The New Hampshire primary election for state and federal offices is over. More about that later this week. Today, though, just one day after the primary, I’ve received a letter paid for by the New Hampshire Democratic Party. (That’s one of the questionable pleasures of being an independent voter. I get mail from all sides.) That means it was sent before the votes were counted. It’s an attack on incumbent Senator Kelly Ayotte, who is being challenged in November by Governor Maggie Hassan.
I think it’s worth sharing in full.
The signature on the letter is that of Oglesby Young, M.D. A quick online check of the name tells me that he is a practicing OB/GYN in Concord. He’s also a Clinical Assistant Professor at the Geisel Medical School at Dartmouth.
Will Senator Ayotte be willing to confront challenges like this? Or will she take refuge in the jobs-and-the-economy mantra that has served GOP candidates so poorly?
And will pro-life health care providers be willing to speak up? Are their jobs in jeopardy if they do?
As a practicing medical doctor, I care very much about policies that affect the well-being of my patients, but I tend to stay out of politics. This election is different. I’ve watched with disbelief as Senator Kelly Ayotte and her special interest allies have attempted to completely rewrite her record of voting to undermine women’s access to critical health services – and so I feel the need to set the record straight and add my voice to the chorus of medical professionals who oppose Senator Kelly Ayotte’s reelection to the Senate.
First, I am personally offended by the positions taken and claims made by Senator Ayotte, who insinuates that my patients and I are somehow less qualified to make private medical decisions than she is.
Abortion is a difficult topic for a lot of people. I know that because I have had thousands of conversations about it with women and couples who depend on me for factual, rational, objective information about what’s best for their personal health. Doctors and nurses are trained – very well, I would add – to understand the implications, necessity, and repercussions of abortion. We are the front lines. We are the ones giving careful advice and performing the procedures. Does Senator Ayotte think so little of our training, our judgment, and our character – and that of our patients, of New Hampshire women – that she must impose her own partisan beliefs on us?
I also take issue with Ayotte and her colleagues who want to overturn Roe v. Wade and continue to fight so vigorously to shut down Planned Parenthood and women’s health clinics, here at home and nationwide, because they provide abortion care. This crusade against a legal, constitutionally protected, legitimate, safe medical procedure actively hurts women.
Too many women of lesser privilege have a tough time finding and paying for standard medical care, let alone preventive care like cancer screenings and mammograms. Senator Ayotte is even pushing a bill that would increase costs of and limit access to birth control – forcing women to pay up to $600 more per year in out-of-pocket costs. When women aren’t allowed to make their own health decisions or have equal coverage for their prescription medications, it violates their freedom, and it also creates a huge economic strain on the entire family.
Ayotte and her partisan cohorts could succeed in revoking women’s health care options – but only if we let them.
I hope that this letter moves you to consider the effects of this election on the women and medical professionals of New Hampshire and our nation as a whole. I strongly urge you to vote to unseat Senator Kelly Ayotte on Election Day.
Dr. Oglesby Young, MD, Obstetrician/Gynecologist