HB 2232 could undo any city ordinance
A delegate was quoted in The Dominion Post on Sunday, Jan. 30, saying, “we have finally seen come to fruition what many people have been working on … A business climate that’s caught national attention and can really set the stage for the transition into a true 21st-century economy here in West Virginia.”
Unfortunately, proposed House Bill 2232 works counter to the above. If passed, it requires municipalities to have a referendum and recall of any ordinance or city code provision previously enacted if there is a petition of 15% of votes in the last election.
Imagine all city ordinances and code provisions being subject to referendum and recall no matter what the subject, no matter when enacted. Morgantown’s municipal code Sec. 361.02. specifies how police may remove illegally stopped vehicles — subject to voter recall. Ordinance No. 2021-32 recommended by the Human Rights Commission and passed by city council prohibits conversion therapy — subject to recall. Ord. 2020-21 relating to electric vehicle charging stations — subject to recall.
We at the LGBTQ Task Force and the First Presbyterian Church recognize the potential for mischief and the jeopardy created by the tenuousness of governmental practices. Our democracy defers to decision making by elected representatives and professional civil servants.
As a community of faith striving to model the hospitality of Christ, we value our local LGBTQ+ community members and support the local protection these ordinances provide: ensuring a safe and welcoming community for all our neighbors. This is the future so many of us desire.
Let’s ensure the stage we set for the transition into a true 21st century that maintains a predictable, progressive business and social climate in Morgantown. Tell your legislators to work against HB 2232.
George Lilley and Mavis Grant
Racial oppression used in anti-abortion message
On the first day of Black History Month, Delegate Danielle Walker received a threatening email that contained an image of a klansman and a hateful, racist message. This wasn’t the first time that our elected representative — the only Black woman serving in the Legislature — has been targeted or confronted with a violent intimidation tactic.
This time, Delegate Walker was targeted because of her advocacy in support of abortion access. No matter your personal views on abortion, we should all agree that people should not be made to feel unsafe because of their beliefs. We each have our own personal opinions about abortion. No one is asking anyone to change their beliefs or force them on another person.
But for Delegate Walker and many people in the Mountain State, this is about protecting legal access to a medical procedure — one that one in four women will have in their lifetime. We believe that each person should be able to get quality, affordable health care, no matter who they are, where they live or how much money is in their bank account.
Black women face multiple, systemic barriers to affordable, quality health care. Black women often feel shame and trauma about their decision to have an abortion. To reduce abortion stigma, we must normalize discussions of sex and abortion in our communities.
Abortion is a common experience that should not be shamed, judged or seen as a right only for specific communities. And it should concern all of us that the anti-abortion movement in West Virginia is using racial oppression to push ideologies that aim to take away a person’s right to make decisions about their body, their family and their future.
It is up to each of us to ensure that West Virginia does not stand for racism, hate and bigotry.
Abortion is a ‘matter of morality,’ not choice
The Jan. 26 editorial opposes proposed legislation HB 4004, which would ban abortions after 15 weeks gestation. The editorial observes that this legislation would add more obstacles to an already difficult process to obtain an abortion. The editorial claims Dean Jeffries, vice chair of the Health and Human Resources committee, being a man, could not possibly appreciate the difficulties a pregnant woman must endure: a ballooning body, morning sickness, changes in mood and personality, possible lost job opportunities and other social stigmas. It also states that the committees that must deal with HB 4004 are overwhelmingly staffed by men. The clear implication is that being male disqualifies a person from making intelligent decisions about this legislation.
Without citing any evidence, the article has denigrated every man involved with this legislation. Unfortunately this is not the most disturbing aspect of this editorial. Science tells us fetus heartbeats can be detected as early as six weeks. When does life begin? Will new technology be able to detect a heartbeat earlier? When is it acceptable to intentionally stop a beating heart? It’s not just a fetus, it’s a baby!
The Supreme Court has unbelievably declared a corporation to be a person, but not a fetus — which is also unbelievable! The editorial clearly considers the inconvenience and discomfort of pregnancy to be justification to take the life of a baby. It’s not a question of men vs. women, or even women’s rights. It’s a matter of morality. How do we justify stopping a beating heart? Although I would prefer HB 4004 to be even stronger, I’m trusting the Legislature to do the right thing — pass it.
CON law hinders midwifery services
As a member of the Midwives’ Alliance of West Virginia, a group that is strongly in favor of eliminating West Virginia’s Certificate of Need law, I was very disappointed by the message of Janett Green’s commentary, which appeared in The Dominion Post Feb. 6.
Ms. Green is in favor of keeping the CON law; however, this law has restricted many of my colleagues from being able to start birth centers and expand midwifery services, especially in underserved areas of our state.
The irony here is that Ms. Green represents hospice associations, which deal with death and dying, while my group represents providers who deal with birth. Surely, we need good laws that protect and promote excellent services at both ends of life. Choosing one over the other makes no sense.
Ms. Green mentions that California had to take extra steps to introduce legislation to address the problems their hospice system experienced after their CON bill was eliminated. Her message is that we can avoid those extra steps by keeping the CON law. But this is a very shortsighted view. The larger view is to eliminate the CON law for the many providers who would benefit, but also to be ready to take extra legislative steps, as needed, to safeguard any of our health care systems, such as hospice, that might need specific safeguards.
Keep your cat safe inside your home
Every county in West Virginia has a serious and sad problem — too many homeless cats. Last year, the Monongalia County Canine Adoption Center took in over 800 cats — almost 50% were euthanized.
Every cat accepted at our county shelter was transported there by, or on behalf of, a county resident.
Cats can become “homeless” when they run away, become lost or are intentionally abandoned. Unfortunately, many people think cats can survive on their own, but their survival depends on instincts that domestic cats often lack. Homeless cats are called strays. If they survive, they will become feral, and every kitten born to a stray cat will be feral. Un-spayed cats can have three litters per year if the winter is mild, starting as young as 4 months old.
Cats that live outside or are allowed to go in and out of the home are more vulnerable to disease and death than cats that are always kept indoors. Outside the home, cats are more vulnerable to predators, can be injured or killed by cars, can be accidentally or intentionally poisoned and are exposed to wildlife carrying rabies. Parasites like fleas and ticks can be carried into the home and pose a health risk to everyone.
Outside, cats are also exposed to serious and deadly diseases. Feline leukemia, feline AIDS and feline coronavirus are transmitted by sharing an outside toilet area (your garden). The coronavirus can mutate into feline infectious peritonitis that is 100% fatal. Abscesses, which occur when cats fight, are one of the main ways feline leukemia and AIDS viruses are transmitted. Distemper and herpes are airborne diseases — a simple sneeze can infect your cat.
Extraordinary efforts are being made locally to control our homeless cat population through trap/neuter/return and spay/neuter voucher programs. When you spay and neuter your pets, you eliminate “oops” litters, reduce their drive to mate and also eliminate the potential of some types of cancer.
In honor of International Spay Month, founded by Betty White, keep your cats safe at home and get them fixed.
Though not explicit, Bible is anti-abortion
Regarding Rev. Wes Bergen’s essay “The Bible is not anti-abortion” (DP-02-05-22) …
We strongly disagree! Although the Bible says nothing directly about abortion, anyone that knows God also knows that he is anti-abortion. He would not approve of the over 65 million babies killed in the last 50 years! He makes it perfectly clear in #6 of The 10 Commandments: “Thou shalt not kill,” in Luke 1:39-41: “the unborn John leaped in Elizabeth’s womb” and in Psalm 139, verse 13: “for You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb.” We could go on and on.
Our Bible is all about love and the sanctity of life.
We say … choose life!
Bill and Harriett Van Voorhis
Put McKinley’s seniority to work in new District 2
First District Congressman David McKinley (R-W.Va.) has shown a willingness to take on the tough jobs in public service for over three decades.
Prior to his current service in Congress, McKinley served in a dual role as a member of the House of Delegates from Ohio County and as State GOP Chair.
This was during the time when Republicans were in the minority in West Virginia. McKinley learned how to advocate his party’s issues even when the going was rough.
As our congressman, McKinley has proven tenacious and effective. Whether in helping to advocate for job creation across his district, grilling Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg about controlled substances being sold on his platform or ensuring that the hearing impaired get the medical devices they need, McKinley gets the job done.
With his seniority after 12 years in the House of Representatives, McKinley is in a great position to advance north-central West Virginia’s views on major committees if the Republicans take over after the elections this year.
North-central West Virginia will determine this contest in the May Republican primary. Let’s keep someone who knows our area of the state well.
Let’s keep Congressman McKinley.
Stephen N. Reed