Recently, human dignity was cited as the reason to grant same-sex couples the legal right to marry. That’s a lot of weight to put on the phrase. So what I want to talk about today is this: When does a human being gain human dignity? Is it granted to us at a certain age? At a certain time? For a certain reason? If we are going to use ‘human dignity’ as a basis for unalienable rights, then we better start knowing when it starts and it is my deep conviction that human dignity begins in the womb. If we truly want to honor every person as unique, special, and valuable, then we need to reassess how we as a country view unborn children and ultimately, abortion. So let’s start with the basics. What is “human dignity”? Caritas International defines “human dignity” as the following:
“Human dignity is inalienable – that means it is an essential part of every human being and is an intrinsic quality that can never be separated from other essential aspects of the human person.”
The Human Dignity Trust says it this way:
“Human dignity is inviolable and it must be respected and protected. The dignity of the human person is not only a fundamental right in itself, but constitutes the basis of fundamental rights in international law.
The 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights enshrined this principle in its preamble: ‘recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world’.”
So what is human dignity? It’s not something bestowed upon us. It’s imprinted in our DNA. We don’t earn it and it’s not given to us. It just IS. Human dignity belongs to every person in the ‘human family’ and I stand firm on that starting at conception. If we don’t understand this fact, then we start down a slippery slope of choosing who has and who doesn’t have ‘dignity’. I am a strong supporter that every human being has ‘dignity’ regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, special needs, or personal beliefs. However, every day unborn children are denied their human dignity. For example, 92% of babies diagnosed with down syndrome are aborted each year. Why? Because they have Down Syndrome. They are considered less valuable than a “healthy” child because of one extra chromosome. According to current studies, nearly 200 million women/girls are missing worldwide due to sex-selective abortion. Why? Because women are seen as less valuable than men in some cultures. If these children were born and then killed, it would be a front page news story. But these pregnancies are terminated LEGALLY every day. Why? Because we don’t consider them humans.
All human beings, regardless of genetic flaw or gender, should be granted human dignity because they are part of the human family. There is only one requirement to join the human race: be conceived from a human sperm and a human egg. But we have conditioned ourselves into believing that we have the ‘right’ to choose who has “human dignity” and what qualifies as a ‘life’. What should be objective truth has become a women’s right to decide. It’s become a double standard based on whether the child is wanted or not. As a Christian Feminist, I rebuke that right. Destroying life is never empowering nor ever should be. Unplanned pregnancies are HARD and women are often alone especially if the pregnancy is due to rape, abuse, or incest. We need to provide services that are truly pro-women. Women need affordable healthcare including birth control and prenatal care. They need counseling and mentors. They need other women to love on them and to support them and their unborn child (whether they choose to raise the child or opt for adoption). Services like these empower women. They educate, provide care, provide options, and support the life of the mother as well as the child inside them. This is not only an attainable goal but a necessary one. There have been 57,762,169 abortions since Roe Vs. Wade was passed in 1973. That’s 57,762,169 doctors, scholars, Nobel prize winners, chemists, teachers, politicians, marines, etc missing from our planet. The time has come for us as human beings to stand together in solidarity and fight for true equality. Fight for the right of unborn children to be born. To live their lives and make their own choices. Simply to live and be considered worthy of the dignity owed to them.