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  • Thursday, February 28, 2008 9:21am


Article did not tell the whole story

The closing of Sound Women’s Care midwifery service was a blow to all women in the region. This practice provides important alternatives for women giving birth. Unfortunately, Mr. Sheets’ article (The Enterprise, March 7) was misleading, and failed to offer a balanced view of the situation.

The nurse-midwives at Sound Women’s Care are all nationally certified, highly trained professionals who specialize in prenatal, labor and delivery, and postpartum care. Midwives offer care that is individualized, flexible, supportive rather than interventive, and attentive to emotional issues.

The article stated incorrectly that “an obstetric physician must be present at every midwife-attended birth, doubling costs for the clinic.” In fact, at over 90 percent of the births attended by Sound Women’s Care midwives, doctors are not present. Obstetricians become involved only if the woman develops serious complications. Midwives’ lower reliance on expensive interventions such as C-sections, epidurals, and instrumental deliveries reduce labor and delivery costs by as much as 60 percent. Furthermore, a midwife’s continuous presence with a laboring woman results in less nursing resources needed.

A source quoted in the article also suggests that the midwifery service does not attract new patients. In fact, the three midwives at Sound Women’s Care are in high demand, attending over 14 percent of the births at Stevens Hospital last year. The number of midwife-attended births in the U.S. more than doubled from 1989-2000.

Most importantly, midwifery challenges the pervasive assumption that childbirth is a high-risk event. We choose midwives because they work within a model that believes nature is superior to technology, that pregnancy and birthing are normal processes, and that women and babies benefit greatly from care that reflects these beliefs.



Tax system

Income tax won’t help fix anything

It seems to me that those stumping for an income tax on the basis of fairness somehow miss that the ultimate unfairness to most of us is not getting what we pay for. In case the message of the Eyman measure isn’t clear enough, voters see services in return for taxes as a value proposition in which they still feel like they aren’t getting services equal to the taxes paid. They want to get more services or pay less taxes. They may be hopelessly ignorant, but it really is that simple.

Over the past 40 years, the only time our tax system has needed “serious reform” or “comprehensive tax restructuring” was when the state’s wish list wasn’t adequately funded. Remember that no one suggested we needed fairness or revenue neutrality, i.e. serious reform, as government spending exploded over the last 10 years because there was plenty of money coming in from the present system, even with 601 in place.

The problem isn’t anything an income tax would fix or Oregon, wholly reliant on an income tax, would not be trying now for the 10th time to get a sales tax passed. Virtually every state in America is facing budget shortfalls like Washington’s, yet we are only one of a handful without an income tax. Do you think their citizens feel an income tax is somehow more fair? If you do you should read the polls coming out of Oregon, California or New York.

The problem is that as the overall economy contracts, government shows very little will, nor any proclivity to the same economic elasticity. “Reform” and “restructuring” are merely labels for finding more tax revenues even as the private economy struggles. The government wish list is sacrosanct, while those of the private citizens must yield to economic reality. This mechanism ratchets up the cost of government like a boa constrictor which tightens its grip every time its victim takes a new breath.


Mountlake Terrace

Materials of war

Radioactive poison

is a major hazard

Because I highly value human life, I continue to be mindful of the quality of our natural environment. I am alarmed when I see something as lethal as plutonium and uranium scattered across the landscape. The horrors that glow within the borders of New Mexico or Utah and the most deadly of all- Hanford, are a frightening backdrop to the United States military assault on the world. Yes, our society is responsible for not only radioactive poisoning of our own geography and amassing weapons, but also genocide and ecocide as far away as Iraq.

Plutonium and uranium are a lethal threat to life with an inconceivably long half-life. There is no good reason for producing nuclear weapons, the ultimate enemy of the Earth, and there is certainly no excuse for deploying them – none! After the development and use of atomic bombs in 1945, only insanity would drive humans to unleash such horrors again. Ironically, insane humans currently are making those U.S. decisions – after leaving southern Iraq, northern Kuwait and Saudi Arabia an eradiated wasteland. In the process large numbers of U.S. military personnel have become victims of this same source of radioactive poison.

It is our obligation and necessity to eradicate this insanity, and to purge our society of this poison and “weapons of mass destruction.” It is our responsibility to bring about our own “regime change” because our society is the greatest threat. It must be our choice to lead the world with cooperation, peace and sanity. “We” can best assure that there will be a future.



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