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Your Views: We should seek common ground on abortion issue
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I am one of those backward thinking people that Kyle Shook referred to in his letter Thursday. His primary point seemed to be that we should not respect the explicit constitutional right of free speech of those opposed to abortion because they espouse an opinion that is in opposition to the current constitutional rulings.

Using Mr. Shook’s examples, the abolitionists were demonstrating against the then-legally protected slave system. The suffragettes were demonstrating against the system that legally denied women the right to vote. Lets also consider that Plessy v. Ferguson was a Supreme Court decision that found racial segregation was protected by the Constitution. Rightly, Brown v. Board of Education overturned that ruling, but not for nearly 60 years.

Our forefathers had the great wisdom and foresight to create a system of government that allowed for flexibility within its foundational framework to allow us to progress and change as a people. Pro-life advocates are pursuing that same course. We are not out to destroy women; as a matter of fact, about 50 percent of the lives they are demonstrating to protect belong to unborn females.

I believe there really is much common ground to be discovered in this issue. Most people would agree that an abortion is not like having an infected appendix removed. It is a difficult, complicated and emotional decision. Most women facing this decision would never have consciously chosen to be in that position.

Certainly we can agree that helping women in those difficult situations and encouraging behavior that can prevent those pregnancies are good and noble things. The abortion debate is probably the most volatile issue today. However, we seem to have lost the ability altogether to disagree with one another without resorting to vilifying those with whom we disagree.

I propose a new theme for our national conversations: common sense (all the relevant facts, not spin) leading to common ground (areas we can work together on, not "it’s all or nothing") always with common courtesy (not participating in or tolerating name-calling or condescension).

Barbara Farmer

Demonstrations don’t reflect our true individual freedoms
I could not let this day end without echoing the sentiments expressed by Kyle Shook in Thursday’s newspaper. When I saw the picture and article describing the recent "demonstration," I felt exactly the same revulsion as the writer.

There are many such occurrences that our freedoms allow, for which I am grateful, not just on this topic. We, as a people, frequently take for granted the freedoms our Constitution grants us, and fail to remember that each individual has the right to all those freedoms.

Helen W. Lindemulder


Center Point eager to spread word on community efforts
We at Center Point would like to thank The Times and Johnny Vardeman for the recent coverage of our organization. His Sunday column did a lot to inform the community of our rich history and the work that we are doing in Gainesville and Hall County through our education, counseling, mentoring and substance-abuse prevention programs.

In fact, last year we reached more than 6,800 students, a feat that could not have been accomplished without the assistance of many people, businesses and organizations doing exactly what The Times did: informing people of the services we provide and the change that we can bring to the students and families of Greater Hall County.

Again, we want to thank The Times and Johnny Vardeman for their coverage and encourage anyone interested in volunteer opportunities to contact the Center at 770-535-1050 or by e-mailing us at

Steve Parks
Center Point Board chairman, Murrayville

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