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Forum, Sept. 18: Executive Council’s vote jeopardized women’s health

Published: 9/17/2021 9:59:58 PM
Modified: 9/17/2021 10:00:05 PM
Executive Council’s vote jeopardized women’s health

All four Republican members of the Executive Council voted to defund Planned Parenthood here in New Hampshire. Planned Parenthood provides affordable health services for people who are uninsured, and as a result of the council action, there will be more unwanted pregnancies here in the Granite State and, predictably, more abortions as well.

Women who cannot get appropriate care will be at greater risk for untreated breast cancer and other cancers, as well as a whole range of illnesses that are currently discovered because of Planned Parenthood’s medical services.

The vote by our executive councilor, Joe Kenney, infuriates us. He recklessly endangered hundreds of his constituents for no good reason, no good reason at all. He is an older, male officeholder and, to our way of thinking, has no right whatsoever to jeopardize the health and well-being of women in his district. We won’t forget what he has done.



We must act quickly on climate change

The most recent report of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change notes that if we act quickly, there is still a window to prevent the worst effects of climate change. The report was also clear that if we keep pumping carbon into the atmosphere, in the decades ahead our planet will hurtle irrevocably toward uninhabitability, and everyone and everything that matters to us will be lost.

If someone we love was about to be hit by a car, we would run at superhuman speed to save them. We wouldn’t stand by just because there was a chance we couldn’t get to them in time. And yet most of us are passive in the face of the climate emergency: If our house isn’t flooding or burning at the moment, we cling to the normalcy that remains. This might make us feel better for the moment, but it’s simultaneously suicidal and homicidal behavior.

What if, instead, we give saving our planet our best shot? Take 10 minutes today to call the president and your senators and representative and ask them to fight for an infrastructure bill that fully funds a Civilian Climate Corps. The Civilian Climate Corps would do the work that would rapidly transition us to clean energy — energy derived from the sun, geothermal or wind, and not from burning things like fossil fuels or trees.

When you call your leaders, also ask them to get rid of the filibuster, a Jim Crow-era relic that disables the Senate from representing the will and well-being of the majority of Americans. (The filibuster is one of the key obstacles to climate action.) And please join or support national organizations advocating for climate justice, like, Greenpeace, the Sunrise Youth Movement, or local organizations like Rights and Democracy and the New Hampshire Youth Movement.

Hiding from pain is a temporary salve, but it doesn’t feel nearly as good as activism to save the planet and people we love.



The writer is a member of Rights and Democracy.

Clean electricity program is key

Fires and drought on the West Coast. Temperatures well over 100 degrees in Portland and Seattle. Hurricanes causing flooding from Louisiana to New Jersey and New York. Flash flooding in Tennessee and Germany. Destructive storms in the Midwest. The climate has changed and will change a lot more if we don’t do something about greenhouse gases.

We now have the opportunity to reduce greenhouse gas emissions significantly. Congress is considering a Clean Electricity Payment Program to help ensure that 80% of the electricity that’s produced in the U.S. by 2030 comes from clean sources — key to meeting the commitment we made under the Paris climate agreement, a commitment that is our fair share toward helping the world avoid the worst effects of climate change.

The program would also have public health benefits, since particulate matter generated across the country blows into New Hampshire. (The lovely sunsets that we have been getting are courtesy of the wildfires on the West Coast.)

Please ask Congress to enact a clean energy incentive program this fall. A shift to clean energy would create jobs across the country, including here in New Hampshire. Sen. Maggie Hassan, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, and Rep. Annie Kuster will play a pivotal role in determining our climate future, and they should support the Clean Electricity Payment Program and fund the climate provisions in the bipartisan infrastructure plan and the reconciliation package.



It’s not a forced vaccination plan

During the last week I have received several unsolicited emails begging me to protect someone’s bodily integrity from forced vaccination intended to protect the sender from COVID-19. I have also seen the display of American flags and signs pleading to preserve the constitutional right to refuse to be vaccinated.

But there is no forced COVID-19 vaccination program, either from the federal or state governments. Forced vaccination is what every state requires of children entering any school program coupled with a state obligation that all students must attend school. Forced vaccination is the vaccination required of all military personnel when there was a draft requiring all able-bodied men 18 years or older to enlist.

What has now been ordered by President Joe Biden is a condition imposed on those who choose to work in a job where 100 people or more are employed to be vaccinated or tested regularly, and for all federal employees to be vaccinated. Those employees are free to choose to not do that work, just as they may choose to not work at a job that requires wearing a uniform, having a driver’s license, passing a health test, etc.

The only right implicated by President Biden’s vaccination order is the right of the great majority of people to be free of the risk of being exposed to those who choose to not be vaccinated. Unfortunately, if Darwin was right, the already small minority of people who resist vaccination will be getting even smaller over the next months. Sad.



Stop the threat to our democracy

War has been waged against our democracy; it is up to every citizen to fight to save it. How? Donate generously, forget about the rule to “not speak about politics” and do something about it. We need to be better than the Greatest Generation because our democracy has never been in more peril — neighbors fighting neighbors. Most of us baby boomers didn’t serve in Vietnam; it is time for us to serve now.

We must stop the worst threat to our democracy in our country’s history — Americans fighting Americans. Hate, lies, cheating, hypocrisy, racism, bullying and anarchy cannot prevail. To those who voted in this major threat and now know what has been done: Don’t just sit back and say it’s not your fault. Dig deep and donate to end voter suppression and remove those who are the greatest threat from office.



Recording shows Reagan was racist

James Dwinell’s recent Forum letter (“Going where the votes are,” Sept. 9) defended Ronald Reagan’s visit to Mississippi. The letter said Reagan went there “because that is where the votes were, and not because he was a racist.” It appears that Reagan was at least a little bit racist. I’ll let the readers of the Valley News decide for themselves.

As reported in the July 30, 2019, issue of The Atlantic, Reagan was recorded in a 1971 phone conversation with President Richard Nixon. Reagan, who was governor of California at the time, was upset that some African nations had voted in the U.N. to recognized the People’s Republic of China. To quote: “To see those, those monkeys from those African countries — damn them, they’re still uncomfortable wearing shoes!”



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