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OPINION: A gift we do not appreciate

United Nations Declaration of Human Rights - a monumental statement on dignity of all human life

BY PAT WIEDEMER

GUEST OPINION

We are all too familiar with the various studies that illuminate the lack of historical awareness of the contemporary generations. Many cannot recall dates or facts concerning the world wars or tell you who was involved and why. The recent 100-year anniversary marking the end of the First World War was one way in which we try to alleviate this deplorable discrepancy and disrespect to our ancestors.

A more important milestone for humanity is the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), promulgated on December 10, 1948. This monumental statement on the dignity of all human life was issued at a time when human life had been so violated that it literally took our breath away. Not only was life so desecrated by the “barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind” (UDHR Preamble) but the realization that mankind was the actual perpetrator of such barbarity scandalized the entire world.

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Never again we swore, and declared, should humanity be treated or behave with such depravity. This declaration is the binding agreement we all signed and by which all signees “reaffirmed their faith in the fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person and in equal rights of men and women.”

A simple question: Who gets human rights? Should not all human beings be entitled to their protection? If two members of a species propagate, is the offspring not of that species? If two humans propagate, is not the fetus of that union also a human being? Then why is it that young humans are not protected and instead subjected to death via abortion? The fetus (Latin for young one) is by virtue of his/her humanity entitled to the protection provided by the Declaration.

Abortion and euthanasia (MAID) violate Art.30 “Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying…any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights set forth herein.” The destruction of human life be it in the womb or not, be it in any of its suffering stages, is a violation against the fundamental and universal right to life and the protection we are obligated to provide for it. (Art.3 UDHR)

Seventy years later we have not learned. We are still the perpetrators of cruelty to the vulnerable and marginalized. Since the signing of the declaration we have had over 4 million abortions take place in Canada and we continue to permit this violation of ending the life of an innocent human being at an even more rapid rate since the introduction of medical abortions via the abortion pill.

No circumstantial argument of size, level of development, environment or degree of dependency, let alone the argument that the stronger person has a greater right over the weaker can ever trump the right to life of the human fetus, baby, toddler, teenager, adult, or elderly.

All humans, from fertilization until natural death, have intrinsic worth and thus possess a right to life. What difference does it make that we promote diversity and individuality when the very right to that diverse individual life is not upheld?

- Pat Wiedemer is executive director of P.E.I. Right to Life Association

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