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Letters to the editor: We must understand the Constitution

Has it ‘changed everything’?

“Sea level rise has changed everything?” 

This is an interesting article (“Saturday’s high tide is a major concern,” Jan. 18) but the implication that high tides and local flooding are new is wrong. First, according to tide tables, Jan. 12 was the peak local high tide and the 11th and 13th were both very similar, so this recent flooding was not terribly surprising and the idea that “we no longer need a full or new moon” is not borne out by this particular flood. January tides at full-moon or no-moon tend to be especially high because the earth is closest to the sun in early January. And while it’s true that there was no nor’easter last week there was an unusually strong southeasterly wind that would have built up sea levels at the entrance to the Peconic Bay system. But back to the tide tables: out of curiosity, I checked the tides for January 1924 and January 1824, and both months featured even higher tides than this January. “Sea level rise has changed everything?”

Peter Carroll

Shining a light on maternal health

Jan. 23 was Maternal Health Awareness day. As professionals, we cultivate conversations around trust and vulnerability, which routinely uncover pain, loneliness and insecurity around maternal themes. In fact, maternal mortality and morbidity rates in the U.S. and New York are on the rise, despite our spending more per person on health care than any other high-income country. Hospitals continue to invest in medical infrastructure but we hear that people’s experiences are not improving. They are worsening. 

The 2018 New York State Maternal Mortality Review Report deemed 80% of pregnancy-associated deaths (117) preventable. Almost half of pregnancy-related deaths (41) were attributed to discrimination — Black and Hispanic individuals were five times more likely to die of a pregnancy-related cause than were white, non-Hispanic individuals.

We’ve strayed from birth being a celebrated community event imbued with tradition to a system that sequesters care to a medical suite and hospital ward. These are technical landscapes designed to control what is inherently uncertain. We believe this to be an important component of how hospital care falls short.

While medical and surgical interventions are essential in obstetrics, the latest New York State hospital reports indicate the East End cesarean rate is three to four times greater than the recommendation of the World Health Organization, which has observed little to no benefit beyond a 10-15% cesarean rate. Pregnancy-related mortality in New York State for cesarean delivery was 1.7 times that of vaginal delivery in 2018. Post-traumatic stress and postpartum depression have both independently been associated with unplanned cesarean deliveries.

Maternal health is also affected by the increasing prevalence of chronic health conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, obesity, depression and anxiety, which predispose individuals to short- and long-term risks, including planned and unplanned cesarean delivery and postpartum depression and anxiety. In order to improve maternal health outcomes, we need to listen to people’s stories. Storytelling weaves the richness of human experience into symbols and patterns that carry generations of wisdom. Birthing stories reveal how subtle aspects of pregnancy and birth impact the postpartum experience, subsequent pregnancies, and cultural norms. When we listen, we learn, and then we can do better. 

Emily Anne McDonald
Integrative and Regenerative Lifestyle Medicine

Stephenie Pisicano
Tulsi Square Naturopathics

Michele Liot
East End Midwifery

Sara Topping
East End Birth Network 

We must understand the Constitution

Mr. Levy may be a lawyer as he has stated in his letter (“It’s about us, not Trump,” Jan. 18), “I have experience in arguing numerous appeals before panels of judges.” I am no constitutional scholar, and certainly not a lawyer, but I do know the Constitution must be taken in whole, as each section and clause supports another. First and foremost, Mr Levy, there is no Section 3, Clause 7, within the 14th Amendment as you wrote. What you are referring to is Article 1, Section 3, Clause 7.

Additionally, Article 2, Section 4 spells out the crimes that constitute a reason for impeachment — those of treason, bribery, and other high crimes and misdemeanors. If the House decides to impeach on these categories they then must prove their case to the Senate. The House impeached Mr. Trump on what they believed fell into these categories, but the Senate did not convict. Any liability ends there in this instance by the clause you cited. 

Your supporting paragraph that Mr. Trump can be tried after leaving office adds your interpretation and also adds your words to the clause as written. Those added words “and, in addition” are not in the clause. However, these are: “but the party convicted.” 

It would then seem logical that unless the Senate convicts there is no further criminal liability. However, the times we now live in are often illogical.

Bob Bittner

Trump is the answer

Michael Levy’s letter was the most egregious I’ve read in your paper in a long time. What I want to know from Mr. Levy is exactly what did Trump do? You spewed a lot of Constitutional stuff, but no facts about what Trump actually is accused of doing! “We all know who Donald Trump is.” Do you, Mr. Levy? “And we all know what he’s done.” Tell us, Mr. Levy! Our country is being invaded by unvetted single males from over 100 countries, fentanyl has killed thousands of our citizens, we are in debt up to our eyeballs as our money goes to foreign countries, war and disaster. The FBI, CIA, our judiciary have been weaponized. Trump is the only one that can restore our country.

Barbra LaCorte

We can’t just ignore the gun problem

Interesting that the loudest shouts about the border come from lawmakers who won’t dare whisper a word about sensible gun legislation. They claim concern about things like our schools’ resources being stretched, leading to our kids falling behind. Yet they fail to ever speak of protecting those same kids by putting limits on who can get high-powered weapons. Not a whisper. They say: Who knows what kinds of diseases might be coming across our border with those people. Yet, they’ll never speak of the epidemic that no medical treatment can cure — our country’s mass shootings.

They fear the wrath of gun manufacturers who flood our population with their latest, most destructive weapons. They’ll resist voting on a border deal, even when encouraged by their own party. It’s all too good for their political ads. They have powerful positions for their own interests. We have videos of some mass shooting scenes. Nothing that captures all the losses, all the trauma. We can only imagine such a video.

We’d recognize them: the little first graders, the others in middle school, high school, college, people food shopping, praying at church, at synagogue, the supermarket, office, movie theatre, parade, outdoor concert. What about the survivors, the physically injured, emotionally traumatized, loved ones forever changed, first responders and medical people who saw and handled the mangled bodies?

Our democracy has benefited from political skill, courage, vision. It takes none of that to shout about the border while resisting being part of the solution. If their goal is to protect us, that’s contradicted by their record on gun legislation. Never a whisper about it.

Mary Ellen Tomaszewski