Letters, Letters to the Editor, Opinion

Jan. 7 letters to the editor

On abortion, Hoppy just doesn’t get it

“The data show that [post-Dobbs anti-abortion legislation] has prevented abortions within the state boundaries, but it has not stopped women from seeking abortions in other states.” — Hoppy Kercheval (DP-12-29-23).

What an absurd conclusion for anyone to draw.  For any pregnant person to travel outside this state for an abortion requires resources. Some have those resources.  For others, there are very real barriers:

  • Money for travel
  • Possibly, money for lodging (abortion access may be hours away, and some states have waiting periods)
  • Childcare (many seeking abortions are already parents)
  • Time off work
  • Transportation
  • Insurance coverage or, lacking that, cash

Even when West Virginia had an abortion provider — one provider for the whole state — many of these factors were in play.  Post-Dobbs, it has gotten worse.

Moreover, while Hoppy blithely points to a number of other states as alternatives, each has its own limitation(s) on abortion access.  That includes Ohio, most recently touted for its constitutional victory.  You can look them all up on abortionfinder.org as I did.

Hoppy just doesn’t get it.  And, obviously, he didn’t check the data before writing that gawdawful column.

Judy Ball

Slow Central American immigration with aid

West Virginia’s elected officials, economists and the media frequently discuss the state’s population decline and its impact on the state’s economic future. Hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent on economic development projects, job training, new academic opportunities and workforce development. We are concerned.

We are less concerned by the U.S. open borders policy that is stealing the future from Central American countries. Citizens from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador are crossing our border in record numbers. And they are mostly the young or young families — the future of these countries.

Through 2022, 1.1 million Guatemalans crossed the border — about 6% of its population; 1.6 million from Honduras — about 16% of its population; and 1.4 million from El Salvador — about 22% of its population.

During 2022, U.S. Border Patrol had 231,565 encounters with people from Guatemala; 213,023 from Honduras; and 97,030 from El Salvador.

The Congressional Research Service, in a November 2023 report, cites the root causes of the Central America migration: socio-economic conditions (including food insecurity) and security conditions (violence). So everyone knows the problem, but the U.S. does little to address the problem.

During 2021, the U.S. provided $118 million in economic aid to El Salvador (about the amount designated for the rebuild of the Star City interchange). Honduras received $221 million, while Guatemala received $294 million. The combined total of aid to our three neighbors approximates the amount of economic aid the U.S gave to Senegal. Most people couldn’t find the following countries on a map — Malawi, Mongolia, Zambia, Western Sahara — yet each received more aid than our neighbors.

The U.S. needs to increase aid to our Central American neighbors in order to stem the tide of youth migration into the U.S. We need to provide the people of those countries with a future.

Dennis Poluga