When a woman consents to a sexual encounter and then becomes pregnant, why should she alone be legally endowed with the power to have an abortion?
Hiram R. Johnston, Jr., Camp Hill, Pennsylvania
Since the "Roe vs. Wade" decision, some men have sought to obtain a court order forcing their mate to bear a child against her will. The appellate courts have all upheld the woman's right to an abortion, noting that any decision for one of the men would take away the decision from the pregnant woman and, therefore, would place the power to decide in the hands of her mate--and the state.
I am against abortion, though I realize that I have no right to force my belief on others. I do feel, however, with the exception of rape, incest or medical reasons, the Government should not fund abortions. Taxpayers who are against them should not have to pay for them.
Mark B. Sasse, Abilene, Texas
In a sense, you are forcing your beliefs on others--on women too poor to afford abortions. In an ideal world, taxpayers would be able to check off exactly what they wanted their money to fund. Many Americans wouldn't send their dollars off to finance the B-2. Unfortunately, it's not an ideal world. Why should anti-abortionists get to dictate how their money is spent?
I have heard too many people say that they don't want their tax dollars spent on a poor woman's abortion. Fine. Protest the $200 cost of abortion and then think of the thousands of dollars that must be spent on medical care for a deformed baby or a cocaine infant or an abused child who is put under state care or a child who starts life on welfare and ends life on welfare. I don't think that human life can be estimated in dollars, but if pro-lifers are going to use the money argument, I'll use it, too.
M. Burns, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
The pious efforts of the anti-abortion crusade will only increase the death toll of children dying of starvation, babies dying in infancy and women dying from complications of pregnancy and botched illegal abortions. It is monstrous to claim--as pro-lifers do--that they are motivated by love and concern for babies. The babies suffer the most and are the first to die.
Martin Olson, Washington, D.C.
The Supreme Court should not heed the hysterical religious zealots who want people to suffer for having had sex.
Jim Senyszyn, Naugatuck, Connecticut
I suggest that we spay women who are unfit to have children.
(Name and address, withheld by request)
We guess that this is the logical extension of forcing some women to have children--forcing some women not to have children.
Here we go Again
Time magazine, in writing about the man who was arrested as being the Green River killer, says that, like Bundy, he was an "avid consumer of pornography." Time also says they were both students at the University of Washington. What do you think, should we close down UW?
J. Davis, Seattle, Washington
If Dr. James Dobson wants personal testimonials about pornography and violence, I'll give him mine (The Playboy Forum, July). I've looked at pornography ever since I was six. I have never raped or killed a woman. Dobson should realize that there isn't a fine line between sex and violence.
Randy C., Warren, Ohio
The following is the Dater's Bill of Rights, drawn up by the date-rape-prevention advocate at Dartmouth College:
"We, the people of Dartmouth College, in order to form more enjoyable relationships, establish justice, ensure dating tranquility, provide for the common good, promote the general welfare and secure the blessings of relationship liberty to ourselves and other students, do ordain and establish the Dater's Bill of Rights:
"1. In self-chosen relationships, we have the right to pursue what we need, what we deserve and what we are ready for, within mutually consenting boundaries.
"2. We have the right to hold attitudes, values and beliefs about relationships and intimacy. We do not have the right to force or expect others to hold the same beliefs and attitudes as ours.
"3. We have the right to experience emotions and to express them. We have the right to expect respect for the expression. We do not have the right to assume what another person is feeling.
"4. We have the right to engage in consenting intimacy. We have the right to be responsible for the consequences of our intimacy. We do not have the right to force someone into intimate acts by using pressure, intimidation, exploitation or violence.
"5. We have the right to set sexual limits and communciate those limits. We have the right to expect acknowledgement and respect for those limits.
"6. We have the right to choose consenting partners and to recognize and be responsible for our needs and wants.
"7. We have the right to view a person as a person and not a gender symbol. We do not have the right to expect someone to feel or behave in certain ways because of [his or her] gender.
"8. We have the right to relate to each other without blame or guilt. We do not have the right to interpret someone's intentions or consent.
"9. We have the right to communicate verbally and nonverbally and to be responsible for our communications.
"10. We have the right to say no to sexual intimacy and to expect respect for this position. We have the right to behave in caring, friendly, exploring ways and to enjoy relationships that promote mutual consideration and respect.
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all people are created equal with certain inalienable rights. That among these rights are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness in enjoying companionships and relationships!"
What do you think of this code of conduct?
D. Taylor, Hanover, New Hampshire
While much of the code is sensitive, some of it clouds the issue. Let's make it simple: Date rape is wrong. When it comes to sex, silence is subject to misinterpretation. Make a clear request. Expect a clear answer. In the absence of a definite yes, keep it zipped. The consumption of alcohol does not convey consent. If you haven't discussed birth control, don't do anything that requires it. If someone needs to know what it means, he or she should ask before, not after. Losing control is the end, not the means, of sex. Stay cool. It is not a jungle out there.
Please refrain from portraying animal-rights activists--of which I am one--as a lunatic fringe (The Playboy Forum, September).
David Kveragas, Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania
OK, will bozos do?
What We Learn in School
Last year, I was a freshman at Mt. Hood Community College in Gresham, Oregon. My freshman English instructor gave the class an assignment to write something worthy of publication in a magazine. When the assignment was completed, we were told to give it to her, along with an envelope addressed to the magazine of our choice. The magazine of my choice was Playboy. Unfortunately, when the instructor returned my paper, she told me that although it was worthy of an A, she had lowered my grade to a B because of my "poor choice of magazine."
Douglas Ticknor, Gresham, Oregon
Last year, I was president of the Springdale, Arkansas, chapter of the Future Farmers of America. As my last act in office, I published an eight-page newsletter, Farmboy: Entertainment for Future Farmers. It contains short interviews with the 13 outgoing F.F.A. officers, an F.F.A. year in review and a pictorial, a composition of six photos from F.F.A. events. When Springdale High School principal Harry Wilson saw it, he had the F.F.A. sponsors confiscate 200 copies. I do not understand why he wanted them pulled--apparently, he found them offensive. He will say only that he "has a moral responsibility to the students."
The newsletter itself is not a big deal--and one would have to be incredibly thin-skinned to find it offensive--but the fact that it was censored is. This is what high school students in Springdale, Arkansas, are being taught about the First Amendment.
Jason Yates, Springdale, Arkansas
Our theory of education holds that teachers and school administrators should help prepare students for life in the real world. Because the real world is filled with those who abuse authority, the administrator and the teacher described above have definitely done their job.