Since the U.S. Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v Wade it has become clear that we are now wading into another row – over abortion. And as usual, those on the Left are reacting irrationally and violently, while those on the Right are wrestling with their own consciences over the moral implications of abortion.
The inconvenient reality concerning the unborn is that during pregnancy, two human lives occupy the same space at the same time. If one assumes that the unborn have rights, this creates an unavoidable contradiction given that such rights would conflict with those of the mother – in whose body the unborn child exists.
But this contradiction is illusionary because another inconvenient reality is that the unborn are not capable of having “rights” – nor, for that matter, are children. To confer “rights” upon either group is a meaningless gesture given that actual rights are attached both to responsibilities and to the freedom of action necessary to exercise them.
In this context, a more appropriate and accurate term to apply to children and the unborn is “status.” This is no mere exercise in semantics. The “status” of children and other individuals incapable of exercising rights (such as the mentally ill or severely physically disabled) is subordinate to those assigned with the rights and responsibilities for their care – and under whose rights they are protected.