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Saturday, March 5, 2011; 10:16 PM

Virginia

Going backward on abortion

Regarding last week's Local Opinions topic, "Should Virginia's regulations governing abortion clinics be made more restrictive?":

Forty-five years ago, our neighbors, a happily married couple in their late 30s with two teenagers, flew to Mexico for an abortion of an unexpected pregnancy. Abortion was still illegal at the time. An infant would have led to the loss of her income and placed the entire family in financial difficulties.

Though my neighbor had no medical complications from the procedure, others were less fortunate. Standards of care in Mexico were not the same as they were here, and many suffered serious problems, some leading to the death of the women involved.

Those without the money to fly to Mexico could use abortionists without medical licenses, or whose licenses had been revoked, who were working out of unsanitary locations, often leading to serious medical complications. Or they could bear children they did not want, in many cases burdening the taxpayers with the cost of welfare, medical care, schooling and victimization as a result.

More restrictive legislation regarding abortion clinics in Virginia will undoubtedly lead to the closing of these clinics and, perhaps, a return to the terrible choices that women faced 45 years ago. It is an embarrassment to be a resident of a state on its way to returning to these backward conditions.

David Mendelsohn, Ashburn

Metrorail

Message not received

Every day in Washington's Metro system, riders on platforms hear perfectly clear recorded security announcements followed by unintelligible extemporaneous announcements by station managers. The station managers need better microphones and, perhaps more to the point, better training in how to use them. The standard should be that announcements will be understandable by non-native speakers of English over the noise of an operating station.

One fine day, recorded security announcements will not cut it. Lives will depend on how well station managers can make themselves understood.

James Mallos, Silver Spring

The District

What to do with those Verizon tickets

By what divine right are members of the D.C. Council entitled to luxury suite tickets at Verizon Center ["D.C. Council stewing over Verizon Center tickets," Metro, Feb. 22]? Taxpayers paid for the renovations that built these luxury boxes. Since D.C. officials continue to squabble over how to share luxury box tickets, why not revisit the idea of auctioning off the tickets (and raising some much-needed revenue), or perhaps at least having a drawing within the D.C. government agencies for employees who might want to go? After all, these employees must bear the brunt of budget cuts as the city continues to tighten its belt.

Elizabeth Hickey, Washington

Wrecking a photo opportunity

It's cherry blossom time. This means the U.S. Park Service has only one month left to locate and position several ugly construction trailers, rusty trucks and other pieces of heavy equipment beside and in front of the Jefferson Memorial to ruin the beautiful scene for viewers and photographers. Oh, yes, and let's not forget about the temporary wooden stage and the wooden steps built on top of the concrete steps that always add to the clutter.

Can't all that debris be put somewhere out of sight while the cherry trees are blooming?

Bill Goddard, Bristow


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