- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 28, 2002

Save a prayer for the morning-after pill

Commentary columnist Clarence Page's push for the "morning-after pill" is the same old reproductive-rights song and dance ("Morning-after pill out of the shadows?" March 26). Advocates of "reproductive choice" fail to honestly assess the state of the family, the status of women, and the overall health of society. Are we better off today after more than 35 years of legalized contraception?
Since legalized contraception, the rates of divorce, single mothers living in poverty, child abuse and sexual assault against women have all increased dramatically. Is this only a coincidence?
When contraception disconnects sexual relations from the possibility of children, are there any concrete reasons for commitment between partners? When sex becomes simply a pleasurable commodity, are there any real reasons for respect between the sexes?
Mr. Page is right about one thing: Men get off easy. But contraception makes it easier for men. When women use contraceptives to avoid pregnancy, men need not concern themselves with taking responsibility for their sexual behavior. Far from liberating women, contraception enslaves women as sexual objects.
Mr. Page is wrong in his assumption that contraception prevents unwanted pregnancies. The exact opposite is true. Most recently, teenage fertility expert David Paton published a report in the Journal of Health Economics, in which he concluded: "I find no evidence that greater access to family planning has reduced underage conceptions or abortions. Indeed, there is some evidence that greater access [to contraceptives] is associated with an increase in underage conceptions in our sample."
Mr. Paton's report lends further credence to the logical understanding that contraception only encourages irresponsible sexual behavior and when contraceptives fail, women (along with husbands, boyfriends and parents) seek out abortion as a back-up.
There is also a direct connection between contraception and abortion. Emergency contraception, which is essentially a high dose of the "pill," is a perfect example. According to the Food and Drug Administration, "emergency contraception" can work by altering the endometrium to inhibit implantation of the living human embryo. So, contrary to Mr. Page's assertion, there is a similarity between the "morning-after pill" and RU-486. Emergency contraception can have the same effect as RU-486 a dead child.
Pro-life groups like mine and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops oppose the "morning-after pill" for two reasons. First, the drug can destroy a living human embryo a living boy or girl. Furthermore, contraception violates human dignity and therefore hurts our society. That's why we don't need the "morning after pill" propaganda of Sen. Patty Murray and the emergency contraception requirements of Rep. Connie Morella.

Director of public policy
American Life League
Stafford, Va.

'Let us encourage the peace process' in Sudan

Aid worker Frank Norbury's March 21 story "Sudan war zone leaves its print" is certainly a compelling and heart-wrenching account of his efforts to assist the people of southern Sudan affected by the terrible and long-running civil war there. On behalf of the Embassy of Sudan, we wish to convey that we empathize totally and sincerely with the suffering of all of the Sudanese people, and we are working actively to end the war.
The government of Sudan has fully accepted and complied with the four-point proposal set forth by President Bush's special envoy, former Sen. John Danforth, which calls for, among other things, protecting civilians from attack.
We have signed the agreement with the U.S. government. To date, the Sudan People's Liberation Army rebels have refused to sign it. In fact, their leader is in the United States now, speaking the language of war and raising money to prolong the war. This will only extend the suffering of the Sudanese people, and the rebels should be held accountable for this.
While undoubtedly sincere, the author of this article only adds to the atmosphere of more war, and not peace. The government of Sudan has been calling consistently for a comprehensive cease-fire, for it is our conviction that only a peaceful resolution to the conflict will end the suffering of the Sudanese people. Even within the article, Mr. Norbury notes that some rebel fighters are tired of fighting and want peace. Let us encourage the peace process.

Deputy chief of mission
Embassy of Sudan

Research must accompany education reform

As chairman of the House science subcommittee on research, I was pleased to read Linda Seebach's March 19 Commentary "Backing education with research," highlighting the importance of education research as part of the president's "No child left behind" reforms.
Too often, new teaching methods are introduced into classrooms with little or no data showing that they actually work. Even when evaluations have been done, they frequently lack scientific rigor. Some of the existing research is often contradictory.
If we want to do a better job teaching our kids, first we must have good teachers. And second, we must use the most effective teaching methods. That means we have to find out what works, and what doesn't.
Today, federal funding for education research is only about one-tenth of 1 percent of all education spending. Increasing this research funding will help us develop policies and programs that get better results. Otherwise, we risk the danger of shortchanging our kids at a time when they prepare for the challenges of an increasingly technological and competitive world.
I've introduced legislation, H.R. 2050, which would help us understand the behavioral, cognitive and social aspects of learning, and to make available the results of that research in classroom. This type of research needs to be a component of any long-term education reforms.

House of Representatives

Philippine ambassador's comment about terrorism misconstrued

We very much appreciate the March 20 story "Defensive combat OK for U.S. troops," about the Philippines.
But we wish to clarify that Ambassador Albert Del Rosario did not, as you report, say that there "was no truth to a Manila Times report that China and North Korea were funding Filipino terrorists."
When requested to comment on the Manila Times report during an open forum at the Heritage Foundation on March 19, the ambassador replied: "Terrorism is abominable. [The Philippines and the United States] have a shared resolve to fight this scourge no matter what masks it wears."

Information and press officer
Embassy of the Philippines

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