Candidates can't overlook voters who are single

Though I never miss an election, your Dec. 17 "excerpts from the Monitor breakfast on unmarried women voters" resonated with me as an unmarried woman.

I always feel alienated by politicians whose speeches and efforts are all about family values and tax incentives for families. Single people, both women and men, are not just underrepresented, we are not even on the radar screen. We are a nation that values individual initiative and responsibility, but politicians address and respond only to family needs.

As citizens, single people should all be concerned about the critical needs of providing good education and child care to America's families, but we also have our own special concerns as well and they are never addressed by politicians.

As the interview correctly points out, many single women are at the lowest income levels and are therefore most vulnerable. Politicians would do well to recognize the growing number of single people at all economic levels who feel we are out of the loop.
Susan Karp
New York

Coverage for contraceptives

Before reading your Dec. 4 article "Legal Battles Over 'Contraceptive Equity,'" I thought that whether insurance plans provide coverage for prescription contraceptives was a trivial issue and just a matter of money.

But I was outraged when I learned that within seven weeks of Viagra's approval by the Food and Drug Administration in 1996 more than 90 percent of insurance plans covered it.

If men have such easy access to an inessential drug that doesn't exactly save lives, then women should have a similar right extended to them. I do not understand why states have not passed laws requiring coverage for prescription contraceptives.

Regarding the issue of religious groups who want exemptions, I think that their viewpoint is sound and should be honored. I applaud the New York state senate, whose bill required employers to offer prescription contraceptives, but exempted religious employers who employ and serve only people who share the same religious beliefs. Every state should follow suit.
Peggy Ni
San Jose, Calif.

Raising children should count as work

Regarding P. Amy MacKinnon's Dec. 18 Opinion piece, "Moms deserve résumé credit, too,": I applaud employers who recognize the skills of stay-at-home mothers. When I interviewed for a research position in 1999, I listed the freelance research, writing, and project jobs and volunteer work I had done from home while rearing my two sons, who were home educated.

The person who was interviewing me looked at my résumé and cover letter and said, "You haven't done anything for 15 years; why do you want this job now?" Recognition for the contributions of stay-at-home parents is long overdue.
Sandy Harbanuk
Juneau, Alaska

Antiwar Europeans deserve snub

Regarding the Dec. 16 article, "Hussein's capture may help bridge US-Europe divide": European countries that didn't support the war in Iraq should pay a price for their stand. By refusing to support the United States in the United Nations Security Council, they forced our hand. We were left with no UN support for the enforcement of UN resolutions in Iraq, and therefore no choice but to use military force to protect American national security, and indeed the security of the world. Allowing them to profit now would be a slap in the face to the families of the many American soldiers.
Michael W. Moon
Ashville, Ala.

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