I'm a big fan of the Indy, don't get me wrong, and your lead article on crisis pregnancy clinics and the abortion debate ("Mom's the word," May 24) is excellent. However, your choice of images for your front-page illustration was in bad taste. This is a serious topic that deserves a more respectful treatment the angel wings you added to some of the dolls were an especially insensitive touch. And "Mom's the Word"? Just eew. Grow up.
Thank you very much for a substantive article ("Mom's the word") on the growth of the anti-abortion advocates' clinics and organizations, which, I believe, are deeply and unpardonably misogynistic and well-nigh fascist in their emphasis.
I was struck by Naomi Zeveloff's powerfully wrought final lines that reinforced the woman-as-helpless-victim philosophy such groups really endorse, never mind their attitudes and pseudo-concern. "They tell her she can't decide on her own. ... That abortion won't do her any good. And that ultimately, it shouldn't exist for her, for anyone, at all."
This issue and the tenacious, albeit wrong-headed, grip of the religious right on women's reproductive choices have always infuriated and dismayed me. Reading about Bill Carmody's saying of mass outside Planned Parenthood reminded me that studies characterize the typical anti-abortion advocate profile as middle-aged to older white male. How appalling is that? It seems about as sensible as a 40-something woman like me launching a crusade against radical treatments for prostate cancer in men.
Another quote that resonated was from Kate Horle, of Denver Planned Parenthood. "If all the women who reported relief told their stories, that would be 99 percent of the women who have abortions." Though I certainly can't claim prescience on that point, I'll bet she's right that at least the majority would find "relief" at the top of their list not "post-abortion trauma."
As a woman who had an abortion (between the births of two healthy sons) several years ago, I can attest to that point. Would Planned Parenthood be likely to launch some studies of women's experiences post-abortion, so that the majority of us could trounce these damaging, ungrounded myths? I'd be happy to participate.
Thanks again for your insightful and engrossing article.
Pregnancy Center response
Thanks for covering our organization, the Colorado Springs Pregnancy Center, in your newspaper ("Mom's the word"). We appreciate your acknowledgment that we treat all women who come to us warmly, and that part of what we do is to help women make an informed choice which often results in a child being carried to term.
Since over 90 percent of the between 400 and 500 women and families who use our free services monthly are referred by word of mouth, it seems that the overwhelming majority of our clients appreciate the services they receive.
I hope that in the future, should you or your staff wish to know more about us, just give us a call we'd love to talk. The "cloak and dagger" method of sneaking in and "posing as clients" seems to be below you.
By the way, your "undercover client" said that we had "recommended" to her the tape, The Hard Truth, a tape we do not even own. In the future, please keep to the truth.
I am amazed that in your article you discounted any and all negative side effects of abortion. Your article inferred that abortion causes no emotional, physical or psychological harm. But on a regular basis we help women who are dealing with the symptoms you vehemently insist don't exist.
It is true that we do not believe abortion to be in a woman's best interest, but we fully recognize that it is her legal choice. It is always better to be informed about all our choices than to feel pressured by an erroneous belief that we only have one choice.
Thanks for helping the community know that we focus on the woman and help save the child, providing truthful information to help women make difficult choices.
Christine Reyes, executive director
Colorado Springs Pregnancy Center
Editor's note: The Colorado Springs Pregnancy Center counselor did verbally recommend The Hard Truth to our undercover client, "Lisa." The counselor also wrote down the film's title on a sheet of paper that included titles of other movies available at the center. Finally, she wrote down the phone number of Focus on the Family's correspondence department, where Lisa could acquire the film so she might watch it at home.
Warning to women
loved Naomi Zeveloff's feature! This is a subject too often ignored, and young people need to be warned about the false information and biased counseling given by these so-called pro-life clinics. She did a beautiful job, including many educational facts in her story.
My husband and I did escort duty for years at Planned Parenthood clinics, so we know the abortion issue is usually not as simple as opponents like to portray. And sadly, these same opponents oppose the use of contraceptives and comprehensive sex education the two things that would do the most toward reducing the need for abortions.
I also helped form the Pro-Choice Coalition here, and we would like to see more young people join our efforts. Perhaps this article will help alert them to the dangers these clinics and their movement represent.
Build the village
Kurtis Lee has many concerns about the "big-box" stores being located in the proposed University Village area in Colorado Springs ("It takes a village," News, May 24). I hope he can convince people that smaller businesses have a more social-friendly value than big businesses and low prices. Let those who want lower prices frequent Costco and leave the smaller business precincts alone.
I have relatives in California, who have never seen a friend at Costco, or even talked to a butcher. Let Costco go to the other side of town and leave the University Village to those who can appreciate it.
Within the past few weeks, El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa has been very public (via the media) about his plans to help bring about legislation to give drugs to jail inmates against their consent so that his staff may better "control" the overcrowded situation at this county's jail facilities (the Criminal Justice Center and the brand-new "circus tent").
Since most inmates are incarcerated at CJC because of drug/substance abuse problems (at least 80 percent, according to the El Paso County Sheriff's Office Citizens' Academy), the sheriff's "plan" will only exacerbate an already critical substance-abuse problem with those citizens already incarcerated.
The sheriff claims that he only wants to "drug without consent" the most "out-of-control" mentally impaired inmates but substance abuse already ranks in the top tier of mental-health disorders. As an Axis One diagnosis out of five tiers (Diagnosis and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, from the American Psychiatric Association), substance abuse is, and has been, at the top of the list of mental-health disorders.
If substance abuse is at the top of the list of mental-health disorders, how much more "out of control" are they, or can they get, inside a jail cell/pod/tent?
More drugs to people already suffering from drug problems is not the answer, Sheriff Maketa. Substance-abuse treatment is.
Instead of requesting more money to "punish" the incarcerated (or soon-to-be incarcerated), citizens of El Paso County who suffer from substance-abuse issues/matters/problems, how about offering them some real help through an in-patient treatment program?
Addy M. Hansen
Dogs gone wild
Early one recent morning, in a small town east of Colorado Springs, a friend sent her 14-year-old son out to feed their lambs. He raises lambs for his 4-H project to show at the county fair. During the night, a pack of dogs had mauledhis prize-winning ram. Unfortunately, they did not finish the job; his father had that horrific task.
When your dog gets too big, or you don't want to care for him anymore, you assume if you drop your dog off on some lonely road out east, he or she will soon be sleeping on a front porch with the chickens, while Grandpa Jedrelaxes in his rocking chair.
Not so! Residents of the plains have the legal right to shoot any dog running loose. If your dog makes it through the first few nights contending with coyotes, traffic and potentially being shot, he will revert to pack mentality.
As a trainer, I can tell you that on the inside, all dogs are canines and will do what's necessary tosurvive. If they meet up with other dogs and begin to hunt as a pack, nothing is off-limits.
Dogs are dropped off on dirt roads out east constantly! I have family and friends who find new dogs weekly, often with telltale signs of a collar removed just before the owner drove away!
As for the boy and his ram, a pack of eight dogs was tracked down, running loose. They are now in custody and will no doubt be destroyed. The ram was put out of its suffering. The boy will live with the image he found that morning. As you can see, no one wins.
If you can't keep your dog, please find him a new home or give him to the Humane Society. Because Grandpa Jed is on the porch in his rocking chair, and he's packin'!
GOP trump card
Who is really supporting the troops? And who is using them as political pawns to advance a failing strategy on the global war on terrorism? This administration has no more credibility when it comes to concern for our troops in the field, e.g. inept post-war planning to start.
Yes, post-war, we are now in a policing action. Iraq is not a central front; it is a training ground for all jihadists. Where they had simulated training before, they now have American targets to practice on and to hone their skills for export! Bin Laden could not be happier with the decisions this administration has made!
One might say that my comments only validate the so-called strategy of a central front. Iraq is not a strategy at all, but a military tactic applied out of context, in the wrong place and doomed to failure from the start. This president should have read his own father's book! The Powell Doctrine was ignored and now we are trying to put the pieces back together in a process called "nation-building," something this president vehemently said he opposed as a presidential candidate in 2000.
Who actually supports the troops? Putting young men and women in harm's way with no real exit strategy, giving them insufficient training, equipment and recovery time while cutting their veterans' benefits, does not sound like support to me!
When I hear the GOP use the term "supporting the troops in the field," what I really feel is betrayal for the noble sacrifices already made by a "stay-the-course" mentality that will only lead to more casualties, in an end-game for which this administration has no real strategy.
Dr. Charles Walters
Major, U.S. Army (Ret.)
Gulf War/Bosnia veteran