Crucial role for the community in sex education
In response to the June 25 article, "A new focus on teen pregnancy": The article reported that teen pregnancy rates rose by 3 percent in 2006, the first increase since 1991. The verdict is still out as to whether this is a one-year blip or a growing trend throughout the nation.
It should be noted that the role parents play in a teenager's decision cannot be emphasized enough. The entire community – parents, teachers, coaches, and churches – must bring a cohesive and consistent message that encourages teens to not have sex. But if teens are sexually active, they should be fully aware that no form of contraception offers 100 percent protection against pregnancy.
Gary L. Rose, MD
President and CEO of the Medical Institute for Sexual Health
In response to the recent article on teen pregnancy: It's fascinating that the press and the authorities in Gloucester, Mass. fall on contraception education as the solution to the problem of 17 teenage girls becoming pregnant. It's mind-boggling. These girls became pregnant because they wanted a baby. Contraceptives could have been available at every Gloucester street corner, and the teenagers would have walked on by. They had no interest.
These are 17 emotionally immature and intellectually wanting teenage girls who became pregnant with strangers because they wanted to. It's difficult to find what the prevention would have been for that.
These teenagers needed more than their community gave, and I reject the notion that money and free contraceptives would be the answers.
Ann L. Yurek
Require home economics in school
In response to Jeannette Pai-Espinosa's July 7 Opinion piece, "How to really help pregnant teens": Is the author really asking society to support children having children? A better solution is for every high school to have mandatory home economics courses. They would include the study of the cost of baby food, diapers, day care, clothing, and how to manage a checkbook, credit card, rent, and a savings plan. Boys must take this course as well.
This will have the effect of giving teens a hint as to the seriousness of this life-altering event.
Prioritize climate to boost US image
Regarding your July 2 editorial, "High hopes abroad for the US": Other countries shouldn't expect the next four years to instantly reverse the previous eight. Foreign policy is complex. But even if nothing else changes about America's efforts outside its borders, I hope the new president will replace the war on terror with a war on climate change. That would go a long way toward boosting the stature of the United States in the eyes of the rest of the world.
US Embassy in Berlin is out of bounds
Regarding the July 3 article, "On symbolic land, US opens Berlin Embassy": The people of Berlin have just as much right as anyone else to preserve their historic landmarks. As foreigners, we have no place stepping into their debate on how to do this. How would we feel if the German government wanted to put an embassy next to the Vietnam memorial or on the battlefield of Gettysburg? Is there any architect on earth who could have satisfied us?
San Jose, Calif.
Reform campaign finance law
Regarding the June 27 article, "High court strikes down 'millionaire's amendment' ": It is difficult to argue with the decision, however, I don't think paid-for advertising deserves the free speech protections of the Bill of Rights. Speech that has been paid for is, on its face, not "free speech." We need to amend the Constitution so that paid-for advertising is no longer covered as free speech.
In response to the recent article on the amendment trying to prevent politicians from using large amounts of their own money to run a campaign: It is no worse then getting millions from others who expect something in return. What we really need is to make public available lists of the candidates' biggest contributors so we can see who they are beholden to.
The Monitor welcomes your letters and opinion articles. Because of the volume of mail we receive, we can neither acknowledge nor return unpublished submissions. All submissions are subject to editing. Letters must be signed and include your mailing address and telephone number. Any letter accepted may appear in print or on our website, www.csmonitor.com. Mail letters to Readers Write and Opinion pieces to Opinion Page, 210 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, MA 02115. E-mail letters to Letters and Opinion pieces to OpEd.