Letters 09-17-2008


Thank you for your coverage of the Council reduction issue ("Cuts Like A Knife," September 10). One correction to the article: You mention my proposal as being a Council consisting of "seven ward and four at-large leaders."

My proposals, in order of preference, were: 14 ward representatives plus three at-large representatives; 14 ward representatives plus one at-large representative; 15 ward representatives.

Thanks again for your publication's coverage of these important issues.

Brian Cummins


Being a lifelong anti-choice zealot, I took particular interest in Erin O'Brien's provocative Freestyle column "The conception of slavery" (September 10). Unfortunately her alarmist rhetoric regarding the possibility of a return to "the days of the bloody coat hanger" is reminiscent of the fear-mongering we have heard from the Bush administration since 9/11. To illustrate, O'Brien contends coat-hanger abortions "will return without question if the Palin/McCain camp can hustle enough justices into the Supreme Court."

It must be noted, first of all, that if a conservative U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade, the decision would not outlaw abortion. It would simply return the issue to the states to decide individually whether to criminalize abortionists' killing of unborn sons and daughters. This was the situation for several years before Roe v. Wade, when a handful of states - California, Colorado and New York - had legalized said procedures. In those days it was not unusual for Ohio women to travel to New York to obtain abortions. One of the abortionists at the time, Dr. Bernard Nathanson, operated the world's largest abortion clinic in New York City.

In the late 1970s, however, after studying prenatal development, Dr. Nathanson experienced a dramatic change of heart and became pro-life. In the wake of his epiphany, Dr. Nathanson accepted personal responsibility for the deaths of 75,000 unborn children while heading his clinic. Dr. Nathanson said in a keynote speech at the Ohio Right to Life Society convention in Cleveland in September, 1980: "What would happen if a strict anti-abortion law would go into effect? Women would still seek abortion, but not the coat hanger. We now have a class of drugs that are very reliable and swift abortifacients. The situation today destroys the coat-hanger argument that has been dead for years."

Further, it might be worthwhile for O'Brien and other pro-choicers to take a few moments to reflect on these thoughtful words from Dr. Nathanson: "One must concede that unplanned pregnancy is a wrenchingly difficult dilemma. But to look for its solution in a deliberate act of destruction is to trash the vast resourcefulness of human ingenuity. Worse, it is to surrender the public weal to the classic utilitarian answer to vexing social problems: a shameful acquiescence to violence." Louis H. Pumphrey Shaker Heights As a man, I will obviously never comprehend what it feels like to be pregnant. What I do know is this: We need to both hear and "listen" (sometimes two very different words) to remarkably stated cases for a woman and her body, and what she goes through as she makes her decisions on what's right for her, what's right for her body - and what's right for her child, if a child is part of her equation.

Anyone, male or female, who would deny another person this basic freedom avoids the inherent "humanity" in it. We are taught not to judge others. We are taught tolerance. We are taught that the human body is sacred. And, that said, the human being who is mortally in charge of that body should be so thoughtful and knowing as O'Brien.

We are also taught that we have choices - each of us. And no one can make certain choices for us. Erin O'Brien reminds us of this. This isn't political. It shouldn't be political. To use the word again, it should be "personal."

Geoff Schutt

Atlanta, Georgia Big kudos to Erin for her insightful consideration of the issues in her essay "The Conception of Slavery." She puts it out there, and calls it as it is. Having read her book, I know that she has lived and given a great deal of thought to these issues. She is a wise woman indeed. The quality of your press is enhanced by having her aboard. Keep up the good work.

John Yordy

Homer, Alaska While I always enjoy Erin O'Brien's articles and style of writing, I disagreed with her most recent one.

For those who believe that a fetus is a human life, how is it possible for us to withdraw our convictions due to a horrible circumstance like rape? Should the rapist be thrown into prison and rot there for the rest of his life for ruining someone else's? Definitely! But how can that change the sad circumstance that there is now human life within the mother? Could or should I now change my definition of what a fetus is? In the end, I must believe a life is a life, regardless of what led up to it. However, I obviously would agree that if the mother's life is in danger, that the baby should be killed, since this is a classic type of self-defense. I'm allowed to defend my own life when it's threatened, even if it means killing someone else.

Thanks for your writings, and please continue. Reuven Mandel



I just began reading Amanda Petrusich's book It Still Moves. The final couple paragraphs of Michael Gill's review ("Ameri-Canned," September 10) address the big complaint that I have with the book. Without reading very far into it I had already made the assumption that rap music, even if respected by the author, would not receive its full dues in the book. I know that I should probably finish reading the book before attacking Petrusich on the matter, but I wanted to let Mr. Gill know that I appreciate his acknowledgment of what I think should be obvious to music critics. Rap music is the new American folk music. Why it does not receive credit as such is a bit of a mystery, but I am baffled how anyone can chastise gangsta rap for its violence and sexism one moment, then turn around and laud the artistry of outlaw country the next.

Michael Denslow


Psssst! Governor Strickland! Wanna help close the state's revenue shortfall? Pass a freakin' film bill! ("Who's Really Killing Torso?", September 3) Forget about House Bill 196 - it's been mired in subcommittee for so long (over a year) some folks thought you already vetoed it! Plus, it's gotta be the most confusing piece of legislation (middlemen, anyone?) ever written.

Just extend an invite to producers who want to film here and give 'em a tax break, already! All we stand to lose is nothing! Not only will it bring money into the state in the form of corporate and income taxes, but also new industry, which means new residents and new jobs. Oh, and by the way, these producers are gonna need local banking, accountants, clerical and medical services, transportation, clothes, food, shelter and entertainment! This is a total no-brainer, a sure way to fix Ohio's dismal finances without spending a dime!

Agnes Herrmann and Paul Slimak


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