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The Right to Life – the Greatest of all Human Rights
by Tony Roxas
LIFE is a gift of God and not an endowment
granted by the State. As such, therefore, the relationship between God, the Giver of life, and man, the receiver of life, is a most profound moral and spiritual relationship over which no power on earth nor any man-made law can prevail or alter, much less breach. This is one of the underlying reasons why the United Nations declared and guaranteed the freedom of religion and conscience in its Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. This is also why it declared in Art. 16-3 of that document that “The family is the NATURAL and FUNDAMENTAL group unit of society and is ENTITLED TO PROTECTION by society and the STATE.” (underscoring and italicization ours). Our own Constitution in Sec. 12, Article II states that “The State recognizes the sanctity of family life and shall protect and strengthen the family as a basic autonomous social institution. It shall equally protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception. The natural and primary right and duty of parents in the rearing of the youth for civic efficiency and the development of moral character shall receive the support of the Government” (italicization and emphasis ours) Unfortunately, these fundamental human rights are now being violated brutally by some foreign governments, ironically through the unauthorized initiatives and cooperation of certain U.N. agencies, WHO, UNFPA and others, without the approval of the UN assembly itself.
The True Nature and Value of Authentic Human Rights Human rights exist only because human life exists. If there were no human life, there would not be any human rights to champion, protect or even speak or think of. In short, it is the reality of human life that makes all other rights exist. Therefore, if all human rights were to be gathered and arranged in their natural order of importance and value, it is the Right to Life that would reign supreme because it is the allencompassing right and the very source of existence of all other human rights. Compared to the greatest of all rights – the Right to Life – all other rights are less in importance and value. And since what is less cannot prevail over what is greater, especially if it is the greatest of rights, it can never be morally right for anyone to claim that his or her right to freedom of choice or right to freedom from unwanted pregnancies can prevail over the right to life of an unborn child. Hence, there can never be any valid moral justification for abortion rights which so many laws the world over have enforced, only to be proven wrong and self-destructive by the vengeance of nature’s laws that have exacted heavy tolls and painful lessons on governments and countries that aggressively promote family planning through the use of artificial contraceptives and/ or abortion. The fast dwindling and virtually irreversible extinction of entire races of people that showed no respect for the right to life is a lesson from which we Filipinos must learn.
Furthermore, any so-called “rights” that deny, weaken, defile, endanger, or violate the Right to Life do not have any authentic moral existence, and because non-existent and unjust per se, can never become the basis for enacting a valid and just law! The Fatal Consequences of Moral Relativism Moral relativists who deny the objective existence, permanence and universality of the precepts of natural moral law must necessarily – deny the existence of human rights because such rights are rooted in and spring only from the natural moral law; deny the validity of all human rights aspects found in the Bill of Rights enshrined in our Constitution for the same reason; deny the validity of the rules and treaties of the Geneva Convention on the humane treatment of prisoners of war as these presuppose the existence of human rights; deny the legitimacy of the United Nations and the binding force of its policies and directives to its member nations because the U.N. was founded only on the natural moral law as its bedrock, as its history and its adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 confirm. deny the objective precepts of civilized moral behavior and the obligation to avoid outright savagery, which numerous tyrants and dictators have been guilty of, as history shows; deny any objective moral justification for a democratic government to exist, a dangerous ideology that has inspired tyrants and dictators to exterminate hundreds of millions with impunity in the history of mankind. Clearly then, it is the natural moral law that compels the conscience of mankind to uphold and abide by the norms of natural justice, the first obligation of which is to hold sacred and to
nurture and protect the Right to Life, the greatest of all human rights. Conscience and the Separation of Church and State Invoking the separation between Church and State as a conscientious ground for passing the RH bill into law is neither a valid nor legitimate moral justification. The reason is that even if a public official chooses to ignore or violate the teachings of his religion on some public issues such as artificial family planning methods and the RH bill, no educated and civilized person can exempt or liberate his conscience completely from the compelling force of the natural moral law, the only law invoked and enforced during the historic Nuremberg trial of Nazi war criminals because of its binding force on the conscience of mankind. In short, every educated and civilized person is bound to uphold and protect the Right to Life of any human being by reason of the natural moral law, even if he chooses to disobey the teachings of his own religion in this regard. The reason is that the natural moral law is prior to and transcends all religions, including the greatest religions of the world, Christianity, Mohammedanism and Judaism. It is the law that has been written in the hearts of all men since the first man walked the earth and it is this same law that shows the way to peace and harmony among men of all faiths and beliefs. Finally, if the Catholic Faith or any other faiths choose to adopt the natural moral law as part of their teachings because they see in it God as its author, this will in no way diminish the compelling force of the natural moral law on conscience. On the contrary, such religions will even increase its binding force on their faithful.