The League of Women Voters of North Carolina has won a victory for the citizens of North Carolina! The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the 2011 redistricting plan that packed N.C. legislative and U.S. Congressional districts based on race must be reconsidered by the N.C. Supreme Court in light of the recent ruling in the Alabama redistricting case.
The league has a long-standing position in support of districts that are compact, convenient, and contiguous; that reflect a community of interest; and that comply with the National Voting Rights Acts. Furthermore, the responsibility for redistricting should reside with an independent agency that is not beholden to a political party. In addition, the league supports an open, transparent redistricting process that allows for citizen input.
When out of power, both parties have supported legislation that would establish a non-partisan process for drawing districts. However, once in power, the parties have withdrawn that support and have gerrymandered the districts to protect incumbents and to ensure a legislative majority. In the 2014 election 67 percent of the N.C. legislative seats were not contested, meaning that the elections were won in the primary. Clearly the districts were drawn to give an overwhelming advantage to one party, thus making it impractical for the other party to wage an expensive campaign.
It is time for the citizens to demand that the legislature adopt a fair process for drawing districts that give voters a choice over who represents them, rather than legislators choosing who will vote for them.
League of Women Voters of North Carolina
The abortion problem
Regarding Lisa Levenstein’s guest column “Health choices targeted” (CHN, April 15): None of the legislators sponsoring House Bill 465 has any medical knowledge, training or licensure that would qualify any to be “practicing medicine without a license.”
Rep. Pat McElraft’s contention that the current medically unethical “24-hour waiting period” has prevented “2,500 abortions” annually is difficult to believe because no licensed facility or state agency records, reports or “tracks” this statistic.
Claiming to be promoting or ensuring “competent care” and women’s health and safety and simultaneously severely restricting abortion services and physician training at UNC-CH and ECU is both hypocritical and oxymoronic.
Fifty percent of all pregnancies in the United States are unintended. Over 60 percent of pregnancies in teenaged, unmarried or low-income women are unintended, and 38 percent of births result from unintended pregnancies. These births make up 50 percent of publicly funded (taxpayer-funded!) births. These births from unintended pregnancies cost taxpayers over $11 billion per year for pregnancy and newborn care primarily through Medicaid and CHIP programs. This data was reported in 2011 from separate studies by the Guttmacher Institute and the Brookings Institution.
To quote our governor: “What problem are we trying to solve?” The “problem” to be “solved” is their problem with abortion!
John Baker, M.D.
Women will suffer
Regarding Lisa Levenstein’s gust column “Health choices targeted” (CHN, April 15): As a practicing obstetrician-gynecologist in North Carolina and a graduate of the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, I am grateful to Levenstein for highlighting the harmful effects House Bill 465 would have on the health and well being of women and families in our state.
This proposed legislation would severely restrict the ability of a North Carolina woman with a complicated or dangerous pregnancy to receive the hospital-based abortion care she needs.
Moreover, this bill would limit how our excellent state medical schools and residency programs – at UNC and ECU – can educate their students and residents by prohibiting the teaching of abortion care. This gap in education will threaten the prestige of these institutions and limit their ability to attract the best students and doctors. About half of these doctors stay in our state after their training, so the women and families of North Carolina will suffer.
We deserve the best-trained doctors, including those who can provide care for an unintended or complicated pregnancy. The legislature should reject this bill because it undermines medical education and will severely impact patient care across our state.
Jessica E. Morse, M.D.
Label out of date
Addressing the National Rifle Association (“NRA crowd shares opinions of GOP hopefuls on Clinton,” April 12, N&O), Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal declared: “The reality is the 2016 campaign is going to be between elitism and populism. Hillary Clinton has already made it clear she’ll be on the side of elitism.”
The implication that men like himself, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio are populists would only be true in the 18th century. In this day and age we call them reactionaries.
Regarding the Under the Dome article “Abortion restrictions proposed in House” (April 12, N&O): I am constantly amazed at the number of North Carolina legislators who are graduates of medical schools. They must be, as they are so willing to use their hard-earned medical knowledge (?) to make decisions usually reserved for a woman and her medical adviser.
Professionals obviously not qualified, according to our legislators, to help her make personal reproductive health decisions that affect her life, the lives of her family members and her own body!
It is time for sanctimonious “I-know-what-is-best-for-the-little-woman” legislators to leave medical decisions to those who have actually gone to a medical college and to their patients. Perhaps they should be putting their efforts into legislation that actually helps those already born, such as health care, adequate nutrition, quality education experiences and well-paying jobs for the family wage earner. North Carolina falls woefully short of all of these.
A teacher’s mind
I read with interest the Point of View “Why I quit teaching in N.C.” by Deanna Lyles detailing her reasons for leaving the North Carolina classroom after 23 years (N&O, April 7). Ironically, there were no complaints about students, no criticism of parents and no mention of teacher salaries.
Instead, she focused on the usurping of her authority as a teacher by leaders outside the classroom. Lyles, a nationally certified teacher, speaks to the problems micromanagement creates for teachers wherever they may be. Simply put, micromanagement results in so much being decided for teachers, they have little room to place their own mark on teaching. Teachers are now face to face with new realities about what they will teach in what manner and on what timetable.
Some may be wondering whether the good mind going to waste in their classrooms is their own. The narrowly drawn boundaries North Carolina teachers function within deprive good teachers, like Lyles, of what they most need: room for individuality, creativity, choice and personal initiative.
When talented, well-motivated teachers find themselves better rewarded for giving feet to the ideas of others than for developing ideas of their own, they usually find it’s time to move on. Those who don’t often pay a high personal price as Lyles has determined.
Carolyn E. Bunting