- The Washington Times - Monday, August 23, 2004

Reducing cerebral palsy incidence

In her Thursday letter, “Just consequences for malpractice,” Barbara Rubin said in referring to a prior article that there is no “medical information … to tell readers why a particular suit won by [Sen. John] Edwards might not have been a case of actual malpractice.”

As a lawyer, Mr. Edwards won large court awards involving infants with the brain injury of cerebral palsy.

How can the incidence of cerebral palsy be reduced? A hint comes from Australia. In the spring of 2004, Australian Justice Michael Grove found Dr. Alan Kaye, an obstetrician, not guilty of causing cerebral palsy in Kristy Bruce, who had been born in 1989.

Justice Grove wrote, “As a matter of hindsight, considerable suspicion must be directed to the very recent termination which [mother Sharon] Chevelle underwent just prior to becoming pregnant with the plaintiff.”

In Kristy’s case, her mother’s uterus ruptured as labor began, probably because it had been perforated during an abortion a year earlier, about which she had not told her obstetrician.

Kristy’s brain was starved of oxygen, and when she was born by emergency Caesarean section, she was a victim of cerebral palsy with an APGAR score (a measure of a newborn’s health) of zero.

Kristy Bruce was born overdue, but a disproportionate number of newborns with cerebral palsy are born prematurely. The overwhelming evidence that prior induced abortions boost preterm birth risk was published in the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons in May 2003. The Texas Department of Health started warning women in December 2003 that prior abortions elevate preterm birth risk and that preterm births are a risk factor for cerebral palsy.

BRENT ROONEY

Research director

Reduce Preterm Risk Coalition

Vancouver, British Columbia

Campaign Vietnamization

It is reasonable to believe that men in combat might have different recollections of events after the fact. However, if the key issue in the March 13, 1969, incident involving Jim Rassmann is whether there was enemy fire from the riverbanks after the mine exploded, it seems to me that fact could be determined objectively (“An angry dispute over a rescue in the river,” Page 1, Friday).

Five boats under heavy fire from all sides could not have escaped some evidence of that fire. Glass would have been broken, metal would have been pierced, and bullets and/or bullet fragments would have been found.

Ask anyone who served in Vietnam: Remnants of ordnance fired at oneself are always saved as souvenirs. It also is likely that at least one of the crew members involved would have suffered a bullet wound.

There have been no reports of such wounds. In any case, what happened when the boats returned to base that night? Battle damage would have been noted, repaired and documented. Where is that documentation? If none exists, it is virtually certain that John Kerry and Jim Rassmann are wrong, and John O’Neill and the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth are correct. This issue lends itself well to investigation.

ROBERT M. BULK

Wilmington, Del.

I would like to thank Sen. John Kerry for his inane complaint to the Federal Election Commission regarding the swift boat controversy (“Kerry seeks to scuttle vets’ ads,” Page 1, Saturday).

I hadn’t given much thought to buying or reading “Unfit for Command” until he decided to send out his goons to try to intimidate TV outlets and bookstores into cutting the ads and taking the books off the shelves.

Thanks to his actions, I felt compelled to purchase the book. I thought Mr. Kerry believed in First Amendment rights to free speech. Apparently he believes the First Amendment does not extend to those who oppose him.

After months and months of Moveon.org and others of that ilk trashing the president, I think the senator has some nerve.

I also think there should be an investigation for links between Mr. Kerry and the taxable (under IRS Section 527) organizations supporting him. After all, he attended a performance by Hollywood lefties who trashed the president and then declared that those people represent the heart of America. Well, they don’t represent me or many people I know.

ELIZABETH LAMBERTH

Arlington, Texas

School drug testing

Kudos to Northern Virginia public school officials for refusing to subject students to random drug testing (“Schools reject drug testing policy,” Metropolitan, Thursday).

Despite claims that random drug testing in schools curbs adolescent drug use, a recent federal study of 76,000 students by the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research says otherwise.

According to the study’s findings, published in the Journal of School Health, there is no difference in illegal drug use among students in schools that drug test versus those that do not. “At each grade level studied — 8, 10, and 12 — the investigators found virtually identical rates of drug use in schools that have drug testing and the schools that do not,” the study concluded.

Suspicionless student drug testing is a humiliating, invasive practice that runs contrary to the principles of due process. It compels teens to submit evidence against themselves and forfeit their privacy rights as a necessary requirement for attending school.

Rather than presuming our schoolchildren innocent of illicit activity, random drug testing presumes them guilty until they prove themselves innocent. Is this truly the message our society wishes to send America’s young people?

PAUL ARMENTANO

Washington

Global taxation

Your article “U.N. development goals fall short” (World, yesterday) explores the United Nations’ “millennium development goals,” another in a series of efforts to redistribute wealth to so-called “developing” countries, most of which aren’t, despite billions in aid over the past five decades from successful states, including the United States.

What the article missed, however, was the prospect of global taxes to enable this transfer of wealth further by doubling it to $100 billion per year, announced last month by the U.N. Department of Economic and Social Affairs.

The proposals being considered include a carbon tax on fuel use, a tax on currency transactions (the failed “Tobin tax”), an arms sales tax, a global lottery and a tax on international airline travel.

Regarding the proposal, which is expected next month, U.N. Under Secretary-General Jose Antonio Ocampo, head of DESA, offered the understatement of the year: “Some key countries are very strongly opposed to these proposed global taxes [but] a number of developing countries are giving them careful consideration.”

Even the redistributive European Union is divided on the establishment of an International Finance Facility (IFF), with EU Commissioner Poul Nielsen stating in June 2004: “A sleight of hand with the rules of public finance — that mortgages future aid programmes — is no substitute for the hard political task of securing and sustaining the will to provide increased aid, now and for many years to come. This leads me to say that the IFF is really not the right way to go. Fighting global poverty is not something we should leave to be paid for by our children and grandchildren.”

CHRISTOPHER C. HORNER

Senior fellow

Competitive Enterprise Institute

Washington


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