Dear Editor: I disagree with the comments Sen. Ron Johnson made in response to a question from a New Berlin High School student Sept. 28 as to whether health care was a right or a privilege. The senator not only said that health care was not a right, but he indicated that food, shelter and clothing also were not rights.

My position is based on the long-standing tradition of my faith. Catholic social teaching has consistently affirmed that those things essential for human life (including food, clothing, shelter, and health care) are rights because human beings are created in God’s image and have inherent worth and dignity. Additionally, in 1948, the United States endorsed the UN Declaration of Human Rights, which specifically states that food, clothing, housing and medical care are fundamental human rights that must be universally protected (Article 25).

In our current economic climate, some may view life’s essentials simply as commodities available only to those who can afford them. I invite the senator to consider whether it is possible for all citizens to pursue “life, liberty and happiness” when many lack food, clothing, shelter, and health care. Is this the “freedom” that our nation seeks?

Sr. Toni Harris, OP

Sinsinawa Dominican Sisters


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