Letters for October 20, 2005

Yank their licenses
There is a major issue with pharmacists refusing to fill birth-control prescriptions. In about 20 states, pharmacies are able to refuse to fill women’s prescriptions for contraception, including emergency contraception. The pharmacists claim that birth control is a form of abortion, and abortion goes against their religious beliefs.

This practice is unethical. Pharmacists have a legal and moral obligation to ensure customers’ health by providing necessary health care. A pharmacist’s job is to supply medication that is needed according to a physician.

Birth control pills are used for more than just pregnancy prevention. They are also used to treat acne, severe menstrual cramps, and endometriosis. These pharmacists are making judgments about customers that use birth control for these reasons.

In some cases, pharmacists who refuse to fill birth-control prescriptions don’t inform the customer immediately and don’t refer them to another pharmacy. In areas where there is only one pharmacist, this increases the risk of unwanted pregnancies. It also condemns rape victims who become pregnant.

These pharmacists need to be punished. If part of their job conflicts with their beliefs, they are in the wrong job. There is no excuse for their actions that take away the rights of the individual.

Desiree Belcher
via e-mail

Grasshoppers unite!
Re “A fable about wealth, fairness and racism” (Right Hook, Oct. 6):

The ant, in his boundless ambition, decided to remake the world according to a bolder design, so he began appropriating land and securing means of production. The grasshopper, which had always been able to find sustenance in the luxurious prairie, was slowly reduced to working in the grass factories owned by the ant. The ant feared dissatisfied grumbling by the grasshopper. Violent repercussions of the ant’s global trespasses finally began to reach the homeland, striking indignity in the heart of the ant and fear in the heart of the grasshopper.

Recognizing an opportunity to curtail political foment at home and to augment ventures abroad, George W. Bush and his cronies used the fear of the grasshopper to justify the PATRIOT Act and a foreign invasion. Meanwhile, Bill O’Reilly conducted regular public brow-beatings of grasshoppers who dared speak out against wage slavery and empire building. Rush Limbaugh provided a steady diet of shameless misrepresentations. When a hurricane destroyed the humble homes of millions of grasshoppers, as well as production facilities owned by the ants, Bush saw an opportunity to put Dick Cheney’s pals at Halliburton to work profiting from misery.

By and by, the grasshopper began to realize that blurring the distinction between working as a wage slave and doing good work was a self-serving ploy that the ant had managed to perpetrate through the conscription of a broad network of supporters in the media and elsewhere. In the end, the ants were left to torture each other with their delusions in anthills situated at the centers of large circles of denuded landscape, the howling, dusty wind their only evidence of a world outside of their imaginations.

Darin Bue

Ants say, “Uncle”
Re “A fable about wealth, fairness and racism” (Right Hook, Oct. 6):

The fable of the grasshopper’s miserable winter is right-wing extremist propaganda that distorts reality. What especially angered me were the cameo embellishments to the story that ridicule Hillary Clinton, Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, Oprah, and Howard Dean for trying to level the playing field between the wealthy and the poor.

If people were to believe the message of this fable, they would have to ignore facts, such as the fact that in 1945, the top 8.5 percent of Americans held 20.9 percent of U.S. wealth. In 1995, 1 percent of the population held 19 percent of the wealth. In 2005, the top 1 percent of Americans are now worth the combined wealth of 95 percent of Americans.

The unlikely scenario of the grasshopper-ant fable is designed to inflame fear in Americans who are moderately well-off. The story ends with the lazy grasshopper eating the last of the hard-working ant’s food due to the do-gooder actions of bleeding-heart liberals. In reality, taxing the wealthiest 1 percent is not likely to dent their entertainment budget, much less threaten their homes.

While most hard-working grasshoppers are scrambling to cover increased costs for gasoline, fuel, electricity and transportation, American oil companies posted 35 percent to 50 percent profits last quarter.

More importantly, in light of the war in Iraq, huge budget and trade deficits and hurricane Katrina, the largest natural disaster in American history, why shouldn’t the wealthy pay taxes at least equal to what the rest of us pay? And why shouldn’t corporations contribute to the social welfare?

I’ve had enough of religious ideologues who rely only on what they “believe in their hearts” without checking with their minds.

JoAnn Aldrich
Virginia City