Have you seen any of the political ads during this primary season? In Ohio, I’ve noticed interesting endorsements for several candidates – from the NRA and Right to Life. They appear to be connected at the hip, which is problematic because they seem like opposites to me. What does it really mean to have a right to life? One definition declares that each individual has a right to live from conception to natural death. The Right to Life organization is obviously concerned about the rights of the unborn child – allowing a child to be born – to ending abortions – and this is good. But what happens after the child is born? What rights does this ‘born’ child have?
Currently, the House and Senate Agriculture Committees are reauthorizing the Farm Bill. This includes SNAP – Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – that provides funds for Food Stamps and other programs providing assistance to ensure all children, nearly four million of them, have enough and healthy food to eat. Proposed changes in the House version will eliminate or reduce benefits to over two millions of our most vulnerable neighbors. So do our ‘born’ children have a right to food?
Or take healthcare… when a child is born, do they have a right to medical care if they are sick or injured? After a scare where CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program) federal funding expired, Congress passed a six year extension of the program including federal matching that does diminish over time. This is important funding for many states and provides healthcare for over 9 million children. Healthcare benefits are still in danger in this current administration. So do ‘born’ children have a right to be healthy?
Finally, I wonder about how our ‘born’ child benefits from representatives with an alliance with the NRA? Forty-six children are shot in murders, assaults, suicides and suicide attempts, unintentional shooting, and police intervention. That’s 2,737 children and teens killed each year because of gun violence. (Brady Organization) Yet, the NRA continues to fight against common sense gun safety measures like Red Flag Laws and universal background checks. Do our ‘born’ children have a right to live?
The right to life is not limited to the unborn. It lasts one’s entire life. I’m not sure how our state and federal representatives can say they believe in life and yet don’t promote programs that provide it.