Re: The July 22 commentary “Why do American women vote at a higher rate than men?” that touched upon the impact the Reagan years had on women and their issues, and have since influenced how women vote:

During the years when Ronald Reagan was president, I was struck by a severe bacterial infection that wreaked havoc with my health. I was in my early 20s. I lost my well-paying job, my health insurance and, within a few months, the money I had saved for emergencies.

I quickly found out there was absolutely no public aid I could apply for. I was told, “Before Reagan took office, we could have helped you. We’re sorry.”

My new reality was that, thanks to Reagan, I was safer from Russian nuclear warheads than I was from hunger and want in a land of plenty.

It took 10 years for my health to stabilize. My ability to hold a job was significantly compromised, and I endured isolation and marginalization at the very time I should have been building connections for a lifetime. I lost out on a decade to build a firm foundation for my life, the consequences of which will affect me for the rest of my days.

So why does this conservative Catholic consistently support the Democratic Party, despite my opposition to abortion, etc.? Because I understand all too well if a society doesn’t provide women with the care or tools she needs, so that she can ultimately care for herself and her children, every one loses.

Because I believe and hope that when I vote for the Democratic Party, I am helping make for a society that will empower women to chose life, and not suffer unduly for it.

Zoe Goody

Cape Elizabeth