The New York Times Opinion section (April 16) reported on a short study about what seniors think, using a varied group of 12 people from different parts of the country. Folks chosen to participate were between the ages of 70 and 85, of both sexes, and from multi-races. Although only 12 seniors were studied, some interesting answers to the interviewer’s questions resulted. Some of the responses were predictable, and probably the same answers given would be expected from 12 other randomly chosen seniors.
Most stated that these advanced years are the best time in their lives, although they all complained of frequent aches and pains. A few of them called this time the “golden stage” of life. (By contrast, my mother always called these the “rusty years.”)
The reasons the majority of these seniors feel carefree include not having the pressure of time schedules to meet or pressing work to be done. Two of those interviewed are still working part-time and reported enjoying doing so.
Another finding was that 8 of the 12 seniors interviewed mentioned their increased interest in politics. All expressed the concern that, as a group, seniors are considered irrelevant in our society and their concerns are disregarded. Those interviewed highlighted pain, arthritis, and illness as concerns. Relatedly, they expressed a strong concern that despite their efficacy, FDA-approved painkillers and other medications could be withdrawn from the marketplace in light of the current chipping away of the FDA’s authority.
As outrageous as this may seem, recently a right-wing, Republican, Trump-appointed federal judge in Texas, ruled against the use of mifepristone, an FDA-approved abortion medication that has been used safely for 23 years. I do not believe the use of this FDA-approved drug, or any other, should be subject to a judge’s determination. This federal ruling, if permitted to stand, could open the door to this and any other judge across the country eliminating the sale and use of all sorts of medications.
How dare a judge, or any politician, take away our right to control our own health care? No judge or politician should have the right to overrule our doctors or us. We want medical professionals whom we trust, who know our specific conditions and needs, to care for us. No statesman, legislator, judge, or politician of any party affiliation should prohibit use of FDA-approved medications we require.
Some seniors may believe this abortion pill ruling has nothing to do with us; that it only pertains to women of birthing age. Not true! It is of extreme importance that we seniors urge the FDA and responsible non-partisan folks to counter this ruling. It landed at the Supreme Court where the justices in a split opinion decided to permit continued use of the FDA-approved abortion pill temporarily. It should not have mattered which drug the federal judge’s ruling involved. The Supreme Court should have focused on the Texas judge’s authority to rule against any FDA-approved medication, food, or drug rather than the use and sale of this one drug. Obviously, our fight is not over!
As seniors age, we will necessarily lose much of our independence. This makes voicing our wishes more important than ever. We seniors and our allies must speak out, and fight to hold firmly to our rights, both civil and personal.
By percentages, we seniors are the largest group of voters in America today. Let us use our power to vote for reasonable candidates who will guard our interests and rights and be leaders for the greater good for all.