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Romney’s Forgotten Military

Monday, September 24th, 2012

When Mitt Romney was asked whether or not he regretted not mentioning the military in his acceptance speech, he laughed and suggested that he only regretted the reporter bringing it up again.  As a former lieutenant commander of the United States Navy, being forgotten by a presidential hopeful who has never himself served in the military is particularly enraging.

Mitt Romney attempted to excuse his omission of the military by stating that he simply couldn’t cover the “laundry list” of topics people want to hear in every speech.  I had no idea my commitment to this country was considered merely an item on a laundry list.  His comments on the matter were especially shocking, since he is so adamant about sending troops overseas.  It appears he would freely use the services of our brave young men and women in fighting wars, but does not feel it important to mention them in his attempt to become our next President.  Approximately 2.3 million Americans have served in Iraq and Afghanistan to fight for freedom there.  While Romney and Ryan are certainly in support of the war, they don’t seem to care about the individuals who make up our troops.  Neither Paul Ryan nor any of Mitt Romney’s five strapping sons have volunteered for the military (or even government service), yet they thrive and have become wealthy until the blanket of freedom provided by our armed forces.   Governor Mitt Romney is more than willing to send other people’s children to war and possible death, while his sons remain safe and secure at home.  Paul Ryan stated that he had sent men and women to war, as if he really cared about them.  However, it takes more then sending our young men and women to war; they also need to be brought home alive and well.  Ironically, Paul Ryan voted against protecting veteran’s benefits and supported cutting veteran’s programs.

As a veteran and physician, it worries me greatly that men who want to lead our country would so easily send our young men and women to war, yet not care about them nor take care of those veterans upon their return.  From this war, there are currently 50,000 wounded veterans, 80,000 still fighting over seas, and 6,512 dead.  How many more have to die before Romney and Ryan remember the cost of an American life?


When Did My Uterus Become Politicians’ Business?

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

As a working mother, I have made many decisions over the years regarding my health and the health of my family.  Those decisions were always made after careful consideration that included years of education, the beliefs of my family, and my own personal needs.  Not once during those processes did I ever consult with or even consider that politicians should also be debating those decisions.  It is shocking how much interest the government is suddenly taking in women’s reproductive health.  What should be personal choices made by American women, have now become the focus of debates for men who are looking for political gains and who frankly don’t have the biological parts necessary to even consider these topics.

Because Rick Santorum felt the need to prove his belief in traditional family values, he mentioned that women who are the victims of rape, should, “make the best of a bad situation,” in regard to their unwanted pregnancies.  While this may have helped him get a few more conservatives on his side, it did nothing to stop the suffering of women who, if he had his way, would continue to live out their traumatic experience by carrying and delivering the children of their attackers.  Trying to prevent unintended pregnancies altogether is even too much for Committee Republicans to keep their hands off of these days.  They would like to eliminate $12 billion of healthcare funding that would otherwise go to preventive services.  This would reduce access not only to birth control, but also cancer screenings and other types of care and services, especially those used by low-income women.  Republican Candidate Mitt Romney would like to create tax cuts that would benefit millionaires, hoping to spur job growth, but those cuts would come at a cost to programs that help women.  Obama seems just as puzzled by this as many American women, saying, “These are folks who claim to believe in freedom from government interference and meddling. But it doesn’t seem to bother them when it comes to a woman’s health.” The absence of women in power has become very obvious because of these issues.  Hopefully, they will inspire more women to vote and maybe even to run for office.

No matter what her position, every woman has the right to make her own decisions regarding her health, including her reproductive health.  Pressure from politicians, employers, and religious organizations should have no influence on her decision.  It is up to each individual woman to decide what beliefs to follow.  That’s why it is so great to be American in the first place.  We have certain freedoms that allow us to live our lives the way we choose.  While talking points like women’s reproductive health can mean big business for bureaucrats, they’re interfering with the personal freedoms of women and decisions that are, frankly, none of their business.

— Yvonne S. Thornton, M. D., M. P. H.