To the Editor,
On May 13, your newspaper published an article titled “Baby Formula Shortage Sparks Donation Drives, Calls to Action on Long Island,” which highlighted the recent baby formula shortage that is not only affecting Long Island, but the entire nation as well. In normal circumstances, as was pointed out in the article, there is always a great need for formula, but with the added strain of the pandemic it seems to have increased.
It’s also ironic that this shortage seems to be occurring right as the Supreme Court seems poised to overturn Roe v. Wade, a highly important decision that gives women the right to choose to have an abortion or not. With this potential overturn of such a paramount document, we may see an increase in births, which if this formula shortage is not solved will result in an even greater or longer lasting issue. It’s imperative, then, to either protect a woman’s right to choose, which could in turn prevent this scarcity of formula from getting worse (and the loss of infants to malnutrition) or pass laws protecting a mothers’ right to breastfeed in public without fear of being harassed. If the latter is chosen, then perhaps increasing areas where women can breastfeed or pump comfortably might also help alleviate the situation.
Lastly, as mentioned within the article, we must prevent any price gouging of formula from happening, which can greatly affect poor families and prevent them from being able to properly care for and provide for their baby. In times of crisis, despite the capitalist model of “supply and demand” and the typical raising of prices when things are in high demand, we should lower them to make it easier for families who desperately need the resource, such as baby formula, rather than raise it and create an issue for families trying to care for their children. It’s unfair, cruel, and unjust to punish those who can’t afford the things they need because a company chose to raise the price due to demand.
In short, women should absolutely fight to ensure formula remains affordable to all mothers no matter what their socio-economic status is, should lobby and write to their policymakers demanding that breastfeeding be a protected right so mothers can care for their infants in times like these, and fight to protect a woman’s right to choose and her bodily autonomy.
-Kirsten Fetter, Syracuse University Graduate Student
To the Editor,
While the work that Neina Vetrano and her husband Pastor Justin Vetrano are doing is amazing and nothing short of inspiring, it is also unfortunately necessary at a time like this. While the war in Ukraine deserves as much attention and support as possible, I would like to point out that similar problems are happening all over the world due to a variety of reasons, including extreme poverty. According to recent reports, around 68 million refugees (about twice the population of California) are displaced around the world with 30 people being displaced every minute. While not all of us are able to make such a direct impact as the Vetranos can, we can still do our parts here from home.
After becoming an intern with The Borgen Project, I have made it my focus to make my peers aware of the differences they can make towards issues like these. By raising awareness and supporting things like the International Affairs Budget, we can help make a difference. The United States has the resources to make major changes. Yet our budget for foreign assistance and international aid only makes up about 1% of the federal budget. Supporting increases to things like the International Affairs Budget can be a huge turning point in raising that 1% to a percentage we can all be proud of. By doing our parts now we can make a difference for the people in Ukraine as well as millions of other people.
-Jack Casolani, Yaphank resident