In the last 50 years or so, America has become a nation obsessed with rights. Elites in government, academia, the media, and entertainment take great pains to inculcate an attitude of tolerance, acceptance, multiculturalism, and diversity in the American people. The self-evident truths articulated by our Founding Fathers have been expanded upon and augmented in a way they never could have imagined. Free birth control is now a "right." Marriage to a person of the same sex is a "right." Job security is a "right," immigration is a "right," and a religion-free public square is a "right."
Daily we are bombarded with the rhetoric of women's rights. Women, we are told, are a historically oppressed minority in the midst of a long march towards gender equality. Key to their liberation from the shackles of oppression includes reproductive liberty, and thanks to birth control and abortion, women are no longer slaves to biology and the womb. They are in full control of their reproductive destinies. They can decide when they want to have children, how many they want to have, and even what sex they want their children to be. They can decide whether or not they're up to the challenge of raising a child with special needs.
The one right our culture pays surprisingly little heed to is the right without which no other rights are possible: the right to life. In particular, our culture and our courts have been dismissive of the rights of unborn children. Given how keenly we appreciate the implications of rights in every other corner of our society, this is a notable phenomenon. Somehow, we've convinced ourselves that the rights of the unborn don't count. They don't get a say.
Thankfully, there are people who devote their life's work to giving a voice to the voiceless. And there are millions upon millions of Americans who reject the dehumanization of the unborn. Most recently, a North Dakota judge upheld part of a pro-life statute that prohibits abortion for reasons of genetic defects. For now, at least, it is illegal in North Dakota to abort your child because you find out they are at risk of Down's Syndrome or any other kind of chromosomal abnormality. Similarly, it is illegal to abort for reasons of sex preference, which has unfortunately become more and more of a problem in recent years.
If this judge's ruling is affirmed on appeal, it will represent a modest chipping away at Roe v Wade. Of course, the irony is that a woman may still choose to abort her innocent child simply because he is unwanted or inconvenient or for no reason at all. That's the absurdity of the Roe decision: it makes law based on the subjective whims, wants, and feelings of one group of people while discounting entirely the constitutional rights of another group. If an unborn baby is wanted by his parents he is considered a member of the human family. If, not, he is mere biological detritus.
This kind of mindset is not only absurdly hypocritical given our obsession with rights, both real and imagined, it is truly an abomination. Unborn children are either people or they aren't. They are either part of the human race or they or not. They should not be disqualified for membership in the human race because someone doesn't want to issue them a membership card. This reprehensible "you aren't a person unless I say so" mentality has cost the lives of over 50 million unborn children and has resulted in the destruction of countless others (http://www.terrisfight.org/) because of their handicap or depreciated condition.
It is refreshing to see that some lawmakers are conscious of their ethical obligation to consider the rights of all human beings when it comes to the impact of a given statute. As they say, membership has its privileges, and every member of the human family ought to be accorded equal protection under the law.
Ken Connor is an attorney and co-author of “Sinful Silence: When Christians Neglect Their Civic Duty” He is also Chairman of the Center for a Just Society.
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