Mirror of Justice

A blog dedicated to the development of Catholic legal theory.
Affiliated with the Program on Church, State & Society at Notre Dame Law School.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Human Rights Depend on Natural Law

As this recent article by Dan Philpott in Public Discourse reminds us, human rights depend on natural law. Regarding the right to life, Philpott notes:


The right to life, though, is the most basic of natural, human rights. That preborn children are persons is disputed but not disputable. Science textbooks attest that the embryo, once formed, is a unified, distinct being that has begun to develop on its own impetus. In a recent article in The Atlantic, Emma Green describes abortion rights activists as being “on high alert for what they describe as efforts to ‘humanize fetuses,’” revealing that abortion rights rely on a denial of the humanity of the preborn person. This humanity is not absent from the human rights heritage, in which the 1959 United Nations Declaration on the Rights of the Child holds that every child “needs special safeguards and care, including legal protection, before as well as after birth.”


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