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Sunday Letters: Bill would help patients make informed decisions

The Illinois State Capitol. | Associated Press

As an Illinois physician and medical director at Howard Brown Health Center, I was appalled by the column by an official from Illinois Right to Life and Dr. Colleen Malloy on July 21. This column seriously misrepresents the impact of Senate Bill 1564 on patients and providers in Illinois.

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This bill, awaiting Gov. Bruce Rauner’s signature, is a critical measure to amend one of the most harmful religious health care refusal laws in the country. Illinois’ current law permits health care providers to deny care, and even information, to patients based on religious objections.

Senate Bill 1564 will make certain that patients receive the information necessary to understand their medical circumstances, make informed medical decisions, and obtain the care they need. Senate Bill 1564 also is good for doctors. Regardless of personal religious objections, most health care professionals want their patients to have access to the resources they need to make informed medical decisions. Many doctors working in religious health care institutions face conflicts with their employers around this important aspect of their work. Senate Bill 1564 will resolve these conflicts and protect doctors by requiring clear protocols to ensure that no one will be threatened with discipline or termination for upholding basic medical ethics and providing standard of care information to all patients.

Senate Bill 1564 strikes a critical balance. The law will not require health care providers to perform or refer for abortion. Providers can still assert conscience-based objections, as long as there are protocols in place to ensure that the patient will not be harmed. Senate Bill 1564 simply ensures we can safely and uniformly put the best interests of our patients first when they come through the door seeking care. Every health care professional and patient should support this important bill.

Dr. Cori Blum, site medical director,

Howard Brown Health in Chicago

More choices

The Republican and Democrat conventions have picked their candidates for the presidency, and a very large number of potential American voters do not have any desire to vote for either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. There are other candidates, Gary Johnson of the Libertarian party and Jill Stein of the Green party, but the message that the media overwhelming sends with its “coverage” of the election campaign is that a vote for either of these candidates is a “wasted” vote. The media’s message is clear: each of us ought to vote, and we are stuck with the choice between Trump and Clinton.

Why? I believe the media is heavily invested in the two-party system; it views the election as a match race between two horses. It is not so much an election as it is a story, a simple one with a single winner and a single loser. A four candidate race is too nuanced for the media; it might bring out ideas about governance and about public policy that could not be captured in a short phrase or in a sound byte.

The media defends its deliberate narrowing of the election down to two candidates by asserting that the public has not shown significant interest in Johnson or in Stein. If, however, neither of these candidates is allowed by the media to appear in the public eye, how can either generate interest?

So, the media teaches us that we only have two choices even though neither of those choices is acceptable to millions. If Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are the only choices, it is because the media have chosen to use their power to make it so.

Bert Rice, Hyde Park

True danger

Admittedly, this is a pretty easy test. If you are a presidential candidate addressing the issue of a likely foreign hacking of your opponent’s emails that might well constitute an act of illegal espionage, you should: A) condemn in the strongest terms any possible illegal activity by any foreign person or entity, or B) request that that a foreign entity possessing the emails provide you with the fruits of the illegal activity hoping that you can use them for your personal political gain. Warning: if you picked “B”, you affirmed that, beyond being incredibly irresponsible and megalomaniacal, you are a true danger to American ideals and our democratic system.

Bill Janulis, Brookfield

Four words

During the Republican Convention, I heard speaker after speaker talking about how terrible they think everything is in America. I have four words for them: Love it or leave it.Steven Stine, Highland ParkLeader who cares

Democratic Presidential candidate. Hillary Clinton, is the only major party leader who will embrace nature stewards, wildlife conservationists, endangered species preservationists, environmentalists and global warming activists. She and many of her key Democratic allies and supporters care deeply about these important issues. Conversely, the Republican presidential ticket has no respect for the global warming crises or protecting the planet, evidenced by their irreverent support for drilling, logging, mining, fracking, trapping, hunting and marauding the Earth and its threatened animal species.

Brien Comerford, Glenview

Lopsided deal

The premise of the Sun Times editorial endorsing the TPP (the Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Agreement) is that we don’t want to miss out on a good thing as if the other nations that are the would-be partners to this deal would ever go through with it without us. In fact, our willingness to lend ourselves to this lopsided deal is the only incentive these other nations have. The Sun Times editorial mentions Japan, for example. What do we as a nation manufacture that Japan would want? Obviously they stand to benefit more from the deal because their autos and electronics would become even more competitively priced as a result of it. How will this help our own manufacturers? Another example is Peru which is not even mentioned in the editorial. What do they have to offer except cheap labor which will drain even more jobs from the U.S.? Then there’s Vietnam and Singapore. They are obviously positioning themselves to become manufacturing rivals of our country. Do we really need to be inundated with ever cheaper TVs and smart phones?

There is also the matter of the timing of this editorial right after Hillary’s star-turn as the presidential nominee of the Democratic Party. As mentioned in the editorial, she pivoted left on this issue, but obviously it was just a political ploy. As everyone knows, if she’s elected, she’ll favor it in the end after making a few token changes.

Edward D. Lasky, Edgewater