Email letters, Feb. 9, 2012

Planned Parenthood is a savior to low income women

The news media from all sources have been having a field day adding fuel to the fire with the pro-life and pro-choice groups at opposite ends of the spectrum.

Recently on the MSNBC.com an article was published originating from Reuters and written by Frederik Joelving, “Study: Child abuse bigger threat than SIDS.” What an eye opener.

During a study conducted by Dr. John Leventhal of Yale University and published recently in the journal Pediatrics, it was reported the rate of child abuse was the highest in children one year and younger and toddlers. One out of every 752 infants land in hospitals due to abuse. The injuries most often seen by hospitals occurred in families that were in the poverty level and covered by Medicaid — the government insurance for the poor. The researcher estimated the hospitalization costs about $73.8 million and that was a fraction of the overall cost.

Planned Parenthood is the savior to low income women, who without Planned Parenthood’s many services available to them, would have no choice but to bring more unwanted children into this world; a child who could possibly become a statistic on the list of abused children.

If the pro-life group have their way, and they are hell bent to get their way, more and more children will endure suffering and even death at the hands of parents and caregivers who are financially, emotionally or physically incapable of raising children.

Women have the responsibility of caring for the children they choose to bring into this world, and they alone should be allowed to make that decision. Women who decide to terminate their pregnancy are not thinking only of themselves, they are also considering the welfare and well being of the child. In a perfect world there would be no unwanted or unplanned pregnancies, but we don’t live in that perfect world.

If women are limited or restricted from being able to make their pro-choice and only women have the right to make that decision, we as a society are going to pay dearly by seeing our children devoured in the name of the moral majority.

JUDITH CHAPIN
Fruita

Conservatives pushing against contraception are showing vestiges of chauvinism

Contrary to Kathleen Parker’s column – “First Amendment rights besieged in attacks on Komen, Catholic charities” (Feb. 8, 2012) — and Republican House Speaker John Boehner’s predictably partisan pronouncement, President Obama’s administration is not “waging war” on anyone’s religious freedoms (much less on Catholics) by requiring religiously affiliated employers (other than churches) who provide health insurance to their female employees to provide portable policies which include coverage for some contraceptives.
 
Rather, Republican social conservatives have chosen to escalate their rhetoric on this issue because it makes for good press, bolsters candidates’ stump speeches and fits neatly into their ongoing war on women’s reproductive rights — as recently evidenced by the partisan congressional “investigation” of Planned Parenthood (ala ACORN), with the Komen Foundation’s embarrassing complicity.
 
However, the controversy raises an unresolved legal question: Does the government’s rational basis for standardized women’s health insurance coverage impinge on the First Amendment’s religious freedom protections sufficiently to trigger strict scrutiny — by which the government must demonstrate compelling need beyond mere rational basis?
 
According to the National Institute of Health, at least 50 percent of pregnancies in the United States are unplanned, so coverage for contraception will likely prevent unwanted pregnancies, reduce the incidence of abortions, spousal abuse and abuse of unwanted children.
 
According to the Declaration of Independence, “all men are created equal.” But many religions — including Catholicism — treat women as second-class citizens and seek to perpetuate that inequality by incorporating discrimination into religious dogma.
 
Meanwhile, reportedly, over 50 percent of Catholics support insurance coverage for women’s contraceptives, 98 percent of Catholic women use (or have used) contraceptives and over half the states already have policies similar to or more stringent than the administration’s.
 
Of course, Bohner and the Council of Catholic Bishops are all men — so, are we really talking about religious doctrine, or the vestiges of institutionalized male chauvinism?

BILL HUGENBERG
Grand Junction

Many of the founding fathers were Christian

I agree with letter writer Wes Yeager that atheists and leftist characters like cartoonist Gary Trudeau are out to convince Americans that our nation always intended to be a completely secular nation. Where we part company, is in his statement that our founding fathers were “godly libertarians.” Bosh.
 
The charge that the majority of our found fathers were simply deists too is absurd. I will grant that Ben Franklin was likely a deist. Thomas Jefferson was a Unitarian who wrote his own version of the Bible and was openly hostile to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, especially in his late-in-life writings. These two do not even come close to negating the evangelical and conservative Christian beliefs of the vast majority our nation’s founders, of whom there were hundreds. This is certainly not the “religiously correct” view that is popular today, but one that is most definitely supported by the verbatim statements of those founding fathers who were Christians and not quiet about it.
 
To water down the Gospel only emboldens atheists who hate religion in any form, and particularly evangelical Christianity.
 
RICHARD PUTER
Grand Junction

Students must be held accountable for learning fundamentals

In response to the Feb. 8 article on local students needing remedial work before starting college: Bill Larsen was attributed with saying a dip in funding for college-preparation programs in the district may have had something to do with the increase in students needing remedial courses and cited the loss of the GEAR UP program.

The GEAR UP grant program served low-income students from 2005–2011, beginning with students in the 7th grade through graduation in May, 2011. The funding for GEAR UP was extended one year to allow current senior GEAR UP students to continue to receive services through May, 2012.

As a pre-collegiate advisor with the District 51, GEAR UP program for six years, I know funding is not the reason students need remediation prior to qualifying for college classes. A large percentage of the students do not possess basic skills in math, reading or writing. This is not only a District 51 problem; it is a statewide problem. I worked for Colorado Department of Education for three years where I was responsible for writing accreditation reports for nine school districts. The deficiencies in math, reading and writing are the same statewide.

Until the students are held accountable for mastery of basic skills in math, reading and writing, the need for remediation before college will continue. No amount of additional funding will correct this systemic problem.

PHYLLIS HUNSINGER
Grand Junction

Christian right on the decline

The victory of Rick Santorum in the recent Mesa County Republican caucuses notwithstanding, all signs are pointing to the steady decline of the Christian right as a major force in American life.

For more than 20 years, extremist Christianity has had a powerful hold on the Republican Party (especially in areas like Mesa County), but this famously monolithic movement is now, according to Michael Kazan of The New Republic, “fighting a losing battle with the rest of the country.”

Despite vehement opposition by evangelicals, public support for same-sex marriage now exceeds 50 percent in national polls. Two-thirds of Americans favor ending “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” A clear majority support legal abortions in the early months of pregnancy; and it’s unlikely even a Republican president would dare sign a law that could lead to the indictment of millions of women.

What’s left of the Christian coalition is now run by a small group of old men whose Old Testament worldview has little appeal to the increasingly secular population under 30. While the Christian right may still play somewhat of role in a handful of states, its significance is rapidly being relegated to the dustbin of history.

It’s about time.

E. MICHAEL ERVIN
Grand Junction

Wilderness Act would not close any motorized roads or trails

U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton has been holding public hearings and accepting comments on the San Juan Mountains Wilderness Act, which would protect some 61,000 acres of our best public lands. These lands are important winter range for deer and elk, and (hence) draw many hunters every year. In fact, over 30,000 recreation user days are recorded annually during hunting season in this game management unit.

In addition, not a single mile of motorized road or trail will be closed and no bike trails or mining claims are impacted. As a result, the commissioners of San Miguel, Ouray and San Juan counties, as well as the municipalities of Ouray, Ridgway, Telluride, Ophir, Mountain Village and Norwood all support this bill. The proposal is also supported by ranchers, hunters and anglers, recreation interests, and private landowners.

The San Juan Mountains proposal was carefully crafted over three years to avoid conflicts with existing users of these lands. The proposal is a balanced approach to public lands use, but some can never be satisfied. Take the Colorado Off-Highway Vehicle Coalition (COHVCO). They oppose the bill because it prevents the development of new OHV trails.

Given that 17 million acres of public lands in Colorado are open to motorized recreation (vs. 3.7 million wilderness acres) and there are enough Forest Service roads in the state to go from the Kansas border to Utah and back, 17 times and only 8 percent of our National Forest acreage lies beyond one mile of a road (only 4 percent for BLM lands), you’d think COHVCO would be satisfied.

Instead, COHVCO continues to blame their ever-spreading public-lands damage on “a few bad apples,” then oppose increased fines and more visible license plates to help deter and catch those doing the damage?

DAVID LIEN
Colorado Springs

Don’t cut funding for preventions programs

I am writing to let you know about an issue that I feel concerns Grand Junction. With the economy in the downward spiral it is in, we are seeing funds to various programs being cut within each state. Our jobs are suffering, our real estate markets have been heavily impacted, our education system is hurting and the list could go on. When the government looks for funds to cut, one of the first things examined are funds for preventions programs. And so it holds true for the state of Colorado.

At this moment there is a bill, Senate Bill 12-064, Concerning the Colorado Children’s Trust Fund, that is in review and it is to be determined whether to continue to extend funds for primary and secondary prevention programs that are geared to reduce abuse and neglect of children. The common perception is that it is better to apportion funds to intervention programs on a needs basis rather than expend on programs that do not fit in the as-needed category. We do err in this way of thinking. When we focus on preventing a problem then we reduce the costs in the long run by having to intervene less.

This issue affects Grand Junction in the fact that there are programs that depend on these funds to support our children and their families. I spoke with an employee at the workforce center here, whose name I do not have permission to give, and asked his opinion regarding this issue. He stated, “If funds were cut for prevention programs, the effects to the children and families would be profound and deep.” I agree with him.

Grand Junction families would suffer and the state of Colorado would be affected as a whole. I hope that Sen. Udall will fight for the protection of our future who are the infants, children, and youth who will benefit from programs targeting the prevention of neglect and abuse.

MELISSA DELONG
Grand Junction



COMMENTS

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Mr. Puter - Several points in your letter need clarification. First,  while Jefferson was a Unitarian, he was first and foremost a deist.  Also, Jefferson believed that the ethical system of Jesus was the finest the world has ever seen. In compiling what has come to be called “The Jefferson Bible,” he sought to separate those ethical teachings from the religious dogma and other supernatural elements that are intermixed in the account provided by the four Gospels. He presented these teachings, along with the essential events of the life of Jesus, in one continuous narrative.

You should read The Jefferson Bible, it’s fascinating, and is much more believable than the compilation of mythology , superstition and folk-tales commonly known as The Holy Bible.

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