Opinion, Analysis, Discussion

Letter: Process Douglas County’s raw logs locally to boost economy and job prospects

July 25, 2014 — 

Don’t export our timber harvest

Thank you to the editorial board for the July 20 editorial in The News-Review. It explained clearly the economic problem with timber harvest in Douglas County. The problem is the export of raw logs. The timber industry exports the logs it harvests from private property, so it covets the cheap logs from federal lands.

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Letter: Roseburg city council’s concerns about medical marijuana questioned

July 25, 2014 — 

Tobacco vs. marijuana

The front page headline of The News-Review on June 20 was: “Keep medical pot away from parks, homes.”

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Guest column: Would my absence have altered the course of anyone else’s life?

July 25, 2014 — 

Recently I learned that I have been dead for 36 years.

I thought back, trying to recall what I had been doing on Dec. 1, 1978, the day of my passing, but drew a blank. I guess death does that to a person: blots out the memory of an unpleasantness.

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Editorial: Roses & thorns

July 25, 2014 — 


Final salute to Marine

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Letter: A country with no borders risks terrorist activity and economic disaster

July 24, 2014 — 

Economy has a tipping point

It seems that we have reached and passed the “tipping point.” I read an analysis of U.S. Census figures by Terence Jeffrey for CNS News that concluded that 86.5 million private workers actually carry the economic load of the nation, supporting 148 million Americans who rely on government benefits. With close to twice as many on this wagon as are pulling the wagon, it’s obvious that the tipping point has been passed.

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Letter: Umpqua Community College might garner increased local support by offering more evening classes

July 23, 2014 — 

Not supporting UCC expansion

In the July 13 editorial titled “UCC funding,” the editors of The News-Review were insisting that we, the taxpayers, must support Umpqua Community College’s expansion program. Of course it would be wonderful for the community to have a growing community college.

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Letter: Pray for our country

July 23, 2014 — 

Disappointed by politicians

It is quite disappointing that Congress accomplishes so little, as well as our president. In the Senate, I am so frustrated with Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi.

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Guest column: Let’s help economy by recruiting successful entrepreneurs

July 23, 2014 — 

Without dissent, the economy in Douglas County remains dire. Two facts are obvious to all: Douglas County is receiving fewer and fewer dollars each year to fund county services; and individual prosperity, on average, continues to diminish.

This is in contrast to what much of the state and much of the nation is experiencing. While Oregon and the U.S. continue to struggle economically, within Oregon, Douglas County ranks near the bottom in most economic indicators. In other words, Douglas County is an economically failed county, ranking in the hardest one-third of the U.S. to live.

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Letter: Roseburg Veterans Affairs Medical Center needs full Emergency Room staffing

July 22, 2014 — 

Veteran talks of ER experiences

I’m a veteran who uses the Roseburg Veterans Affairs Medical Center for my medical problems. I’ve had to use the emergency room five times and each time I was there a minimum of five hours.

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Editorial: It’s time to put a Northeast Stephens Street crosswalk on sure footing

July 22, 2014 — 

The city of Roseburg got closer this month to punching the button on action that would bring a pedestrian crosswalk to Northeast Stephens Street. Now it’s up to the City Council to decide whether this project has legs.

A city advisory committee decided unanimously on July 10 to recommend the council plan for the project in the fiscal year that starts in July 2015. This was a good step. It addresses safety concerns raised by Roseburg residents about the mile-long stretch that lacks a place for people to legally cross the five-lane street.

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Guest column: Employee survey shows low ratings for Roseburg VA

July 22, 2014 — 

In January of this year several Roseburg Veterans Affairs employees asked if I could get a copy of the 2013 VA employee satisfaction survey. After attempting to get this in formation from the Roseburg and Veterans Integrated Service Network Freedom of Information Act offices with no success, I requested the survey from Washington FOIA on Feb. 27. I finally received the report on July 3.

The 2013 employee satisfaction report shows that, like the veterans, the employees rate the Roseburg facility very low compared to other VA facilities. The veterans report rated Roseburg in the bottom 4 percent of all VA facilities. Unfortunately, unlike the veterans report that compared all VA facilities, the employee report only compared VISN 20 results for comparison. VISN 20 is the regional office that oversees Washington, Oregon, Alaska and parts of Idaho Montana and California. The report does show an average for all VA facilities and Roseburg was consistently below this average.

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Letter: U.S. citizens deserve better treatment from their own government

July 21, 2014 — 

Tell your reps. to enforce laws

I’m tired of being treated as a third-class citizen by the government.

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Letter: Education is important, so step up and rebuild Yoncalla High School

July 21, 2014 — 

Build school for the kids

In response to the editorial on Yoncalla High School, I say rebuild it. I live in Rice Valley, in the Yoncalla tax base. Even if it raised the property tax double to $1,000 over 20 years, that’s only $4.17 a month; big deal.

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Letter: Roseburg assisted living resident admires kindness and patience of caregivers

July 21, 2014 — 

Caregivers are appreciated

Recently, there was a letter in the Public Forum about how wonderful caregivers are. I just had to write to say how much I agree.

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Letter: Should we offset global warming by using nuclear energy?

July 21, 2014 — 

An alternative to fossil fuels

If global warming is the existential danger to civilization claimed by so many, I’d like to offer some thoughts for consideration.

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Editorial: Feds effectively limit Oregon’s timber industry

July 20, 2014 — 

The Oregon Department of Forestry’s annual report on timber production shows the need to increase logging on federal lands.

The report contains good news and restates a troubling trend. On the plus side, timber harvests in 2013 topped 4 billion board feet for the first time since 2006. Oregon produced enough timber to build 419,920 houses.

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Publisher’s Notebook: Does short-term commission appointment need so many steps?

July 20, 2014 — 

I’m not a fan of government committees.

They typically muddy things and are often used as scapegoats for leaders who can’t or won’t make decisions on their own.

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Letter: We should help fund health occupations building at Umpqua Community College

July 18, 2014 — 

We need to support UCC

It was a beautiful sunny summer Sunday morning out on the back deck eating a bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich, and reading The News-Review. It hardly gets better than that. In the personals was the best of the day. A man, 5’9”, in his “early 80s,” was looking for a healthy non-smoking, non-drinking woman over 65 for a “long-term relationship.”

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Guest column: Local groups are working to address doctor shortage

July 18, 2014 — 

A recent letter to the editor noted just how hard it is to find a doctor, both locally and at the Roseburg Veterans Affairs Medical Center. The problem of a medical workforce is a problem many years in the making and is just now getting the attention it deserves.

Locally, we have recognized the workforce problem for many years and have taken a coordinated approach to addressing our workforce issues. Mercy, Architrave and DCIPA have a coordinated recruiting approach and have been tremendously successful, so that we have recruited 10 new primary care doctors and five new specialists to Douglas County. We have recruited many new physician assistants and nurse practitioners to increase access. In addition, Mercy, Architrave and DCIPA are actively pursuing the possibility of a family practice training program here in Roseburg.

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Roses & Thorns

July 18, 2014 — 


Sober salute

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Letter: Politicians should secure our borders, not supply our contraceptives

July 17, 2014 — 

Hobby Lobby’s position is fair

It appears that Harry Reid and the Democrat senators are more worried about your sex life than they are about our national security.

Patty Murray and Mark Udall are introducing a bill (on the fast track) to overturn the Supreme Court decision on the Hobby Lobby case. It’s bad enough that they think they know better, (Big Brother at work here), than the Supreme Court justices, but they are not telling the American people the whole truth about this decision. Of course, that seems to be par for the course of the Democrat senators.

The Supreme Court did not take away any right of any woman for any kind of birth control or the abortion pills. The decision was that a closely held corporation with religious objections to the contraceptives does not have to provide it to its employees. These same employees can get the contraceptives anywhere they please, but oh my, they would have to take personal responsibility and pay for it themselves.

In Hobby Lobby’s case, they provide free of charge 16 of the 20 named contraceptives, but object to only the four that could cause abortion. Maybe the Democrats should worry more about securing our border, and the diseases and the gang members coming across our borders illegally, rather than your sex life.

Rita Jost


Guest column: How can we address the needs of the homeless in our midst?

July 17, 2014 — 

There’s no place like home. In the early 1980s, my family was driving home from the Portland airport after our ninth trip in three years to Guatemalan refugee camps in Southern Mexico. At some point as we were driving back to Roseburg, I was struck by the thought, “This freeway is mine!” In other words, I had come home to a place that belonged to me — Interstate 5 and the familiar landscapes and towns along the way were all where I lived and could call “home.”

At the time I was thinking of the Guatemalan refugees who had been uprooted from their villages as they fled the genocide going on in their country. The ones we met had been hosted by kind people in southern Mexico, but regardless of how they’d been welcomed by strangers, they still deeply missed their homeland.

Now, 30 years later, I’m thinking of all the refugee camps throughout the world, and realizing that even with the temporary welcome they have received by their host countries, along with tents and occasional other amenities given to them by other generous countries like the U.S., they still must miss their homelands as much as the Guatemalans did.

Then I’m jolted again, when it occurs to me that political refugees aren’t the only ones who are missing their homes. Every day, all around our country, more people are joining the ranks of those who’ve lost their homes due to jobs ending and rent or mortgages that can’t be paid.

We also have plenty of homeless people in our midst in Roseburg, but not all of them have become homeless for the same reason. Some of them have deliberately chosen this lifestyle, but even they have their individual stories to tell.

There are those who never had a family home that was a safe place, or that in any way served as a model for establishing their own home. Most of them dropped out of school for a variety of reasons, thus reducing the likelihood of gaining employment sufficient for renting a place to live. Almost all of them have given up hope long ago, having had any dreams they once entertained repeatedly dashed by harsh doses of their reality.

Homeless people have become a problem for merchants in downtown Roseburg who contend that their presence discourages potential customers from shopping there. That’s a reasonable concern, but most of the suggestions proffered have had to do with simply eliminating the homeless population from the downtown area.

I’m wondering if there are any solutions that can eradicate the problems posed by the homeless people in our community, and at the same time address their needs in a kind and effective way. They do not qualify for welfare benefits, because they don’t have an address, and there are only a few members of our community who reach out to them.

Although our local mission does an impressive job of providing housing and food, many homeless people find it hard to comply with their strictures, many of which are of a religious bent.

Also, during the coldest times of the year, some places in Roseburg and the surrounding areas generously open their doors to provide warming centers for the homeless. But for the rest of the year we don’t know quite how to help them in a more long term way.

Last year I stopped at a rest area north of Cottage Grove, where I observed a panhandler sitting on a pile of blankets with her 6-year-old daughter. When they got up to leave, I was impressed by the way the youngster picked up each blanket and neatly folded it. Obviously she’d been coached by her mother.

I called the mother over to my car and expressed my admiration of her daughter’s behavior. Stevie (not her real name) and I had a long conversation.

The next week, I stopped at the same rest stop and had an even longer talk with Stevie, learning more about her and her husband. We exchanged phone numbers, and I wrote down her wish list of things she’d like to have – items such as notebooks, blankets and, of course, food.

And yes, a couple friends read me the riot act for giving Stevie my phone number, reminding me of the risk I was inviting by doing so. But my feeling is that if I’m not willing to at least risk that much, then how committed am I to helping the seriously at-risk people among us?

I’ve lost contact with Stevie, since her cellphone doesn’t work, and I worry about her and her family. I know their van broke down, and that they’re stranded in another place.

My heartfelt concern is: How can we address the needs of the homeless in a way that also respects the concerns of our community?

Judy Lasswell of Roseburg has been an active member of our community for 50 years. She has a master’s degree in counseling and taught welfare clients for 11 years at Umpqua Community College. She also was part of the underground railroad that brought at-risk Central Americans to Oregon, finding housing and employment for them as well as guiding them through the legal system of securing green cards. She can be reached at julass@charter.net.

Letter: Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife should get deer out of campgrounds and back into the woods

July 16, 2014 — 

Ways to fix ODFW budget

I recently read that the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is $32 million short in its budget; not enough hunters are buying tags. In the same paper, I read that campers are being harassed in campgrounds by hungry deer. Putting these together, I realized I haven’t seen a single deer out in the woods where I live this year. They have all been in somebody’s yard or a campground.

Perhaps if the ODFW quit protecting all the predators, like wolves, bears, cougars, coyotes, etc., the deer would feel safe in the woods. Their numbers would increase and hunters would again want to pay for hunting a wild animal.

An alternative would be to demand a fee from the groups demanding predator protection. If forced to put their money where their mouths are, I wonder how many of them would suddenly have better things to do.

Terry Stafford


Guest column: Douglas County students can be the lifeblood of our future health care system

July 16, 2014 — 

Oregon is facing a major health care workforce shortage. According to the Oregon Employment Department, the growth and aging of our population contribute to this crisis, creating the need for an estimated 76,000 additional health care workers by 2020.

In a report from 2011, the Oregon Healthcare Workforce Institute stated that Oregon’s health care industry contributed a total of 325,528 jobs or 14 percent of the state’s job market and in Douglas County, a strong health care workforce will dramatically increase rural health status and improve our community’s economic vitality by adding jobs.

So while the supply pipeline of Douglas County’s future health care workforce extends from kindergarten through postgraduate medical training, the issue remains: How can Douglas County “grow its own” health care workforce? How, more importantly, can we create a sustainable health care workforce supply by keeping this pipeline full?

There are numerous ways to tackle the issues of supplying a health care workforce in a rural area. Education programs in public and private schools offer health literacy and health care career education and proficiencies. There are online education and certification programs that are facilitated by high schools and/or community colleges, and health care education extension programs.

Those programs, along with job shadows and career fairs, provide a myriad of opportunities for rural students to explore a future health care career. While most, if not all of these programs are effective in meeting the students’ needs on a temporary basis, many of these programs are geared more toward exposing students to a top layer of health care-related experiences. But they rarely touch upon the realistic dynamic energy of the day-to-day operations in a health-related office or department that would give students an accurate understanding of that profession.

A more effective way that health organizations can help a community meet their health care needs and build their supply of future health care providers is to create strategic immersive programs for students in order to draw them back to their hometown after post-graduate school.

For example, Area Health Education Center of Southwest Oregon developed a community education system of delivery called the Sustainable Community Model to educate and train students to encourage them to become health care providers, specifically in rural communities through immersive mentorship and volunteer programs.

By creating an environment where youth-professional mentor relationships “just happen” naturally, these experiences will take root and lead to positive cultural experiences. Why this is so critical is that students will want to return to the team setting they enjoyed so much. This creates a template for changes in the environment, policy and health landscape.

There are several guiding principles to develop a successful communitywide program. The health of a community will gradually improve over time due to the cross-sectional efforts of experienced adults and youth efforts. In addition, students will form positive relationships with adult mentors and be better informed on careers before entering college and be capable of making better decisions because of the expansive career exposure and their supports.

Often the first step to interesting students in certain health care professions i is to expose them to a career within its setting in order to generate a certain amount of excitement.

The next level is to provide students with opportunities to explore this new venture to see if it fits their personalities, academic levels and interests by assigning mentors and giving students an opportunity to volunteer. Then can then experience a health care setting culture. After that, it’s important to immerse students even deeper into a health care field by allowing for more hands-on opportunities, such as an internship, along with richer mentorship activity and an added curriculum.

Lastly, it is important to give opportunity for the student to discover ways to fully adopt a newfound culture, setting, and health care professional family. This may encourage them to make it a new home and profession in the future.

In order to keep the health care professional pipeline full, communities will need to provide adequate support and funding. This in turn will create a sustainable health care workforce in a rural area. The youth who live in a rural area are then the future of that rural area. If strategic programmatic systems are set in place, students of Douglas County can be the lifeblood of its health system.

In honor of the health care professional successes all across the pipeline in Douglas County, Area Health Education Center is hosting a Bright Night Run.

This Saturday at the Umpqua Valley Arts Association, the Bright Night Run will light up Roseburg and celebrate rural community vitality and our future and current health care professionals.

The Bright Night Run will be a family-friendly run/walk with a neon glow theme party. Proceeds will go toward sustaining and expanding these opportunities.

Chris Guastaferro of Roseburg is the executive director of Area Health Education Center of Southwest Oregon, which was established in 1994 to bring students to health care careers, health care professionals to communities and communities to better health. He can be reached at cguastaferro@healthyoregon.com or 800-501-1566, ext. 204.

Letter: Should the city of Roseburg restrict lawn watering?

July 15, 2014 — 

Conserve water during dry spell

I understand Roseburg only has one third of the water it usually has.

Why hasn’t the water department started some changes? I’ve heard of cities saying no watering of lawns or no automatically giving a glass of water in restaurants.

Phyllis Finney


Letter: Re-establish Intensive Care Unit in Roseburg VA Medical Center

July 15, 2014 — 

ICU needed in Roseburg VA

All I can say about the June 25 opinion letter titled “Will VA close inpatient care?” is that the writer nailed it with two words: ”systematically destroyed.”

When I started going to the VA Roseburg Health Care System in 1980 as an outpatient and volunteer, there were not only real wards with patients in Building 1, there was a complete nursing home care unit on the first floor of Building 2, with about 100 veterans living there.

Also on campus was an arts and crafts center and horticulture in a greenhouse for all the patients use. The nursing home was the first to go in the downsizing and outsourcing that followed. Replacing what the hospital was with a few housing units does not compare to what services were provided there.

This facility is now nothing more than a glorified outpatient clinic and the VA is more about image than medical care; too bad.

We, the vets, need an ICU! I visited a World War II friend there and another friend. Tell me we don’t need ICU and I’ll believe you.

I really liked Dr. Calhoun’s guest column and Doctor, I picked up a really heavy air conditioner. Thank you for your skills.

Harold Barber


Police Log: Dogs maul chickens

July 15, 2014 — 

These logs are the highlights of initial emergency calls and reports to the Douglas County Dispatch Center. They do not represent all the incidents or their final outcomes.



Douglas County sheriff

9:46 a.m. — Dogs mauled chickens in the 200 block of Plat M Road, Sutherlin.

10:42 a.m. — Theft reported in the 100 block of Gazley Bridge Road, Canyonville.

11:19 a.m. — Chain cut to a gate in the 22000 block of North Umpqua Highway, Idleyld Park.

2:29 p.m. — Theft reported in the 100 block of Twilight Avenue, Roseburg.

5:41 p.m. — Vehicle broken into in the 9500 block of Garden Valley Road, Roseburg.

6:44 p.m. — Theft of $50 worth of gas in the 5100 block of Old Highway 99 South, Roseburg.

7:25 p.m. — Burglary reported in the 200 block of O’Neal Lane, Roseburg.


The News-Review publishes the names of individuals who have been arrested on suspicion of at least one felony charge or three misdemeanors or a combination of felony and misdemeanor charges.


Douglas County sheriff

Rachel Dawn Messenburg, 34, of Roseburg, on suspicion of second-degree assault and harassment.


Roseburg police

Troy Lynn Harrison, 28, of Roseburg, on suspicion of first-degree theft by receiving and third-degree theft.

Johnnie Anthony Kreps, 26, of Roseburg, on suspicion of possession of methamphetamine and violating parole.

Joseph McConnell, 34, of Roseburg, on suspicion of possession of heroin, possession of a schedule II controlled substance and failure to carry a diver’s license.

Editorial: Police videos lose value if viewers are sparse

July 15, 2014 — 

“Smile,” began the old catchphrase connected to one of television’s first reality shows. “You’re on ‘Candid Camera.’”

There may not be much smiling in the videos recorded by Roseburg police officers. Will they be candid? That’s yet to be seen.

The department announced earlier this month that officers have begun wearing small cameras clipped to their shirts or belts to record interactions with the public. The goal, police said, is to show the community what happens in potentially confrontational encounters. The cameras are being touted as promoting transparency.

It’s not a pioneering move. Scott Greenwood, general counsel for the national American Civil Liberties Union, told the The Associated Press in March that officers in one of every six departments across the country are patrolling with body cameras affixed to their chests, lapels or sunglasses. Police already use cameras mounted to patrol car dashboards.

The idea has raised concerns on both sides of the viewfinder. Yet representatives of groups on either side also have stated that as long as clear policies are set and followed for use of the cameras, footage can be beneficial to everyone involved. With proper usage of cameras, police can be exonerated of false accusations. They also will be on notice to be more accountable when dealing with witnesses and suspects.

In Roseburg, police are being told to switch on the cameras whenever there is a situation that could turn adversarial. They also must immediately tell people the cameras are going, except in cases that require immediate action where safety must prevail.

What we haven’t heard is what kind of access the public will have to the camera footage.

Videos can be edited, of course, to manipulate images. Also, there’s a chance video will be selectively released.

Police may withhold information if its release might compromise an investigation. The frustration comes when police withhold information about their own activities, apart from criminal investigations. Will police withhold tapes even when their release would not jeopardize the apprehension of an offender?

Last December, a Douglas County grand jury decided sheriff’s deputies and Roseburg police, in two separate cases, were justified in using force against a Canyonville and Sublimity man, respectively, who died after being stunned by Tasers in street scuffles. The decisions came within a day of each other for deaths that had taken place in March and June 2013. In each case, months passed with families complaining they received scant details from law enforcement officials. In both cases, police could have been far more forthcoming far sooner with details about the incidents considering there were no suspects to apprehend.

Police are to be applauded when they genuinely invite more scrutiny. Transparency, however, is in the eye of the beholder. That eye can’t see much when it’s blindfolded “under investigation.”

Letter: Contraceptive coverage by insurance plans recognized as a religious choice, as well as a health choice

July 14, 2014 — 

Outcry seems unfounded

From the cries of anguish published in various articles and opinions in this paper, one would think the recent Supreme Court decision denies female Hobby Lobby employees access to artificial methods of birth control. This concern appears unfounded.

The owners of Hobby Lobby, the Green family, have no objection to the use of 16 of the 20 preventive contraceptives approved by the FDA. Hobby Lobby will continue its practice of covering these preventive contraceptives for its employees.

However, they will not pay for four that are designed to prevent the fertilized egg from developing. They have a moral objection. They believe that life begins at conception. Paying for birth control of this type, considered to be abortifacients, violates their freedom of religion. As a reminder, the constitution protects “the free exercise of religion.” This not only guarantees freedom to worship as one pleases, but also protects the right to live one’s life by a set of religious principles both privately and publicly.

Even if a closely held corporation objects to all forms of artificial birth control on religious grounds, this does not deny women access to birth control. Most methods are available and very affordable.

Sanford Hillman


Letter: Contraception issue draws further interest

July 14, 2014 — 

SCOTUS points to ponder

I want to commend the excellent July 6 letter to the editor. The writer really nailed the problems with the Supreme Court of the United States; there are too many Catholics on the court. Those of us who know Catholics, know that Catholic men take their orders from Rome. Oh, and we should be careful not to have any Baptist men, like the owner of Hobby Lobby on the court, either.

The only good Christians on the court are the females, as they know that employers should stay out of the bedrooms of their employees. Employers have no business stopping women from using birth control, just because they believe that abortifacients are the same as killing an innocent child. They should pay for all birth control no matter what, no exceptions.

Of course, the Obama administration was wrong when it made contraception mandate “accommodations” for non-profits. There is no difference between non-profits, family-owned, and publicly-held corporations.

This opinion by SCOTUS is “... an outrageous step against the rights of America’s women ...” (Nancy Pelosi) and “... takes us closer to a time in history when women had no choice and no voice ....” (Senator Patty Murray). Thank God they can’t stop women, but they will have to use black-market pharmacies where you have to pay cash for your abortifacients.

Oh, yeah, that reminds me: It’s not the employer health plan, it’s the employee health plan which is a right, not a benefit for working at these companies. I’m really happy that Obamacare has cleared up this whole mess. Just because the employer pays for a benefit plan, doesn’t mean the employer should have any control over it. The bureaucrats at Health and Human Services make much better decisions.

Richard Hector


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