Calling out abortion bans | May 22
Time for women to share stories
Women are discussing abortions — not just the issue but the experience — their experiences, out loud and in the open. It's a coordinated effort to get those who'd take away our rights to control our own reproductive freedom to see us as people, human beings. Rather than, as House Speaker José Oliva referred to us, "host bodies."
I've been part of the pro-choice movement since the early '90s and during a time when we don't really need a Hulu subscription to see The Handmaid's Tale — just simply read the newspaper — I find this new generation of activism encouraging. When I worked at Tampa Woman's Health Center as a college student, I helped hundreds of women face the most difficult day of their lives and terminate their pregnancies in a safe, legal and dignified manner. I held their hands, explained the procedure and after-care. But more importantly I listened. This gave me the ammunition and inspiration I needed to later argue with protestors and defy their threats when coming to work, sometimes wearing a bullet-proof vest along with the doctors.
Those of us on the pro-choice side must continue to be unrelenting. Abortion should be available and on demand for any woman who wants it. Women must not be made to endure a pregnancy without their consent. Activists employ logic and reason to express this idea. Now, I see how sharing stories might be a more powerful way to advocate for women.
I've never needed an abortion. For that reason, I don't have any right to encourage women who've had to endure this experience to explain it. But I'm inspired by women brave enough to step away from the shame and shadows. I'm still holding their hands and helping them through it. I'm still listening.
Catherine Durkin Robinson, Tampa
Genshaft parting gift to USF: $20M | May 23
A grand goodbye gift
Kudos to outgoing University of South Florida President Judy Genshaft. Not only has she served with great success and distinction, but she enhances the university she served by giving back an unprecedented gift of $20 million. What a great example of philanthropy! President Genshaft is a beacon of hope for women everywhere by her leadership and demonstrating that she and her family are a class act.
Donna and Les Unger, Safety Harbor
Protect our right to vote | Column, May 21
A modern debtor's prison
The changes to Amendment 4 that await the governor's signature are discriminatory and have no place in a fair society. Anybody can default on a loan, stiff a contractor or welsh on any other debt without having their voting rights withheld. There are civil remedies, and the worst that anyone else who owes money faces is a judgment. This pending law puts an undue burden on the intent of Amendment 4 and those affected by it. It is the modern equivalent of debtor's prison and should be vetoed by any fair-minded governor.
David Pignatello, Largo
A GOP truth-teller | Column, May 23
Follow the Constitution
I am a Democrat. The last two years, I have felt like members of the GOP in Congress have put party before country. But I also wonder if my party is doing the same thing by worrying more about the 2020 election than their constitutional duty.
Jennifer Zumarraga, Tampa