The Supreme Court's decision in Webster vs. Reproductive Health Services is another act of violence against women and children. Where are thepro-life positions, plans and programs for mothers and their childrenwho are fighting poverty, homelessness, poor education, joblessnessand an imperfect health-care system?
I will pressure my elected officials to vote against limiting abortion rights andto vote for human-needs programs. I urge other Playboy readers to do the same. Please tell them how they can find out whotheir state legislators are.
Julia Middleton, Chicago, Illinois
The easiest way to find out who your state legislator is is to call your state's Board ofElections--or you can always call your local library's reference department.
Big Brother is here in the form of the Supreme Court and its intrusion into the moral and medicaldecisions that women face. Why should our judicial system legislatemorality? That is exactly what the founding fathers wereagainst.
T. Chapman, San Diego, California
The Supreme Court's ruling on the Missouri abortion law is discriminatory. Not only does it allow for state legislators to makeabortions too costly for poor women, it also allows them essentiallyto eliminate abortion as an option by forbidding public employees toeven mention the A word to pregnant women seeking counseling. This isexploiting poverty and ignorance for the sake of some unrealisticPlatonic ideal.
G. Greene, Trenton, New Jersey
The Supreme Court's recent abortion decision may, indeed, cut down thenumber of "murdered unborn children" (as prolifers say), but it willincrease the number of murdered born children. Forcing womento carry pregnancies to term cannot force them to want--orlove--their children.
D. Jenkins, Bismarck, North Dakota
The Republicans were ready and eager to hang former Speaker of the House Jim Wrightbecause his wife, Betty, held an $18,000-a-year job with someone theyfound unacceptable. Well, I have some problems with the activities ofSusan Baker, wife of James A. Baker III, President Bush's Secretaryof State. Susan Baker is cofounder of the music watchdog organizationParents' Music Resource Center and is a board member of Dr. James A.("Pornography made Ted Bundy do it") Dobson's group Focus on theFamily. This group includes anti-abortionists, anti-gay-rightsactivists and advocates of censorship, prayer in school and theteaching of creation science. I'm sure Susan Baker would say she ispro-family; I'd say she is anti-human.
M. Morris, New York, New York
The More Things Change...
The following is a quote from The Law Giveth ..., by BarbaraMilbauer: "[In the late 1800s] American meant whiteAnglo-Saxon Protestant, and that definition was intended to excludeeveryone else [Italian and Irish Catholics and blacks].Traditional values were Anglo-Saxon values.... The values[they] held dear were well known and consistent ... home and family, Christian values, order, male and female destiny.... In such anatmosphere, those who ran for office could and did rely heavily onmoralizing in their speechmaking.... The evangelical fervor thatswept the country during this period was sternly moral. Birthcontrol, let alone abortion, was not countenanced, and sin waseverywhere."
How little things have changed.
S. Carpenter, Denver, Colorado
Mad About Madd
Several years ago, I tried to get the MADD organization insuburban Philadelphia to broaden its outreach in behalf of saferhighways ("One for the Road," The Playboy Forum, April). Iproposed that it seek legislation requiring severe penalties fordrivers who, for example, stop dead in expressway-acceleration lanesbecause they lack the ordinary driving skills to merge into trafficat highway speeds using only the rearview mirror, who drive in theleft-hand lane without passing, who fail to move left to allow othercars easier access to expressways, who block intersections duringtraffic tie-ups, etc.
MADD was not interested in seekingmandatory jail terms and license suspensions for such drivers eventhough thoughtless and unskilled people may be responsible for asmany traffic deaths in a year as drinking drivers are. Unfortunately, since such people are rarely involved in the accidents they cause, wedo not have statistics to prove them to be vastly more dangerous thandrinking drivers.
As a social drinker, I may, on occasion, consume two or three cocktails and then get behind the wheel of mycar. Not only am I a better driver than the incompetent motorists Idescribed--even with two or three drinks under my belt--butalso, I drink and drive only once or twice a month at most, whilelousy, unsafe, unskilled drivers are lousy, unsafe and unskilledevery day of the week.
It's a sobering thought.
Paul R. Hollrah, Locust Grove, Oklahoma
Christian Reverence For Life?
In the June Playboy Forum, anti-abortionist Phillip B. Snow comments in "Reader Response" that"reverence for human life is a hallmark of Judaeo-Christian thoughtand Western ethics." On the contrary, Christian religions have a longtradition and history of hatred and intolerance toward anyone whoholds views contrary to theirs. A great deal of suffering, death andpersecution can be directly attributed to Christianity: the Crusades, the Inquisition and the harassment and persecution of scientists andfreethinkers who sought to improve the knowledge and lives ofmankind.
American history is not one of reverence and tolerance by Christians, either. Women were burned at the stake aswitches simply because they were thought to be un-Christian. Listento broadcasts by some TV preachers and you'll find that intoleranceis alive and well in the U.S.
The abortion controversy also shows just how much reverence Christians have for human life. Somepro-lifers harass, threaten and use physical violence againstpro-choice advocates with the same religious fervor and piety thatthe Moslems in the Middle East have displayed toward SalmanRushdie.
Religion is a primary source of hatred, fear, intolerance, persecution and human suffering. No religious group canclaim to be better than any other.
Willard T. Wheeler, (Address withheld by request)
If pornography caused violence, wouldn't our Armed Forces use itto condition American troops for battle?
George Wall, Hyattsville, Maryland
• Despite rumors to the contrary, AIDS is notgoing to college, at least not in great numbers. The American CollegeHealth Association checked 16,861 blood samples from students on 19campuses and found that the HIV-infection rate was two per1000--similar to the rate of infection in other groups not atparticular risk of contracting the disease.
• A study of 169 homeless men at one municipal shelter in New York City foundan AIDS-infection rate of 62 percent. The city's health commissionercalled the rate "very high" but was not surprised by the results, given the high rate of I.V.-drug use among the homeless. AIDS expertsare calling for a broader study--and for more city services forhomeless people with AIDS.
• As of February 28, 1989, 88,096 AIDS cases and 51,310 AIDS deaths had been reported to theU.S. Centers for Disease Control. An estimated 1,000,000 to 1,500,000Americans are infected with the HIV.
• Three hundredand fifty-two of those infected with AIDS are teenagers, 46 percentof whom are white, 34 percent black, 18 percent Hispanic and twopercent other races.
• In New York City, AIDS is theleading cause of death for women from the ages of 25 to 34 and thefourth most common cause of death for women from the ages of 15 to24. Women are more likely than men to contract the disease from theiropposite-sex partners.
• In 1989, Federal spending forAIDS research and prevention will total 1.3 billion dollars; Federalspending for cancer research and prevention will total 1.5 billiondollars; for heart disease, one billion dollars; and for diabetes,$267,000,000.
• Approximately 65 percent ofhemophiliacs are HIV-positive; there are between 15,000 and 20,000hemophiliacs in the United States.
• Sixty-one percentof AIDS cases are homosexual or bisexual men, 20 percent areI.V.-drug users, seven percent are homosexual or bisexual men whoalso use I.V. drugs, three percent have received blood transfusions, one percent are hemophiliacs, one percent are infants born toinfected mothers and four percent are heterosexuals who have hadsexual contact with someone infected with HIV. The remainder arepeople with no known risk factors.