- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 26, 2002

Putting partial-birth abortion back on the table

Rep. Steve Chabot, Ohio Republican, should be applauded for introducing new legislation to ban partial-birth abortion ("House GOP again eyes partial-birth abortion stoppage," Nation, Thursday), in which a living child is partially delivered, up to the head, before the child's skull is pierced and his or her brain is removed. One would think most Americans would not tolerate this.
In fact, most don't. More than half of the states have enacted laws to ban partial-birth abortion, and polls consistently show that the overwhelming majority of Americans (70 percent and more) support a nationwide ban. Yet in 2000, the Supreme Court struck down Nebraska's ban on the procedure, and in doing so, it effectively called into question the constitutionality of other state bans and the twice-passed federal ban.
Mr. Chabot's approach breathes new life into the issue. The court's 2000 decision in Stenberg vs. Carhart was based on a factually inaccurate conclusion from a lower-court judge that the partial-birth abortion procedure might be the safest abortion method in some circumstances. This conclusion runs smack up against the opinion of most in the medical profession, including the American Medical Association, which concluded that partial-birth abortion is "never medically necessary" and should be banned.
So one lower court's error binds the Supreme Court, the states and, in effect, the hands of this country? Not so, Mr. Chabot says. As a co-equal branch of government, Congress may collect facts and draw conclusions. In fact, it has collected facts and drawn conclusions in numerous congressional hearings during two sessions: Partial-birth abortion is never medically necessary, certainly not to protect the life or health of the mother. Will these new findings allow the Supreme Court to rule differently the second time around?

Cathleen A. Cleaver
Director of planning and information
Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities
U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
Washington

A baffling ruling

Liberals frequently bemoan the composition of the U.S. Supreme Court, alleging that it is of a conservative bent, yet decision after decision indicates that this charge could not be further from the truth.
Last Thursday was a particularly sad day in the annals of the court for its baffling ruling ordering a blanket prohibition on the execution of those deemed to be mentally retarded, without regard to the circumstances or the brutality and heinousness of the crime ("Ruling spares retarded killers," Page One, Friday).
Using a most convoluted "logic," the Justices in the 6-3 majority asserted that they were merely responding to public opinion, which supposedly has changed since the Supreme Court last addressed this issue. I reject that theory. I believe that if the public were presented with the facts in cases of unspeakable brutality that involved calculating, sinister actions to plan the crime, there would be no hue and cry to spare the criminal from appropriate punishment, even if he or she were deemed mentally deficient.
Even if it were true that public opinion has changed, why would the court respond to that? Members of the court are appointed for life so that they will not be subjected to public and political pressure and thus will be able to act independently to do what is just.
The court has substantially constricted judges and juries and has opened a Pandora's box, as there will be a flurry of activity for those sentenced to death and those who in the future will be convicted of capital crimes to seek relief by having themselves declared mentally retarded, which should be easy enough to do.
Those of us who follow court trials have witnessed how often a sympathetic, liberal psychologist or psychiatrist takes the stand to testify on behalf of a miscreant who has brutalized society in some unspeakable manner. To these mental health professionals, the protection of society and the proper punishment for a brutal murder are of no consequence. They side with the perpetrator of the crime, choosing to be blinded to the horror experienced by victims and their survivors.
If we cannot rely on our Supreme Court as a bulwark against those who seek to destroy our society, who will help us?

OREN M. SPIEGLER
Upper St. Clair, Pa.

Editor's note: This letter ran Sunday with editing errors. This is the corrected version.

Get Congress' mitts off medal

The Washington Times readership should be informed that the foremost military decoration awarded by the United States is the Medal of Honor. This medal is often, but mistakenly, referred to as the Congressional Medal of Honor, as in R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr.'s "Heroes passing from the American scene" (Commentary, Friday).
This confusion is compounded by the name of the society, the Congressional Medal of Honor Society, which was chartered by legislation signed by President Eisenhower in 1958. The society has a number of objectives and purposes, including the protection and preservation of the dignity and honor of the medal, especially from exploitation; to aid recipients and their widows and children; and to encourage good citizenship among youth and foster patriotism.
President Lincoln signed into law in 1861 a bill creating the (Navy) Medal of Honor and, in 1862, the (Army) Medal of Honor. The Air Force designed its own in 1965. There are less than 150 medal recipients living today. The Congressional Medal of Honor Society Web site (www.cmohs.org) notes that of the 143 honorees surviving today, 56 earned their medal while serving in World War II, 20 during the Korean War and 67 during Vietnam.

ALBERT A. PAWLOWSKI
Kensington

Maryland's round-about way to pervert the classroom

The article "Parents object to move to protect gay students" (Metro, June 16) missed the whole point of the controversy. As chairman of TakeBackMaryland.org, an association of traditionalist organizations, I have been closely monitoring the Maryland State Board of Education's proposal to prohibit the harassment of homosexual students by making sexual orientation a factor in multicultural education.
The current regulations already protect homosexual students from harassment by stating: "All students in Maryland's public schools, without exception, have the right to educational environments that are: A. Safe; B. Optimal for academic achievement; and C. Free from any form of harassment" (Code of Maryland Regulations aka, Comar 13A.04.05.05-1). This language protects everybody from harassment.
The real issue here is existing language prohibiting teaching sexuality in the classroom. An amendment proposed by Sen. Leo Green, Prince George's Democrat, and tacked onto legislation last year prohibits "the promotion of any form of sexuality or sexual orientation [homosexuality] in public or private educational institutions."
This prohibition may be bypassed, however, by classifying "sexual orientation [homosexuality]" under the rubric of "cultural groups." Below are the exact regulations that would promote homosexuality in the classroom if sexual orientation were so classified:
13A.04.05.03 Programs Subtitle A. "Public schools shall include as part of the curricular and programs appropriate instruction for developing, understanding and appreciation of cultural groups in society. Subtitle B. The state Department of Education shall provide (1) & (2) Staff development and Criteria [about] cultural groups." Subtitle C. "[A]ll state activities shall include assessments, publications and curricular frameworks in each subject area."
13A.04.05.04 Goals Subtitle B Curriculum (1) Goal, "provide Pre-K-12 curriculum, which enables students to demonstrate an understanding of and appreciation for cultural groups ." The curriculum includes the following content: "(b) history, (c) historical events and (d) political conditions of cultural groups."
13A.04.05.06 Planning This section requires a five-year plan to conduct "progress reports" to study the "achievement" in learning the "cultural groups."
The Washington Times has extensively reported on the promotion of homosexuality and other forms of deviancy in California's public schools. The same subversive push is under way in Maryland.

TRES KERNS
Chairman
TakeBackMaryland.org
Pasadena, Md.


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