To Live or Not to Live

The right to Life is the most foundational right of any person.  Why is it self-evident?  It is the first condition we all have in common.  Before we are male or female, black or white, athletic or clumsy, intelligent or dense, conservative or liberal, American or European or African or Asian, we are alive.  We all share this “first state” – it is our most basic human characteristic. It follows then, if you don’t have a right to exist, how can you have a claim to any other rights?  If your life is not intrinsically valued simply because you are human, you have no worth and can be discarded.  The lack of recognition of this most basic right is true today in some cultures.  But our culture acknowledges this right – but only to a point.  That point is precisely at birth, or based on some politicians records, even a little after birth, if that birth was unintentional and the child was intended to be aborted.  But the right to Life is more than the right to live after being born.  It doesn’t really matter if you call what is growing in the womb of a woman a person, a baby, a fetus, a tissue mass, a parasite, or even a glob of goo – it is alive.  And with nourishment it will become a person.  In that regard, it is no different than a one year old, a five year old or even a fifteen year old.  Each of those is not a fully functioning or self-reliant member of society.  But given time, they can become one.  But allowing the argument to be framed that the “thing” in the womb is not human, and thus not worthy of life, is a failure on our part to guard that most basic right of life.  While you may call it a fetus or a mass of tissue, it most certainly is not dog, a can opener, or a tree.  Given time and nutrients, it's not going to turn into a spotted owl or a city bus, it will become a child and eventually an adult.  Take away its nutrients and it dies, not the mother.  Take away your nutrients, and you too die.  See the connection?  I’ve heard the argument, even from conservatives, that the earliest stage isn’t human at all – it’s a biological machine designed to create a human.  That concept conflicts with the law of biogenesis.  Humans don’t beget machines that create humans, they beget humans.  Whatever you call it, it is an undeveloped, fragile human life that should be protected.  Our culture says life begins at birth.  Infancy begins at birth, but that which is an infant was alive before it was ever born.  The right to life has to include the right to be born since birth is nothing but a transition between two stages of human development – pre-natal and infancy.  To refuse to protect anyone’s right to be born is an abdication of moral authority to protect the right to life.  The right to be born is the essence of the right to Life.  If we willingly toss away the right of the unborn to live, we have no foundation as a movement to prescribe any other solutions for the condition of man or for his governance.

The nature of our birth indicates another self-evident truth.  We are born dependent.  John Donne was exactly right when he proclaimed that no man is an island.  We are, by nature, dependent on each other.  The great American concept of individualism does not fit or align with Natural Law. The baby is dependent on the mother, who in turn is dependent on the father, without whom there would be no baby.  The father is also dependent on the mother, who bears his children and helps to raise them.  The children are dependent on the parents for their physical needs as well as emotional.  Then this entire family unit is dependent on other families.  And society as a whole is dependent on families to carry the society forward.  If no one is having children (or if they are all being aborted), the culture will end.  The most basic building block of a society is its families. One can gauge just how successful a society is based on how much it respects and protects families.