May 8, 2013

Letters to the editor: Illegal abortion would yield more Gosnells

I knew it wouldn't take long, once I read about the the trial of illegal-abortion provider Kermit Gosnell, for M.D. Harmon ("

Philadelphia mass-murder trial finally getting attention

," April 19) and others with an anti-choice agenda to try to spin human misery into talking points.

As much as the "Keep government out of my gun cabinet, but gray-haired men should hold dominion over the womb of every childbearing-age American woman" crowd is attempting to make hay with Gosnell's alleged atrocities, they are barking up the wrong tree.

Instead, Gosnell's alleged crimes have helped shine a light on what exactly happens when well-regulated abortion services are not available to women.

Before Roe v. Wade, women and girls attempting to terminate a pregnancy were forced to seek out undertrained and unlicensed midwives or quacks armed with coat hangers, knitting needles and caustic chemicals.

Sterilization, infections, hemorrhaging and other complications, including death, were regular occurrences for the patients.

As in the past, modern-day quacks like Gosnell prey upon vulnerable women and girls. In Gosnell's case, many of his alleged victims were recent immigrants mired in poverty.

Like drug dealers and other criminals, Gosnell didn't care that his alleged activities were illegal or about the women and children he is accused of destroying, only that he was making money.

That will never change, either.

In the perfect world, inhabited only by anti-choice dreamers, all acts of conception would occur in perfect situations, where both parties are mature, prepared, willing and able to take on the consequences of their actions.

That fantasy has never had any resemblance to reality. Not yesterday, not today and not tomorrow.

If Roe v. Wade is overturned and abortion is outlawed, countless more Kermit Gosnells will open up countless more butcher shops to fill the inevitable demand, and we'll have those "compassionate" pro-lifers to thank.  

Jeremy Smith
Old Orchard Beach

 

Senators urged to confirm nominee for EPA chief

 

Gina McCarthy was recently nominated by President Obama to be the next administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.

McCarthy's rare ability to put partisan politics aside and work with both Republicans and Democrats to implement public health protections will serve her well in her new role as EPA chief.

McCarthy worked for five Republican governors, including Jodi Rell of Connecticut and Mitt Romney of Massachusetts, before joining the Obama administration. She has worked with all stakeholders to develop pragmatic and cost-effective safeguards to protect public health and reduce dangerous pollution.

Her long list of accomplishments at the EPA includes the first-ever proposed carbon pollution standard for new power plants, the first carbon limits for vehicles and standards that limit soot, mercury and other air pollution.

The Senate easily approved McCarthy on a voice vote during her previous confirmation to head the Clean Air Division of the EPA, and there's no reason it should not move forward quickly again.

I urge Maine Sens. Angus King and Susan Collins to vote to confirm Gina McCarthy for EPA chief.

Tom Mikulka
Cape Elizabeth

 

Tax-reform plan: A blow or a benefit to Maine workers?

 

In his April 30 article ("Maine's in as a lab for tax reform") about the proposed Maine tax reforms crafted by Sen. Dick Woodbury, Steve Mistler says: "Woodbury and the Maine coalition believe its plan is pro-growth, pro-business. But it, too, is expected to meet resistance from some influential industry groups."

To which I add: Expect some resistance from the median- (and lower-) income class voters, too. This looks like yet another example of tax breaks favoring the rich at the expense of the middle and lower classes.

Unless Dr. Woodbury's reforms are scrupulously tailored to, at the very least, completely offset the regressive effects of increasing the sales tax -- not to mention broadening the base of said sales tax -- then it seems highly likely that, once again, the average working stiff is going to get whacked.  

Overall, the U.S. tax system -- federal, state and municipal -- is barely progressive, meaning that the tax burden increases up the income/wealth scale (barely, in our case).

With income gains over the last 30 years having almost entirely all gone exclusively to the upper 10 percent income bracket, and with median wages stagnating over the last several decades, the last thing we should be doing is stacking the deck further against the little guy.

The progressive/Democratic side of the coalition had better think twice about sponsoring the proposal without further analysis.

A good starting place might be a distributional analysis of the tax burden by Citizens for Tax Justice.  

If the net effect is regressive, proceed at your own risk, as median-income voter backlash might be deadly to their political career prospects.

Kevin Meyer
Portland

 

Who gave Grover Norquist the right to usurp the powers of duly elected representatives? His pledge of "no tax increases" has the effect of nullifying the voting options of legislators throughout the country.

Now Norquist wants to dictate his views to Maine ("Norquist puts down Maine tax-reform package," May 3). I strongly doubt he has any concerns for the future of Maine.

I urge our state legislators and the governor to turn their backs on this unwanted outside influence.

The tax plan would accomplish two important ends.

Most importantly, it would pass some of the tax burden on to out-of-state visitors.

I have marveled at Mainers' willingness to continue subsidizing visitors from wealthier states with low tax rates. Year-round residents keep the state open so that Vacationland will be here after Memorial Day.

Likewise, our income tax structure encourages long-term Mainers to flee to Florida, where they are able to escape this tax. Another subsidy provided by year-round residents.

I am willing to accept some aspects of the tax plan I do not like because the proposed tax plan addresses these issues and offers all residents a fairer and more balanced approach to state taxes.

As a Falmouth resident, I commend Sen. Dick Woodbury for his efforts to help develop the tax proposal.

Tom Carroll
Falmouth

 

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