University students hurt by legislation


Gas. Tuition. Books. And now higher costs for contraception?

For a university student who has to think twice about paying more than $5 for a meal, the difficulties of living on a limited budget are painfully real. This year, an additional and unexpected expense has been added to many college students' budgets - the higher price of contraception.

Last year, Congress changed a long-standing law, putting affordable contraception out of reach for potentially hundreds of thousands of women.

The Deficit Reduction Act, passed by Congress and signed into law on Feb. 8, 2006, includes a provision that adversely affects the ability of university health centers and safety-net family-planning providers, including many Planned Parenthood health centers, to purchase contraceptives at a discounted or nominal price.

The provision went into effect on Jan. 1 and is having a devastating fiscal impact on college students and low-income women around the country. This is affecting approximately 3 million undergraduates nationwide.

On college campuses, many students are seeing their contraception costs rise from $5 to upward of $50 a month. Some institutions have stopped offering oral contraceptives altogether. More alarming, many pharmacies are seeing an increase in demand for the over-the-counter emergency contraceptive pill, Plan B. One thing is certain: Without affordable contraception, the rate of unintended pregnancies will increase.

In the words of a recent New York Times editorial, "Congress should restore this much-needed benefit."

Johnetta McCollough

Chief Executive Officer

Planned Parenthood of Northwest Ohio

Don't change diaper where people dine

In response to the Sept. 20 letter about breastfeeding and diaper-changing in public: One can"t compare feeding an infant or toddler the most natural way possible with such an unsanitary act as changing your child's diaper on a restaurant table.

Parents need to change diapers somewhere other than where people eat. This is as bad as the cook or server not washing their hands after having visiting the restroom. There are clear health issues involved.

There are also clear issues with only nursing our children behind closed doors. There aren't always lounges attached to ladies' restrooms. Is it possible to compare nursing my child in the restroom to you eating off that table where the diaper-changing mom committed her social faux pas?

What upsets me the most is that because of my uncertainty with the laws regarding nursing mothers and the social pressures of people like the lady who wrote the letter, I have not nursed my daughter in public. Instead I chose to bottle-feed her in public using formula. There are many positives to breastfeeding versus bottle-feeding, but social misconceptions deter many women from choosing this route with their children.

As for our lack of modesty, nursing is the primary reason women have breasts. I absolutely refuse to raise my daughter to be ashamed of her body. I may not condone her flashing strangers when she is older, but I will do what I can to show her where our society has erred in their views of women's bodies and, should she decide to have children, to hold her head high when she nurses them.

Casey Gravelle

Lewis Avenue

Breastfeeding's legal in Ohio restaurants

I'm writing in response to the Sept. 20 letter regarding women breastfeeding in public. While I am in total agreement about the inappropriateness of a woman changing her child's diaper on a restaurant table, when it comes to breastfeeding, the writer's sheer ignorance truly amazes me.

Breastfeeding moms are not exposing themselves just because they can. And I have never seen or met a nursing mother who wasn't considerate enough to make sure they and their baby were adequately covered. They are feeding their children.

It is the most natural thing that a woman can ever do for her child. Obviously, the writer knows nothing about the benefits of breastfeeding, both for the mother and the child. And, more to the point, breasts are for feeding babies. That's why God made them.

And as the writer should be aware, in the state of Ohio it is illegal to ask a breastfeeding mother to leave, go to the bathroom, or cover themselves or their child.

Just why should a breastfeeding mother have to feel as if she should hide in the bathroom to feed her baby? The next time the letter writer sees a breastfeeding mother in a restaurant, why doesn't she have her meal served in the restroom instead? Think about that.

No one would ever ask a bottle feeding mother to cover her baby or feed the child in the bathroom or the car. Discrimination against breastfeeding mothers needs to end. There really are much bigger issues in thisworld to worry about.

By the way, I am the mother of a 10-month-old boy, and I do not breastfeed him.

Kimberly Maxwell

Clyde, Ohio

If nursing offends, then just look away

I was completely incensed when I read the Sept. 20 letter comparing breastfeeding children in public to changing their diapers in public. What kind of a woman would suggest that a baby be fed in a bathroom? Suggesting that infants be nursed in a bathroom is tantamount to saying that they do not have the same rights as the rest of us humans to eat in a clean, pleasant environment.

Would the letter writer like to take her meals in a bathroom stall? If she is uncomfortable with the thought of breasts being bared (gasp!) to feed young (mammalian) humans, perhaps she should just look away.

And, no, children's diapers should not be changed at restaurant tables.

Maren Roush

Pinckney, Mich.

What should we call beating of white kid?

I have to respond to the Jena 6 situation. The hanging of the nooses in Louisiana was just a sick thing to do, and I think the majority of white people agree.

If that were my son or daughter who did that, I would get them the obvious help they need.

I have always preached equality to my children and I have never been racist, although I witness racism from blacks and whites almost on a daily basis. If we marched every time we were discriminated against, I think the hate and violence would only increase.

So let me get this straight: six black kids beat one white kid. What is this called? I just wish we had a Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton to fight for our rights.

Marcia Phillips


Change is needed for a better future

The headline in The Blade on Sept. 27 should tell you whom to vote for on Nov. 6 and possibly next year's presidential election.

The headline read, "Toledo area 5th worst in study of job growth." The people of Toledo and Lucas County have been electing (on the endorsement of our unions) the same party, people, and families every year for who knows how long. Well, the results of this continued insanity are obvious. I remind all of us the definition of insanity is "doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results."

It is time for us to look for change if we want a new future. That change may come from across the aisle or just new names and/or ideas for growth. This also applies nationally. After four years of President George H.W. Bush, eight years of President Bill Clinton, and eight years of President George W. Bush, now we're looking at possibly four or eight years of Hillary Clinton.

America, are you serious? Change is good.

John Castillo

Rambo Lane

After seeing the photo of the Little Rock Nine, I wonder if that sneering young lady behind the black students has learned to let go of her hatred. I wonder if the hatred has robbed her of a happy life. I wonder if she taught her children to hate someone just because the Lord God made some people black or brown.

Hatred only serves to destroy a human mind and heart. Let it go. Ask the Lord God to help you let it go.

Marge Jones