Saving Babies

Saving Babies

End the shame: Reading your story brought tears to my eyes ["Rock-A-Baby Bye-Bye," by Wendy Grossman, April 25]. I have a one-year-old son whom I love with all my heart. My baby was a planned pregnancy and I wanted him. However, in the months that I carried my baby, I visited Planned Parenthood for pregnancy tests and had regular checkups with my private gynecologist -- and I never heard or read anything about this law.

My conclusion: The law is not exposed to women. So how can the government or anybody in Texas expect it to work? There is not enough education in schools to let the girls know about the options. I do not want to be racist, but almost every time you see these stories the person is Hispanic. Being Hispanic myself, I know what it is like to grow up in that culture. Most of the parents did not talk about safe sex with their children, and as incredible as it may sound, they still don't.

The law might be there, but these kids are scared. They do not want to remember the pregnancy or the mistake. Having to face a person in order to leave a kid is not anonymous in the eyes of these girls. These girls usually hide everything because of shame -- they'd rather let the kid die than risk being found out.

I know some people are going to say bad things about the way kids are left in Germany, but the truth is that if nobody could see the mother, more kids could be saved.

I don't think all women develop feelings for their offspring before they are born, so it is really easier for them to think this did not happen at all.

Vanessa Toro

To the front: The article "Rock-A-Baby Bye-Bye" was incredible. I have never given the problem of baby abandonment much thought, as it is not something I've been exposed to. The writer of the article was excellent because I held on to her every word.

Thanks so much for bringing the problem of baby abandonment to the forefront of minds.

Katie Best

To protect and serve: Thank you for the article on abandonment of newborns in dangerous places. Wendy Grossman did a thorough job of researching and reporting on these tragic situations.

While the abandonment of babies has been with us for as long as we can remember (after all, Moses reportedly was abandoned) and it affects a small number of the thousands of children we serve to protect at Children's Protective Services, it is 100 percent preventable. I set up the toll-free, 24/7, Baby Abandonment Hotline at CPS, 1-877-904-SAVE, to help any family member, friend or pregnant mother have someone to talk to and prevent abandonment.

Of course, going to one of the private adoption agencies before the birth and privately arranging for adoption is the least traumatic, with no police or CPS needing to get involved in the mother's life.

I do have one correction to the article to happily report. Only one of the 13 babies abandoned from December 1998 through September 1999 died, not half of them. Two of the 13 abandonments were later determined from autopsies to have been stillborn. One of the babies was able to safely return to his relatives. The other nine are growing up with their adoptive families.

George Ford, executive director
Harris County Children's Protective Services

The Terminators

Raw deal from HISD: Gayle Fallon's comments are right on the mark [The Insider, by Tim Fleck, April 25]. Under pressure from my principal, I resigned rather than face termination. I was told that I would be able to continue working in HISD as long as I was out of North Central District. I resigned and -- lo and behold -- the district board decided to terminate me anyway. The letter from them stated that both my resignation and the wildly fictitious charges would be forwarded to any agency seeking information.

I cannot challenge the content of my file or any of the serious accusations, because I resigned. Even though I wrote a letter to the superintendent well in advance of the board meeting clearly stating that I "unresigned" so that I could contest the charges, the board voted to both accept my resignation and terminate me.

Then, to add some insult to their injury, the superintendent canceled my COBRA and denied my appeal without so much as a courtesy call. She did not respect my request for a personal meeting, she did not speak with me, she did not review my documentation. Since she denied my appeal, I am not able to get insurance through the Teacher Retirement Agency even though I am fully vested in the retirement system and have complied with all requirements for full retirement compensation.

Judith Hathaway

Pollution Coverage

Emission omission: The March 6 Houston Chronicle had an Associated Press story headlined "City pollution linked to lung cancer." Nowhere in the story is there mention of Houston.

Isn't it curious that no one at the Chronicle took the time to find a local angle for this story, here in the most polluted city in America, where more and more people (including this writer) have contracted lung-related illnesses such as asthma ["Drowning on Dry Land," by Wendy Grossman, February 3, 2000]? What did the study learn about Houston pollution? How does our city rank against other cities?

Are the Chronicle's omissions due to incompetence, indifference or fear that community polluters will pull advertising from the paper? Equally depressing is the fact that on the same page where the pollution story appears there is a cigarette ad (!) and a story that reports we can reduce the risk of cancer if we eat tomatoes. As this city's self-described Leading Information Source, dear Chronicle, wake up, have some guts and serve the community with original reporting.

America and much of the rest of the world is slowly killing itself with pollution. Will all of us have to contract asthma or lung cancer before we wake up?

Gale Wiley

Democratic Dishes

Celebrate diversity: For 27 years, I wondered what an authentic American hamburger would taste like, because what I bought from McDonald's differed from that of Burger King and Fuddruckers. But, of course, I realized that this country is not communist, and I figured that it's free enterprise. As an American said, "Whatever floats your boat."

That was my opinion until I read the review by Robb Walsh that seemed to claim that Blue Orchid ["Thai Raid," March 28] was a fake. He went gung ho on that one restaurant as if it were a personal attack. If you wanted to express a concern on authenticity, you needed to have a larger sample than just one restaurant.

I don't expect any food to remain the same from one region to another, or from one century to the next. Thank God that the food from the various Thai restaurants in the area doesn't all taste the same.

Including the Thai government's concern into the article is simply in poor taste. Since when does food have to be approved and stamped by its government for authenticity? Even in a totalitarian country no one is dictating to anyone else how to prepare a dish or serve it. I recently noticed that Thai Spice restaurant now serves sushi. Do you think I should report this matter to the Japanese government for investigation? The decision of the Thai government to pour money into training chefs and setting up establishments just to prove the difference between Thai food and "fusion food" seems rather ridiculous.

Mr. Walsh mentioned that Blue Orchid called itself Viet-Thai. Doesn't that mean its owners already made a disclaimer? He is authentically un-American in debasing a restaurant for serving wonderful dishes. And shame on the Press for practicing yellow journalism. The United States is a free country, and the melting pot is what makes America America.

Tahoe Marc Nguyen


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