Letters to the Editor, June 6, 2012

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Birth control questions


When I was in my 20s and lived in central Pennsylvania, I became involved with the issues of women’s reproductive health through volunteer work at a family planning clinic. Later I was hired by the clinic and worked as an outreach clinic aide and education coordinator. I left my job when I had my first child but went on to serve on the clinic’s board of directors. It was through all of these experiences that I became a lifetime advocate for women’s reproductive health and rights issues.

So I was very glad to see the announcement of the opening of the new Jewish Women’s Care Center in Shelbyville (“Jewish opens practice for women,“ June 1). My enthusiasm for the concept, however, was tempered by a nagging question.

The statements made by Dr. Kim Alumbaugh gave the impression that the services offered would “cover every aspect of a woman’s health” and would “offer the full gamut of services necessary for women’s optimum health.” The story summarized her statements by saying “She stresses that those services include family planning counseling, prescription medications and all procedures related to women’s reproductive health.”

She admits that this range of care does not include procedures (perhaps also referrals for procedures) that would violate their “contractual” agreements with CHI, which, of course, includes the Catholic Church’s Ethical and Religious Directives for Medical Health Care. Specifically those procedures would include abortion, sterilization and certain medical treatments or procedures usually used for miscarriage and/or tubal pregnancies.

However, these directives also do not allow the birth-control pill to be discussed, dispensed or prescribed. The birth-control pill is and has been for many years a central part of women’s reproductive health care. So the question that I think needs to be answered very clearly for the women of Shelby County is, will this new center offer the birth-control pill either by counseling on their usage and direct offering of supplies or by prescription to be filled at a pharmacy?

Everything I have learned and read about hospital mergers with Catholic systems says that the pill cannot be offered. So, if this new center in Shelbyville does offer it – and Jewish Hospital systems has carved out an agreement with CHI to that effect – this would be very big news in the world of hospital mergers.

On the other hand, if the new women’s center can not offer the birth control pill or other methods of birth control because of the Catholic directives agreements, then the women of Shelby County who are thinking of seeking care and treatment at the center should definitely, in my view, know that up front.

I am hoping that either Dr. Alumbaugh or the new staff at the Jewish Women’s Center will clear up this question directly, not particularly to satisfy my concerns, but to facilitate an open relationship with the women who will be their patients.

Linda Allewalt



Souder’s focus


In reading Chuck Souder's  Faith and Family column (“All is ‘fair’ in love and taxes – at least to some,” May 18), I wonder: Where's the faith? Where's the family? Not once are these topics mentioned in his recent article.

Instead, we're treated to another column filled with Mr. Souder's political opinions, mixed in with a few illustrations and stories, along with some misleading, non-referenced facts.”

These are all well and good, as far as they go, but it strikes me as a misnomer. We're not really reading about faith or about family. We're reading explanations of Souder's political agenda. Perhaps his columns could be renamed? Has The Sentinel-Newsconsidered offering a point-counterpoint set of columns to give voice to other political insights? I’d sure like to see it, and I'm sure others would as well.

Jane Elkin Thomas

Kudos for fundraiser


Thank goodness for people like Sophia Sanchez. In spite of an  anonymous naysayer (“Anonymous kills Election Day fundraiser,” May 11), she collected donations at the Shelby County Animal Shelter all day long on Election Day. Kudos to her for doing good work. She is a credit to our community.  By the way, I've got five dogs that came from the shelter, and I swear I can't tell if they're Democrats or Republicans.

Leslie McBride