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February 3, 2014

In Your Opinion: Texan 'values' leave a lot to be desired

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The Daily Star

---- — Michael Barone’s praise of Texas (“American values alive and well in Texas”) leaves out a few inconvenient facts. 

Texas ranks fifth in births to teenagers — probably a result of it being so anti-sexuality education. Perhaps this explains the population growth Barone thinks is so wonderful — ignoring the fact that exploding population is responsible for more problems than it solves. 

Texas has the highest rate of citizens without medical insurance — 25 percent, compared to a national average of 15.4 percent. This apparently doesn’t bother Gov. Rick Perry, who declined to expand Medicaid, even though the federal government would pay for most of the expansion. 

The great state ranks eighth in the number of people living in poverty, defined as less than $18,500 per year for a family of three. 

If you’re pregnant, you might be better off having your baby elsewhere. Some localities in Texas have maternal mortality rates more than three times the national average.  

Governor Perry’s solution? Close one-third of family planning clinics, which offer medical services to poor women. While you’re at it, keep a brain-dead woman “alive” so that she can incubate the fetus inside her. Never mind the suffering you’re inflicting on her husband and family. 

Even the “shale boom” may be short-lived, as Texans come to grips with the havoc hydrofracking is wreaking on the state, using vast quantities of water in a time of drought, and causing earthquakes when chemicals are pumped into injection wells. Dallas, about as conservative a city as you can find, has passed regulations that amount to a total ban on fracking.  

Barone obviously believes that true American values are “low taxes” and “light regulation.” People concerned about strong families and public health should look elsewhere for a place to live.  

Melinda Hardin

Cooperstown

Hardin is a member of the board of directors of Family Planning of South Central New York.