Does the fetus have rights?

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When I read this question on the cover of a weekly magazine a couple of months ago, I started to wonder how some people could even think otherwise. If the fetus is allowed to grow and develop normally, it will mature to be someone like any one of us, humans, so why shouldn't he/she have rights, just like anyone of us? I grant you that a fetus is not a fully developed person yet because it is still in the womb and not independent, just like anyone of us when we were in the womb of our mother, but our animal pets (and their fetuses) who are not even humans and do not even have the potentials to be human beings, are accorded their rights and have legal protection against cruelty and abuse under the law. Why not the unborn child?

I am surprised why there is even a debate at all whether fetuses should be considered human beings, and whether we, fellow humans, should have the right to kill them or not. To me, the issue is lucidly clear and has been "naturally pre-determined." These are not fruits or vegetables or any inanimate objects, but future human beings. They have an active brain, a heart that beats, body, arms and legs that move, just like us. They are living beings.

One of the issues being made is that the fetus is not a human being because it is in the womb, totally dependent on the mother, and therefore has no right at all. In other words it does not count! But if a pregnant mother is a victim of any violence or crime, which results in the death of both the mother and the fetus, the courts count the "value" of the fetus, and if the perpetrator is found guilty, he/she could be sentenced to, and meted out, "double" the punishment because of the two dead victims. So, why should the treatment and regard for the value of the fetus be different in the case of abortion?

Another argument I find ludicrous is the one that says a woman has the right to do whatever she wants with her body, and therefore she has the right to terminate the life of her child inside her womb. The fetus inside the womb is not a normal, natural, and integral part of the female body. All the women I know or have read about were not born with a fetus inside her womb as a part of her anatomy. All the rest of her anatomy, her entire body and appendages, are there as natural parts of her, but not a fetus. So how can these pro-abortion group claim that a fetus is a part of the woman's body, and, therefore, a pregnant woman has the right to "cut it out" at her whim, like her hair, or her nails? The woman has the right to mutilate her own body, cut off her limbs or her head off, if she so chooses, because that's her own body and her own life. But the fetus is not a natural part of a woman's anatomy, and is another life.

The main debate also focuses on the so-called termination of pregnancy for convenience, where the mother or both parents, absent any medical indication, decide they simply do not want the pregnancy to continue or to have another child, for whatever personal reason they may have. They want the easy way out. And abortion obviously appears to be that expedient way out. So, the crux of the issue is: do we, should we, have the right to kill the helpless unborn for our convenience or at our whim?

The fetus can't defend itself. It is in the womb, at the mercy of the mother, or parents, and of society, meaning all of us. All we have to do as a society is to gang up on the powerless fetuses, legalize abortion, and allow termination of the life of the unborn at whim. This will also confer upon our people the right to practice irresponsible sex and parenthood. If a woman does not want to be pregnant, she could, and should, prevent conception. Why even allow life to start at all and then decide to annihilate it?

I do realize the situation is not that simple and straightforward. But guided by our Christian sensibilities and sensitivities, by our education, and by our culture where the family is the basic structure of our foundation in society, I am puzzled why there is even a debate on the matter at all.

To Kill or Not to Kill

Freedom, individual rights, and the pursuit of happiness are fundamental tenets in a democracy. The constitution of all the civilized nations of the world, ours included, provides and guarantees every human being the basic freedoms that protect their individual natural rights in the pursuit of a happy, productive, and peaceful life, regardless of race, color, creed, religion, gender, and age, without denying others their equal and natural rights.

The everlasting controversy in the abortion debate really hinges on the denial that a fetus is a human being, and on the misinterpretation of the word freedom. The pro-choice group (who, accurately, should call themselves pro-abortion, but who prefers to be called pro-choice to hide behind a politically correct name) believes that the freedom under the constitution means the right to do whatever one chooses, and in this case, obviously including the right to kill. That is, of course, blatantly absurd and ludicrous, and unconstitutional, not to mention immoral. The freedom and right to choose, as guaranteed us by our constitution, gives us the liberty to do ONLY what is right, proper, ethical, moral and legal. Freedom does not mean the liberty to do anything one wants to do, even abridging the rights of others, like killing the weak, the sick, or even the hopeless and terminally ill, and extinguishing the life of the innocent, fragile and powerless fetus. Mutilating a living fetus for expediency, cutting them into pieces and crashing their skull is never, and should never, be a part of our freedom and a right of anyone of us in a civilized society. Even the blind can clearly see this-very vividly!

The unborn did not force its mother to have and enjoy a carefree, careless, unprotected sex. IF the death "penalty" is at all warranted and needs to be meted out to one of them, it should be to the guilty perpetrator, the mother, and in most cases, including the father, and certainly not to the innocent victim, the faultless and defenseless unborn.

I honestly do not understand how some obviously intelligent and educated family people, who value their rights, and are vigilantly fighting for those rights, can unconscionably deprive and deny the helpless fetuses their rights? I wonder how the members of the pro-choice movement would feel if they were the fetus in the womb?

©2003Raoul R. Diez, M.A.O.D.