- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 3, 2006

How surgical abortion increases preterm births

The report, “More deaths tied to preterm birth” (Nation, Monday), tells us that preterm birth is responsible for at least 70 percent more infant deaths than previously thought. This increase in preterm deaths is a reason for researchers, including the March of Dimes, to request more federal funding to determine the cause of such births. But a major cause of preterm births, which many choose to ignore, is surgical abortion.

There are now 60 studies from 23 countries dating to the 1960s showing that surgical abortion increases premature births in subsequent pregnancies. There are many illustrious researchers and health-care professionals such as Judith Lumley of Australia; Barbara Luke, 2005 March of Dimes award winner; and McAllister Distinguished Professor John M. Thorpe who have verified that the risk increases with the number of surgical abortions.

Recently the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies of Science recognized first trimester abortion as an “immutable medical risk factor associated with preterm birth.” The report noted a 30 percent increase in preterm births since 1981, which tracks with the legalization of abortion in the United States, at an annual cost of $26.2 billion to our health-care system.

Preterm babies have more disabilities, including cerebral palsy, than full-term babies. A study published of 120,000 children showed that premature babies are abused at twice the rate of full-term babies.

Abortion not only kills children, it reduces the mother’s ability to carry subsequent children to term and increases their rates of mortality, morbidity and abuse. Preterm birth is another of many reasons why abortion is a devastation for women and children.

DR. WILLIAM F. COLLITON JR.

Clinical professor of obstetrics

and gynecology (retired)

George Washington University

Medical Center

Bethesda

‘Patent trolls’ and market dominance

In response to the article, “Patent rulings trouble entrepreneurs ” (Business, Sept. 11), I’d like to explain how a “patent troll” is typically born: An inventor or small entity develops a new technology. They take it to a large firm to sell it or get it funded. The big firm says thanks, but we’re not interested. The small entity is shocked to find a year or two later that the big firm is now selling or using the invention.

They approach the big firm offering a license. The big firm says “so sue us,” knowing full well it is unlikely the small entity will ever get the money to do that. To big companies, that is fair play.

Sadly, some legislators and other parties have been duped by these slick firms and their well-greased lawyers, lobbyists (some disguised as trade or public interest groups), and stealth public-relations firms.

All this talk of patent trolls is then but a red herring, fabricated by large multinationals as a diversion away from the real issue — that they have no valid defense against charges that they are using other parties’ technologies without permission.

The objective of these large firms is not to fix the patent system, but to destroy it. Patents are a threat against their market dominance. They would rather use their size alone to secure their market position.

Patents jeopardize that. For example, the proposed change to eliminate the use of injunctions would only further encourage blatant infringement. Any large company would merely force you to make them take a license and they would have little to lose. Everything would be litigated to death — if a small entity can come up with the cash to pursue. That’s what these large multinationals are betting against.

I am greatly disturbed by Stephen M. Pinkos’ remark. I and other small entities are genuinely concerned about the direction of the Patent and Trademark Office and its neutrality. The system as it now stands has become a disincentive to innovation, not an incentive.

Small entities need a patent system which is timely, affordable and fair. Considering the disproportionate amount of pioneering work done by small entities, the Patent Office, Congress and the courts should think carefully about the consequences of these changes.

STEPHEN WREN

St. Louis

Polio still a threat

Thank you for the article, “Groups seek to end polio in 4 nations,” (World, Saturday). During the past year, five unvaccinated Minnesota children and one Arizona adult developed polio. They are the canaries in the mine shaft. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 10 percent of U.S. toddlers under 3 years old — 1 million children — are not vaccinated against polio, with vaccination lowest in poor cities.

This is especially frightening since polio has broken free of the international vaccination effort. Polio has spread from Africa to Indonesia, with 2,000 new cases reported in 2005, new polio deaths in Namibia in 2006 and more than double the number of polio cases this year in India. What happens if a polio-infected individual lands in a densely populated city like New York, where 23,000 toddlers are unvaccinated? America’s next polio epidemic may be just a plane ride away.

For this reason, the Senate and House of Representatives have proclaimed 2006-2007 the Year of Polio Awareness about vaccination and Post-Polio Sequelae, the disabling fatigue, muscle weakness and pain occurring in North America’s nearly 2 million middle-aged polio survivors. September has been declared Polio Vaccination Month to remind parents that polio, although forgotten, is not gone.

DR. RICHARD L. BRUNO

Chairman, International Post-Polio Task Force

Director, the Post-Polio Institute

International Centre for Post-Polio

Education and Research

Englewood Hospital and

Medical Center

Englewood, N.J.

We had it coming

Retired Navy Admiral James Lyons should stick to naval policy and leave history and foreign policy to those who know it (“Iran still the target,” Commentary, Monday). Mr. Lyons’ list of grievances against Iran didn’t start with the “sacking of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran in November 1979.” Mr. Lyons either ignores or doesn’t know about the long list of legitimate Iranian grievances against the United States that goes back to 1952.

The CIA’s assisted overthrow of a popularly elected Iranian leader is the real starting point that most Americans ignore. For decades, the CIA’s appointed Iranian stooge brutally dominated the Iranian people and wasted billions of dollars on its military while ignoring the real needs of its impoverished people. This set the stage for the overthrow of the Shah and later the sacking of the U.S. Embassy.

To make matters worse, the United States then supported Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Iran. Direct U.S. military attacks destroyed half of the Iranian navy. These lethal acts of war led Iranian leaders to support alternative means of attacking us. The 1983 bombing of our embassy in Beirut and the mass murder of Marines in their barracks shortly after did not occur in a vacuum.

Ignoring history is one thing but suggesting more murderous U.S. foreign policy based on that flawed history is quite another.Mr. Lyons is wrong when he says: “Our principal objective is to prevent Iran from achieving a nuclear weapon capability.” Even if we could stop Iran’s development of nuclear weapons, it would only be temporary. U.S. military actions only exacerbate Iranian’s lethal capacities against our endless vulnerabilities.

Our real contention is not with Iran, but with its genocidal leader. Indictment of Iran’s president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad before the World Court and world opinion (including the opinion of the Iranian people) should be our principle objective. As a sovereign state, Iran has the right to develop any kind of weapons and defensive tactics it chooses. Its president, however, has no right to incite genocide. He should be held accountable for his repeated suggestions of wiping Israel off the map or deporting all Jews from the region. These are clear violations of the U.N. Charter and the Genocide Convention.

We simply don’t need another endless war of choice. We do need to stand for the principal that made our nation great from the start — the rule of law.

CHUCK WOOLERY

Rockville

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