"This is not a blow to Planned Parenthood. This is a blow to the women we serve."
These words from Barry Chase, executive director of Planned Parenthood Greater Memphis, demonstrate the shortsightedness of the amendment diverting funding from Planned Parenthood to local county health departments, especially when these health departments have themselves explained they are not equipped to provide reproductive health services to the potential influx of patients formerly served by organizations such as Planned Parenthood ("Planned Attack," May 12th issue).
In a city like Memphis, where infant mortality and teen pregnancy rates are higher than the national averages, it is counterintuitive to hinder facilities from providing these obviously much-needed services. Not letting them provide the preventative care women need only ends up costing tax payers in the form of welfare, Medicaid, and higher insurance premiums and reinforces the problems we already face.
If it comes down to an ideological tug-of-war on the issue of abortion, which is irrelevant to Title X funding anyway, it is important that people realize diverting funds away from Planned Parenthood will not impact abortions. Federal family-planning funding cannot and is not used for abortions. Defunding only makes it more difficult for poor or uninsured women to receive the services they require to maintain their reproductive health and to make safe and healthy family-planning choices. Let's not let these ideological differences in opinion prevent women from having access to necessary health services.
Osama bin Laden
I couldn't care less about seeing pictures of a dead monster (The Rant, May 12th issue), but if a "select" number of senators and congressmen are allowed to see them, then anybody should be able to. The administration should just go ahead and (figuratively) put bin Laden's head on a stick and parade it around the Mall in Washington if it will bring "closure" to those who seem to need it.
At this stage, I doubt that releasing the pictures would inflame anti-American sentiment around the world to a greater degree than already exists. Those who might plan retaliation for the raid in Pakistan that killed bin Laden are probably already doing so. It's up to our intelligence services to stop them if they can.
I am a liberal, and as much as I respect Michael Moore's body of work, he and others need to stop their whining and hand-wringing about the actions of the president they (and I) voted for, calling bin Laden's death a murder or an execution. President Obama clearly said, when he was a candidate, if he had actionable knowledge of the whereabouts of this mass murderer, he would have him taken out.
Promise kept, justice done. This was an act not just of retribution but of self-defense.
Instead of "Down Along the Flood," the cover of the May 12th Flyer should have read, "This is what bad parenting looks like." With all the dangerous currents and waste flowing in that river right now, why would anyone let their child pose for a photo op like that? I think Tom Lee would disapprove.
Suitcase Dog Redux
We "animal activists" think that there are many layers of abusive treatment toward defenseless animals. At the Memphis Animal Shelter, they are being peeled back to reveal ignorance, cruelty, and evil ("Little Suitcase Dog," April 28th issue). Animal mothers only carry their young by the scruff of the neck for a short period of time, before the baby is too heavy to be carried that way. Sometimes, they put their mouth around the entire upper portion of the baby.
The man in the photo at the animal shelter had his hand in the middle of the dog's back. He is not the mother of that dog and therefore has no right to carry it that way. Dogs and cats do it because they have no hands to transport their offspring. He did it because he has no respect for the dog. He couldn't care less if the dog is in pain.
And as far as Jacquelyn Stewart taking time out of her schedule to take the abusers' side against "animal activists" and the animals themselves (Letters, May 12th issue), I say, if you're not with us, then you're against us.
Sam Billings Memphis
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