If it’s legal, accessible Gosnell doesn’t happen

The Minnesota Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice heartily agrees with writers Jennifer A. Marshall and Sarah Torre (“This abortion news will open your eyes,” April 25) that the horrific crimes of Kermit Gosnell are abhorrent and difficult to fathom. Gosnell was not certified in OB/GYN, and the procedures he routinely performed failed almost every standard of care.

If the writers believe, as we do, that such horrors should never be repeated in civil society, we wonder why they represent institutions that advocate the very conditions that allow such a charlatan to thrive. Lack of sexuality education, lack of access to contraception, a scarcity of trained abortion providers, fear of violence perpetrated by clinic protesters, restrictive waiting periods and Medicaid’s refusal to provide insurance coverage for most abortions all make for an environment where women who have extremely limited options are preyed upon by the likes of Gosnell.

The writers appropriately decry the horrific infanticide in Gosnell’s clinic; what they don’t say is that by denying women access to safe, legal abortion care, or by passing laws that make compliance impossible (see North Dakota), this is the inevitable result.

The Rev. Kelli Clement, Minneapolis

The writer is executive director of the Minnesota Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice.

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On welfare, child care, all-day kindergarten

Drug-testing welfare recipients (“House passes slimmed-down health bill,” April 23)? Sure, it has a justifiable righteousness about it. Some people’s lives are such obvious train wrecks that we don’t want to support their bad habits. But I don’t know where the train started out, how many hills it climbed, how many dark tunnels it crawled through or how many snowdrifts it had to push aside. The only thing I know for sure is that I am very glad that wasn’t my journey.

Addiction has been recognized as a disease since 1956. If we are going to deny some families welfare due to addiction, let’s be consistent. Add in schizophrenics who go off their medication, smokers with atherosclerosis or lung cancer, obese people with Type 2 diabetes and anyone with high cholesterol who isn’t a vegan. Don’t forget people who drink alcohol, chew snuff, eat junk food, don’t floss their teeth, or just don’t take care of their lives up to our standards.

Rochelle Eastman, Savage

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Whenever you hear the phrase “let’s do it for the kids,” you’re in trouble (“Unionization of child care: It’s for the kids,” April 25). This is code for “ we are going to take money from you (or somebody) for no good reason.” How is paying union dues going to help the “kids”? It only helps the unions add money to their coffers.

Collective bargaining does not keep things affordable for all. It only means that costs increase to cover the increase in overhead. Who pays for that? You!

According to the article, if the Child Care Assistance Program subsidy rate is increased, “providers would no longer be forced to charge parents more.” Who do you think pays for the subsidy? You!

With a union, not only would you have to pay for increased costs in day care (because of the union), you would pay for the increase in the subsidy.

Edward McHugh, East Bethel

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As a high school teacher of job skills and life skills the past 25 years, I have taught the economic principle of opportunity cost to my students every year. The April 24 article “House OKs $15B education bill” touted the merits of free all-day kindergarten. Wouldn’t it be more fair and accurate to describe the free all-day kindergarten program as either state-funded all-day kindergarten, or taxpayer-funded all-day kindergarten?

Ron Wagar, Edina

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There’s no substitute that’s as effective

I have concerns regarding the claims made in the April 24 letter “Colonoscopy is not to be taken lightly.”

First, procedures, like colonoscopy, that allow for direct visualization of the entire colon are the only measures that prevent colon cancer. It is true that not all polyps are cancerous; however, virtually all colon cancers arise from polyps. When polyps are removed during colonoscopy, their potential for cancer is eliminated.

Virtual colonoscopy procedures do not pick up all polyps, particularly small or flat lesions and those in the upper colon. This procedure is expensive, is not usually covered by insurance, requires the same bowel prep as a colonoscopy, and has limited research showing its effectiveness other than to detect advanced cancers.

Checking for blood in the stool does not prevent colon cancer, rather, it can detect colon cancer, meaning the disease is already in progress. Unless these tests are performed correctly and yearly, they are of limited value even as a detector of disease.

Additionally, there are many individuals for whom these alternative tests are not appropriate. Regular colonoscopy with biopsies and polypectomy can be lifesavers.

Teresa Bosacker, Chaska

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News about bidding process reveals waste

So the Minnesota Department of Transportation does not accept the low bid of the highest-rated bidder (“Suit threatens to halt work on St. Croix Crossing,” April 24). Citing hiring targets for subcontractors, it goes with the next lowest bidder at an additional cost of about $6 million to taxpayers.

Instead, would you not sit down with the lowest bidder, set expectations and negotiate to ensure that requirements are met? In other words, manage the situation to a successful conclusion?

Is it no wonder the state has budget problems when decisions like this are made?

Warren Tester, Andover