1. Letters to the Editor

Saturday's letters: Insurance is part of a woman's right to choose

Published Mar. 29, 2019

Reproductive rights are under the greatest threat in generations. Trump has installed a Supreme Court justice who he promised would overturn Roe vs. Wade. And state anti-abortion legislators, including politicians in Florida, are more emboldened than ever by his dangerous rhetoric to launch more extreme attacks on abortion.

But the bold, sustained efforts of women of color and young people to achieve justice, the record number of women and people of color taking office, and now the reintroduction of a groundbreaking bill in Congress mean that the tide is turning.

This month, Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., and Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., introduced the EACH Woman Act. The Equal Access to Abortion Coverage in Health Insurance bill will have a significant impact on access to abortion care by lifting bans on insurance coverage. And we are proud that Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa, has signed on as a co-sponsor. The EACH Woman Act makes meaningful policy change for women and their families and sends a clear message to the Trump administration and anti-abortion politicians that we are done with their relentless attempts to marginalize our communities, especially women of color and immigrants. The bill will ensure each of us has abortion coverage, however much money we make or however we get our health insurance.

Since the initial passage of the Hyde Amendment in 1976, Congress has denied insurance coverage for abortion from those enrolled in Medicaid and, over the years, anti-abortion politicians have imposed similar restrictions on many other women who receive their health insurance through the federal government.

Studies show that when policymakers place restrictions on Medicaid coverage of abortion, it forces one in four poor women seeking abortion to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term.

The EACH Woman Act will ensure that our communities can make our own decisions about our health, family and future with dignity and self-determination.

Charo Valero, Miami

The writer is Florida state policy director for the Florida Latina Advocacy Network of the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health.

Reparations: Is it time to get serious? | Columns, March 23

Nothing to do with slavery

Resurrecting the concept of reparations for slavery is yet another divisive tactic that keeps racism alive. There is no "we all are to blame so we all must pay."

I am descended from people who arrived in this country through Ellis Island at the end of the 1890s to 1913. I have the Ellis Island records and ship's manifests to prove their entry. They had no involvement in anything to do with the Civil War or slavery. Exactly why is somebody like me, and there are millions and millions who are descended from just such circumstances, supposed to pay for something that happened before they had any relatives living in the United States?

There isn't anybody alive who was a slave owner before 1865 nor is there anybody who was a slave, either. Those slaves were the only ones who may have been owed something, but they were happy to have their freedom and that was enough. Nothing will ever be enough if you don't want it to be.

Debi Ford, St. Petersburg

More debts to repay

Reparations are being suggested as payment on a debt owed to a population savaged by policies legislated and enforced by multiple governments across history — federal, state and local.

Some opine that this is an effort to assuage a collective guilt, while others say it is an honest attempt to make good on the American promise of equal and fair treatment for all and that once this debt is paid we'll all be even.

I would suggest that this is not the case. I would put forward the proposition that this is only a down payment, and that payments should continue until such time as there is truly equal and fair treatment for all at the voting booth, in the hiring hall, in the schools, at the bank and in the courtrooms of America.

Brooks Fountain, Tarpon Springs

National Doctors' Day

What doctors do

Healer. Detective. Adviser. Confidante. Comforter.

These are among the many roles doctors fulfill each day as they care for patients and their families. Whether it is in a hospital, a clinic or a long-term care facility, doctors work tirelessly to make sure patients get the care they need.

Today, health care organizations will celebrate National Doctors' Day. First observed in Winder, Georgia, in 1933, Doctors' Day honors the contributions physicians make to communities across the country. At Bayfront Health, we are proud to honor the work of the more than 600 physicians on our medical staff.

Caring for the sick and maintaining good health for those who are well requires teamwork of the highest level, and doctors are at the core of this relationship. We work closely with the physicians on our medical staff to deliver quality, personalized care to each patient. Having physicians who share this commitment and our mission to deliver high-quality care is important to us and we're fortunate that members of our medical staff share these beliefs.

We're committed to making sure the community has access to the health care services it needs. That's why recruiting and retaining talented physicians and surgeons to our community is a top priority. We also appreciate those physicians who have served as the foundation of our medical staff over the years.

And so, as Bayfront Health celebrates Doctors' Day, we recognize all the doctors in the community for their contributions, and we say a special thank you to the members of our medical staff for their dedication to our patients.

Joe Mullany, St. Petersburg

The writer is regional president and CEO of Bayfront Health Market.