Letters to the editor for week of Aug. 3

League urges legislators to support reproductive health

To the editor:

The topic of abortion is sensitive and triggers emotional responses that make discussion difficult. But it is important.

This letter highlights some of the complex issues regarding why the Indiana legislature should uphold individual rights to privacy in decisions on reproductive care, as with any medical procedure. In a special session beginning July 25, Indiana legislators will make decisions impacting all Hoosiers.

Banning reproductive rights strips people of their bodily autonomy, their constitutional guarantee of equal protection under the law and the right to privacy. Women and pregnant people will no longer be equal in our democracy if decisions about their reproductive health are put under the control of the state.

The medical reasons where abortion is essential are too complex to list or to enumerate legislatively. Fearing prosecution, doctors may refuse to provide lifesaving abortions or may take time to consult an attorney to determine legality, risking the mother’s life with delay. Consider just a few examples where abortion is required to save the mother’s life such as an ectopic pregnancy, septic uterus or a miscarriage that a body won’t release. Decisions on action needed to prevent complications or to save the mother’s life should be left to the medical provider and individual, unclouded by legislative mandates.

If the option for abortion is withheld, child victims of rape or incest will be cruelly and unjustly forced to carry and birth babies. Their immature body may not be able to safely deliver, subjecting them to further trauma, anguish and medical complications that threaten their life and hope for the future. Even more mature victims of rape or incest suffer much of the same trauma, health risk and devastated future unless they have the autonomy to make their own choice.

Banning reproductive rights will exacerbate societal inequalities, falling disproportionately on families who are poor and those in rural areas with a shortage of health services. People denied a wanted abortion have four times greater odds of living below the federal poverty level. A longitudinal study examining the effects of unwanted pregnancy shows that when people are unable to get wanted abortions, there are profound risks to their health and economic security as well as a shift in the trajectory of their lives with negative effects on their relationships, aspirational plans and the wellbeing of their children. The study finds that those able to access the needed reproductive care are more financially stable, set more ambitious goals, raise children under more stable conditions and are more likely to have a wanted child later. This means that denying access to abortion care will detrimentally impact Indiana’s economic health and quality of life.

The Indiana legislature should take action to protect life by addressing our critical health care deficiencies. Indiana’s maternal mortality rate is the third highest in the U.S. — 43.6 per 100,000 — and more than 10 times higher than the best state’s rate. Indiana infant mortality is 20% higher than the national average. Indiana ranks 41 out of 50 as the best state to have a child.

Funding to support services for all aspects of pregnancy, family and child welfare would demonstrate a deep concern for life and quality of life. But Indiana lacks basic needs including child care, universal preschool, adequate foster care, parental support, health care, housing and even food. In this context, restricting reproductive health options serves as a political exercise of power, not a protection of life.

We urge legislators to support people’s constitutional right to privacy and autonomy regarding their body and reproductive health. And to focus on addressing Indiana’s deficiencies to enable all children and families to thrive.

You may wish to contact Brown County legislators Rep. Chris May in the Indiana House of Representatives at (317) 232-9600 and Sen. Eric Koch at (317) 232-9400 to let them know what action you support.

League of Women Voters Brown County Board of Directors (Submitted by Shari Frank, president)

Is a recession looming? A look at the numbers

To the editor:

Well, the consumer price index came in at 9.1% and the producer price index at 11.3%. The CPI would be about 20% if it were calculated using the methods in place in 1980. Not to worry though, because your wages went up 5.1% – so you only lost 4% of your disposable income, unless of course you are living on a fixed income. To belabor the obvious, inflation began to rise well before Putin invaded Ukraine.

It is magical thinking to believe that you can pump trillions of dollars into the economy, pay people not to produce, fire people who are willing to produce and not have a combination of inflation and supply shortages.

Give Biden credit though, he did campaign on a promise to “get rid of fossil fuels.” On his first day in office, he rejoined the Paris Climate Accord, he canceled the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline, and he halted sale of oil and gas leases and permits on federal land and US waters. He appointed a Secretary of Energy, Jennifer Granholm, who didn’t have a clue as to how many barrels of oil the US consumes per day. He nominated Saule Omarova, who earned a PhD from Moscow State University, for Comptroller of the Currency. She wasn’t confirmed, but her goal was to bankrupt the fossil fuel industry by starving it of capital.

Joe just went hat-in-hand to Saudi Arabia, which he called a pariah state, fist-bumped Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and begged him and King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud to increase production – so far no deal. He sent emissaries to Iran and Venezuela to do the same. He could have gone to, say Alaska, Oklahoma, Texas, or offshore from the US. West Texas Intermediate is some of the best oil in the world – it is high in energy, low in sulfur, and low in acids so it produces more energy, less pollution and less corrosion than OPEC oil. However, he released five million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve last month, not to lower the price you pay for gasoline, but to be exported to companies in Asia and Europe. One of those companies is Unipec, the trading arm of Sinopec, a wholly owned subsidiary of China International United Petroleum and Chemical Co. Ltd., received almost one million of those barrels. Meanwhile, in other news, BHR Partners, co-founded by Hunter Biden with a 10% share, purchased a $1.7 billion stake in Sinopec in 2015. Joe bludgeoned the domestic refining industry with oppressive regulations and so it converted capacity to biofuels and other products, an irreversible change in the short or medium term. Now China Joe is berating the industry for not investing in more refining capacity.

The Bureau of Economic Analysis’s most recent estimate (i.e., Third Estimate) for gross domestic product growth for 1Q22 was negative 1.6%. The BEA will release its advance estimate for GDP for 2Q22 on July 28. The most common definition of a recession is two consecutive quarters of declining GDP. What do you expect to wake up to Thursday morning?

Maynard (Brandy) Brandon, Brown County

EDITOR’S NOTE: This letter was submitted for the July 27 Brown County Democrat before the BEA released its advance estimate that showed the GDP growth for the second quarter of 2022 was negative 0.9%. The letter was held due to space.

Urge town council to vote in support of human rights commission

To the editor:

I want to express appreciation to the town council and to the Human Rights Advisory Committee for putting together a proposal for a Human Rights Commission. After all, we do live in a largely white, aging population. Too often negative judgements are made about people of color, youth, folks with handicapping conditions and even people with different religious beliefs.

In these days when people with opposite points of view struggle to get along, I celebrate the idea of having a Human Rights Commission. It is not a magic solution, but it can be a force for fair treatment and safety for both residents and visitors. For those who argue that such a commission wouldn’t be able to do enough, I would simply say that it’s a good, official start to addressing the issues. Let’s not do nothing.

There is a quotation that says, “Diversity is being invited to the party; inclusion means being invited to dance.” A Human Rights Commission will make sure everyone is invited to the party. It is up to all of us to make people feel invited to dance.

Please encourage the town council members to vote “yes” to establish a Human Rights Commission.


Rev. Mary W. Cartwright, Nashville

Send letters to [email protected] by noon Thursday before the date of intended publication (noon Wednesday on holiday weeks). Letters are the opinions of the writer. Letters must be signed by the author and include the writer’s town of residence and a contact number in case of questions. Only one letter every two weeks, per writer, to allow for diversity of voices in the opinions section. Please be considerate of sharing space with other letter-writers and keep your comments concise and to the point. Avoid name-calling, accusations of criminal activity and second- and third-hand statements of “fact.”