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Everybody's Column

Decisions on women's health is never so cut and dried

I read with interest Michael Hayes' recent piece in Another Voice. Planned Parenthood couldn't agree more about finding common ground. I urge Hayes to understand that mutual respect for multiple perspectives is required to achieve this end. Unfortunately, many times differing sides of women's health issues have been portrayed as all or nothing. This polarization compounds the challenges of finding common ground, especially when at its heart is ruthless name-calling.

Pro-choice has always been the consensus position, leaving important life decisions up to families and their health care providers to decide for themselves. The middle ground on the abortion debate is access to birth control and sex education. Hayes misrepresents the pulse of the electorate, as a majority believes a personal decision belongs to the individual, and government does not have a role.

Those seeking elected office, and those currently there, are responding to a sense of exasperation on the part of voters. Extremists have colored the language and the dialogue too long, particularly those speaking for the religious right. These feelings are evident in the defeat of abortion bans in the heartlands of America.

Let's be realistic, many people on the anti-abortion side are against family planning and comprehensive sex education. Voters are sick of positions outside the mainstream, and they want common sense decisions being made at the state and federal levels, especially when it touches their most personal actions.

Laura Meyers

Chief Executive Officer

Planned Parenthood

Western New York

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Focus on salvation is a waste of time

This continuing verbal rumbling on who merits salvation is really nonsensical. No one has produced an absolute proof that there is a hereafter.

To hope is our only response. Maturity mandates us to disengage ourselves from religious fairy tales.

Chester Rozak

West Seneca

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Flag waving displayed country's earned rights

I am the culprit, or at least the co-conspirator, in the flag incident during the recent Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra concert in Bidwell Parkway. I flew our nation's flag from my house. It is not only my right to fly the flag from my house, but my honor to do so. My father fought in World War II. My brother was also in the service. I have proudly served the Army Corps of Engineers for most of my adult life.

The author of a July 19 letter, "Writer should leave her politics out of reviews," took offense at what he perceived as News writer Mary Kunz Goldman's political opinions being inserted into her column. Specifically, that the act of waving the flag during what was a stirring rendition of "The Stars and Stripes Forever" represented a more patriotic action than this particular corner has seen in a long time, not recognizing what he felt was the patriotism of the war protesters who show up every Saturday in Bidwell Parkway.

A guest at my annual BPO lawn party was so moved by the music that she asked me to give her the flag so she could wave it in time with the music. What I believe Goldman meant to convey was that she had rarely seen the nation's flag being flown on Bidwell Parkway, and in this she is quite correct. Patriotism, said Dr. Johnson, one of England's best known literary figures, is the last refuge of a scoundrel. But in this case, it is not. That flag represents my father's service, my brother's service and the protesters' right to peacefully assemble and speak their minds.

Bruce Sanders

Buffalo

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Corporate greed should not rule

Well, a name from the past made the business news. Westinghouse, now a division of Toshiba, gains a contract to build four nuclear plants in China. That in itself is a good thing. The part I don't understand is why Westinghouse will then turn over to the Chinese the technology that will allow the Chinese to build an additional 20 nuclear plants between now and 2020.

Corporate America sees nothing wrong with selling technology that not only was a result of American research and ideas that should be kept here to create more jobs for Americans, but even more important is nuclear technology that can be used against this country in the future. All on the altar of profit.

Wake up. We see our employment base and standard of living being lowered day by day and yet the government sees nothing wrong with this kind of corporate behavior.

We will rue the day, hopefully later than sooner.

Michael J. Rusinek

Depew

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Country's sadness reflected in cartoon

On July 22, a cartoon appeared in The News that spoke volumes. No caption was needed, this picture told a complete story. It showed a drawing of a bald eagle with a large tear running out of an eye. It was as though he was crying and confused with the state of the United States of America.

What happened to the country I was so proud to serve in World War II? This was the war that was supposed to end all wars. Could one administration have set the United States back decades? I hope I live long enough to see a new president -- one not so stubborn and one who will admit to mistakes.

Al P. Pepe

Cheektowaga

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Taxing cigarettes is no sure fiscal cure

I am not a smoker.

The Senate Finance Committee has just approved a bill that would increase funding for the State Children's Health Insurance Program by $35 billion. This would increase the tax on cigarettes by 61 cents.

While I laud and support finding a way for all American children (and adults) to be able to have health insurance provided to them, I loathe doing it on the backs of people who are addicted to smoking by piling on one tax after another on cigarettes.

Our government attempting to tax tobacco addicts into submission makes them (us) nothing more than a different form of another drug cartel not unlike those in Central America and elsewhere. If we want to take the moral high ground on the smoking issue and truly attack the cause of what is adding billions of dollars in health care costs to the economy yearly we would legally ban selling tobacco products altogether.

I know all the perceived reasons why what I am suggesting cannot be done. In rebuttal let me state that our government can always find untold reasons when they want do something. Witness Iraq and the Middle East for examples.

Edward F. McKee

Amherst

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