Richard Wysocki, Philadelphia
Climate change and beach erosion
The article "The Shore's ‘lost island'" (Sunday) speculates that climate change is causing erosion of barrier island beaches.
The effects of erosion actually reflect redistribution of sand fueled by unnatural beach replenishment projects. Avalon is a good example of how natural forces (northeast winds in storms) tend to remove sand from the northern end of the island. When this sand is replenished year after year, augmenting the natural north-to-south flow of wind and water, the replenished sand ends up further south in areas from Avalon to North Wildwood. For this reason, the Avalon fishing pier (built in the 1930s) is high and dry at low tide, Hereford Inlet is not navigable, and the North Wildwood beaches are difficult to use because they are too wide.
The sand on nonreplenished Little Beach Island is moving in the opposite direction, from south to north. This is probably because its location, tucked within the north side of the Great Bay Inlet, shields it from northeast winds. This basic geographic anomaly alone makes it impossible to compare the effects of erosion on Little Beach Island to other exposed barrier islands, let alone attribute the effects of unnatural beach replenishment to climate change.
Arthur Lintgen, Perkasie
Church rules vs. patients' rights
I am neither Jewish nor Catholic, but I agree with the rabbis who contested the alliance of Abington Memorial Hospital with Holy Redeemer, which will result in the loss of abortion services because religious rules will trump patients' rights ("Anger at Abington hospital," Sunday).
Absolutely no one takes the issue of abortion lightly, but if there were a medical emergency and I were told by my daughter's doctor that she would die if her pregnancy were not terminated, I would wholeheartedly support the termination of the pregnancy to save her life. How someone else's religion would take the option of a legal procedure from our family, resulting in the death of my daughter, is difficult to comprehend.
Sally Morrow, Fort Washington
A child, not a mass of ‘material'
I support Abington Hospital's differentiation between providing birth control (preventing a life from being formed) and abortion (taking a life). I see a very contradictory value system in our culture when an unwanted child becomes "a product of conception" and therefore a meaningless mass of "material" to be removed from the uterus, while at the same time my nieces post ultrasounds on Facebook showing their unborn babies, named with care and already members of their growing families.
Is the difference between life and "products of conception" purely one of being wanted or unwanted? Do we pull the plug on human beings just because they are an inconvenience to our lives?
Most of the time, we have a choice whether to have intercourse (except in cases of rape or abuse), which may produce a child. Once a life has been created, there are still choices an expectant mother can make. As the mother of four adopted children, I applaud the choice that some mothers have made, one involving personal pain and sacrifice, that gives their children a chance at life.
Kathleen McAlary, North Wales
Back to Dark Ages for women
"Moving forward we will no longer do abortions at Abington Memorial," said Abington CEO Laurence Merlis. Forward? Are you kidding? Talk about a step back into the Dark Ages for women's reproductive health care. Last I checked, Abington Hospital was all about providing comprehensive health care, not espousing religious dogma. Regardless of one's personal views on abortion, it remains a legal medical procedure that women have the right to access.
I wonder, as Abington Hospital sells its patients out to a religious institution, what goes next? Infertility treatment? Contraception? Tubal ligations and vasectomies? Stem-cell transplants?
Shame on you, Abington Hospital. You've put the bottom line over the well-being of your patients.
Claudia C. Carabelli, Jenkintown, firstname.lastname@example.org
Good work of Catholic hospitals
If, in its merger with Holy Redeemer, Abington Memorial ceases to perform abortions, it will certainly not leave women who want one helpless to do so. More than 95 percent of women seeking abortions already choose an independent clinic for this procedure.
More important, Abington Memorial performed 64 abortions in 2011 — about one per ob/gyn on staff. This hardly qualifies it as a major abortion provider, given the more than 17,000 abortions performed last year in Philadelphia and its surrounding counties.
Karen Heller chooses to ignore the enormous good work done by Catholic hospitals here and around the world. Nearly one out of every five American hospital patients is being treated in a Catholic hospital — regardless of their religious affiliation. No other American religious institution comes close. Heller also neglects to mention the disproportionate number of hospital nurses who are themselves practicing Catholics — a helping profession chosen by many because of their Catholic upbringing.
Rosemary C. McDonough, Narberth
Clean up Philadelphia's image
Mayor Nutter proclaimed the Fourth of July festivities a "resounding success," but he seems to have missed a very dirty point concerning the image of our city.
I was in the audience on the Parkway with four of my friends and we noticed that not a single person considered cleaning up the trash in their immediate area. After the mass exodus, the Parkway and surrounding Fairmount Park were left to the mercy of street cleaners. They do a great job, even on hot summer days, but Philadelphians should take responsibility for at least some of the mess made during their public events.
I propose a three-part solution. First, we need at least five times more trash cans and bags. The trash cans on the Parkway were only next to the food stands, far away from the plastic- and paper-packed coolers of the crowd. Second, we need copious amounts of signs reminding people that we live in a beautiful city and we need to keep it clean. Finally, we need volunteers or city employees directing trash like traffic. We need volunteers wearing green, red, white, and blue to remind people to clean up after themselves and, in some cases, pick up a few extra pieces of trash on their way out.
At the very least, each Philadelphia citizen must pick up one piece of trash after leaving a public event if we want to ensure that our city maintains the charm we have been known for since 1776.
Michael Kohn, Temple University Class of 2013, Merion