I recently watched a short video on why Planned Parenthood’s summer interns “stand with Planned Parenthood”. One of the recurring statements went along the lines of (and sometimes directly on the line of) “I stand with Planned Parenthood because reproductive health is a right, not a privilege.”
I wonder how all of the millions of people who have read the US Constitution could have missed that bit. Or perhaps one of us has a misunderstanding of the difference between a “right” and a “privilege”.
(First, may I say, that if you don’t believe in God, rights don’t exist, because no right and wrong exists. Sorry.)
“Right” is defined as something you have a claim on. And, if you have been deprived of that something, somebody or something should give it to you. A privilege is something that is graciously given to you that you don’t have a claim on.
(There is a difference between a God-given right and a government-granted right. I believe that the rights we have in the US are mostly one and the same. So for the sake of simplicity and conciseness, I will be assuming that they are so.)
The US constitution defines what we have a right to. To name a few: the right to life. The right to own arms. The right to peacefully protest. The right to freedom of religion. The right to freedom of speech.
But the “right” to reproductive health? Or to any kind of health, for that matter? While all the rights I just listed above are confirmed in the US Constitution, the word “health” is never mentioned. Nor is the word “privacy”.
And this is a good thing. The keywords in the fourth amendment are “unreasonable” and “probable”. Think about it: if there really were a right to privacy, then the government wouldn’t be able to do anything at all to punish criminals, so long as they stayed on private property. The government would be unable to investigate the homes of suspected child abusers or wife-beaters or spouse-murderers or ANYTHING that took place on private property. This isn’t limited to just houses. This encompasses anything that is not owned by the government.
Talk about scary.
Normally, I’m all for less government intervention. But there are two times I will make an exception: protection of the citizens from outside forces (“outside forces” meaning anything other than the citizen themselves), and protection of the citizens’ property.
Of course, I'm not saying I want the government to be able to search our houses whenever they want, and it certainly would be nice if everyone was absolutely healthy. But these are not rights.
Besides…being murdered while snuggled up in your own mother’s womb. That’s the ultimate violation of the right to privacy and health. If anything gives the government a ticket to intervene, abortion does.
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