Monday, June 20, 2011

Reproductive Freedom

The Center for Reproductive Rights has stated that its mission is to advance the cause of “reproductive freedom as a fundamental human right that all governments are legally obligated to protect, respect, and fulfill.”
But we should ask what the Center means by “Reproductive Freedom”?

According to their website, the “fundamental human right” of “reproductive freedom” includes both access to birth control and safe abortion.

Now this is just the thing to get a fellow wondering. We may well ask at what point in human history abortion and birth control suddenly became a fundamental human right. Suppose we say they became a fundamental human right as soon as the technology made them possible. But this is problematic, because in that case, their existence as ‘rights’ is not absolute but contingent – contingent on technology.

But what about other contingencies? Suppose access to abortion and birth control was so expensive that it would bankrupt the entire world to provide these ‘services’ for even a single individual? In that case, would it still be a universal right?

It should be clear that these, so called, ‘rights’ are not free-standing, absolutes, but contingent on factors that may or may not exist. Now here’s the rub: can ethics be one of those factors as well?

I merely raise the question.

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