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Saturday, Sept. 8, 2012: Marriage rights, health care and birth control

Supporting Gail Maynard

I am writing in support of Democrat Gail Maynard for District 3 representative. Maynard and her husband, Stanley, operate an organic Scottish Highlands cattle farm in Woodland, reactivating a farm that was out of use for many, many years, while maintaining their careers in public education during much of that time. They are now also working hard to bring good jobs related to beef processing to our area.

District 3 includes Van Buren, Woodland, Hamlin, New Sweden, Connor, Cyr Plantation, Caswell, Grand Isle and Limestone. Maynard has been out and about over the past several weeks visiting the people in these nine communities, listening to our concerns about roads, education funding, health care and jobs. I hope that when she knocks on your door, you will take the time to get to know her and tell her what you are concerned about as we choose an effective representative for our area.

Maynard has an inexhaustible amount of energy and enthusiasm for representing our district. She already has put us on the map in her efforts to become an active elected advocate for District 3.

This is my message: District 3 can do no better thing than to send Maynard’s smart and energetic voice to speak for us in Augusta. Let us be heard!

Mary McGlinn


Equal rights for all

This is in response to Susan Mendell’s letter of Aug. 28. I was recently married, in a public ceremony, on the steps of my beloved church. An ordained minister married my husband and me. It was a beautiful service, with Bible readings and this comment from the pastor: “For all those who cannot legally marry, we hold in our hearts the promise of the freedom to marry for all people in the state of Maine. Together we carry the message of marriage equality. May it be true for all loving and committed couples come November.”

Before we could have this service at our church, we had to go to our town office and pay $40 to get a marriage license from the state of Maine. Then we had to have the pastor and witnesses sign the license and return it to the town office after the ceremony. It was not until that license was returned to the town office that our marriage was considered legal and valid. This fact alone proves that this is a civil issue, not a religious one. We chose to have our faith be a part of our marriage ceremony, but it still was not valid until that license was filed.

Equal rights for all should include the right to be legally married; to say otherwise is discriminatory and goes against the foundations of our state and country.

Ellen Farnsworth

Berry Township

Readmission due to health care practices

The Aug. 27 BDN carried an article about penalties for high readmission rates to hospitals for medical conditions such as congestive heart failure and heart attacks. This reflects only part of the readmission problem existing with current health care practices. Follow-up with surgical patients is also in need of study and improvement.

This spring I had surgery to remove a benign brain tumor and was discharged home two days later — not knowing that a subdural hematoma had developed — with minimal patient education as to what I might expect or about possible complications. Contacts with the surgeon’s office when excruciating headaches developed resulted in being told “you’ve had brain surgery, after all.” Less than two weeks following surgery I was readmitted to another hospital for eight days, including acute rehab, when brain swelling affected a nerve in my right leg, leaving me unable to stand or walk.

Recently several friends also have experienced complications following straightforward surgical procedures. Surgery for a prolapsed bladder resulted in several blood clots and readmission to a second hospital for several days. Overmedication with pain medications following a hip replacement caused an extra two-week stay at an acute level. During a colonoscopy, the bowel was perforated, leading to infection, rehospitalization and multiple follow-ups.

It’s obvious to me that there is insufficient follow-up and inadequate patient education and partnership with the patient to insure a good outcome. Quicker and sicker is fine if there is some provision for monitoring progress at home and intervention when needed.

Pamela Taylor


Grown-up candidate

I want to make sure all of you swing voters, independents and moderate Republicans realize the implications of a Romney-Ryan administration on the rights of women. The Republican National Committee, of course, has declared a platform banning all abortions under all circumstances — no exceptions for rape, incest or the health of the mother. Even Somalia, Egypt, Afghanistan and Iran allow exceptions for the life of the mother.

What about a woman’s right to birth control? Both Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan want to defund Planned Parenthood, which helps women prevent unwanted pregnancies (and thus abortions) through the use of birth control.

Both candidates want to allow employers to be able to discriminate against their female employees by denying them health insurance coverage for birth control.

Foster Friess, the 72-year-old wealthy Republican donor, has said that women should avoid pregnancy as they did back in his day by holding an aspirin between their knees. (I had to explain this old chestnut to some young adults). And of course, we all know about Missouri Rep. Todd Akin’s lack of understanding about female biology, since he believes women’s bodies can prevent impregnation during rape. He is not the only extreme conservative with this belief.

President Barack Obama believes that we women are rational and responsible enough to have the right to make our own decisions about limiting the number and timing of our children, or if we even want children. I’m voting for the candidate who treats me like a grown-up.

Linda Buckmaster


Sontag’s perspective

When, decades ago, the late writer Susan Sontag was asked why she opposed the idea of a cabinet-level position in culture — akin to that in France — she replied that she feared who will be appointed: Clint Eastwood, then famous for his violent Wild West movies.

At the time Eastwood had not yet made the several recent movies that seemed to reveal a right-wing tough guy turned more liberal and more compassionate. With Eastwood’s “performance” at the GOP convention, filled with contempt for our first black president, many of us now appreciate how perceptive Sontag really was.

Howard Segal


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