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Every woman deserves preventative health care

In a recent piece titled "Proposed rule worries Catholic health workers," Douglas Turner completely misses the point of the new Department of Health and Human Services guidelines on women's preventative health services that must be covered under the Affordable Care Act. Besides contraception, these guidelines require that new health insurance plans cover such services as well-woman visits, HPV testing, counseling for sexually transmitted infections, counseling and screening for HIV, breastfeeding support and supplies, domestic violence screening and screening for gestational diabetes. Turner suggests religiously affiliated employers -- even those engaged in secular activities -- like a hospital, be allowed an exemption from covering birth control for the women they employ.

At medical practices like Planned Parenthood, we hear from women every day who are struggling to find affordable health insurance or to pay for basic health care, including birth control. In fact, 98 percent of American women rely on contraception at some point in their lives, regardless of religious affiliation.

Birth control is an integral part of a woman's preventative health care. It has both a financial and a public health impact on society. The new HHS guidelines will help ensure contraception is available for women if they choose it. Isn't this something that all American women deserve, no matter where they go for care and no matter where they work?

Karen J. Nelson

Chief Executive Officer, Planned Parenthood of Western New York

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High court should uphold school voucher program

Because it is beneficial to Catholic schooling, so the opponents argue, Indiana's school voucher program is violative of our nation's church-state separation principle (Aug. 29 News).

"Not so," say its supporters. A parent's/guardian's action in redeeming a government-issued school voucher at the accredited church-run school of his or her choice, they point out, is no more contrary to said principle than would be the dropping of a portion of one's income tax overpayment refund into the Sunday church collection basket.

Given the fact that the education enterprise -- like the food, housing and automobile industries -- is properly reserved to the private-sector domain, the existence of a government-run public system is, to me, simply inexplicable.

For acknowledging the non-government school sector's right to share in the arbitrarily redistributed tax pie on this particular issue, Indiana's legislature is to be applauded.

More than a few, I dare say, are salivating over a hoped-for high court ruling upholding school voucher programs nationwide.

Joseph A. Carnevale

Buffalo

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Brown shouldn't give state funds to Statler

A Sept. 2 News editorial blithely refers to the $5.3 million that Mayor Byron Brown is advocating for Mark Croce's Statler Hotel as "public money." The headline reads, "Statler deserves city help." Nowhere in that editorial is there any reference to a source of funding, other than the city. The last sentence said Brown "backs spending the public money." This needs to remain a local issue to allow city residents to voice their opinion.

On the other hand, an Aug. 31 News article refers to State Dormitory Authority funding. Here is where we need to watch the political maneuvering that will be required to fit this project within authority guidelines.

A politician can pronounce dollar numbers of any amount as easily as raindrops roll off my roof. No one in the media has made any effort to put $5.3 million into a real-world perspective. That corresponds to 100,000 New York families having $53 of their state income tax diverted from legitimate public use, to the money pit of Croce's project.

Is this any different than government using the power of eminent domain to seize private property, money in this case, to give to some other private individual? Given that Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been able to rein in some of Albany's excesses, hopefully someone there will put a stop to this flagrant abuse of state taxpayers' labors.

Donald G. Hobel

North Tonawanda

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Amherst IDA helping to create local jobs

In recent times, we have heard many negative comments regarding the Amherst Industrial Development Agency. I would like to share with readers a real success story for this organization.

Back in 2006, our local insurance agency was in need of a larger building because we were bursting at the seams in our current location. We found a piece of property just down the street that could accommodate the building we needed to build. We next approached our bank for financing and the Amherst IDA for some help with tax relief to make the project work. We were told the purpose of the IDA's help was to create jobs for our local community. The building was complete in August 2006, and we moved in with our staff of 12 people.

I am happy to report that five years after this move, we have 30 people employed at this location plus an additional six as the result of an agency purchase in Orchard Park. This growth would not have been possible without the help of the Amherst IDA, which had trust in our organization. In a very difficult economic period, this shows that the IDA's efforts are needed more than ever.

Mark E. Stahlka

President, Stahlka Agency

Williamsville

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Politicians lack desire to solve serious issues

It's time the people in this country woke up and looked at what is happening. We have serious problems and we need serious people to solve them, something we don't have on a local, state or federal level. I look at what is happening and wonder, "When was the last time a politician actually read the U.S. Constitution?" If they read it, they would see that it says, "Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed."

I'm sorry, am I missing something? I don't see political parties or party leaders listed there, I don't see lobbyists listed there, nor do I see special interests listed there. What I do see is that Congress derives its power from the consent of the people. It's time we started making it adhere to that principle again.

Or is the problem with the people? Don't people care any more about what their politicians are doing to this country? We have some of the worst politicians holding office in the history of this great nation and they keep getting re-elected time after time. Isn't it time the people started taking our country back from these politicians and having it run the way it should be run? Wake up, people. Do you really want this to continue?

Bob Merrill

West Seneca