Texas abortion ban unconstitutional

After a woman is forced to give birth to an unexpected and unwanted child (unwanted for a financial or physical reason, or because of assault), the states banning abortions have an ethical obligation to fund more child care, day care, and medical and educational resources to support that child and the mother. Or what’s his/her future going to be?

Having worked in East Harlem, New York, for nearly 10 years, I can give a reasonable guess about that future, because our culture values lives differently and the allocation of state funds tells the story. “Follow the money” I keep hearing everyone say.

But another very dark side to abortion bans is that they force women into back-alley abortions done by sketchy “medical” people. The woman pays cash, undergoes the procedure in unsanitary conditions and hopes she’ll survive without infections or hemorrhaging or dying. Some do and some don’t. The ones who don’t may leave other children behind whose futures are now questionable.

If a state passed a law requiring men to have a vasectomy after the birth of a second child or by the age of 35, the outcry would crumble mountains and shatter windows. Well, folks, that’s what government “birth control” feels like.

I’ve done some research, and a state law cannot override a federal law unless it’s providing more rights to its citizenry. The Texas law is directed at the suppression of women. It targets women only, it violates only women’s rights and it is clearly unconstitutional.

Phyllis W. Sommer


Listen to veterans

“No day shall erase you from the memory of time.” — Virgil

Twenty years ago, our world was changed forever. On Sept. 11, 2001, most of us witnessed an act of cowardice and terror that has left generations searching for answers, answers that many are still looking for. The courage and commitment of our military and their families has been tested time and time again since that fateful day and the resilience of our warriors has been on display. Through it all we have seen the best of what this nation has to offer through the service of the men and women who stood up to the challenge and led when others would not. Now is the time to listen.

Listen to those who have served, not just in the last 20 years, but in all conflicts where the bravest of the nation have answered the call of service when asked to step up. Open your ears and listen, there are many stories to be told. Some of great valor and sacrifice, and some of terror and dismay. All the stories need to be heard, we owe it to all of the veterans who struggle with the impacts of war trauma during the darkest hours of the night and when they wake every morning. Reach out to your friends and family members who have been touched by military service … and listen.

Our nation remains grateful for the security we have lived under since that fateful day. Our call to action is to redouble our efforts to support our military, veterans, their families and the families of the fallen. The needs of this most cherished population are not going away, but will continue to evolve as new challenges emerge impacting those exposed to the vileness of armed conflict.

Col. Duncan S. Milne (Ret.)


Open letter to Sen. Susan Collins

Given your stated position on a woman’s right to choose whether to bear a child, I expect you to sign on as a cosponsor of S. 1975, the all-important Women’s Health Protection Act. Since the Texas law has gone unchallenged by our Supreme Court, it is imperative that Congress pass S. 1975. It is the only way we can preserve the separation of church and state, a founding principle of this country. It is the only way we can protect a 15-year-old (or younger!) victim of rape or incest. We must stand up in solidarity for the right of our children to grow up to live a decent life, unburdened by the baggage of an unwanted child.

Diane Oltarzewski


Waldo County breaks the silence

With domestic abuse awareness month coming up in October, Waldo County should be very proud of being ahead of the curve by four months in hosting the Finding Our Voices https://findingourvoices.net  Waldo County Breaks the Silence of Domestic Abuse art/poetry exhibit.

The theme of the June event was Love/not love circled in yellow, with civic and business leaders, merchants, and artists and poets coming together to make a beautiful noise around decrying gender-based violence and supporting victims/survivors.

The online silent auction raised $12,500 to move forward our many projects including a Get Out/Stay Out direct-giving fund and outreach in schools, including the full set of Say Something posters, featuring the faces and voices of 38 Maine survivors aged 18 to 81, in every bathroom stall in the Camden/Rockport high school this year.

Thank you to my worker bee-peeps Mj Viano Crowe, Amy Tingle, Alice Seeger, Ruby Day, Kathryn Shagas, Elizabeth Garber, Karin Spitfire and Linda Buckmaster.

Thank you to the business sponsors, First National Bank, Mathews Brothers, Maritime Energy, Cold Mountain Builders, Viking Lumber and Safe House.

Thank you to the 65 Waldo County artists and poets who created/contributed work to the theme and the owners/managers of the 55 Belfast businesses that displayed the art and poetry as well as the huge window banners, and a shout-out to Sheriff Jeffrey Trafton and Police Chief Gerry Lincoln for lending their powerful voices and big windows, too. And a big thank you to the 38 survivor-warriors whose faces and voices grace our banners.

Thank you to Mayor Eric Sanders and Neal Harkness, Paul Dean, Brenda Bonneville, Mike Hurley, and Mary Mortier for proclaiming  June, Belfast Breaks the Silence of Domestic Abuse Month, and allowing 45 windows of the City Hall to be turned into an outside gallery. Thank you to Norman Gilmore for helping to put up the City Hall-window show and keep it looking good, to Norm Poirier for facilitating the poetry reading in the Park on Main, and to Manda Cushman for smoothing the way for all  this town participation.

Thank you to Brenda Harrington of the Belfast Free Library for giving so lovingly of her time, talent and exhibit space and to Kim Fleming, Laura Sheinkopf, Bridget Matros and Chris Battaglia of Waterfall Arts,  and thank you to Sarah Reynolds,  Chris  Crockett and Kristy Curtis of The Republican Journal for broadcasting  word about our event, and about domestic abuse in the community.  Thank you to Abigail Curtis for her very fine article in the Bangor Daily News.

Together, louder; together, stronger; together, we did make children and women safer, in our community and beyond!

Patrisha McLean,


Finding Our Voices