Letters to the Editor

Readers caution media on sensitivity to the Virginia Tech incident and debate abortion, now legal in Mexico City.

Media showed Cho's video; it should also show empathy

In response to Dante Chinni's April 24 Opinion column, "Virginia Tech video scruples": Sensitivity is key here. For newspaper people, ask yourself, if my son or daughter had just been shot and killed, would I publish the images? If my son or daughter or brother or sister were killed, would I go onto the campus and interview people in an insensitive way?

Put yourself in the other person's place. What kind of model am I setting for viewers, a positive and hopeful one or a negative and hopeless one?

I have a sense that journalists are interested in getting the information out, but they are not as sensitive as they could be with people wounded by the events.

I did not and would not view the violent images of the killer. It seemed that they would be crude and unrefined, threatening and violent. What is the place for that kind of threatening, antisocial behavior?

I do not value that behavior and do not want to support that behavior. I want to support empathy and compassion and the development of people into mature adulthood. The killer did not reflect behavior or attitudes that I can respect.

John Todd
Richmond, Ind.

Mexican law revives abortion debate

In response to the April 23 article, "Abortion rights gain ground in Latin America": I commend Mexico's Catholic bishops for their defense of the unborn.

Procured abortion is the deliberate and direct killing of a human being in his or her initial phase of existence. While "choice" may sound democratic, the person who opts for abortion neglects to consider the fundamental right to life of the unborn fetus.

Acceptance of abortion in the popular mind and law is a sign of an increasing and dangerous inability to distinguish between good and evil, even when the basic right to life is at stake. We need the courage to call things by their proper name – murder.

We may deceive ourselves that legalized abortion across the world has not changed our lives. After all, it takes place in a secluded operating room. But there are no "small murders." When human conscience loses respect for life, we will lose our identity.

Legalizing abortion gives humans the perverse freedom of absolute power over others. This is the death of true freedom.

Paul Kokoski
Hamilton, Ontario

Regarding the April 23 article on abortion in Mexico City: In Mexico, and elsewhere, unsafe abortion is a cause and consequence of poverty. Intimately linked to gender inequality, it is a serious public health issue that perpetuates social injustice.

In 2006 an estimated 19 million women and girls worldwide, faced with unintended pregnancies, experienced the harmful consequences of unsafe abortion. Each year, some 70,000 of these women and girls die, and hundreds of thousands of others are left with debilitating and frequently lifelong injuries as a result. More than 96 percent of these women come from the world's poorest nations.

Criminalizing and restricting abortion does not reduce its incidence; rather, it forces women to seek risky procedures that endanger their lives. It is the poorest women who suffer from these laws.

Mexico's move marks a step in the right direction, but more needs to be done throughout the Western hemisphere to protect a woman's right to choose and access safe abortion.

Carmen Barroso
Regional Director, International Planned Parenthood Federation, Western Hemisphere Region
New York

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