Maryland must start regulating abortion clinics

As a former unwed mother who was subjected to pressure to get an abortion at a substandard free clinic, I think David Nitkin's article on state Sen. Janet Greenip's proposed Women's Health Protection Act was devoid of pertinent facts and strongly biased ("Abortion foes propose regulating Md. clinics," Jan. 7).


Mr. Nitkin writes, "Abortion providers and the state's top health official said more stringent regulations are not needed because there is no evidence that facilities pose a health risk."

But there are, in fact, no current regulations governing state abortion facilities -- and they are the only medical facilities to be unregulated in Maryland. Veterinary clinics in Maryland are regulated, but abortion clinics are not.


A recent statewide poll of 806 registered Maryland voters conducted by Gonzales Research & Marketing Strategies asked: "Do you think facilities that perform abortions should be held to the same health and safety standards as other medical facilities, or not?"

Ninety-two percent of respondents replied in the affirmative. The poll also showed no statistically relevant difference in opinion between Maryland Democrats (91 percent in favor) and Republicans (93 percent in favor); black (88 percent in favor) and white Maryland voters (93 percent in favor); and men (93 percent in favor) and women (91 percent in favor).

Far from restricting access, Ms. Greenip's bill would ensure what the majority of voters want: for regulations to be brought up to standard, so that when they or their daughters make the difficult choice to abort, they will be safe when seeking help at a time of crisis.

I hope the day is over when a radical minority of the pro-choice movement can prevent women from receiving adequate care because they place ideology before safety.

It's time for both sides of the abortion debate to take a hard look at the issue of clinic safety in Maryland and work together for reform.

Clare McGrath-Merkle


The writer is executive director of Pro-Life Maryland Inc.


Sewage fee tightens vise of rising costs

The governor's proposal to add a $30 surcharge to municipal sewer users is just another hole in the pocket of homeowners ("Ehrlich proposes sewage fee to protect the bay," Jan. 9).

The news of the economy rebounding, the rising stock market and federal tax refunds has yet to make the average homeowner feel any better about the seemingly endless flow of notices of increases in utility fees, cable fees, city and state registration fees, insurance costs and, of course, real estate taxes.

Throw in other little fees, such as the city's very resourceful home alarm registration fee, and the average homeowner is starting to get nickel-and-dimed to death.

When will someone help homeowners keep a few pennies for themselves?

Mike Rogers



New GOP fee sounds much like a tax hike

Our Republican governor can now have a new campaign pledge: "Pouring Your Money Down the Toilet," to describe his new fee for sewer users ("Ehrlich proposes sewage fee to protect the bay," Jan. 9).

Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. can call this a "fee," but I think it is a selective $66 million tax increase.

This plan is a strangely Democratic action (trying to lower pollution by improving sewer plants via taxation). And it is amusing that when Republicans increase our costs, they call them "fees," but when Democrats do it, the GOP calls them "taxes."

Jeff Tarleton



Morgan has no feud with Pete Rawlings

The university deeply regrets the continuing effort to revisit past differences of opinion between Morgan State University and the late Del. Howard P. Rawlings. The university has not conducted any personal investigation or compiled any secret dossier of the delegate, as was most recently alleged in The Sun's article "Russia sings praises of Morgan's choir" (Jan. 7).

More important, the delegate is now deceased, and the university considers the matter closed. Any effort to rekindle the controversy cannot serve any useful purpose, and university officials refuse to be a part of it.

Earl S. Richardson



The writer is president of Morgan State University.

Both parties back elements of the elite

I agree with Peter Savodnik that the Democrats appeal to those with an elitist attitude ("Too cool to rule," Opinion * Commentary, Jan. 4). However, I must take issue with his implication that attending fund-raisers filled with "black people or Jewish comedians" shows "disdain for all things bourgeois: SUVs, white picket fences, flags, monogamy, organized religion."

Many African-Americans, including myself and my family, are monogamous, patriotic and attend church regularly. If he visits any predominantly African-American worship service, Mr. Savodnik will see that we share the same values as most Americans do.

However, both Democrats and Republicans have lost touch with the concerns of average Americans. Despite their "uncool" image, Republicans have consistently favored the economic elite. The Democrats consistently favor the cultural elite, as Mr. Savodnik points out.

That leaves most of us who work hard every day trying to provide for our family (whether we are African-American, Jewish, white, urban, rural, liberal or conservative) without a voice.


No wonder so few people feel it's important to vote.

James B. Parks


What's the reason for race to Mars?

I've been searching for a rationale for the Bush administration's proposal to expand the nation's space program ("Missions to moon, Mars enter Bush's view," Jan. 9).

Has the intelligence community determined that Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida are developing space weapons? Has North Korea challenged the United States to a race to land human beings on Mars?


Or is this a colossal boondoggle for the aerospace industry that it doesn't need and we can't afford?

Benjamin Rosenberg


When will president make move to moon?

I heartily support the president's plan to go to the moon ("Missions to moon, Mars enter Bush's view," Jan. 9).

The sooner he leaves, the better.


Godspeed, President Bush.

Mac Nachlas


Bow hunter proves he is unfit to hunt

I agree that the death of Christopher Stephen Mattison's son will punish him more than anything the criminal justice system ever could do, or at least it should ("Charge against boy's father is set aside in bow-hunting death," Jan. 8).

However, Mr. Mattison has proved he is unfit to be a hunter. He should receive a lifetime ban from hunting so as not to endanger himself or someone else.


Don Colburn

Havre de Grace