Abandonment the issue, not pregnancy
To the editor:
Your editorial "Sex education in schools needs an overhaul" (April 4, Opinion) misses the most important issue. The reason our city was shocked by the two 14-year-old girls in question is not because they were pregnant. The dismal teen pregnancy rates in Texas are reported ad nauseum. Our city has been shocked because two infants were literally thrown away by their mothers.
The relationship between a mother and her child, no matter how young that mother may be, is something that has traditionally been viewed with a reverent awe. It is in the context of this relationship that the greatest literary giants learn to lisp their first syllables, and great leaders of the world first learn discipline. This bond between a mother and her child is the backbone of all human society, and recurrently we have seen that bond brutally violated, so we stand shocked. But is our shock justified?
Every day in Houston, about 55 children are treated in exactly the same manner by their parents’ choice of abortion. The only difference between the two infants reported on and the other 20,000-plus kids, is that the latter were disposed of behind sterile closed doors. When our society reaches the point where children are viewed as punishments and easy methods for their disposal are touted as fundamental rights, should we really be that shocked when a middle school girl flushes her baby down the toilet?
Turkey excluded because of geography
To the editor:
I enthusiastically perused Mohammad Ahmad’s astute column "Why isn’t Turkey included?" (Opinion, Friday).
Ahmad’s arguments are solid, but he may be overstating the religious aspect at the expense of the simple logic of geography: Approximately 98 percent of Turkey is Asiatic (Anatolian) whereas the exiguous remainder of the country (Thrace) is in Europe. The "European Union" is, after all, European. I would imagine that at some point in the disputes over the admission of Turkey into the EU it would have occurred to some bright-eyed delegate that "Turkey’s not a European country, is it?"
If Turkey is admitted in complete disregard for geography, then what would keep the EU from accepting applications from a future democratic Iraq, a now-democratic Bahrain or the West’s allies of Qatar, Kuwait and Oman, or what about the world’s largest democracy, India?
Turkey has been a loyal ally of the West for at least a half-century; it has also been a key participant in NATO for almost six decades. Based on these two facts alone, it deserves to be a member of the European Union. I would be skeptical, however, that EU authorities would be willing to become a "Eurasian Union."
Finally, the political leaders of Turkey would do themselves a world of good in the eyes of the West if they would accept the concept of an "undivided" Cyprus, the southern (Greek) part of which is already a member of the EU. In the process, they would have to repudiate the jejune and abortive notion of a "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus."
Besides, this idea is so…20th century.
Victor L. Mote
Political science professor
Advertisement goes too far
To the editor:
I was repulsed by an advertisement that appeared in The Daily Cougar on April 8. This ad, placed by an anti-choice, anti-Planned Parenthood organization, depicted (what is implied to be) a black baby wrapped in a noose. I was infuriated as a social worker, womanist, active supporter and volunteer for Planned Parenthood, but most of all as a black student at UH.
Planned Parenthood does more to prevent unintended pregnancies than any other organization and has always been an advocate for medically accurate, age appropriate sex education and affordable reproductive services for all. It has also been active in community education, outreach and advocacy in black communities throughout the country.
The noose is a powerful symbol of hate. This symbol has been used to terrorize the black community for centuries. I am disgusted that any organization that claims to value life would use this symbol in an advertisement. The use of this dangerous symbol of hate in our daily paper has reinforced the reality of racism and reassures me that we have not learned how to disagree without being disrespectful. The noose was horrific in Jena, La. and has no place in The Daily Cougar. As has been demonstrated throughout our nation in the past year, American citizens of all colors and nationalities are offended and disturbed by casual use of the noose symbol.
The University of Houston owes us more. I was disappointed that my campus newspaper would act as a conduit for this type of bigotry. The Daily Cougar should hold itself to a higher standard. The University should refuse to accept advertising money for any purpose that devalues and disrespects any member of our student body, faculty or staff with depictions or illustrations of hate. Planned Parenthood values the dignity and worth of all people and works diligently to ensure that everyone has access to safe and affordable reproductive services.
College of social work graduate student