Resisting the Restraint of Seat Belts

Regarding the editorial "Buckle Up" (April 25): It is time those who keep pushing a "one size fits all" solution to driving safety realize that there are valid reasons why some people don't want to use seat belts.

Some drivers with certain physical conditions find that seat belts don't work for them, or the vise-like grip is too restraining and they drive better without them. Many women also find seat belts uncomfortable. Using seat belts should be an individual choice. Automakers are required by law to put seat belts, air bags, and head rests in cars; an individual driver should have the freedom to use these tools as he or she sees fit. We don't need more laws on this. The government should stop trying to micromanage our lives.

We need good, law-abiding drivers practicing driving etiquette. It would be helpful if the news media would help educate drivers to drive defensively, stay under the speed limit, keep an appropriate distance between cars, turn on lights at dusk or on rainy or dark days, always use turn signals, and treat fellow motorists with consideration. A concerted effort to do this would bring positive results.

B.J. Hill

Arlington, Va.

Choosing abortion

I have come to expect balanced, even-handed analysis on whatever subject the Monitor reports and was pleased to read your recent coverage on abortion. However, it was with considerable frustration that I found there was an extremely one-sided report about a woman who had an abortion and was troubled by it.

Why didn't you also display a corresponding report from one of the thousands of women who unfortunately have had to resort to abortion at a certain time in their lives and which, for personal reasons, was the right thing for them to do at the time?

Mavise H. Crocker

Falmouth, Mass.

In our society counseling should be forced upon crazy people, social misfits, and women who don't want children? In response to those who advocate compulsory counselling for women considering abortion ("Why Abortion is the Albatross of US Politics," April 30), it would only be fair to offer counseling to women who choose to carry the fetus to term. Obviously, a person who chooses to disrupt her life with children could be a little crazy, right?

Seriously, if there is one decision parents ought to be counseled on, it is in choosing to raise children. Women and men do need support when facing the option of abortion. But compulsory counseling for those considering abortion while at the same time reducing aid for poor families seems a little sinister. Pro-life advocates must go all the way, if they really love life, and come up with more resources for children (and their parents) here and now.

Grace K. Anderson

Richmond, Ind.

The recent article on abortion was troubling. The last sentence, for example, reveals an error of judgment: "The core conflict - the woman versus the baby - remains as powerful as ever."

The evening I read the article I also watched a TV interview with a nationally known and loved comedian. He said when he was 13 he was angry at his parents for having had so many children after him. It meant his family would always be so poor that there would never be enough money for him to go to college. This frank sharing of a troubled childhood shows how the siblings of yet-unborn fetuses are victimized, too, by having to divide the pie into ever smaller pieces, throwing the whole family into poverty.

What fear, desperation, and hopelessness an overburdened mother may feel during another pregnancy. While her husband may demand "conjugal rights," her health may have deteriorated and her home become shabby. Often the real reason for the "core conflict" is circumstances that make the woman and the baby victims of neglect, ignorance, and an uncaring society.

C. Sharp

Newport Beach, Calif.

Letters should be mailed to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, faxed to 617-450-2317, or e-mailed (200 words maximum) to oped@csps.com

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