Editorials: Mixed news for mothers; and US turmoil

premie and nurse
A nurse cares for a premature infant at a Seguro Social hospital. CSS photo.

A helping hand for mothers, but also an alarming announcement

President Cortizo has signed Law 346 of November 23, 2022, which was passed back in September by the National Assembly. It makes women’s health services during pregnancy, childbirth and puerperium free in the public health care system, and also provides for free post-partum family planning services. The law is short and vague, leaving it to the executive branch to issue regulations to cover the details.

The big gaps in this are largely imposed by churches and right-wing politics — abortions and sex education in the schools are still taboo here. These gaps show in another announcement: in Panama City and the indigenous comarcas teenage pregnancies are up. These are the places where the urban and rural poor are most concentrated. Ill-fed mothers living in insecure situations are a mountain of health risks but on top of that, the younger they are the more risk to their and their babies’ health. There are more premature births, more complications during childbirth and more health problems for both newborns and their mothers when teenagers who had been living in poverty have babies.

What should we see in all this? It’s a bit of relief, a show of decency, a prudent public policy, emerging from an awful Panamanian political system. We should be thankful and be ready to resume the many battles that lie ahead.


In the early 1900s wild turkeys were nearly extinct. Thanks to conservation efforts, their population count today is approximately 6.5 million, with ranges expanding in many areas. Next time you spot a wild turkey, remember this amazing rebound! Photo by Courtney Celley — US Fish and Wildlife Service.

Despite all, give thanks and praises

Wake up early on a Thanksgiving morning to this day’s news of mass shootings, and to “Christian” rants about how the victims of the past weekend’s mass shootings deserved it because they didn’t believe in the mandatory things. And NEWSMAX retracting an old pack of lies about voting machine companies that are winning libel suits about those, while spinning specious new election fraud conspiracy theories.

The Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving earlier, in October, and have some commonly held opinions about Americans. Quebec is a distinct society, but English Canadians are likely to characterize the USA as a generally decent neighbor, but a society that every now and then goes nuts, sending people fleeing across the border for refuge. Read Canadian author Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale,” right at the beginning, and realize that it’s not an American feminist manifesto but a Canadian one. Offred tried to flee slavery in a totalitarian sexist theocracy that the United States had become and was caught just short of the Canadian border. Let them give their thanks and praises for being Canadian, and let Americans celebrate a holiday truce.

All the dysfunctional families that fall into bitter arguments over the dinner table will show the truce fragile and ephemeral. Americans will need to confront some terrible divisions and settle some issues that won’t be settled without fights. But let’s count our blessings today.


Queen Elizabeth I, a portrait by an unknown artist that was found in a collection of portraits in an old farmhouse in 1890. Wikimedia graphic, although there are some who, under British law, claim copyright by discovery, or indirectly by descent from a discoverer – which concepts are not recognized by Panamanian or US law.


I know I have the body but of a weak, feeble woman; but I have the heart and stomach of a king, and of a king of England too, and think foul scorn that Parma or Spain, or any prince of Europe, should dare to invade the borders of my realm.

Queen Elizabeth I


Bear in mind…


I can’t believe people are comparing Trump to Satan. Yes he’s bad, but he’s certainly not as evil as Trump.

Ice T


Of course I am not worried about intimidating men. The type of man who will be intimidated by me is exactly the type of man I have no interest in.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie


If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it.

Marcus Aurelius


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