Women's health care undermined again; Health care for women under attack; Give gift of music to AMS students;

Health care for women faces 'serious' threat

In the midst of a national health crisis, with 17 million women in need of publicly funded family planning, the Bush administration is poised to politicize reproductive health care services, including birth control. His "Provider Conscience Regulation" poses a serious threat to women's health care by limiting the rights of patients to receive complete and accurate health information and services.

At a time when more and more families are uninsured and under economic assault, we find our health care system is in crisis and our president taking steps to deny access to basic care. We cannot let women's ability to manage their own health care be compromised by politics and ideology.

This is just one more example of how the Bush administration puts politics in the exam room.

I cannot stand by and watch the Bush administration and Secretary Levitt deny quality, affordable health care and accurate information to women.

Sheryl Alderson

Medford

Give gift of music to AMS students

Another school year is beginning and, once again, our middle school band program is overflowing with eager and enthusiastic students wanting to play in band for the first time in their lives.

Sadly, some are not able to afford to get an instrument on their own. And because of the popularity of our band program at AMS, we are suffering from a shortage of rental instruments.

Perhaps you have an instrument at your house that has not been used in years and you are wondering what to do with it? Please consider donating it to the Ashland Middle School Band program.

The school office is open every weekday from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and they will gladly accept your donation and pass it on to me in our band program. You can also contact me directly at jenifer.carstensen@ashland.k12.or.us.

It is my hope that all students who want to play in band this year have the opportunity to learn to play the instrument of their choice!

Jenifer Carstensen

AMS Band Director

Women's health care undermined

Family planning is a crucial component to basic health care for women. The current administration is once again trying to undermine women's access to complete and accurate health information and services.

On Aug. 22, the Tidings published an article titled "HHS: Doctors can refuse to give abortions," which outlined the new proposed "Provider Conscience" regulation which would allow health providers to refuse to provide family planning services to women. The regulation is intentionally vague, complicating the law instead of clarifying it, which leaves health care services and information open to personal interpretation and political agendas.

Once again, low income women are the ones that will suffer the most. Today, 17 million women need and use publicly funded family planning services. The current administration continues to compromise women's health care by bringing politics and ideology into a woman's decision regarding family planning. This is out of step with the American electorate with 73 percent supporting policies that make it easier for women at all income levels to obtain accurate and complete information regarding contraceptives.

The last eight years have not been good for women's health as the quality, the affordability and the access to accurate information has been reduced. There are still four months left for this administration to abuse its authority by pressing its own ideological and political agenda at the expense of women's health care — four more months to use the regulatory process to stretch beyond Congress' intent and undermine health care access for women.

Contact Secretary Leavitt and urge him to NOT make this rule final.

Regina Ayars

Ashland

Support George Kramer for mayor

It is with great pleasure that I support the candidacy of George Kramer for City of Ashland Mayor.

I have been privileged to work with George on a number of campaigns to preserve historic buildings in Ashland and have found him to be a talented and dedicated advocate for the cultural resources of our community and its livability.

George possesses a wonderful fusion of the traits necessary to be a strong and effective public servant for the city. His experience navigating the arena of pubic policy is stellar, but he tempers that experience with the ability to listen and address the concerns of citizens and ultimately reach the compromise necessary for effective governance.

Ashland is a special community that will be facing great challenges in the months and years ahead. Declining school enrollments, inflated housing costs and the lack of living wage jobs are but a few of the issues that our next mayor will face in partnership with our involved citizenry.

We have the opportunity to elect someone that will represent our entire community and work to bridge the gaps that have, in some cases, made the political process in Ashland a toxic endeavor.

I have always felt that we have what it takes as citizens to literally and figuratively rise together as a city and to put aside our differences and bask in the common ground that I so know we share.

Like any movement, all it takes is someone — in this case a candidate — of vision. George Kramer is that candidate.

Alexander Krach

Ashland