- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Tracking numbers

Michael Fumento’s Commentary column Monday, “Partial birth ban wailers,” misrepresents findings from the Alan Guattmacher Institute’s most recent survey of health professionals and facilities providing abortions in the United States. Contrary to Mr. Fumento’s intimation that the number of dilation and extraction (D&X) procedures, estimated at 3,000 to 5,000 in 1997, was on the rise, AGI found that 2,200 D&X procedures were performed in 2000, which represents less than two-tenths of one percent (0.17 percent) of all abortions that year.

In addition, it is inappropriate to equate D&X procedures with “partial-birth abortion,” as Mr. Fumento’s article does. AGI did not collect information on “partial-birth abortions” — nor does anyone — because there is no accepted medical definition for the term. The U.S. Supreme Court struck down Nebraska’s ban on “partial-birth abortions” because it covered “a much broader category of procedures,” including the most common pre-viability second-trimester method, dilation and evacuation.

BETH FREDRICK

Vice president

Communications and development

The Alan Guttmacher Institute

New Yor3

Dirty deals on judges

This is outrageous. If your article “Hatch offers Democrats deal on stalled judges” (Page 1, yesterday) is correct, this is a good way for Sen. Orrin G. Hatch to anger Republicans. What a traitorous thing to do.

If the Republicans would do the courageous thing and stand firm against the Democrats’ blocking of President Bush’s nominees, “blackmail” tactics wouldn’t have to go on behind the scenes. How ridiculous — negotiating to get the results that every right-minded American knows should be a no-brainer. Every single time the Republicans can take charge because they are in charge, they retreat and allow the minority party to dictate the rules or make brand-new ones to accommodate their agenda.

The Republican Party is fond of saying the Democrats “just don’t get it” when it comes to what the American people want. Well, I submit that both parties are guilty of not getting it. One way or another, they will be held accountable for misjudging their constituents’ wants and needs or, worse, acting flagrantly to bypass the wishes of the average American citizen.

BEVERLY ALFONSO

Antigo, Wis.

Tell Sen. Orrin G. Hatch that he should not make a deal. That is what Sen. Carl Levin, as well as the rest of the Democrats who are blocking judgeships or supporting that practice, do. All he has to do is start making a daily issue out of this terrible situation and keep it before the public. Soon the heat will be on them to change their ways.

BILL FRAZER

Marion, Ky.

It appears the Republicans once again have shown a desire to give in to the Democrats. Rather than holding the Democrats to the rules of a real filibuster, they are talking about deals in which, once again, only the Democrats win.

We were told the Republican senators did not hold the Democrats to a real filibuster because of the health and age of some of the senators; that excuse no longer holds true. We ask Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist to please stand firm, and when a filibuster is ongoing — let it be a real one.

PAULETTE PERKINS

Arcadia, Fla.

No more government fat

With all of the moaning and gnashing of teeth in Congress about paying for the war in Iraq and reconstruction, one might think Congress has cut the budget to the bone (“Loans for oil,” Op-Ed, yesterday). Actually, there is more fat than ever in Washington, and if lawmakers were willing to try, they could offset the entire $87 billion for the war on terror — without loans to Iraq or tax increases.

Eliminating the $20 billion in annual agricultural subsidies that contributed to the collapse of the most recent round of trade talks in Cancun would be a good start. Also on the cutting block should be the budgets of several federal agencies that have risen dramatically during the last three years. Spending on education is up 61 percent,LaborDepartment spending has risen 56 percent, spending on energy programs is up 22 percent, and health and human services spending is up 21 percent.

Eliminating just some of the waste, fraud and abuse that plagues the federal government would also give Congress more “low-hanging fruit” in its effort to come up with $87 billion. Rep. Jim Nussle, Iowa Republican, chairman of the House Budget Committee, recently found enough money being wasted in Washington to pay for all $87 billion of the Iraq supplemental — with a few billion dollars left over.

The issue is not inadequate funds to pay for Iraq; rather, it is inadequate political will to cut pet projects and trim waste. Americans need not wait until next November to demand more of their public officials.

PAUL J. GESSING

Director of government affairs

National Taxpayers Union

Alexandria

Time for a Redskins trade

As long as the Washington Redskins are in the market for a quarterback (“Wuerffel: Thanks but no thanks,” Sports, yesterday), why not consider trading after the season for San Diego Chargers backup Doug Flutie?

Flutie has received little respect in the NFL, but the fact remains that he has been a winner throughout his career. Though he is best remembered for his game-winning last-second touchdown pass in Boston College’s thrilling 47-45 victory over Miami in 1984, Flutie’s pro career has been spectacular, too. He ranks with Dan Marino, John Elway, Warren Moon and Canadian Football League (CFL) stars Ron Lancaster and Damon Allen as the only pro quarterbacks to throw for more than 50,000 yards in a career. Flutie was voted the CFL’s most outstanding player six times in eight seasons and won three league championships, then returned to the NFL after a long absence and was named the league’s comeback player of the year in 1998 before inexplicably being sidelined in Buffalo and San Diego.

For a team such as the Redskins, which boasts a remarkable history of success with quarterbacks who were considered too short (Eddie LeBaron, Joe Theismann) or too old (Sonny Jurgensen, Billy Kilmer, Doug Williams), the 5-foot-9, 41-year-old Flutie would seem to be a natural fit and doubtless would have fun leading a Steve Spurrier offense. Because the Chargers apparently are content to lose week after week while they let a proven winner warm the bench, maybe the Redskins could give the young-at-heart Flutie a chance to bring his magic back to the playing field.

STEPHEN A. SILVER

Walnut Creek, Calif.

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