Letters to the Portland Editor, June 9, 2006

Readers fire back on Al Diamon's abortion view, and Senator Collins's position on Don't Ask-Don't Tell.  

World-class listening problem
“World-class listening problem” (see column by Al Diamon, June 2). Yes, but whose?

In not attending my May 30 announcement as a US Senate candidate to ask, or calling to discover my views on the abortion liberty, Al Diamon appears to be more interested in declaring me “wishy-washy” for not espousing one-word polarizing simplification A or B. He misreads my 2004 Lewiston Sun-Journal op-ed and wrongly characterizes criticism of unsupportable, changeable Vatican teachings as “attacks on church doctrine.”

My op-ed challenged some Catholic bishops’ unwarranted criticism of politicians as “pro-abortion” when they are, more often, only recognizing the law, rejecting bad legislation, or respecting a pluralism of moral values. Nor should they be expected to commit political suicide for legislation that will not end or significantly reduce abortions.

I also faulted politicians who balked at restricting late-term abortions, restrictions which Roe v. Wade allows. And I faulted “pro-life” politicians who care little about public policy that would assist pregnant women and care less about preventing the deaths, worldwide, of tens of millions annually from hunger, disease, or lack of health care.

My brochure passes over abortion, capital punishment, and euthanasia quickly because I am running to challenge Washington’s failure — and Olympia Snowe’s failure — to address what I see to be the major issues of the time, those that must be addressed. These are environmental degradation, the requirements of the common good as against service of dehumanized market capitalism greed, quality health care for all, the impending energy deficit, continued extravagant expenditures for unneeded arms, eroding respect for civil liberties, and the Iraq war — a deceitful, needless war of aggression and Empire that has occasioned hundreds of thousands of deaths, maimings, or shattered lives, grief for as many, and misery for millions.

A question at my announcement occasioned public enunciation of a clear view of the abortion liberty:

1. All human life has dignity and the state has an obligation to protect human life. But there are differences about when personhood occurs and about the rights of women against those of the unborn in a number of circumstances.

2. There is a de facto consensus that women should not be criminalized — punished — for having an abortion, a consensus that effectively dictates public policy.

3. Politicians should do all in their power to reduce the circumstances in which women are inclined to seek abortions — providing subsidized housing, counseling, prenatal care, affordable day care, etc.

4. Rather than focusing on legislation to outlaw abortion, churches should direct their energies to instilling a reverence for all human life in their members and in society, to creating a just social order, and to accompanying women facing difficult pregnancies.

Bill Slavick

Silence kills
Really nice article on Don’t Ask-Don’t Tell. (See “Silence Kills,” by Tony Giampetruzzi, May 26.) I was on the video conference call with Senator Collins and her comments made it evident that this is a subject that needs to be brought into the public eye. I was so shocked to hear her say that no one on the committee has brought it up before. Thanks for covering it so well!

Rachel L. Myers
Field Organizer, Maine Civil Liberties Union

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