Contraception facts

Gerald Thibodeau fails to comprehend a simple Guttmacher Institute statistic, leading him to falsely assert that contraception does not reduce abortion (Dec. 23 letter to the editor). In fact, there is a wealth of evidence demonstrating that effective contraceptive use dramatically reduces unplanned pregnancy and — thereby — recourse to abortion.

Guttmacher Institute research shows that the two-thirds of U.S. women at risk of unintended pregnancy who use contraception consistently and correctly throughout the course of any given year account for only 5 percent of all unintended pregnancies. The much smaller group of women at risk who use contraception but do so inconsistently (19 percent) account for 44 percent of all unintended pregnancies. And the even smaller group of women who do not use contraception at all for a month or more during the year (16 percent) account for 52 percent of all unintended pregnancies.

That’s why policies that make contraceptives more affordable and easier to use reflect the needs and desires of the vast majority of U.S. women and their partners — Mr. Thibodeau’s disapproval notwithstanding.

In addition to misusing a Guttmacher statistic, Mr. Thibodeau also mistakenly refers to the Guttmacher Institute as “Planned Parenthood’s hired research firm.” The Guttmacher Institute is a fully independent, nonpartisan research and policy organization.

Cory L. Richards

Senior Vice President and Vice President for Public Policy

Guttmacher Institute

Family Planning’s worth

There’s a joke that asks the question,”Why is divorce so expensive?”

Answer: “Because it’s worth it!”

Gerald Thibodeau’s letter to the editor, “Cut Family Planning,” laments the expense of Family Planning and resents the organization’s high salaries and million dollar annual profit. He concludes, “Welfare should be for the needy — not corporation profits and high salaries.”

Some women avoid or terminate pregnancy because they are too poor to support a dependent. Would it be to anyone’s advantage to demand these pregnancies be carried to term so the welfare system can be the provider of last resort?

Some women avoid or terminate pregnancy because they definitely do not want the child, perhaps because of rape or incest or a hatred of children or the child’s father. I know people who were hated and resented by their mothers, and they are warped.

I believe every child has the right to grow up wanted and loved. The only way to achieve that goal is to provide effective contraceptives, education in their use and abortion if necessary. In other words, Planned Parenthood.

Want to see welfare and court costs soar? Promote the birth of impoverished unwanted babies and see how cheap Family Planning is by comparison.

Gerald A. Metz, M.D.


Lost my vote

I wish to point out to readers that Sens. Collins and Snowe voted in favor of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012. Sen. Collins, as a member of the committee, voted to include “detainee matters” under subtitle D. Sen. Lindsey Graham now calls America “a battlefield.”

This bill would allow the feds to arrest anyone they thought to be associated with any kind of terrorist organization (yes, even American citizens) and detain them indefinitely. Without trial.

Of course they can define any terrorist group, be it some environmental activist, some tea partier or your local rod and gun club. Anyone in America can be associated with terror under the term “domestic terror” and you have lost your right to a trial under the Constitution.

Personally I will not vote for Sens. Snowe or Collins because it only validates to them that the Constitution of the United States is meaningless.

Robert Cox


Snail mail

After reading the BDN OpEd, “US mail: slow and slower,” I must admit I agree with its author, James Bovard. In just the last month I have had three letters to a relative out of state returned as undeliverable. This relative has been at the same address for over a year now.

My son gets a weekly check mailed from Boston. On a regular week the check comes on Thursday, on a week with a Monday holiday the check arrives on Tuesday. It took 10 days for a first class, presorted piece of mail to go from Ohio to Maine and it took the post office 20 days to return a first class letter to me that I had addressed wrongly to a post office box.

Three or four days for a letter to go from one place to another is one thing, 20 days is something else altogether. The post office needs to find some way to become more efficient or it will become its own worst enemy.

Susan Taylor


Conservative on nukes

Former EPA head Christine Todd Whitman says nuclear energy is reliable and a job creator (BDN, Dec. 22).

This same U.S. agency eliminated radiation monitoring in the the midst of the Fukushima disaster. Apparently, they did not want you to know what this “reliable” energy is capable of producing.

As for jobs in the nuclear industry, many are dangerous and could prove deadly. They do not want you to know that either.

The bottom line, as a good Republican like Ms. Whitman should know, is nuclear power is not safe and is no longer cost-effective. Germany has already made the decision to abandon nuclear energy.

EPA should fulfill its mission to protect the public and work to decommission unreliable and outdated nuclear plants, try to mitigate the radioactive waste problem and focus on green energy alternatives and conservation.

Nancy Allen


Drop in the oil tank

I am a senior recipient of LHEAP funds and have been for many years. Each year, I have received less than the year before despite the fact that my income has remained the same ($1,000 per month).

With prices going higher every year the amount has become almost negligible. This year I received $90 toward what will be more than $2,000 just to keep my thermostat at 55 degrees.

If the stipend for each person is going to be so little, the government might just as soon flush it down the toilet. It would be more useful to give fewer people more money so that the limited funds would actually help someone. I, for one, wouldn’t be much worse off.

Cheri Walton