Saturday’s letters: The dangerous days before Roe vs. Wade

Published July 9
Updated July 14

The reality of back-alley abortions | Column, July 11

The dangerous days before Roe

I am a 71-year-old retired nurse. I still remember when abortion was illegal and birth control was restricted to married women in the United States. In 1983, I set up a five-bed Intensive Care Unit at a private hospital in the newly independent African country of Zimbabwe. Abortions are illegal in Zimbabwe, and birth control, if available, is culturally frowned upon. The former dictator of the country was Catholic, so there was no discussion of womenís reproductive rights.

As the head nurse of the ICU, one of my duties was to cut up any used intravenous tubing into small pieces so that my ICU nurses, many of whom were midwives, would not be able to use them to perform abortions. I took care of many young women who were admitted to the ICU, in critical condition, post illegal abortion, accompanied by a police officer. My heart broke listening to their stories of what led them to the desperate decision to have an abortion. Most were single parents for one reason or another, unable to support the children they already had and now unsure who would take care of those children while she was in jail.

I was amazed at the number of dangerous ways abortions could be accomplished. The reality is, without a social network for women and children, desperate women will do desperate things: abandonment after birth, infanticide. Child abuse was widespread, and the term "baby dumping" became the harsh reality. My memories of these desperate women come back to me as I hear these debates in America about abortion and birth control. I wonder, is this the nightmare that is in store for future American women? Without Roe vs. Wade, we indeed are condemned to the desperations of the past.

Wendy Mutunhu, Tampa

Iíll be staying home | Letter, July 13

Itís a drive for us, too

A letter writer who lives in St. Petersburg bemoans the fact that if the new Rays stadium is located in Ybor City, it will be very inconvenient to travel across the bay to attend a game. We "mainland" residents have to do the same thing to get to Tropicana Field. I think movement to Ybor City or anywhere in the mainland area is a good move since the concentration of the population is here, not in St. Petersburg. As long as we must endure the traffic on the bridges, travel to a game is going to be a bit inconvenient for some of us. Itís time for the St. Petersburg folks to understand where we are coming from.

Joseph Stakun, Zephyrhills

Council grounds aerial artwork | July 13

Put the art in Midtown

The aerial sculpture controversy in St. Petersburg isnít really about the art itself. Most everyone agrees the art is lovely. The problem seems to revolve around location. The most deserving residents never ask for art in their neighborhood. They ask for crime prevention and safe streets. Clean water and good schools. Respect from city leaders and equal treatment. The decision should be simple; Janet Echelmanís work belongs in Midtown. Where else in St. Petersburg is more in need of this joyful artistry with its whimsical sense of flight?

David Fraser, Clearwater

Kavanaugh is great
nominee | Column, July 13

What this justice would do

Like Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, I am a lawyer. Unlike her, I do not know Brett Kavanaugh personally, but I do know that knowing him personally is irrelevant to the position of justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. Knowing that he is well-qualified to serve is also irrelevant. Scores of judges are equally qualified. It is enough to know and understand his work as a lawyer and as a judge to see that his nomination to the court is wholly predicated on a belief that his work will serve the political agenda of the Republicans and, if necessary, will protect Donald Trump from the legal consequences of his evident corruption. Kavanaugh has been open in stating that, as a matter of law, a president should not face the demands of the legal process while in office. How convenient for the powers behind Trump to have a Supreme Court Justice who can ó and has stated he should ó shield the president from complying with all legal process, exempting him from testifying in depositions in the pending cases brought by adult entertainers, and vendors to his businesses, and from subpoenas and testimony in the Mueller Russia investigation and in all the related cases against Manafort, Flynn and others currently pending. Anyone who believes Kavanaughís nomination is anything but an attempt to wrap Trump in a Kevlar-coated legal opinion is disingenuous, blind or ignorant. So, no, Sen. Bill Nelson shouldnít vote against Kavanaugh because of a lack of qualifications. Nelson should vote against Kavanaugh because to vote otherwise is to abdicate any respect for the rule of law and to make of Trump, not a president but a king. This is America and still, for now, no one is above the law.

Rochelle Reback, Tampa

Paying for ballpark will take
teamwork | Editorial, July 12

Spring training is great

If the Rays donít stay, we will still have the Yankees, Phillies, Blue Jays, Tigers, Pirates and Orioles. More teams than anybody. They all play in the spring, when the weather is nice. And their beautiful stadiums are already built, and have great parking. Why not give the Rays to some city that doesnít have any baseball at all, and enjoy the six wonderful teams we have?

Early Sorenson, Dunedin

Algae, blame cover waters | July 12

Some swamps are good

I would like to congratulate President Donald Trump and his supporters for doing exactly what he promised he would do. He said he would "drain the swamp." A swamp is defined as "an area of low-lying, uncultivated ground where water collects." Yes, he has changed this naturally occurring habitat, along with many other natural habitats in our country, into a cesspool!

Michael Lang, Seminole