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Rapp fails to find common ground

This is an open letter to Rep. Kathy Rapp:

I’m writing to assert common ground, and also to seek to change your position on three issues: abortion, guns and the environment. I live in Philadelphia and my State Representative is Donna Bullock, but I’m writing to you, and sharing my letter with your constituents via the Times Observer. If you cannot be persuaded by my arguments on the three matters, I hope my letter gives your constituents courage and energy to find among themselves a candidate to run in 2024 for state rep. in House District 65 who share my views.

First, abortion. I expect that we can agree that the number of abortions should go down.

You seek to do it by making it illegal. I say, let’s provide widespread access to birth control and sexual health information instead. This would foster an ethos wherein all people take responsibility for avoiding unwanted pregnancies.

You may say that abortion is immoral. I don’t believe it is immoral in cases of rape, incest, danger to the mother to continue the pregnancy, or when the fetus is not expected to live once born or will suffer debilitating disease once born. I’m not prepared to judge other circumstances, but I don’t think the state should be the judge, either. I also do not believe that every single thing that is considered immoral or at least concerning by many — like abortion, for instance — should be outlawed.

Reducing the number of unplanned pregnancies through education and widely available/encouraged birth control will do far more to reduce the number of abortions than any abortion ban.

About guns. I think we can agree that kids shouldn’t be shot dead in their classrooms. But you have been against any commonsense regulation like background checks, outlawing assault weapons, and red flag laws, which suspend firearm access to persons a judge deems a threat to themselves or others. Untrammeled access to guns has done nothing to make us safer. Because of it, we all live in fear and in actual danger of being shot.

Lastly, the environment. I think you can agree that we all deserve clean air to breathe, clean water and a healthy earth for our grandchildren to inherit. But you have championed the fossil fuel industry, asserting “there are no viable substitutes for natural gas, oil or the numerous, life-enhancing byproducts made possible through fossil fuel energy production.”

That is simply not true–witness the growth of (for example) renewable electricity, completely electric cars, and (electric) induction stovetops.

NASA reported earlier this year that the last eight years have been the hottest ever recorded, and the science has shown unambiguously that human activity is the reason for it, so unless we use energy efficiently, and shift to renewable energy and away from fossil fuels, our planet will be even less habitable for our grandchildren than it has been for us.

I know that there is a refinery in Warren, where you live, that provides well-paying jobs, but it’s got to be responsible for a lot of toxic waste and air pollution. How about sponsoring legislation that would attract the solar technology industry to Warren, as well? It would be a start.

Working to reduce unplanned pregnancies, regulating guns, and shifting from fossil fuels to renewables are commonsense ways forward to better lives for us all. Rigid opposition to legal abortion, and favoring untrammeled gun access and business-as-usual for the fossil-fuel industry are not.

Claudia Crane is a Philadelphia resident.

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