One cannot call themselves a supporter of eliminating domestic violence and human sex trafficking and veto Maine Medicaid expansion (“LePage vetos Maine Medicaid expansion,” April 8). These issues are intertwined on many levels.

I find it fascinating that many Republicans have recently championed the issues of sex trafficking and domestic violence, yet also choose to deny health coverage (which includes mental health coverage) to 60,000 Mainers. It is difficult for me to understand this logic. As a licensed clinical social worker, who has worked for more than 25 years with individuals and families struggling with poverty, domestic violence and at times sex trafficking, I have found their stories often heart-wrenching.

Taking away and denying individuals and families the physical and mental health support they need during challenging times can only increase anxiety, depression and financial insecurity and put them at risk to make choices that they would not, if they had proper heath coverage and the ability to access counseling.

The partners who feel they must stay with their abusers because if they were to leave, they would loose their heath coverage is one situation. The young girl, whose parents are overburdened with worry and financial struggle, who becomes vulnerable to engaging in risky activities where she falls into sex trafficking is another. And the parent who cannot find counseling to manage stress and anxiety and becomes violent at home is a third.

Financial insecurity does not cause domestic violence or force individuals into sex trafficking, but it does make them more susceptible. If we as a society support and provide comprehensive health care to all, people will find themselves in a much safer and stable environment to succeed. Our elected officials should understand the big picture and not just single issues.

Maryann Carroll


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