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We got letters about school sports, climate change denialism and a federal 'gag rule' on doctors.

Sports reporting should include more female coverage

Hello,

My name is Mary Schorn and I am writing about some interests I have about your sports section. I am a former athlete from Banks High School and one thing I always noticed was that the male sports and athletes have always been recognized more than the female athletics. Yes, I know they might bring more attraction to your newspaper but it would be nice to see some more things about our female athletes.

Mary Schorn, Banks

Are Hillsboro schools enforcing construction deadline?

For the past 15 years or more, for exercise, I walk around the track at Hare Field as a daily routine.

Last December, the track and field was closed to the public due to the replacing of the artificial turf. The signs on the fence read that it would be closed from Dec. 11 to March 8 of this year. In order to keep up with my exercise, I now walk in the surrounding neighborhood.

Ever since Dec. 11, I've only seen work crews there about 40 percent of the time. The new turf is down but not completed by any means. I sent an email to the superintendent of Hillsboro public schools asking why this was the case. I never heard back from him. (Strange, no one emailed or called.)

I'm hoping that the school district signed a contract with this company stipulating that the job must be finished by the stated date of March 8 or a daily financial penalty would be incurred. Since schools are the highest portion of my yearly property tax, I wonder how wisely that money is really being spent.

Jerry Schneider, Hillsboro

Willful delusion to dismiss human-caused climate change

Concerning the opinions of both Charles Starr ("Increased carbon dioxide levels are good for us," Citizen's View, Jan. 30, 2019) and Allan Vanderzanden ("What about 'global cooling?,'" letter to the editor, Feb. 20, 2019) claiming climate change is a hoax, I learned a while ago that for a person to hold those views requires denial and political stridency such that no argument will dislodge. To escape the conclusion that climate change is real and human-caused, you literally have to hide from the facts. You also need to be sufficiently arrogant as to deny science altogether.

Refer to Charles Starr's commentary about climate change, published Jan. 30, 2019.

Climate change is not disputed in the scientific community. Only the timeframe before it gets much worse and the order of failing natural systems is in dispute. The cause and reality are well established.

Those things are certainly disputed in some political circles and vociferously so as we see in their missives. Seeing comments such as theirs is a reminder of the times in which we live and the lengths deniers will go to pretend to be informed. The facts of climate change and global warming are plentiful and frequently and widely repeated. They are also ominous.

Eric Canon, Forest Grove

Greenhouse gases are a climate determinant too

Letter-writer Allan Vanderzanden is correct in that the sun does power a planet's climate system. However, its atmosphere also has a profound impact. For example, although Mercury is closer to the sun, Venus is hotter because its atmosphere is mostly carbon dioxide.

Refer to Allan Vanderzanden's letter, published as part of our Feb. 20, 2019, mailbag.

In its report, "America's Climate Choices," the National Academy of Sciences states that climate change "is very likely caused primarily by the emission of greenhouse gases from human activities," and it calls for strong national action and international cooperation to address it.

The NAS contends that this is wise risk management, because climate impacts will last for hundreds to thousands of years, but climate action can be scaled back if it is shown to be more stringent than what is needed.

Climate change should be a bridge, rather than a wedge issue. I'm heartened that the bipartisan Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act was recently reintroduced in the House of Representatives. Let's work together on climate solutions.

Terry Hansen, Hales Corners, Wis.

Patients should be able to get honest advice from doctors

President Donald Trump's new gag rule is disastrous policy that will disproportionately impact communities of color, making existing barriers to health care for people of color even worse. It "gags" doctors and prevents them from telling patients about all of their options, including abortion. It also threatens to block access to birth control, cancer screenings and other basic services at reproductive healthcare clinics.

As a physician, the idea of withholding information or knowingly not offering patients access to available services is antithesis of patient-centered care and, in this case, disproportionately impacts people who can become pregnant who would not otherwise be able to identify and access those services on their own. These kinds of policies are very, very dangerous.

Due to structural inequalities and the role of systemic racism in access to care, women of color rely on the Title X program at higher rates than white women. Of Planned Parenthood Columbia Willamette's Title X patients in Oregon, 5 percent identify as black or African American and 22 percent identify as Hispanic or Latino.

There is already a massive divide between who does and doesn't have healthcare in Oregon. Research shows that the barriers to health care that many women of color face often result in delayed diagnoses, higher rates of breast and cervical cancer, and increased mortality rates for breast cancer.

It's clear that the current administration is punishing community members who are the most impacted by health, education and economic inequities — the communities who continue to be targeted by racist, homophobic, xenophobic and ableist policies and laws.

We must reject Trump's attack on the nation's family planning program and fight back against this new attempt to deny communities in Oregon access to reproductive healthcare.

Dr. Zeenia Junkeer

Director, Oregon Health Equity Alliance


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