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Abortion Human Rights Essay Sample

When one considers all the protections granted us by modern governments, it is surprising that so many human rights violations still exist; for example, there is still forced child labour and slave trading going on in our world. One violation, which often falls under the radar of human rights protections is abortion, even though it is performed over 100,000 times a year in Canada. Abortion is a direct violation of every human's right to life, protected by the UN Human Rights Declaration Article 3, because it deprives pre-born humans of their very lives. The UN Declaration of Human Rights clearly states: "Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person" (Article 3). 

Whenever faced with such a confrontation the first argument raised is that the pre-born are not human. However, according to the Law of Biogenesis it must be human since this states that every species must reproduce after their own kind (Law of Biogenesis). That means a dog can only bear dogs and cats only cats. Logically, it follows that humans can only reproduce more humans. "The baby is human from the moment of conception. When the one cell it is made of has characteristic 46 chromosomes of the human species, it is unique from that moment. Eighteen days after conception [your} baby's heart is already beating, probably pumping a different blood type [than yours] …. Forty days after conception, (doctors) have recorded brain waves. If you touch a little baby's nose at that point it will draw its head back, so there is definitely some sensation at that time" (Dr. McMillan) Despite this knowledge, many today are still unwilling to face the fact of the pre-born being fully human and therefore deserving of the right to life. 

Logic and medical evidence dictate that the pre-born must be human, yet the next argument of the pro-abortionist lobby is that this human is not alive. Today, scientists can prove with the help of ultra-sound and modern technology that indeed the unborn is growing and moving around in the womb and it can even feel pain. "In fact, unborn babies probably feel pain more intensely than adults. This is a uniquely vulnerable time since the pain system is fully established, yet the higher level pain-modifying system has barely begun to develop” (Dr. Paul Ranalli). 

Another method of attempting to prove the pre-born do not deserve the right to life can be shortened to one abbreviation- SLED: Size, Level of development, Environment and Dependency. For example, debaters often argue that the pre-born has no right to life because it is totally dependant on the mother. This is a form of discrimination towards the pre-born, because the foundation of this argument rests the right to life on dependency. So what they are basically saying is, that humans with a great dependency on someone have no right to exist. In this case, we should think about the dependency of a toddler and a teenager. The teenager is less dependent than the toddler for obvious reasons. The argument that less dependent people have no right to life would mean the toddler should not be able to exist. However, we all know this would not be a just decision. Then logically, it is an unjust decision to kill an innocent human pre-born child based on its dependency. If one were to look at all forms of SLED one would recognize a pattern; that all are a form of discrimination towards the pre-born. "The SLED tactic exposes the argument for abortion for what it really is: unjust discrimination" (Alan Shelmon). 

Following these arguments, there is no debate. Abortion is a violation of the Human Right to Life. Instead of killing our young ones, our future- the ones who are going to take care of us when we cannot - we should be doing everything in our power to ensure their survival in our world. If we do not start realizing the value of life in its early stages, then soon there will be no value in life at all, and there will be no reason why you and I have right to life.

Photo by Janko Ferlic 

Alisa Wiedemer

Alisa is currently a grade 10 student. She is the youngest member of our PEI Right to Life Youth Ambassador Team, and comes to us from Germany. She is very glad to be part of the team and enjoys fighting for the right to life for those who can't speak for themselves.

Updated July 24 2017

Is abortion a human rights issue?

States’ obligations to respect, protect, and fulfill human rights include areas of sexual and reproductive health and autonomy. Where access to safe and legal abortion services are unreasonably restricted, a number of women’s and girls’ human rights may be at risk. These include:

What is Human Rights Watch’s position on abortion?

Human Rights Watch believes that decisions about abortion belong to a pregnant woman without interference by the state or others.

The denial of a pregnant woman's right to make an independent decision regarding abortion violates or poses a threat to a wide range of human rights. Any restriction on abortion that unreasonably interferes with a woman's exercise of her full range of human rights is unacceptable.

Governments should take all necessary steps, both immediate and incremental, to ensure that women have informed and free access to safe and legal abortion services as an element of women's exercise of their reproductive and other human rights.

What are the health consequences of unsafe abortions?

Complications from abortion are rare when performed by a skilled health care provider in sanitary conditions, but unsafe abortions pose a high risk of complications. Recent evidence indicates that between 8 percent to 18 percent of maternal deaths around the world are due to unsafe abortion, and estimates of the number of abortion-related deaths in 2014 ranged from 22,500 to 44,000.

Nearly all deaths and morbidity from unsafe abortion occur in countries where abortion is severely restricted. Lack of legal access to abortion often leads women to seek abortion services from unskilled providers or under unhygienic conditions, exposing them to a significant risk of death or injury.

According to the WHO, major life-threatening complications from unsafe abortion are hemorrhage, infection, and injury to the genital tract and internal organs.

Do restrictive abortion policies reduce the rate of unsafe abortions?

No, in fact restrictive abortion policies are associated with higher rates of unsafe abortions. According to a 2014 UN report, “The average unsafe abortion rate was more than four times greater in countries with restrictive abortion policies in 2011 (26.7 unsafe abortions per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44 years) than in countries with liberal abortion policies (6.1 unsafe abortions per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44 years).” The WHO has found that removing restrictions reduces maternal mortality from unsafe abortion.

What have UN experts and agencies said about criminalization of abortion?

UN experts and agencies consistently call for the full realization of sexual and reproductive rights, including access to safe, legal abortion. This includes the UN “treaty bodies,” which are expert groups that monitor states’ compliance with international human rights treaties. For example:

  • The CEDAW Committee, which monitors compliance with the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), said in a 2014 statement: “Unsafe abortion is a leading cause of maternal mortality and morbidity. As such, States parties should legalize abortion at least in cases of rape, incest, threats to the life and/or health of the mother, or severe foetal impairment, as well as provide women with access to quality post-abortion care, especially in cases of complications resulting from unsafe abortions. States parties should also remove punitive measures for women who undergo abortion.” It has made similar recommendations to many governments when it reviews their compliance with the treaty. The recommendations made in these “concluding observations” typically call on governments to legalize abortion in the circumstances noted above, and decriminalize in all cases.
  • The Committee on the Rights of the Child has urged governments to decriminalize abortions in all circumstances.
  • The UN Human Rights Committee and the Committee on Economic Social and Cultural Rights have also called for an end to blanket prohibitions on abortion.
  • All of these treaty bodies, and others, have called on governments to remove barriers to abortion services, and ensure access to safe and legal abortion.

UN special rapporteurs focusing on a variety of human rights issues have called for decriminalization of and access to abortion services. 

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