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Letters: Vote to Protect Abortion Rights, Women Can Save Democracy, Republicans Have Done Nothing on Inflation, John Fetterman’s Stroke Doesn’t Define Him, and More!

Bucks County Beacon readers share their views.

Vote to Protect Abortion Rights

Since the Supreme Court overturned  Roe v. Wade in June, the right to an abortion has been relegated to the states, making it essential that we elect leaders in November who will protect abortion in Pennsylvania.

 Many states had “trigger laws” in place that were dormant laws that made abortion illegal or dramatically restricted it when Roe was overturned. This has resulted in 16 states having a full or 6 week ban in effect since June 24. The recent abortion ban in Arizona with no exceptions for rape, incest or maternal health uses a law from 1864 – before Arizona was even a state. This dystopian nightmare serves as a chilling and urgent reminder of how precarious our reproductive liberty is in the Commonwealth.

Efforts to restrict abortion rights began soon after Roe was passed in 1973. There were over 1,300 restrictions in the 49 years since then, with the number increasing exponentially in the  past 10 years. In 2021 alone, there were 108 restrictions enacted.  The laws have caused great confusion for doctors and patients. Patients have suffered because of delayed treatment for life-threatening infections and bleeding while doctors waited for approval from their hospital’s legal department to proceed, fearing prosecution and imprisonment. 

Abortion is legal in Pennsylvania right now, but it is not protected by our constitution, and efforts to undermine it are underway. The Republican legislature passed a bill (SB 106) that would pave the way for severely restricting or banning abortion in Pennsylvania.  SB 106 includes amendments stating that the Pennsylvania Constitution does not “grant the right to taxpayer-funded abortion or any other right relating to abortion.” SB 106 will do more than criminalize abortion. It can affect fertility treatments involving embryos, and treatments for ectopic pregnancies and miscarriages. And an amendment to the constitution cannot be vetoed by the Governor, so electing Democratic candidates that support abortion access has to start at the local level.

We need to take back the house and senate across PA and codify abortion protection into our state constitution. We need to vote for Pro-Choice candidates and use our voices to educate our family and friends on how abortion restrictions harm patients. One in 4 women will have an abortion by age 45. Chances are, you know and love someone who has had one. Criminalizing abortion won’t end abortion, it will end safe abortion.

This November, let’s ensure that reproductive decisions can stay between a patient and doctor—not the legislators. We can avoid an unnecessary and irreversible ballot referendum on abortion by electing Democrats to flip the state legislature and safeguard reproductive rights for good.

PA House District 160 Democratic Candidate Cathy Spahr and Dr. Karen Feisullin, an OBGYN in the Philadelphia area

Women Can Save U.S. Democracy on Election Day

On November 8th, the women of America can bend the arc of history on the issues women care about – reproductive freedom, democracy, climate change, economic inequity, homelessness, broken immigration and criminal justice systems, increasing crime and gun violence, racial injustice, inadequate education, and a failing healthcare system.

But to have a decisive influence on these issues, many of the 40 million women who are not registered must become registered and vote.

When women do show up, they alter election outcomes. Case in point: in Kansas, on August 2, 2022, voters overwhelmingly rejected a proposed constitutional amendment that would have restricted abortion rights. Women played an outsized role in this outcome. Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 24th decision (Dobbs) eliminating constitutional protection for abortion, 69% of newly registered voters were women.

Registering enough women to alter election outcomes is within reach. For example, in the 2000 Presidential election, Florida’s popular vote – which determined the Electoral College vote – was decided by just 537 votes. And in 2020, in three states having the narrowest margins, the Presidential outcome rested on just over 20,000 votes.

Women admire the vision of leaders like Greta Thunberg, Malala Yousafzai, and the women leaders of #MeToo, #TimesUp, Moms Demand Action, and MADD. But their vision will not be realized until women register and vote for political leaders who share women’s values.

The November election creates what Dr. King called “the fierce urgency of now.” Women urgently need to register and exercise their right and duty to VOTE.

Valerie Silecchia, State College

Republicans Have Done Nothing on Inflation

Republicans think that inflation is a winning issue for them. In their rush to blame Biden, they conveniently forget that COVID’s supply-chain problems started it. Sanctions against Russia also contribute to inflation, but that’s not Biden’s fault. Leadership in both parties support sanctions. 

Some blame Biden’s Covid check, forgetting that Trump issued two of them. Ironically, our good economy and low unemployment create high demand for products, which causes inflation, but a good economy and low unemployment are wonderful things, not something to vote against.

The GOP has no plans for bringing down inflation, unlike Biden and the

Democrats who passed the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). The IRA bill originally included provisions to reduce prescription drug costs and eliminate a tax loophole commonly used by hedge fund investors. Even Warren Buffet testified that he has a lower marginal tax rate than his firm’s secretaries—and that we need to fix that. Those two provisions would have helped lower inflation and the U.S. Budget deficit, but every Republican member of Congress was against them. 

Most Republican voters think their party is fiscally responsible, but that’s totally incorrect. All Republican Administrations (except for Bush I) increased U.S. deficits over the past four decades, while all the Democrat Administrations did the hard work of reducing the deficits of their Republican predecessors.

Want proof? Check out this economic research from the St. Louis Federal

Reserve: https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/FYFSGDA188S.

Who’s actually best at handling inflation? Biden and the Democrats. If inflation is your issue, vote for Democrats.

Ron Gebhardtsbauer, Former professor of Actuarial Science at Penn State

John Fetterman’s Stroke Doesn’t Define Him

I sincerely hope voters won’t base their choice for Pennsylvania’s crucial Senate race on one televised debate. Mehmet Oz is a practiced performer who made millions hawking “miracle” cures he knew didn’t work. John Fetterman is an honest, well-educated and devoted public servant.  

A stroke doesn’t change that.     

A team of medical researchers released a report in 2014 proving that 60% of the advice given on Oz’s TV show was baseless or wrong.  Thirteen hundred doctors signed an open letter calling Oz “a quack” and “a charlatan” whose “advice endangers patients.”  

Pennsylvania physicians are participating in a “Real Doctors Against Oz” tour, saying his unethical actions disqualify him from serving as Pennsylvania’s senator and his policy positions endanger Pennsylvanians, especially women.  

Oz spent weeks attacking Fetterman for his May stroke (800,000 Americans suffer stroke each year), but the ads said more about Oz’s lack of personal decency than about Fetterman who, according to his physicians, is recovering well and is fit to serve.

Fetterman’s language issues were on display, but rather than disqualifying, I see Fetterman as a fighter and admire his courage for debating at all.  A stroke doesn’t change who he is or what he stands for—a dedicated public servant.  The smirking Oz is a smooth operator who markets himself as a trustworthy doctor, but used his considerable influence to scam vulnerable Americans. 

I’m casting my vote on November 8th for John Fetterman.  He speaks the truth and will represent the needs and interests of all Pennsylvanians.  

Connie Schulz, State College

Let Your Vote Be Guided By Facts

Politics has always been antagonistic with both parties claiming greaterknowledge, experience and skill than their opponents. But in my lifetime as an informed voter, I’ve never seen so many false and misleading political ads as in this year’s midterm. Lies have been normalized and now pose the greatest threat to our democracy.

The ubiquitous attack ads against U.S. Senate candidate John Fetterman are a case in point:

Fetterman, and the nonprofit Braddock Redux, bought a number of properties in Allegheny County with tax liens, issued years earlier, filed against them. The tax issues were resolved by 2012, yet the ads imply Fetterman is a tax-dodger.

Fetterman was set to begin an MBA at UConn in 1993 when his best friend died in a car crash. That traumatic experience put Fetterman on a new trajectory. He joined Big Brothers/Big Sisters and AmeriCorp. In the mid-2000s, he started a GED program in Braddock, and later ran for mayor, a $150-per month job he threw himself into. His parents believed in his servant-leadership and had the means to support him, which is admirable.

Fetterman supports the decriminalization and legalization of marijuana in Pennsylvania and its removal from Schedule 1 status because of its established medical uses and relative safety. Fetterman has never called for the legalization or decriminalization of all drugs, which is GOP-propaganda.

The foundation for everything I taught as an educator and parent was that TRUTH MATTERS. On November 8th let your vote be guided by facts, not political lies.

Laura Barthmaier, State College

See Republicans for Who They Really Are

We are approaching Election Day and I’m not sure that there is not a connection to Halloween. I mean most of the politicians seem to have long since donned their costumes, pretending to be servants of the people, would that we only have faith. To gain access to our bag of candy, they offer a form of extortion. Vote for me (“us” when referring to a political party) or else the apocalypse is at hand.

A case in point: the Republicans have elected to focus on crime, complete with graphic videos of at-gunpoint robberies (thank God there are always cameras available, except when conveniently turned off), usually portrayed as perpetrated by people of color.  

The campaign varies by state with nearly identical ads with the name of the Democrat changed to fit the state.  (For the record, states controlled by Republicans rank disproportionately among the top ten states for crime—as in eight out of 10.) 

What does not appear in Republican crime ads are images of the January 6 coup attempt. To date, more than 920 people have been charged with various offenses up to and including sedition. So, if crime is to be the focus, why not include pictures of the coup attempt? I am not claiming to know for certain, but I am willing to bet the people carrying Confederate, Don’t Tread on Me, Q-Anon, and other flags did NOT vote for Biden.  

The Republicans are the pro law and order party? Spare me the hypocrisy!

Joseph Fischer, LTC, US Army (retired), Northumberland

Money Over Ethics

When there’s a buck to be made, do ethics or truth matter anymore? 

Several years ago, I saw a Dr. Oz pop-up ad promoting his latest miracle weight-loss product.  No more dieting. No more exercise.  Take his pills and the pounds will disappear.  I was doubtful, but curious, after all his offer came with a 100% satisfaction guarantee—and what did I have to lose (that’s sarcasm)? 

I took half the recommended dose and felt like I’d overdosed on caffeine. 

America’s obese population is incredibly vulnerable, due to health concerns and social pressures—and weight-loss is a lucrative $3.8 billion industry!

Oz could have used his celebrity status and knowledge as a cardiologist to educate a vulnerable population at risk for heart disease, stroke and cancer.  That would have been an honorable service worthy of a candidate for the U.S. Senate.  But he didn’t do that.  Instead of recommending a healthy diet, portion control, exercise—and other fact-based solutions—he pedaled a “magic weight loss cure for every body type” to millions of Americans desperate to lose weight—products he KNEW didn’t work. 

Oz admitted to Congress that the products he pushed don’t pass “scientific muster.”

Medical experts say 60% of the claims he made on his show were not supported by medical evidence.  An open letter signed by 1,300 doctors called him a “fake and a charlatan.”

Doctor Oz can’t be trusted to uphold his Hippocratic oath; how can we trust a Senator Oz to defend the U.S. Constitution?  

Pat Hancock, Mill Hall

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