Society should ditch student loans and consider free college

Regarding student loans: In the past, a high school diploma was sufficient, and one could advance in society and find a meaningful career with it. Thanks to taxpayers, secondary education has become free and accessible to all.

Nowadays, a high school diploma no longer carries the weight it once had, and thus a bachelor’s degree or higher becomes necessary to advance in society and find a meaningful career. Perhaps we should consider extending this free high school education to free college education, so that we can advance our society as a whole and use taxpayer dollars for something meaningful, at the very least until to a bachelor’s degree and professional certification.

Let’s gradually move away from student loans or find a way to ease the burden if we can’t.

Michael Pannaralla, East Clearance

Senators, stand up for reproductive rights

Illinois NOW is outraged by the Supreme Court’s proposed gutting decision in Roe v. Wade. Right-wing lawmakers and ultra-conservative groups have been working for decades to set up this infamous supreme court. The goal has always been to force people to give birth regardless of the circumstances. The state abortion bans already in place are clearly just the tip of the iceberg. These bans, along with the impending overthrow of Roe, will disproportionately affect people of color, low-income people, and those whose access is already incredibly difficult.

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Judge Samuel Alito’s draft is filled with fallacious language allowing for a slippery slope for bans on birth control, emergency contraception, subverting LGBTQ+ rights, including equal marriage and any other issues their ideology supports .

Here in Illinois, abortion remains legal. With the passage of the Reproductive Health Act and HB40, Illinois will be able to make these personal decisions about their health and future, independent of a Roe v. Wade. However, our abortion clinics and funds are overwhelmed with requests from out-of-state people who cannot have at-home abortions. We must ensure that access for our own residents is paramount while helping others at the same time.

We are fortunate in Illinois to have two US Senators who have supported personal reproductive decisions for years. But that’s just not enough. This is not the time for speeches and collective indignation. Now is the time to act with force. Senator Dick Durbin is in the best leadership position to build bipartisan support for reproductive rights.

We call on Durbin and Senator Tammy Duckworth to push immediately for the removal of the filibuster and passage of the Women’s Health Protection Act. Our elected leaders must say loud and clear that we will never go back to the back streets.

Laura R. Welch, President, National Women’s Organization of Illinois, Naperville

Inequalities and mental health

It is encouraging to see mental health recently recognized as a critical public health concern.

However, we cannot really confront this problem without also considering the myriad of social and environmental stressors – poverty, violence (domestic and otherwise), the pathogenic effects of racism and other forms of bigotry and discrimination, et al. – who contribute to the ongoing mental health crisis in Chicago and elsewhere in the United States

Social inequality is a pathogen and must be identified and treated as such.

David G. Whiteis, Humboldt Park


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