Mailbag: Newport council is 'duplicitous'

Is it just my imagination, or is the Newport Beach City Council a little duplicitous? First they attack local businesses, mooring owners and waterfront residents by punitively raising taxes for their "exclusive" use of public lands and because the city needs the money.

Then they give the Girl Scouts a $1 per year lease for "exclusive" use of a taxpayer-owned clubhouse because the city can afford it. Next they condemn California Department of Fish and Wildlife for having the audacity to charge visitors for a Lands Pass to use the Back Bay trails, but they don't oppose U.S. Department of Fish and Game fees for a license to fish in Newport Harbor.

Don't misunderstand: None of these taxes/fees should be charged. We pay enough taxes/fees as it is. And the Girl Scouts should have their sweetheart — no pun intended — lease if the city can afford it.

Duplicitous? Naw, I guess it's just my imagination!

Pete Pallette

Newport Beach


Hoag 'abandoned' its healthcare responsibility

Some people see the world in absolute, black-and-white terms; others see it in various shades and hues. To the absolutists, every action, every moral decision is either all good or all bad. But to others, like me, every serious decision involves some good and some bad, and we try to choose the greater good or the lesser bad.

Absolutists describe a fertilized egg as "a living child." I do not. This morning I ate a hen's egg. Did I eat a chicken? No. Regardless of whether the egg was fertilized, it was just an egg.

A fertilized human egg is not a child; it's a single cell. If it develops and implants in the uterine wall, it's an embryo, and a pregnancy begins. If it miscarries, do we hold a funeral? Do we hold a memorial service every time a woman menstruates because an egg may have been fertilized but failed to implant? No, in both cases, because no human being has died.

So please, let's cut the hysterical nonsense and talk about what's really at stake: A full-service hospital has abandoned its responsibility to provide complete healthcare to women, in favor of submitting to Catholic dogma forbidding abortion and, eventually, it may eliminate contraception, tubal ligation, in vitro fertilization and other reproductive healthcare prohibited by the "Ethical and Religious Directives" adopted by St. Joseph's Health Systems.

Taking away a woman's decision whether to carry a pregnancy to term is wrong on three grounds.

First, it doesn't work. Laws and restrictions against abortion have always been disregarded by women desperate not to have a child, or yet another child. Many lives have been lost because a woman undertook desperate measures to terminate a pregnancy.

Second, it is insulting and completely disrespectful to treat women as morally deficient, lacking the capacity to make responsible decisions about the most intimate aspect of their lives.

Third, every abortion is an effort to avoid a worse outcome, in the judgment of the person most deeply and personally concerned. How dare anyone substitute his judgment for hers?

What are people who would restrict abortions doing to make them unnecessary? Are they promoting safe and reliable contraception and making it available to all who choose it? If not, they are acting irresponsibly and have no business meddling in the lives of other people.

Eleanor Egan

Costa Mesa


Catholic hierarchy should not override medical care

RE: the June 28 commentary, "Hoag is free to make its own choice":

I am very disappointed in Hoag Hospital — our good community hospital that we all used to trust and value — for making the decision to stop performing elective abortions in order to gain an affiliation with St. Joseph Health System.

As bad as that decision is, there is reason to believe that it is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the other restrictions that Catholic hospitals typically require of their partners. This includes restrictions on all birth control measures including tubal ligations (tubes tied), vasectomies and emergency contraception for rape victims, as well as fertility treatments and end-of-life decisions.

Catholic healthcare directives specifically state, "A Catholic health care institution ... will not honor an advance directive that is contrary to Catholic teaching" and "Catholic healthcare institutions may never condone or participate in [Death with Dignity] in any way." That includes even a prohibition on doctors discussing end-of-life options that exist in other institutions or making referrals.

Will Catholic bishops prohibit abortions at Hoag even when a doctor determines that there is a life-threatening risk to the mother in continuing her pregnancy? We need to know exactly what Hoag agreed to.

The common theme of these directives is that the authority of the Catholic bishops overrides the medical needs or beliefs of the individual patient.

Our community's healthcare experience up until this point has been one directed only by the patient in consultation with his or her doctor, but these directives insert the entire Catholic hierarchy into healthcare decisions.

It is this intrusion into our personal health that we are fighting to prevent. It is naïve to believe that these changes won't happen at Hoag if Hoag continues with its St. Joseph Health affiliation.

Nancy Skinner

Newport Beach

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