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‘An unforgivable breach’

Being raised mostly in Oklahoma in the ’50s and ’60s, my parents and teachers taught me that even when I disagree with someone’s ideas, it does not give me the right to be disrespectful to them and, above all else, never disrespect the office of an elected leader. As a result, you can imagine how embarrassed I was to learn Oklahoma has a governor who blatantly has shown disrespect for the highest office in the land.

Mary Fallin not only embarrassed the office of the governor, but more importantly, she embarrassed the people of Oklahoma by her humiliating failure to carry out her duties as an elected official and as the chief ambassador of the state.

Her failure to briefly interrupt her personal schedule to welcome a sitting president of the United States is an unforgivable breach of professional conduct for a governor, regardless of his or her personal beliefs or political ideology.

I am grateful to Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett and Midwest City Mayor Jack Fry for doing what the governor was apparently too busy vacationing to do. Thank you for your respect for the people of Oklahoma and for the office of the president.

—Terri L. Miller Oklahoma City

Faulty testing

After reading “Testing, Testing” (News, Phil Bacharach, March 14, Oklahoma Gazette) I feel the need to respond to this double standard. Sen. Fred Jordan points to external conditions and states that “[many people] ... are not test takers...” Norman schools Superintendent Joe Siano points to the new Common Core standards about to be implemented, implying that they might result in lower passing rates.

However, these same tests will be used as over one-third of the evaluation measurement to determine employment and/ or wages for teachers under the new evaluation standards for the 2013-14 school year. If these tests are so unfair that we cannot hold the test-takers accountable, how then can teachers be judged by them?

Politicians have completely ignored the responsibility/contribution of parents and students in the educational process, laying all the blame on “bad teachers” and calling for “accountability.”

Right now, there are students who do not care about graduation (or have passed enough tests) and randomly pick answers or make patterns rather than trying to pass. What we need is more sharing of accountability, not less.

—Michael Dean Norman

Showing women ‘who’s boss’

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (men!) and Republican presidential candidates Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich (more men!) strongly oppose President Obama’s requirement that women have free health insurance coverage for contraceptives.

Opinions expressed on the commentary page, in letters to the
editor and elsewhere in this newspaper are those of the author and do
not necessarily reflect the opinions of ownership or management.

“The small proportion of women and girls who aren’t using contraceptives account for half of all abortions in America,” according to the Guttmacher Institute. One might
suppose, then, that these men would work to prevent unintended pregnancy
(hence some abortions) through use of contraceptives. Apparently not.

But there are other ways to put “uppity” women in their place, especially those wishing to end a pregnancy.

In Oklahoma, we have statesanctioned rape for such women.

Specifically,
House Bill 2780, which passed the Legislature in 2010, has not gone
into effect because of a court challenge. That challenge, brought by the
New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights and others, will be heard
in Oklahoma County District Court on March 30.

That
law, if not struck down in court, requires a woman to endure an
ultrasound probe inserted in her vagina if that method produces the best
image — and it does during the first trimester. That’ll show uppity
women who’s boss.

But
there’s more! Senate Bill 1433, the Personhood bill, gives a fertilized
human egg “all the rights, privileges, and immunities available to other
persons, citizens, and residents of this state.” It passed the Oklahoma
Senate (on a 34-to-8 vote) and is in the House.

Dr.
Eli Reshef, a reproductive endocrinology and infertility specialist in
Oklahoma City, says this bill will “outlaw the use of certain
contraceptives (morning-after pill, intrauterine devise, or IUD, and
perhaps even other hormonal contraceptives) … and severely limit the
practice of in vitro fertilization.” He concludes that Personhood
measures “have been promoted by Personhood USA, an anti-abortion group
out of Colorado, in order to defeat Roe v. Wade.”

Speaking
of Roe v. Wade (which became law in 1973), an image embedded in my mind
is the photograph of a dead, naked woman, a victim of a criminal
abortion, in a kneeling position, with her face on the floor and a
bloody butt in the air. The inscription read “Never Again: Death,
Politics and Abortion.” Ms. magazine published that photo (which I still have) in the spring of 2002.

Looks
as if the “Never Again” was a bit hasty. Today, the “barefoot and
pregnant” crowd is, incredibly, going after contraception.

—Wanda Jo Stapleton Oklahoma City

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