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Newsday letters to the editor for Friday, Oct. 20, 2017

Birth control pills

Birth control pills Credit: Newsday/David Pokress

Soliders were hurt rescuing deserter

In “Bergdahl pleads guilty” [News, Oct. 17], The Associated Press reported that Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl pleaded guilty to desertion and endangering his comrades.

However, the story didn’t mention that President Barack Obama traded five formerly high-ranking Taliban prisoners for this deserter. Brave soldiers were seriously injured rescuing him.

Arthur J. French, Wainscott

Effects of new Trump rule on contraception

On Oct. 7, President Donald Trump issued a new rule replacing the coercive mandate that all employers, including religious charities like the Little Sisters of the Poor, must provide goods and services which clearly contradicted their deeply held religious beliefs [“Outreach to Dems on health,” News, Oct. 8].

The rule asserts the protection of conscience and religious liberty as provided in our Constitution and First Amendment.

In 2012, when the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued this mandate, more than 100 leaders and scholars of many different religions issued an open letter in criticism. They noted that although they might differ on doctrine, they each understood such an imposition by government to be destructive of religious liberty for all.

The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which defended the Little Sisters of the Poor before the U.S. Supreme Court, said of Trump’s action, “The rule strikes a balance between contraceptive access and religious liberty by retaining the Obama administration’s contraceptive mandate but adding a targeted religious exemption.”

Barbara Samuells, Dix Hills

Editor’s note: The writer is the president of Catholics for Freedom of Religion, an educational and advocacy organization.

We all saw it coming, but it was still a shock when the Trump administration rolled back the Obama-era birth control mandate, allowing more employers to refuse to provide contraceptive health coverage for female employees.

The administration did this despite studies in which researchers found strong links between the decline in the abortion rate and the availability of highly effective contraception.

From a party that professes to be pro-life, this seems counter-productive, but this administration has ignored scientific evidence when it doesn’t support its agenda. I can only see one reason for this action: The administration doesn’t want young people to have sex. And I say young people, because nobody seems to object to Viagra.

Rosanne Manfredi, Bay Shore

Reform would hurt fixed-income singles

Senior single homeowners would be dramatically hit by higher federal taxes under proposed reforms [“Tax bill called ‘punch in the gut,’ ” News, Oct. 13]. This is a slap in the face from the Republican Party, harming middle-class single senior citizens with fixed incomes — decent pensions and Social Security.

Under this proposal, the personal exemption for a single person, $4,050, would be gone. So would itemized deductions for property taxes and state and local sales taxes. The plan would offer a single deduction of $12,000; the impact to me is a loss of $3,800.

Gary Cohn, chief White House economic adviser and a supporter of the Republican tax plan, was quoted as saying, “There’s an exception to every rule. I can’t guarantee anything. You can always find a unique family somewhere.”

Well, I’m a family of one. Certainly not unique! This so-called tax reform has got to be stopped! It seems that the middle class is a sacrificial lamb. There’s no benefit to us from small business or corporate tax breaks, or the elimination of estate taxes.

Patricia Castiglione, Port Jefferson Station

Wait just a second. Two congressmen, one a Republican and one a Democrat, are putting aside their political differences and working together in the best interests of their constituents? Really? [“A tax reform punch in the gut for LI,” Opinion, Oct. 8].

I no longer thought this was possible in the divisive, partisan government and caustic media-driven culture that has evolved in our country. Regarding their commentary, Reps. Tom Suozzi and Peter King should be applauded for their efforts and emulated by all of their colleagues in Congress.

This gives me hope.

Joe Licari, St. James