1776 Freedom’s Blog

September 10, 2008

Right to life

Filed under: abortion,McCain,Palin — pj @ 8:04 pm

The strongest reference to the right to life in this country is in the Declaration, though I doubt the founders had abortion in mind when they acknowledged that all men have a right to life.  Their definition of life applied obviously to human beings but they did not specify when a human being comes into existence.  This seemingly arcane question is the central issue int he abortion debate.   Characterizing one side as right to life and the other as free choice does nothing to answer the questions.  When is a human being created?  What are the essential qualities of being that make a mammal a human being?   What are the rights of a human being?

Life is the first right of a human being.  To deny any human being the right to life is the same as denying  your own right to continue existing as a human being.  Which leaves only one question, when does a human come into being.  A fertilized egg is considered by some to be a fully formed human being.  It is not.  At the instant of fertilization an embryo has the potential to become a human being.  In that it does not have the ability to survive without cellular level support from the mother, it is not an independent entity.  Seems simple then, it is not a human being.  Maybe.  One thing certain is that there is a point during gestation when the potential human being has the ability to survive in the real world independent of the umbilical connection to the mother.  At that pint the fetus has become a human being with all the rights of a human being, including the right to life.

This instant of viability is the point in time when the government is vested with the right to protect the baby.  At this point in the process the baby is a person.   American political theory, as elucidated in the Declaration holds that every human being is entitled to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness and that   government exists to protect those rights.  Therefore it is within government’s purview to proscribe late term abortions and excluded from interfering with the actions of a pregnant woman prior to the third trimester.  Under laws promulgated in accordance with American principles, prior to the fetus attaining viability it is within a woman’s right to terminate the pregnancy.  The issue of a mother’s health is also in play.  Decisions related to survival of either the mother or the child can only be resolved by the people directly involved in the crisis, the doctor and patient.  If however, the child is live born during the procedure to save the mother and can survive with usual and customary medical care the baby must be treated as though born naturally.  To do otherwise is murder.  Should the child die subsequently despite receiving the normal and customary care given a new born, as is highly possible with a premature birth, there is a presumption of innocence on the part of medical personnel.   This is the only interpretation possible under our understanding of human rights.  However, if an individual, as a matter of faith, believes that a human being is created at the instant of conception that individual’s belief is fully protected under their right of conscience and is as inviolate as any other right.

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