Forum, Aug. 4: Abortion Is a Key Part of Reproductive Health

Friday, August 03, 2018
Abortion a Key Part of Reproductive Health

A recent letter (“Democrats Too Focused on Roe,” July 25) noted that Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, had “hate” for minorities and “was for eugenics.”

I’d like to remind readers that sometimes even bad motives can result in a good or necessary outcome. Sanger was a deeply flawed human being who championed birth control for some deeply repugnant reasons. But enabling women and men, from all economic, religious and ethnic groups, to have access to safe, affordable contraceptive services is a very great good. To enable women to access safe, affordable abortion services is an essential component of reproductive health. Abortion is not a good thing, but it is a necessary option within women’s health care and every woman, everywhere, should be able to decide for herself if it happens to be the appropriate choice for her, for whatever reason.

The true disgrace is that contraceptive and pregnancy termination care are not a standard and unquestioned part of the public health care system in this country.

We must constantly, in this nation, fight against a surging tide trying to return us to the horrors of a past when women died, were maimed, suffered lifetime physical and emotional harm or were regarded merely as baby factories supplying the desires of infertile couples, because a full range of appropriate and necessary health care services and options were criminalized or out of reach. Roe vs. Wade may, perhaps, have been decided on debatable grounds, but the continued legality of abortion in this country is absolutely a bedrock of our liberty.

Sarah Crysl Akhtar


Democrats Differ on Vermont Gun Laws

In a recent article in the Valley News, Zachariah Ralph, who is challenging John Bartholomew and Paul Belaski, the two Democratic incumbents representing Windsor, Hartland and West Windsor in the Vermont House, made a few statements that both the Windsor County Democratic Party and GunSense Vermont disagree with (“Democrats Fight for 2 Windsor Seats,” July 29).

Of interest to the county Democratic Party was the discussion on the landmark gun violence legislation passed this year. Both current representatives, who stood up to the NRA to help pass these bills, defended the laws, saying they are a good step toward making Vermonters safer.

However, Ralph was quoted in the article saying the laws were “ineffective.” “It does not address the problem of gun violence in Vermont while simultaneously vilifying and scaring gun owners,” Ralph said.

That is a break from how Ralph represented himself at the county meeting he attended seeking support on March 12, and a break from the reality of the legislation passed and signed into law in April.

The extended background checks do address a lethal Vermont gun problem: domestic violence. Half of Vermont’s homicides are domestic violence. From 1994 to 2014, Vermont had 234 murders, 119 were domestic violence, and 57 percent were killed by firearms, according to the Vermont Domestic Violence Fatality Review Commission Report for 2015). In the 17 states with background checks on private gun sales, 38 percent fewer women are shot dead by their intimate partner.

Reps. Bartholomew and Belaski are correct to say the measures strike a proper balance and improve safety. We commend them for their efforts in passing reasonable and rational gun legislation here in Vermont. Please support them on Aug. 14.

Paul Regan, Chair

Woodstock Democratic Town Committee

Bob Williamson, Woodstock Delegate

Windsor County Democrats

The writers are board members of GunSense Vermont.

Backing Bartholomew And Belaski in Primary

On Aug. 14, voters in Windsor, Hartland and West Windsor have a choice in the Democratic primary. The Windsor 1 district will choose two candidates to run in November. I write to support the current officeholders, John Bartholomew, of Hartland, and Paul Belaski, of Windsor.

In our uncertain political and economic climate, it seems to me good to rely on the experience of tried and true Democrats. Both have demonstrated success in their professional lives, as well as contributed to the work of the Vermont House for several years. As legislators, they have demonstrated the broad perspective required to engage on all issues beyond any narrow agenda. Please join me in voting for them.

Patricia Richardson


Channeling Frustration At WNNE Changes

For the past few weeks, WNNE-TV has been advising anyone viewing it via over-the-air transmissions to re-scan the channel after July 22. So, on July 23, I scanned my channels in preparation to watch the NBC evening news. Only four channels were listed (VPT 1-4). While I had expected to find six channels (four PBS and WNNE 1 and 2), I must have missed the message that since transmissions from Mount Ascutney have been discontinued, certain viewers will be abandoned.

Selling the Ascutney license and equipment is a business decision consistent with the political climate of the Trump era: Damn the consumer, take the money and run. In response, allow me to hope WNNE, FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai and the commander-in-tweet find justice together in the afterlife.

Kevin McEvoy Leveret

White River Junction

Story Missed Highlights Of Windsor High’s Year

In regards to your recent article on Gov. Phil Scott’s visit to Springfield and Windsor (“Scott Tours Windsor County: Vt. Governor Defends Policies,” July 24). The article had extensive coverage on Springfield getting some well-deserved good news regarding to the long-dormant manufacturing plants.

However, although the article mentioned the governor’s visit to Windsor High School after having lunch at Mt. Ascutney Hospital and Health Center, it did not give any detail about the signed proclamation the governor presented to the students and faculty at the school.

The proclamation highlighted the school’s remarkable scholastic and athletic achievements in the past year, including the state champion math and 3D printing teams, the state championships won by the (undefeated football team, the girls and boys basketball teams and, most recently, the baseball team. Although Windsor has a long tradition of athletic excellence, the academic teams are powerhouses in their own right and deserve the recognition afforded them by Gov. Scott’s proclamation.

Jeffrey A. White


‘Bully Pulpit’ Doesn’t Mean Be a Bully

Peter Navarro, President Donald Trump’s trade adviser, was interviewed on NPR’s Morning Edition recently. When asked about the trade war’s effect on American farmers, Navarro’s response was about China’s theft of intellectual property and jobs as American manufacturers moved operations overseas. He talked about China “bullying” America’s farmers to cause political damage.

He was brave (or foolish) to use the word “bullying” in his attack against China, since Trump’s style has been, since before he was a candidate, to bully others to get his way. Of course, the Trump administration doesn’t call his behavior bullying. Trump is being “tough” against what he sees as the unfair actions of others.

This is a good example of that old saying, “the pot calling the kettle black.”

Mary Jean Mueckenheim