This week, my colleagues and volunteers and I are at the University of Central Florida, debating university students on abortion and making the case, through conversational apologetics and abortion victim photography, that abortion is a human rights violation. As the inevitable pro-abortion protestors began to show up with their hand-made signs, I noticed that one argument was surfacing more often than most: “Reproductive rights are human rights.”
Like virtually all of pro-“choice” rhetoric, this statement is scientifically illiterate and misses the point entirely. Our case against abortion is a simple one: Human beings have human rights. Human rights begin when the human being begins, or we are simply excluding a group of human beings based on arbitrary criteria—in the case of abortion, age. Any inclusive human rights doctrine must protect all human beings.
We are not talking about the woman’s right to decide whether or not she wants to bring a child into the world. We are talking about whether or not we should have the right to violently kill a child that already exists. Abortion does not prevent a man and a woman from conceiving a child together. Abortion is a process that violently decapitates, dismembers, and disembowels a unique and unrepeatable human being, a son or daughter, that has already been conceived.
This is very simple.
The discussion about preventing life from coming into being is a religious and a moral question. The discussion surrounding the violent taking of another human life is certainly a moral question, but it is also a human rights question. Do we have the right to kill innocent human beings? No one who wishes to possess a consistent and morally coherent view of human rights can answer “Yes.”
Jonathon Van Maren works for the Canadian Centre for Bio-ethical reform where this blog first appeared