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Letters to the Editor

Pharmacists cannot withhold service
Re: “Pharmacists reserve right to refuse service ,” June 1

My main thought when I read Adam Fowler’s “Pharmacists reserve the right to refuse service” article was that only a man could write from such a high- minded and slanted point of view.

Becoming a pharmacist is a career choice, an actual conscious decision to help people regardless of their race, religion or sex. That is their “freedom of conscience.” Perhaps the question we should be asking is, if the pharmacist knows that he or she will have to make decisions going against their moral judgment then why are they in that career in the first place? And Adam, the bigger debate is about the fact that some of these pharmacists with morals have been taking the prescriptions away and refusing to return them. Wouldn’t that be the pharmacist enforcing his “freedom of conscience” on the customer?

To look at the situation and not see the bigger picture here is naive. This is not just about the morning-after pill. This is about what rights a woman has over her body. As a woman, I believe that my body belongs to me and no other person has the right to tell me what to do with it. What decisions I make are between me and my god, just as I believe the decisions you make, for right or wrong, are between you and your god. Too many people here have a belief that they have a god-given right to enforce their beliefs on another person.

Have you actually read any of the statistics on poverty here in America? Do you have any idea how hard it is to raise a child even when it is wanted? It would be lovely if all these children would grow up in a perfect world. But this is the real world and some families simply cannot afford another mouth to feed. Are you willing to donate your money? I would suggest that you get off your moral high horse and take a look around at the thousands of unwanted children growing up in state-run orphanages.

Rather than contributing to them, perhaps your anger would be better directed towards helping them. Now, I am not saying that the pharmacist should not have any rights, but they should not, and do not, have the right to force any woman into having no choice. And that, Adam, is why the government should step in.

Sophie Kloss is a seniorin mass communications.

Al-Arian trial must be closely watched

Today the trial begins for Sami Al-Arian and three other Muslim men, Sameeh Hammoudeh, Hatim Fariz and Ghassan Ballut, who are accused of supporting Palestinian terrorists.

Are these charges legitimate, or is this another example of the scapegoating of Muslims under the Patriot Act and post 9-11 political hype? Only a fair trial can determine this.

As Friends of Human Rights, we wonder how this can be a fair trial when nothing in this case has been fair so far.

For the past two and a half years since their arrests, Al-Arian and Mr. Hammoudeh have been jailed without bond under unusually harsh conditions, including months in solitary confinement for Al-Arian.

The government has restricted Al-Arian’s ability to prepare for his defense: He was prohibited from meeting with his attorneys for long periods, he was not allowed to attend most of the pre-trial hearings, he has been denied adequate access to the evidence and to resources necessary for preparation of his defense and investigators destroyed surveillance tapes they claimed were not relevant. Some of the evidence deals with acts that were not illegal at the time they were alleged to have occurred. And as we watched the jury selection process, we saw that the bias in the community will make a fair trial very difficult.

We will stand for justice and human rights on today, in front of the Sam Gibbons Federal Courthouse, from 11:30 to 1:00. Our message will be: “Everyone deserves a fair trial.” Please join us.

The trial begins at 9:00 a.m. If you would like to show support by attending the trial, plan to arrive early because seating is very limited. The courthouse is located at 801 N. Florida. Cell phones, cameras and tape recorders are not allowed in the courthouse. A picture ID is required.

Mel Underbakke, John Arnaldi,Rev. Warren Clark and Dwight Lawtonare members of Friends of Human Rights.