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Attacks on Planned Parenthood; California's death row dilemma; releasing photos of Osama bin Laden's body

May 10, 2011
  • In Texas: Supporters of Planned Parenthood take part in a demonstration in Austin in March. (Deborah Cannon / Associated Press)
In Texas: Supporters of Planned Parenthood take part in a demonstration…

Religion and politics

Re "Abortion is the hot topic," May 8

Republicans should bear in mind that many right-wing conservatives are agnostic, pro-choice and favor the "right to die," among other personal liberties. Sponsoring antiabortion legislation is a waste of their recently gained legislative power, the equivalent of shooting themselves in at least one foot — and we need both.

Religious issues have no place in politics. Some of these people should get down off the cross.

Arthur Hansl

Santa Barbara

So in some states a woman who seeks an abortion may be required to view an ultrasound and listen to the fetal heartbeat? It seems as though these lawmakers believe that ignorance is standing in the way of women choosing life.

Why stop with the unborn? If it's a crime to kill something living, let's make sure the public is educated about their own deadly health choices. People who smoke, drink and overeat need intervention too.

Doctors should be required to show smokers images of blackened lungs. Alcohol abusers need to hear how they're wrecking their livers. And big eaters should be shown bags of fat in amounts equal to what they've packed on their bodies.

Let's follow up on the logic that if people are made aware of their life-destroying choices, they'll stop in their tracks.

Laura G. Brown


What a sad commentary on our society when 1.2 million women dispose of their own offspring each year, many under pressure from male partners. Yet Planned Parenthood continues to oppose the compulsory use of ultrasound, which drastically improves women's informed consent.

Abortion may be a small part of Planned Parenthood's huge operation, but by performing 330,000 abortions each year, it is the largest abortion provider in the country. If it is so concerned about continuing to offer contraception and cancer screening, all it has to do is get out of the abortion business.

Mary Curtius

Coronado, Calif.

Waiting for the executioner

Re "Death row's delays," Editorial, May 5

Your editorial on abolishing the death penalty due to its high costs is curious in light of the killing of Osama bin Laden and the "closure" that will probably bring to the victims of the 9/11 attacks.

How about closure for the victims of the convicted murderers? Aren't they entitled to know that these killers, like Bin Laden, will not be able to live with the rest of us in a civilized society?

You should instead ask why it takes so long to carry out the sentences and how they can be shortened to bring closure to these victims.

Marcus C. Kourtjian


You are absolutely right that the interminable delays that riddle our capital punishment system point strongly toward the necessity of its abolition. It is important to note, however, that any successful movement to end the death penalty in California must be lead by its citizens.

This is both because a vote would be required to amend the state Constitution to end the death penalty in its entirety, and also because even smaller gains like commuting current death sentences will not occur until our leaders are forced to get over their fear of being labeled "soft on crime."

Concerned citizens have an obligation to speak out against this fiscally irresponsible and unjustly applied policy; it is only then that our leaders will have the courage to follow suit.

James Brockway


Beware censorship

Re "They're pictures, not trophies," Editorial, May 6

I never imagined that The Times would endorse government censorship. The editorial suggests the benefits of freedom of information are not absolute. If this is true, then who makes the decision on which information is or is not appropriate?

Photos of advanced technologies developed by the government are legitimate exceptions. Clearly, photos of a dead terrorist do not meet this standard. It is the obligation of our news media to advocate for freedom of information so citizens can be fully informed.

What is the benefit? In this case, it is to force Americans to come face to face, so to speak, with the policies of our government. Consider this paraphrased adage: I want the sausage (Osama bin Laden's assassination), but don't show me how it's made (the visual reality).

Richard Arnold


I am offended by your editorial, both as an attorney and a taxpayer. The photos are the people's, not the president's.

The evidence of the death of the greatest mass murderer of Americans this century is for all of us to enjoy, hate or relish. No single person should make that decision, especially when the people financed this mission and have had our lives changed by Bin Laden's attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

Ronald Richards

Beverly Hills

On retirement

Re "Plans take aim at state pensions," Business, May 5

I can't help but wonder how all the people screaming about state pensions would feel if they had paid into a fund for almost 30 years and suddenly found that somebody wants to take it away from them.

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