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Letters 12/11/03

Various - December 11th, 2003
Spread the word

I am writing in response to Mr. Weber‘s letter (11/27/03) regarding abstinence-based sex education.
Mr. Weber seems to be very concerned with telling the truth and preventing kids from being ignorant regarding the risks associated with sex. Why, then, would he want to neglect to inform teens about contraceptives and infection prevention?
Mr. Weber brings up the failure rate of condoms as a reason for preaching abstinence only. What about the failure rate of abstinence? Studies have shown that abstinence has a failure rate between 26 and 86 percent. This rate is higher than the condom failure rate which is estimated to be between 12 and 70 percent. Shouldn‘t teens have the knowledge of how to best protect themselves from pregnancy and infection when abstinence fails?
Comprehensive sexual education gives young people information about all of their options regarding their personal sexual protection - up to and including abstinence. I am a firm believer in giving people information about all of their options and letting them make their own, informed decisions. Part of this process does include teaching the ricks and consequences of sexual behavior. Based on this information people can decide whether or not to engage in said behavior, and if they do not choose to abstain, they will be able to make decisions as to how to best protect themselves.
In no way should it be assumed that by teaching comprehensive sexual education teens are being encouraged to go out and have sex. I had the privilege of working with the Grand Traverse Area HIV Wellness Network for about seven months before their closure. I worked with the Peer Outreach Program and educated youth about HIV prevention and awareness. Our program always stressed that abstinence was the only sure way to prevent HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. We felt, however, that omitting the discussion of other forms of prevention would not provide the youth with all of the information necessary to make informed choices.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, about three-quarters of high school students have had sexual intercourse by graduation. Shouldn‘t we prepare these teens for abstinence failure?

Aaron Gooch • TC

Where‘s Al?

On November 7, 2000, 51,000,000 people went to the polls and cast
their vote for then Vice President Al Gore. Although Mr.Gore walked away
from that election with the people‘s vote, it was deemed irrelevant in a
ruling issued by the U.S. Supreme Court that marks a turning point in our
Now we enter the 2004 Presidential election season, and
Democrats are coming out in droves to join anything that will enable them
to participate in the fight to take their country back. Why? Because they
are angry about having their vote invalidated by the U.S. Supreme Court in
the election of 2000. They are coming out like never before to avenge the
horrible injustice that was done to Al Gore. There is only one problem; Al
Gore is not running!
Why, if he said he had the energy and the drive and the ambition to make another campaign is he not running? He is the people‘s chosen leader of the Democratic party; he received the greatest amount of Democratic votes in the history of the United States. What is keeping him from taking his rightful place in this historic fight to regain control of our country?
That is a very good question, and one that we all should be asking our Democratic leadership, for they alone have the answer. Although the Democratic leadership has supplied us with nine of America‘s best to represent our voice, they seem to move up ever so slowly in the polls against what some have said to be, “the worst President since Buchanan.“
Although this election is far from over, one thing has become quite clear, a great many Americans feel that our country is being lead in the wrong direction, and they want change in that leadership. The only problem is, the one person who could
unite them in a way no one else can, and lead them in the fight to avenge
the horrible injustice of the 2000 election, that person... he‘s not running.

Paula Beard • via email

Who‘s your daddy?

Who‘s my daddy? That‘s a question pondered by almost two in 10 adults today. A growing number of unwed mothers, alleged unwed fathers, and divorced fathers are asking the same question and for very good reasons. Today, one in three men tested for paternity in Michigan are EXCLUDED as being fathers. Estimates also now place as many as 14% of married fathers are actually supporting someone else‘s children.
The reasons may vary, but certainly the promiscuous life styles of both men and women today are major contributors, which make the traditional so-called “certainty“ of paternity by pregnant women suspect at the least and wrong at best. No longer can women know by simply counting weeks who the father may be when there have been oftentimes multiple sex partners in the same week. No longer can, or should, men accept their paternity as a certainty simply because they are “informed“ they are the father.
To make matters even worse, Michigan state officials and its courts appear oblivious to the truth and only interested in establishing the paternity of all unwed births either voluntarily or by default to establish child support -- regardless whether it is the correct father or not. Perhaps the substantial federal reimbursements and incentives the state receives have been clouding the judgments of our state officials and judges regarding truth-in paternity leading to the epidemic of marital and nonmarital paternity fraud cases now estimated to be well over 10,000 cases annually in Michigan.
Even Michigan‘s attorney general, Mike Cox, touts his department‘s laurels in pursuing so-called “deadbeat“ fathers without acknowledging that many of these men are pursued for someone else‘s child support obligations and others aren‘t even fathers at all! Married fathers in Michigan are presumed to be the father of any child born during their marriage, regardless of even the opportunity to impregnate the wife -- a victimization that occurs to military men and civilians alike. Hopefully, state legislators will act on pending legislation now to end this victimization of their male voters.
There is only one method to ensure truth-in-paternity and that is through modern DNA paternity testing. A simple tested cheek swab specimen from the child and alleged father can secure a child‘s emotional, psychological and medical future for his or her lifetime. Moms and “dads“ should verify paternity as early as possible -- for the child‘s sake and that of family lineages.

Murray Davis • Vice President of the National Family Justice Association, Michigan

Fall memories

The fall hunting season always brings back fond memories of crisp afternoons in the fresh air pursuing a wily foe. The little devils were fast and it took quite a bit of practice to perfect the hand-eye coordination necessary to bring them down. Half the fun was the camaraderie of sitting around after the hunt cleaning the kill for the table.
At long last, after all the scouting, shooting, plucking and cooking, the feast was ready. Accompanied by a nice merlot, wild rice with gravy and crusty bread for sopping up that same gravy, there is almost nothing finer than a meal of well-prepared mourning doves.
As we used to say down home in Fantod, Mississippi, “Man, dat sho am good.“

Bill Mayer • Petoskey
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