Response to Tom Cable | Guest column

by Monica Harrington

In a recent column, Tom Cable, chair of the local PIMC advisory board managed to hurl personal insults, trivialize my support for the Reproductive Privacy Act and Death with Dignity Act, and assert that his chosen candidate, Jenny Ledford, is honest, straightforward, and always constructive.

I’m going to disregard the personal insults.  As far as the Reproductive Privacy Act and Death with Dignity Acts are concerned, islanders voted overwhelmingly to enact these laws and it’s my belief that our public funds should support access to the services protected under those laws.

His chosen candidate Jenny Ledford, who spoke out at a Tea Party rally against the Affordable Care Act, has said publicly she believes Planned Parenthood will be defunded. She thinks this is a good thing.  I don’t.  I’m proud to support Planned Parenthood because I know it provides important health services to hundreds of islanders.

Currently, up to 97 percent of our public funding over a 50-year period must be turned over to a religious institution that says on its website that it “neither promotes nor condones” contraception, forbids any participation with Death with Dignity, and prohibits “direct” abortion even in the case of a condition that threatens a mother’s life.

Related to all of this, very recently, the director of UW’s Department of Family Planning, Dr. Sarah Prager, saw a patient who was turned away and advised to seek help elsewhere after having been seen in a Catholic hospital in WA State where she was told she had an ectopic pregnancy.  Dr. Prager said “this is simply malpractice in every sense of the word and put this woman’s life at risk.”

I wonder if Tom Cable understands that restricting medical care for religious reasons has sometimes devastating consequences in real life.  I also wonder if he understands the real-life consequences when working islanders have to pay more than a thousand dollars for an out-patient visit like an earache or a dog bite that previously cost a few hundred dollars at IIMC.

I believe we need local control and effective oversight of our public tax dollars to help ensure patients can get the care they need over the life of the 50-year contract.  In my view, PeaceHealth needs to be upfront about the services it does and doesn’t provide, and the public hospital taxing district needs to be able to fund services PeaceHealth chooses not to provide elsewhere.

We also need to build a trustable, sustainable EMS budget that this community will support.  The lack of effective management and oversight (which resulted in two failed levies) is an important issue, and one I’m motivated to solve.