To the editor,
Each time I visit Planned Parenthood, I walk through a metal detector and have my belongings searched before I can see a doctor. For years I accepted this seemingly minor imposition.
But the message behind this is clear. Each time I walk through that metal detector, I feel targeted for seeking basic health care. These security checkpoints are necessary through no fault of Planned Parenthood’s, but because of the political culture created by anti-abortion politicians. It’s particularly distressing that my own Congress member, Dan Donovan, has not stood with Planned Parenthood or supported my access to health care.
These politicians’ rhetoric unfairly demonizes the work Planned Parenthood does and those who seek treatment there. No one should be made to feel like they don’t deserve health care, or that they’re doing something wrong by seeking it out.
I have been a patient at Planned Parenthood since I graduated college. In five years, I have visited the Manhattan and Brooklyn centers for annual exams, for birth control, and in emergencies. Over the years, my insurance has changed — I have had jobs that lacked insurance, faced unemployment, and been on Medicaid. Regardless of my circumstances, I, like millions of Americans, could depend on Planned Parenthood for quality care. Planned Parenthood health centers are safe, welcoming places that people of all walks of life rely on for compassionate, expert health care.
Since taking office in 2015, Rep. Dan Donovan has consistently voted against women’s access to health care. On his second day on the job, Donovan voted for a federal ban on abortions after 20 weeks. He has voted repeatedly to defund Planned Parenthood, though there is a Planned Parenthood center in his district visited by thousands of his constituents.
Planned Parenthood sees 2.6 million patients annually, including 60,000 in New York City alone. The majority of these patients are on Medicaid like me. As a Medicaid enrollee who uses the contraceptive implant, I have few providers available to me.
I can only imagine what the options look like for those in rural areas with even more limited access. One in five American women will visit a Planned Parenthood in her lifetime. Nonetheless, last week the House of Representatives released the American Health Care Act to replace the Affordable Care Act. It would also defund Planned Parenthood if enacted.
Just as I had accepted the metal detectors, until recently, I accepted that many politicians oppose abortion rights, and, by extension, women’s access to health care. That is just our reality.
However, there is something profoundly problematic about my representative — the person whose job it is to represent my interests — supporting policies that cause me harm. It is dehumanizing to have a representative who believes I don’t deserve equal rights to men, autonomy over my own body, or access to safe and affordable health care.
Dan Donovan says he is committed to women’s health and supporting local community health centers that serve women. Unfortunately, enough of those community health centers simply don’t exist, creating a drastic shortfall for the millions who rely on Planned Parenthood. As recent events in Texas demonstrate, defunding Planned Parenthood does not magically create viable options to fill the void. If Congress succeeds at defunding Planned Parenthood, many women will not have health care. Do these legislators simply not grasp the stakes for their own constituents if they take away access to abortions, contraceptives, and the range of vital services Planned Parenthood provides? Is it willful ignorance, or do they simply not care?
Donovan refuses to face his constituents in a town hall. His public appearance for the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce was the only opportunity for his constituents to see him in person in months. He falsely dismissed them as “professional protesters” and criticized their disruptions before escaping out a back door. He held a “tele-town hall,” remotely responding to pre-approved questions, and “technical problems” further prevented constituents from participating.
Following the release of the new healthcare bill, Donovan stated that he would examine it further and weigh input from his constituents before deciding how to vote. So, Dan Donovan, here is some input from a constituent: any bill that seeks to defund Planned Parenthood should automatically be discarded.
There is nothing to examine further, no numbers to crunch — a vote to defund Planned Parenthood is a vote to deny women preventive care. It is a vote for women to lose access to contraceptives, STD testing and treatment, sexual education, and safe abortions. A vote to defund Planned Parenthood is a vote against women.Katie Needle
To the editor,
The bar has been set so low, we’re all tripping over it. I’m not talking about the Presidency, but Congressional District 11, where we have found ourselves once again prodding our representative with a stick to ensure he’s conscious. The citizens of Brooklyn and Staten Island look longingly to other Congressional districts to see how actual advocacy works. We all have a voice, but it is not heard in Washington, rather only in our living rooms as we yell at our televisions and tablets.
Mr. Donovan likes to think he’s an independent voice in the Republican Party, however nothing could be farther from the truth. He backed Mr. Trump, even as he discussed his proclivity to grab women by their vaginas when he felt so inclined. He backed the travel ban, even though his district has one of the largest Syrian populations in New York City. He voted to repeal Obamacare, without a replacement in place. This reality damages our reputation, and the people in our district. It is a mystery what his actual convictions are, as he drifts in whatever direction the wind blows that day, while avoiding his constituents at all costs.
We deserve better. We have always deserved better, because the decisions made in Washington have real consequences that affect us all deeply: for our health, our education, our wallets, our safety, our community. In 2018, we don’t need to settle, let alone give up. Let’s all of us in District 11 wish Mr. Donovan a long and happy retirement. Michael De Cillis
To the editor,
The bill Congressman Donovan hasn’t denounced yet is literally not your grandparents’ health care plan.
The Obamacare repeal bill is bad for our health. But within hours of its announcement, Congressman Dan Donovan praised the White House for taking a necessary step to repairing our healthcare system on Facebook. He then said he’d be waiting on the Congressional Budget Office score as the reform process moves forward. That was on March 8.
The Congressional Budget Office said last week that this necessary step would leave 24 million uninsured in less than 10 years, with 14 million losing health care next year alone. The Congressional Budget Office said it had particularly unbearable implications for the elderly, who could see their insurance premiums more than quadruple.
I hope Congressman Donovan will follow examples of his Republican colleagues like Leonard Lance and denounce the bill. This bill is so blatantly toxic that if he doesn’t, his already frustrated district has statistics to prove that he’s more concerned with politics than Grandma’s health, and he’s more concerned with defeating Obamacare than protecting the well-being of his constituents.Matt Matilsky
Midland Beach, Staten Island
Mayor’s ratings slip
To the editor,
Living on Brighton Seventh Street between Brighton Beach Avenue and Ocean View Avenue, crossing Brighton Eighth Terrace, I have to agree with Channel 12 TV’s (report) on March 16 that the Sanitation Department did a poor job and that the 53 percent surveyed were more correct, that the way snow removal was handled was unfavorable.
While the crossing at Coney Island Avenue was barely satisfactory, the residential streets from Brighton Fifth to Seventh streets left much to be desired and could endanger many pedestrians (who risked) being run over by a car if they slipped. This is an even worse problem if a pedestrian would fall on the sidewalk.
While Mayor DeBlasio gave a better performance than his immediate predecessor Mike Bloomberg, his Honor is setting a poor example, especially in an election year.Elliott Abosh
To the editor,
Let’s face it. No one likes Albany. It’s a cold place, and do not get me started with the murky politicking that goes on there. Albany culture is so bad that many Assembly members have decided to run in local New York City Council elections. They pay is better and the commute is shorter. Here’s the catch: they do not have to give up their current seats to run. It’s a win-win! Now, the Governor keeps on talking about ethics reform, and we have seen no results. My suggestion to the Governor and the New York State Legislature is simple: pass a law that compels current elected officials to vacate their seats should they want to run for another position.