- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 5, 2000

Abortion issue is far from 'over'

Kathleen Parker asserts that the abortion debate is over and abortion has won ("Waning abortion debate?" Commentary, Oct. 3). She equates George W. Bush's belief that abortion is permissible in instances of rape and incest to a capitulation on the issue and notes that the right supports him nonetheless. Miss Parker should set emotion aside for a moment and examine the facts.

Mr. Bush has stated that he favors the appointment of judges and Supreme Court justices who are strict constructionists. In other words, those court appointees would adhere to the strictest meaning of the Constitution. The whole abortion debate turns upon the judicially fabricated notion that there is a right to privacy contained within the Constitution. I have no doubt that Mr. Bush's appointees would uphold the fact that there is no such right of privacy. Mr. Bush's exceptions won't pass through this strict-constructionist filter, and the "rigid right" is smart enough to realize that. Expose as unconstitutional this notion of privacy, and the curtain is thrown back to reveal abortion as a crime against humanity.

Miss Parker smugly declares that abortion is here to stay. Sadly, she is correct. It is here to stay, as are murders of all sorts.

On the pro-life front, however, the battle is being won. Those who have seen the irrefutable evidence of the humanity of the unborn are flocking to the cause. Abortionists continue to be recognized as the unethical dregs of the medical community. They have left themselves wide open to malpractice suits. More and more injured and abused women are coming forward, and many, many abortion mills have been shut down in recent years as a result of civil suits this is their Achilles heel, and it is being struck.

Just as the deadly agent Zyklon B exterminated humans the Nazis deemed unworthy of life, so does RU-486 rid mothers of children they decide are not worthy of life. How strangely fitting that RU-486 and Zyklon-B were developed by the same company.

The approval of RU-486 changes nothing, however, and no, Miss Parker, the debate isn't over. The battle goes on. America's soul depends on it. We will never give up.

THOMAS V. COLE

Quantico, Va.

U.N. would benefit from less U.S. funding

Richard Holbrooke, U.S. representative to the United Nations, was correct in calling for an end to reliance by the United Nations on any single country to pay its bills in "U.S. carries too big a financial burden, Holbrooke says" (Oct. 3). The U.N. dependency on the United States for a majority of its budget and Congress' tendency to withhold these funds cripples its ability to act independently and effectively. In order to continue as an independent and viable organization, the United Nations needs an adequate and reliable source of funding (of which the United States is neither). Depending on the United States for such a large percentage of its financial support threatens the United Nations' political independence. The U.N. funding system is overdue for a major overhaul, and while that should include reducing the maximum percentage of the U.N. budget any one state pays, it also should include an increase in alternative sources of funding. But recognizing this does not exempt the United States from paying the full amount to which it, by signing the U.N. charter, has agreed.

SHAUNA CARMICHAEL

Washington

Telco legislation creates competition, not higher rates

Karen Kerrigan's Sept. 28 Op-Ed column on reciprocal compensation, "Brazen Bells," fails to provide your readers with an accurate view of the current competitive telecommunications marketplace. Ms. Kerrigan chairs a group called the Small Business Survival Committee and knows quite well of the century-long commitment local telephone companies have made to the survival of small businesses in this country.

Her claim that local telephone companies are pushing legislation that would raise the prices consumers pay to their Internet service providers (ISPs), therefore, is surprising as well as unfounded. In fact, in jurisdictions (such as the District) where reciprocal compensation arrangements are permissible, ISP charges are identical to charges in jurisdictions where reciprocal compensation arrangements are not allowed (such as Massachusetts).

The bills moving through Congress to address reciprocal compensation would establish appropriate payment procedures for local calls and calls to the Internet. Ms. Kerrigan's assertion that competitive local phone companies are "denied a legitimate and needed revenue stream" flies in the face of rational thinking. Since when is it legitimate for companies to hook up networks in horse barns for the sole purpose of receiving compensation payments? Since when do companies need to get reciprocal compensation kickbacks in order to survive?

Competition isn't about horse barns or kickbacks to garner billions of dollars better spent on services for consumers. It's about opening markets to all players so everyone can compete in the local and long-distance business with the same regulations. Once real competition is achieved, consumers will truly benefit.

GARY LYTLE

Interim President and chief executive

United States Telecom Association

Washington

Genetic ID labs independent, not anti-biotech

Several inaccurate and misleading statements were made about Genetic ID Inc. in your Sept. 30 editorial "Attack of the killer tacos." Genetic ID is the laboratory that performed the analysis of the taco shells in question.

First, you stated, "[A] nominally independent laboratory announced that it had discovered in taco shells some genetically modified corn that the federal government had not approved for human consumption." According to Webster's Dictionary, "nominal" is defined as existing in name only and not in reality. In fact, Genetic ID, one of the world's leading laboratories for the testing of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in food, has an excellent record of accuracy. Its methods are fully accredited by United Kingdom Accreditation Service, an internationally recognized accreditation body. Leading laboratories around the world have licensed our methodologies to conduct these highly reliable tests in their own markets.

You also stated that Genetic ID announced the results of the taco-shell analysis. Genetic ID never releases results to anyone except the company or organization that has contracted for the testing. The vast majority of our clients are in the agricultural and food industries. Occasionally we receive samples from governments, the media and nonprofit groups, which may choose to make their results public. As an independent, accredited lab, we cannot discriminate among clients. In this case, the samples were provided by Friends of the Earth, and it was that organization that chose to announce the results of the analysis.

Third, you state that Genetic ID has reported previously the presence of unapproved genetically modified substances in food only to admit later that it had made a mistake. Because you gave no particulars for the supposed instance to which you refer, I can only respond by stating that this is not correct. There has never been such a mistake or admission.

Fourth, you state that Genetic ID is critical of biotechnology. Genetic ID is a neutral, impartial laboratory dedicated to serving the needs of its clients. It does not subscribe to the personal opinions of individual employees or stockholders. Had you chosen to check your assertions with me or another representative of Genetic ID, you could have assured yourselves of that reality.

Fifth, our lab did not, as you state, detect a trace. Rather, the sample in question contained 1 percent of the unapproved corn variety. In the European Union, 1 percent is the threshold for mandatory GMO labeling, and in Australia, it is 0.1 percent. A trace is defined by the industry as less than 0.1 percent.

Finally, I would like to suggest that you would better serve your constituency, the biotechnology industry, the food and agriculture industries, and the testing industry that serves all of the above by forming opinions based on responsible investigation and careful thought rather than by churning out emotionalism and ignorance which in the end serves no one. Also, why did you fail to note that our results were confirmed by Kraft at another independent lab?

BILL WITHERSPOON

President

Genetic ID Inc.

Fairfield, Iowa

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