Readers write

Why US must end foreign aid for abortion advice

With the stroke of a pen, our new president has taken the United States out of the global abortion business ("Parsing Bush's mixed messages on abortion," Jan. 25). Thanks to President George Bush's executive order, organizations that perform abortions, or lobby foreign governments for the legalization of it, will no longer be eligible for US funds. Those Americans who do not want their foreign aid used for homicidal purposes are pleased.

Population control activists, upset with losing such a potent weapon, are not. In fact, they are calling the new policy a "gag rule." But shouldn't the families and traditions of the developing world be protected from intrusive and overbearing Western antinatalists?

The massive promotion of abortion, contraception, and sterilization by the US and its surrogates has not helped the developing world rid itself of poverty and disease. Rather, it has offended traditional values and customs, wasted taxpayer dollars, and undermined primary healthcare.

So while the executive order is a good jumping-off point for Mr. Bush, much remains to be done. The Clintonite view that people are the problem needs to be rejected. The way to end the cycle of illiteracy, poverty, and disease that still grips much of the world is by empowering people to become the agents of their own development, not by trying to reduce their number. This would be foreign aid that we could be proud of.

Steve Mosher Front Royal, Va. President of Population Research Institute

Regarding your Jan. 25 article "Parsing Bush's mixed messages on abortion": From his recent executive order denying funds to international planning organizations, it is obvious that President George Bush and his administration plan to end choice and reproductive freedom to foreign as well as American women.

Since roughly half of US pregnancies are unintended, and about half of these end in abortion, this issue of a woman's right to choose could be the most contentious of the Bush era.

Is this Bush policy against choice an isolated item on his agenda, or is it symbolic of a broader philosophy against the rights of women?

It looks like President Bush is not particularly sympathetic to young single women and their problems. The overthrow of Roe v. Wade, for instance, could signal the greatest reversal in the rights and empowerment of women in recent history.

George A. Dean Southport, Conn.

Russia forced into a corner

Regarding your Jan. 26 article "Russians tighten ties to Iran": Sadly, in a day and age where technology can be harnessed for so many useful, humanitarian purposes, we find most governments - including and especially our own - in a very desperate and dangerous game to develop and market deadly technology all over the world. This is because it is always easier to destroy than it is to create.

Considering NATO's efforts to expand right up to Russia's borders, it should not be surprising that Russia needs to reassert its own power in self-defense.

Thus Russia has been making strong overtures to China, India, and now Iran, in an effort to build a strong coalition that can counter what it - and many other nations - perceive as the United States "hyper power" threat.

President Bush must strive to remedy the Clinton administration's egregious errors in foreign policy or else we will soon have another cold war on our hands.

Michael Pravica Las Vegas, N.M.

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