Letters to the Editor

10/6 Letters: Lack of paid leave in N.C. “bad for families, businesses”

I was grateful to see “Workers in the Triangle say paid parental leave needed. A bill in Congress could help” (Sept. 22). Paid family leave was critical for my family when my son was born two months prematurely and spent time in the NICU. Luckily, my employer made sure I could take the time I needed without worrying about financial chaos; other parents aren’t so fortunate.

Luck shouldn’t dictate access to paid family leave, and paid time off shouldn’t only cover those caring for new babies. At some point, everyone will need care or have family for whom they need to care. My mother is battling cancer, and I’m not alone in the sandwich generation – caught between caring for aging parents and our children at the same time. Without guaranteed paid family and medical leave, we will be forced to make impossible choices between our families and the paychecks that feed them. This is bad for families, businesses and North Carolina’s economy.

Beth Messersmith

Senior North Carolina campaign director of MomsRising

Fix gender imbalance

As reported in “Only 25.3 percent of NC General Assembly members are women” (Oct. 3), women are underrepresented in the N.C. Legislature. This is a terrible problem. We must do something about it now.

Fortunately, the timing is perfect. We are already engaged in redistricting. We must simply add new criteria: The districts must be established to achieve racial parity and gender parity. After all, both African-Americans and women are protected classes under the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Laurence Marks


Dog testing ‘cruel’

I need to reply to the letter to the editor “Dog testing ‘important’ ” (Sept. 30). The author’s thinking is years out of date. Today – because experiments on animals are cruel, expensive and generally inapplicable to humans – the world’s scientists have moved on to develop methods for studying diseases and testing products that replace animals and are actually relevant to human health.

These modern methods include sophisticated tests using human cells and tissues (also known as in vitro methods), advanced computer-modeling techniques (often referred to as in silico models), and studies with human volunteers. These and other non-animal methods are not hindered by species differences that make applying animal test results to humans difficult or impossible, and they usually take less time and money to complete. Computerized human-patient simulators have been shown to teach students physiology and pharmacology better than crude exercises that involve cutting up animals. The most high-tech simulators mimic illnesses and injuries and give the appropriate biological response to medical interventions and injections of medications. Many medical schools across the U.S. have completely replaced the use of animal laboratories.

Jackie Franklin, R.N.