LETTERS

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October 23, 2003

Letters to the Editor - 10.24.03

Slots at Illinois' racetracks

Small Illinois farmers and breeders may soon be forced out of the horse racing industry if our legislature approves plans to allow slots at racetracks, thus making them "mini-casinos." Increased purses from additional track revenues will attract the large, politically powerful stables, from a variety of states, to further control an already struggling industry.

The proposed bill coming before the Illinois House that would allow racetracks to offer slot machines or video lottery terminals (VLT's) needs to be voted down. In most cases, the livelihood of Illinois's horse industry has been passed down from generation to generation. This legislation puts at risk the heritage and great traditions of horse racing in Illinois and the ability of the fellow citizens of our state to make a decent, honest living.

It is in their best interests and in the well being of all of the big and small people associated with Illinois's horse trade that our legislators stop this bill before it goes any further. Horse racing in its purest sense is a sport that demonstrates the best that a horse and its jockey/driver can be, regardless of the influence and financial backing behind them. Horse racing has, in generations past, entertained, and for future generations its will continues to entertain so many fans throughout our state and around the world, both young and old, every racing season. Let's keep Illinois a state that respects these people and their horses and honors this great sport.

Eric M. Poders,

The Horseman's Voice

Glenview, Illinois

U of C midwives

Regarding the closing of the midwives' clinic at the University of Chicago Hospitals ("Supporters of Midwifery Attempt to Save Program" 10/17/03): it appears what we have here is a failure to communicate. In the overwhelming protests of the last few months, hundreds of women have made it clear that they feel passionately about having the choice of a low-intervention childbirth attended by caregivers with whom they have developed a relationship over the course of their pregnancy. Dr. Haney, chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology (Ob/Gyn) has made it clear that he is more interested in the 10-15 percent higher reimbursement he can collect for those deliveries if they are done by medical residents or attendings. However, these physician-attended deliveries use a very different protocol of care, one which involves far less bedside attention, more invasive procedures, and most importantly, less autonomy on the part of the laboring woman. Haney has no answer to all the letters he has received asking for the midwives to be retained, the public demonstrations, and the petition signed by 140 members of the faculty and staff of this university¬óno answer except that all that matters to the Department of Ob/Gyn at this point is the bottom line. Dr. Atef Moawad, former acting chairman, suggests to women that they should not protest to the department but to government and insurance companies. Thank you for the advice, but with all due respect, it is beside the point. Somehow Northwestern University manages to have midwives. As does University of Illinois, Weiss Memorial Hospital, Mt. Sinai, Illinois Masonic, Evanston Hospital, Mercy Hospital, and Swedish Covenant Hospital. Perhaps it is time for the women of Hyde Park and the South Side to start speaking Haney's language. We should stop talking about the kind of care we need and the choices we deserve. We, too, need to start talking about money. Eighty-five percent reimbursement on a patient you have is better than the zero percent reimbursement you get when that patient has left to obtain her care elsewhere.

Women of Hyde Park and the University community: at the next opportunity, change your medical insurance to one that will allow you to go to a hospital where your priorities are respected. Go to a hospital where there is a midwifery practice. Better yet, remember the names of the award-winning certified nurse-midwives now forced to leave the U of C: Charity Cooper and Pat Schneider. Follow them to their next practice. You'll love the care you get. And you will never regret having stood up for women's health care.

Dina Weinstein

Parent Support Network