IoS letters, emails & online postings (8 July 2012)

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Joan Smith highlights unsafe abortion and gender-based violence as two of the many issues contributing to the thousands of unwanted pregnancies each year ("When philanthropy endangers women's health", 1 July). For too long family planning has been the Cinderella of health concerns, yet it is one on which so many lives depend.

Our NGOs work all over the world to bring family planning services to millions of women and men every year. We know family planning not only saves lives but that it is one of the best investments a government can make in its people.

This week's London Summit on Family Planning is an opportunity to refocus international development efforts on this neglected issue and to re-ignite the much needed movement to improve women's access to safe reproductive health services.

Tewodros Melesse

Director-General, International Planned Parenthood Federation

Dana Hovig

Chief Executive Officer, Marie Stopes International

Most Eurosceptic Tory MPs share with the three mainstream UK parties a commitment to the free movement of labour within a "loose" but expanding EU ("In? Out? Where's the third way when you need it?" 1 July). The first candidates to join are the seven western Balkan states followed by Turkey, Moldova, Ukraine and Georgia, with all that this implies for the scale of uncontrolled immigration into Western Europe. These politicians want cheap labour. But surely home solidarity trumps international solidarity and unbridled capitalism. On this basis, any renegotiation that does not include an opt-out from the EU accord on the free movement of peoples would be a sham.

Yugo Kovach

Winterborne Houghton, Dorset

You argue that the Government needs to be seen to deal with the major banks and bankers robustly ("Damn the banks – or be damned", 1 July). Indeed, and the obvious market-orientated answer is to liberalise them. That is, to bring under democratic public control the core functions of banks that are central to the economy working and sell the rest off to speculate, compete, succeed or fail as they will. One wonders if the Cabinet will be prepared to follow in practice the ideas it espouses in theory.

Keith Flett

London N17

GlaxoSmithKline has been heavily fined and rightly criticised for its promotion of patented and often unapproved drugs, in which it is unlikely to be unique in the pharmaceutical industry. While this tells us about the morality of the company, what does it say about the doctors who have accepted its hospitality? We continue to perceive the medical profession as one dedicated to its patients, despite abundant evidence that practitioners are not immune to the temptation to enrich themselves. Let us applaud those doctors who have the fibre to resist and resent blatant overtures from those anxious to enrich their companies at the expense of patients and, all too often, national treasuries.

Peter O'Neill

Cocking, West Sussex

It isn't just "apparent anti-green rhetoric from the Chancellor" that's fuelled doubts about the Tories' commitment to the low-carbon agenda ("Britain's supply of green energy soars", 1 July). Its caving into the motorist lobby over a planned increase in petrol duty has shown how false is the coalition's ambition to be the greenest government ever.

Tim Mickleburgh

Grimsby, Lincolnshire

It's true there is never an ideal time to have a baby("Adele gets it right again, starting a family young", 1 July). But if you start your family early, your children leave home when you are in your fifties, and there is a lot of fun to be had as a family of independent adults.

Angela Venn


Alice's Adventures in Wonderland a children's story without a moral ("All hail Alice and her 150 years of quiet scepticism", 1 July)? Isn't the moral of Alice, like The Wizard of Oz and countless other novels of childhood, that "there's no place like home" – but that you appreciate it more when you've had adventures away from it?

Johnny Fox

posted online

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