IN 1948 the UN proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights – thirty articles detailing what it deemed were fundamental human rights that should be universally accepted and protected.

The order of these thirty articles is deliberate and significant.

The first two articles reinforce that these human rights apply to every single human being, regardless of race, religion, location, nationality, language, status.

The remaining articles cover issues like legal protections, freedom of movement, thought, religion, expression, peaceful assembly, the fundamental importance of the family unit, education, employment, and more.

Article 30, the final point, states:

“Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein.”

In other words, no right recognised in the Declaration gives anybody the power to remove any other rights from anybody else.

Of particular interest is the very first specific right mentioned – Article 3:

“Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.”

So every human being has the right to life.  And when reportedly over 95% of biologists affirm that human life begins at fertilisation. This means that unborn babies – as human beings – also have the right to life, liberty and security of person, as clearly stated by this UN Declaration.

How does the State then justify or permit abortion, which clearly denies the right to life for unborn human babies, in contravention of this article?

This is where some sleight of hand takes place. Governments around the world are creating a new classification: personhood. As far as they are concerned, human rights aren’t actually human rights. They’re person rights. And they will decide who – or what – constitutes a person.

And clearly, unborn children aren’t necessarily persons. In more and more western jurisdictions, including Queensland, Victoria, New South Wales, New Zealand, even Catholic Ireland, the line between who is, and who is not, a person is being moved, closer and closer to the moment of birth. (And if “ethicist” Peter Singer had his way, it wouldn’t stop there either, with his support for the termination of life up to 2 years of age if the child is disabled!)

Now that we have decided who is not yet a person, “progressive” Governments are looking at the other end of life, with euthanasia bills passing in Victoria, and being prepared in Queensland. In every country or territory where euthanasia laws have been enacted, the slippery slope has followed. Lives have been ended for people without terminal illness, or without overwhelming pain. Are Governments now deciding that some are no longer persons?

As we remove more and more human beings from the category of person, something weird is also happening.

In 2017, the New Zealand Government granted personhood status to the Whanganui River, bestowing upon the river all the rights, powers, duties, and liabilities that come with personhood. 

At the same time, a court in the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand declared that the Ganges and Yamuna Rivers would also be awarded personhood status, with all the legal protection that follows.

In early 2019, Ohio voters granted Lake Erie the legal right to “exist, flourish, and naturally evolve,” and in July that same year, Bangladesh upped the ante, and granted rights to every single river in the country.

So we are now seeing situations where rivers, neighbouring forests, even mountains, have more rights than unborn vulnerable human children, or elderly, or mentally ill patients.  Of course, we have been aware for many years that animals (particularly endangered species) have been given more protections and rights than unborn human babies.

The United Nations has even gone against its own Declaration by endorsing and defending abortion around the world. 

And we haven’t even discussed the many physical and mental health threats that accompany abortion, or the coercion and pressure many women experience to end a pregnancy.

If the State can decide who is not yet a person, and who is no longer a person, what’s to stop them deciding who isn’t ever a person? 

And that sounds dangerously just like where we were a bit over 80 years ago.

Grant Vandersee is a former secondary teacher who is now horrified at what is being taught and promoted in schools. A husband and father, political engagement runs in his family with three generations serving in local government. He's been personally involved in party politics for 20 years and is a member of the Liberal National Party. Grant is a staunch advocate for life, family, free speech, individual freedom and religious liberty.

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