As a society, we’ve made significant strides in human rights. Once marginalized communities now thrive. We continue to develop toward less injustice and more equality. Looking back, we could never imagine a modern world where women can’t vote or people are enslaved based on the color of their skin. And yet, there is one major human rights atrocity that we seem to still be decades behind on: abortion.
What Are Human Rights? Why Do They Exist?
The Core of Human Rights
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, or the UDHR, was the first legal document to protect human rights internationally. Essentially, it establishes life and dignity through crucial principles based on equality. They are granted simply because we exist as human beings – it is a right. Regardless of race, sex, color, religion, mental or physical ability, language, income or any other status, everyone is inherently entitled without discrimination. At the core of these rights is the most fundamental: the right to life.
Surrounding life are rights that address basic standards necessary for a life of dignity, such as food, education, freedom from slavery, work, free speech and health.
The Impact of Human Rights
Benefits have continued to ripple through society nearly seventy-five years after the United Nations signed the UDHR into law. Considering the declaration was created after the Holocaust and World War II, it makes sense that the most significant benefit it has brought is protection and defense of the vulnerable. Consequently, human rights have also stemmed from the issue of slavery, guaranteeing that one human being could never be awarded ownership of or life-changing decisions for someone else. It gives dignity and value to human life without caveats, ensuring no one can claim more rights than his fellow citizen.
However, with all the positive change it has brought, one section in the UHDR’s legal treaty has been blatantly overlooked through the years. A section that, without it applying to all people, takes all other rights down with it.
“Every human being has the inherent right to life. This right shall be protected by law. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life.” – Article 6, The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (UHDR Treaty)
Similarly, in The American Convention of Human Rights, preborn protection is reiterated. In Article 4, it states:
“Every person has the right to have his life respected. This right shall be protected by the law and, in general, from the moment of conception. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life.” – Article 4, American Convention of Human Rights
Rights Begin When Life Begins
What Are Human Rights for Children?
Why do we respect and uphold all areas of human rights except for one? Applying the right to life to only select people defeats the purpose of universal equality. Racism, sexism and classism are unequivocally frowned upon (and for good reason). Yet, removing every fundamental human right because a child in the womb is dependent on their mother is somehow acceptable?
If an infant were to be dependent on another to stay alive, are his human rights gone? Say an older woman develops Alzheimer’s and needs support for the rest of her life – are her human rights abandoned? Or, what if a young man committed a crime and is serving a life sentence: does he not deserve to live? Humans are imperfect. If we live in a world where we hold so much power that we can determine if another is able to exercise their inherent right to life, what is next? If we endanger the most innocent of us all – a baby in the womb –what human life is unthreatened?
What Are Human Rights for Women?
Every woman today should have complete autonomy and freedom over her body. No one should be making decisions for us – especially ones so significant. Human rights revolve around rights unimpeded by anything. If one were to trump another’s, if someone were to make a decision over your body, freedom and equality no longer exist. Women deserve basic human rights, at the very least—inextinguishable and autonomous rights.
Women also deserve those rights in the womb.
Think about it: any person who is an abortion advocate was once in the same place as children in the womb. Fortunately, their mother chose life in whatever circumstance she was in. However, what about those not so lucky? That is why abortion is such a hypocritical industry. If anyone pro-choice was given the decision in the womb to live or be aborted, there is a 100% chance they would choose life. Since the preborn can’t speak for themselves, we can easily assume they would choose the same. That includes women. Women’s rights should be expanded to include their time in the womb.
Pro-Life Advocates Only Want More Rights
Standing above the rest in nearly all human rights treaties and documents is the right to life. As a pro-life movement, all we want is more rights for women, men and children. Everyone should be able to exercise the rights laid out in the UHDR.