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Published: 2/13/2006

Don't allow pharmacists to opt out

The front-page headline, "States pit rights of medical workers vs. patients," in The Blade called our attention to bills being introduced in at least 18 states that would allow medical workers to withhold treatment and, specifically, would allow pharmacists to opt out of filling certain prescriptions.

Ohio is one of those states. HB469, which has been introduced in the state House of Representatives, specifically states that "no person is required to perform or participate in medical procedures or distribution of any medication which will or may result in abortion or termination of life."

That puts the individual pharmacist in control of who gets to receive legally prescribed medications and who does not. Under this law, pharmacists may interview the patient and ask, "Are you married?" or any other questions until they are persuaded that, according to their beliefs and values, you are fit to have medications such as contraception - especially emergency contraception, which some claim produces an abortion and others claim does not. Pharmacists - not physicians or scientists - will now decide who gets which medications.

Whose rights are more important to your health, yours or the local pharmacists? Our state could become a patchwork of availability for medications. You might need to go from pharmacy to pharmacy until you encounter a pharmacist with values that match your own.

Those who introduced this bill probably think that in their religious zeal they are protecting the "unborn." In fact they are encouraging abortion by denying access to contraception.

If pharmacists really wanted to stop abortions, they would do everything in their power to dispense contraceptive medications. Half of all pregnancies in the U.S. are unintended. To halt abortions, we must increase the availability of contraception. Every child deserves to be a wanted child.

LEE HAKEL

Bowlling Green

Toledo still has some good people here. Every day we read stories about kids being jumped at the bus stop, men being left to die, and riots in the north end. But when fire erupted at Hidden Cedar Apartments, Toledoans jumped to immediate action that would make anyone proud.

The Red Cross helped out and a local church opened its doors to give everything it could. But what made me proud to be a Toledoan was the regular citizens of Toledo who decided to stop by the fire site to lend a helping hand.

Blankets, coats, and warm food were all given to those in need. Some people even opened their own homes for those displaced. The beautiful thing about this is that it was not solicited by anyone. These giving people saw a need and reacted. There were even a couple ofpeople who showed up just to help the pets. This is the attitude that makes America great- and Toledo a great city!

CHRISTOPHER PAUL CHAMBERS

Maryann Place

I read of the death of another bicyclist and then your follow-up article about the concern of officials at the number of such deaths. When will our legislators wake up to the fact that we have a faulty law that requires a bike rider to travel the same direction as traffic?

Walkers and joggers face the traffic, and a bike rider is not traveling much faster than a jogger. Whether you are walking, riding a bike, or driving a car, when you look back over your shoulder you have the tendency to veer in that direction. If you're riding a bike and you hear a car behind you, your natural reaction is to glance back to see if you are safe - and that could pull your bike into the path of the car.

On residential streets and open highways it is much safer to face the traffic so you can see whether you are in danger of being struck by a car and take evasive action. To avoid being struck you might end up in the ditch but that's far better than ending up in a casket.

ROBERT GREEK

Montpelier, Ohio

Are charter schools really worth your money? You pay for them. Your state and federal tax dollars, which were collected to pay for the continued improvement of Toledo Public Schools, are being diverted to support these private enterprises called charter schools. A charter school's success does nothing to improve your neighborhood's property value, while a public school's success can have a very positive effect.

Why allow the state and federal governments to take tax dollars away from your school system, at a time when great improvements are being made, and give it to a private enterprise that will do little for your community?

The Toledo Public School system is currently involved in the largest rebuilding project in its history. These new buildings will revitalize the local neighborhoods. The charter schools have already had a devastating effect on this rebuilding project. Due to the loss of thousands of TPS students to charter schools, the size of those buildings has been scaled back.

In the not-too-distant future, when the charter school experiment is finally deemed unsuccessful, Toledo Public Schools enrollment will again swell, causing new school buildings to be overcrowded and less effective. This will also have a negative effect on property values.

The State of Ohio prohibits charter schools from opening in higher performing districts like Sylvania or Perrysburg. Only school districts that are in the most need of support are forced to share their tax dollars. Taxpayers in Toledo and other large urban districts need to realize that their tax dollars, which were meant to improve their public schools, are being misappropriated to private enterprises which will have no positive effect on the local neighborhoods that support them.

As is always the case with government spending, if there is no objection, the waste continues.

MIKE CHAMBERLIN

Perrysburg

Dr. Amjad Hussain's cleverly written column on the Iranian bomb threat equated the Iranian pursuit of uranium enrichment (translated as nuclear weapons of mass destruction) with those of Pakistan and India. However, he fails to mention that neither India nor Pakistan has threatened to "wipe Israel and its people off the face of the earth" as has the newly elected "leader" of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Perhaps this omission was merely an oversight on the part of Dr. Hussain.

ROLLIND W. ROMANOFF

West Central Avenue

Recently I wrote to the mayor of Sylvania about the lack of street lights on Sylvania Avenue. The problem is the lack of lights from Talmadge Road clear past McCord Road.

The answer I received was that it was not a Sylvania City matter. I was told that it was the City of Toledo's problem as that area is Sylvania Township.

The office of the mayor forwarded my concern on to the Toledo Engineers Department. A week later I received a response from the county engineer, Keith G. Earley.

His response was that this area is maintained by Lucas County. Toledo's policy is to place streetlights at intersections and locations where a nighttime accident problem is identified.

I think this is a sad and pathetic situation when taxpayers who have trouble driving at night on streets that are not maintained with sufficient lighting have no recourse. Why do we have to wait for a person to risk being in an accident and possibly being killed or seriously hurt?

This is a long stretch of road but a light on a corner could save a life.

SHARON RAINWASSER

West Sylvania Avenue

Regarding controversy surrounding the Mohammed cartoons, Kirk's political cartoon summed things up very nicely and effectively put the controversy in proper perspective.

Let's hope that, through the Internet, it is disseminated at least as widely as the cartoons that sparked Muslim outrage in the first place.

ROBERT A. KELSO

Sylvania



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