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Monday, May 13, 2013: Plan B pill, bear hunting and dental care


Parents, pills and supervision

In Kathleen Parker’s May 8 BDN column, “Prude or prudent?” she argues that children under 15 years old should have parental supervision to buy the morning-after pill. I’m sure many good parents would agree.

But removing all obstacles to acquiring Plan B is not a measure designed to protect girls with “good parents” who just want to “supervise” them. Removing obstacles to getting Plan B protects girls who are in abusive situations, girls who have been sexually assaulted and girls for whom their caregiver or parent is responsible for their pregnancy. It protects girls whose parents’ beliefs would force them to carry a child to term if they should become pregnant.

Parker points out that kids need parental permission to get Tylenol at school, so of course they should need permission for Plan B. However, not taking Tylenol does not cause a child or teenager to forfeit control over her body in the most intimate sense.

The government recognizes the right of parents to raise their children, but we recognize that children have a right to a level of personal bodily autonomy, and that should include the right to terminate or prevent a pregnancy at any age.

Dylan Moore


Yes on LD 1474

Maine has the truly ignominious distinction of being one of two states, including at least one region in Alaska, that allow the cruel practice of bear trapping and one of only a small number that allow hounding of bears. All other states have outlawed these abhorrent methods of bear hunting.

Maine absolutely must do the same. LD 1474, “An Act To Amend the Laws Pertaining to the Hunting of Bears,” seeks to end bear trapping and hounding, increase poaching penalties and ban the sale of bear gallbladders, a trade that I believe encourages people to kill bear for that commodity only.

Recreational bear trapping is horrifying. Bears are lured to snare traps with pastries and rotting food, often left to suffer for hours — sometimes days — until the trapper comes to put them out of their misery.

Hounding involves packs of GPS-collared dogs that chase a bear for miles until the exhausted, terrified bear seeks refuge up a tree, only to be shot down. Otherwise, the bear will turn to face the dogs in self-defense, resulting in the bear or the dogs being mauled or killed. Dogs injured in this process are often shot on site or dropped off at a shelter because they are now “worthless.”

Maine leads the nation in so many wonderful ways. We should be ashamed that we are the last to recognize and change the horrific practices of bear hounding and baiting. True sportsmen support fair chase.

Please tell our legislators to support these long overdue protections for Maine’s bears and dogs.

Suzanne Moulton


Preventive treatment

Like Mary Kate Scott’s BDN OpEd May 9, I have been involved in financial modeling of health care and studying innovative health care solutions. I applaud her efforts. But for 35 years, I have practiced dentistry in rural and urban areas. I have seen the difficulties that arise trying to obtain care. I have treated these patients.

She proposes creating another health care system for delivering care – except the mid-level provider provides a very limited scope of service. The patient would then need to go see a dentist for the rest of his or her care.

A summer of 2008 study called “Underutilization of dental care when it is freely available” studied the effectiveness of free care provided in a rural area in Maine. Despite free care, the study found there was underutilization of dental services. Other barriers were obtaining transportation, childcare and missing work. Why are we asking people to travel to potentially two locations to obtain care that is obtainable in one setting?

Scott alleges that dentists want to protect our “monopoly.” Nothing is further from the truth. Dentists have promoted prevention for many years. Dentists have championed prevention such as fluoridated water and sealants that decrease the demand for care.

In fact, it is most likely that mid-levels would increase the demand for dentists. As more people lose less teeth, studies show there is an increased need for dental treatment.

We should be focusing our efforts and money on prevention behaviors. Prevention lowers disease risk. It makes for a healthier life. This is what concerns dentists.

David Kerr, D.D.S.

No on LD 1230

This is in response to a May 9 BDN OpEd, “Why Maine needs mid-level dental providers.” The author of this piece, Mary Kate Scott, stated that the only reason that dentists oppose LD 1230 is because we want to preserve our income and monopoly. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

As a new dentist who is also from this state, I found her article incredibly offensive, and I question whether or not she really understands the implications of LD 1230. I am opposed to this bill because it would allow a mid-level provider to do the same procedures that I perform on a daily basis with far less training.

This is dangerous for my patients and my community. Furthermore, this bill does not focus on a strategy on how to treat the intended population it claims to focus on. If we want to see a continued improvement in dental health in our Maine population, we need to focus on outreach programs and case management. These programs would help all Mainer’s get the right treatment at the right time.

I’d like to urge our lawmakers in Augusta to vote “no” on this short-sighted proposal.

Sarah Rossignol


Chemicals and cancer

I’m concerned about the high rates of cancer in Maine and the many chemicals in household products that have been linked to cancer — about which we have virtually no information. For example, who knew that Bisphenol A lining in tin cans can leach into food?

A bill introduced in the state Legislature, LD 1181, would help us find out which products contain harmful chemicals, and would get rid of a loophole that blocks the state from regulating chemicals like BPA in major food manufacturers’ products.

I hope legislators on the Environment and Natural Resources Committee vote in favor of a strong bill that would protect us from toxic chemicals. In particular, I thank my state senator, Geoff Gratwick, D-Bangor, for his support and ask for his leadership in passing this important legislation.

Christina Diebold


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