2007-05-04 / Columnists

The Progressive

Commentary By John Paul Culotta

Commentary By John Paul Culotta

Right To Life

As I write this column, the news media is reporting and commenting on the massacre at Virginia Tech. Again, we are faced with tragedy that may have been avoided with adequate gun control legislation. It appears most democracies can balance the rights of legitimate gun owners with public safety. Gun control, abortion restrictions, and social security appear to be the third rail of American politics. Republicans use the gun control and abortion restrictions as the wedge issue to get elected.

Democrats use social security as their wedge issue. Both parties need to address unnecessary deaths caused by an inadequate health delivery system, inadeqate food delivery system regulation, workplace violence and accidents, and inadequate road safety measures.

Every life that ends in tragedy that could have been avoided causes hardships to the families, neighbors, and friends of the victim.

Too often when we hear the term right to life, we think of the campaign to save fetuses in the womb. Many of us are saddened by the termination of unwanted pregnancies.

It is always soul wrenching to think that so many people see no other alternative.

The people who cry the loudest against abortion rights are the same people who rail against extensive sex education in our schools, contraception, poverty prevention and relief efforts, and assistance for childcare.

Conservatives cannot understand that life issues are more inclusive and do not end when a baby is delivered into this world.

All stages of life's journey must be protected.

This is the task Divine Providence has given mankind.

Life is too precious a gift for us to forget our obligation to attempt to weave a safety net that protects and allows all of us to flourish.

Gun control does prevent crime and the campaign Mayor Bloomberg is waging across this nation is a right to life issue. Guns in the hands of sick people have caused too many unnecessary deaths in this nation. It is true that gun control will not prevent all crime but any reduction in crime is a plus.

The rights of Americans to use guns for recreational purposes can be safeguarded with gun control legislation. European countries have strong control on gun issuance and people in Europe continue to hunt.

In recent months we see the defects in our food delivery system that has threatened American's lives and our pets. There needs to be a public outcry for adequate food delivery protection and regulations.

This is a right to life issue.

Too many people die or are injured at their workplace. Construction injuries have increased in the New York metro area. Some attribute this to the increased profits that derive during a construction boom. The faster a building can be built the more profits can be made and public and worker safety be damned. Most of the injuries occur to immigrant workers-both legal and undocumented- not powerful men and women. Italy is and has been trying to reduce workplace accidents. Our nation, state, and city should attempt the same. This is a right to life issue.

Last year a friend of mine lost her granddaughter in a tragic car accident. She was 17 years of age. Her parents, sister, grandparents, friends are devastated. Their lives are forever changed. Her name was Katie Bolka and she lived in Dallas, Texas. She was killed when a 90 year old ran a red light and slammed into her car. As a result of their tragedy, her parents began a campaign to have periodic vision tests be given to senior citizens. The Texan legislature has passed Katie's Law in Bolka's memory that requires periodic vision tests beginning at 79 years of age. France has reduced traffic deaths and injuries by strict enforcement of traffic laws and regulations. Why doesn't our state legislature and all state legislatures pass similar laws? We need to enforce our traffic laws and regulations. This is a right to life issue.

All major economies in this world have universal health insurance for the citizens of their countries. Our country is the exception. Many of our fellow Americans use the emergency rooms of our hospital as their primary care physician causing hospitals economic burdens and reduces adequate care for people in need of care. Many Americans forego medicines and health visits to physicians because of cost. This is a right to life issue.

Life may or may not begin at conception. Scientists, jurists, theologians, and politicians can debate this issue. We all know it does not end at the birth of a child.

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