warrant, hence the suppression of evidence relating to that case ("U.S. judge rebukes city police after rejecting evidence," March 10).

The way the gun case is reported seems to be a different story. The officers had knowledge that a convicted felon was in possession of drugs and/or firearms. They acted on that premise legally, albeit in the middle of the night, by obtaining a consent-to-search form from the owner of the house, the defendant's mother.

With all due respect to the bench, I think we would have heard a different story if one of his loved ones was injured with that gun between 4 and 8 a.m., armed with the knowledge that the police knew a gun was present and did not exhaust all legal avenues for recovery, waiting for the time to be "right." All the mother had to say was, "No, you do not have my consent," and the case would have gone no further until the gun was recovered by other means.

I was unaware that there is a constitutional ruling mandating wake-up calls for those harboring convicted felons with handguns.

D. Martin Disney


Kudos to judge for protecting rights

Hats off to U.S. District Judge Andre M. Davis for upholding the oath he took to protect everybody's constitutional rights ("U.S. judge rebukes city police after rejecting evidence," March 10).

Shame on the U.S. attorney's office for asking the judge to amend the language in his ruling. That could be considered a cover-up.

Judge Davis called it correctly.

Joseph Holmes Sr.


Billboards on arena set bad precedent

The proposal to place 14 four-story billboards on the 1st Mariner Arena presents a danger to all Baltimore neighborhoods ("Seven reasons to reject billboard blight," Opinion Commentary, Feb. 27). It would open up the possibility of future exceptions to the city's billboard ban.

It took years of hard work by citizens and civic groups to pass Baltimore's nationally renowned ban on billboard construction. It was the first bill that Mayor Martin O'Malley signed upon taking office, and it turned Baltimore into a model for other cities around the country that struggle to keep their neighborhoods clean and attractive.

Since that time, new billboards have been unable to block historic buildings, disrupt the skyline or clutter our neighborhoods with messages that tempt our children into addictions. And now, while many agree that the arena is an eyesore, adding hugely out-of-scale signs would only draw more attention to its design deficiencies.

This plan amounts to putting lipstick on a pig. Even worse, it undermines a hard-won initiative and sets a precedent for future violations around the city.

Sally Oldham Ellen Harvey Kelly


The writers are, respectively, the chair and a board member of Scenic Maryland.

Let artists enhance facade of old arena

If the city wants to decorate the 1st Mariner Arena, it should ask artists to paint murals instead of using advertisements.

Audrey Zimmer


Taylor shows why he was voted out

Former House Speaker Casper R. Taylor's comments in Michael Olesker's column show why he is no longer representing Western Maryland ("Republicans ridded themselves of a much-needed ally for slots," March 11).

After squandering a $1 billion surplus and speeding through the yellow-light warning of an economic recession, Mr. Taylor now blames Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. for not cleaning up the fiscal mess he helped create.

He is also misinformed about his tax of choice. Maryland does not have the lowest sales tax in the region: Virginia's is 4.5 percent, Delaware has no sales tax and Pennsylvania and New Jersey do not tax clothing.

William Clark


Does anyone want slots as a neighbor?

It seems to us that when it comes to slots there are two camps: Those who are morally opposed and those who are for slots as long as they are not in their neighborhood.

We encourage comments from anyone who would actually like to live and raise a family near a slots venue.

Brett South Sarah South


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