The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the United Nations in 1948 in the wake of the atrocities of World War II, is the foundation of religious liberty worldwide and also covers the rights of nonbelievers.
A leading scholar suggested in a recent talk that although the landmark document doesn’t mention this, its demand for respect for human dignity should even extend to the unborn.
“Think of how some people treat the unborn child,” Robert George, a professor of jurisprudence at Princeton University and a former chairman of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, told an audience at The Catholic University of America. “Well, the unborn child isn’t far enough in its development, so we can treat the unborn child as inferior. Or even the newborn child, (who) could be treated as less equal than a mature rabbit or dog.
“So we have to fight against that temptation all the time…We need to be able to see the fundamental worth in all humanity of anybody,” he continued. “The homeless person under the bridge. The disabled person, the mentally disturbed person, the person whose mental illness may result in his being very offensive, even involved in criminality of some sort…Still, they have an unerasable human dignity.”
George spoke at the university’s Institute for Human Ecology at a programme to mark the university’s new master’s degree program in human rights.
Picture: Archive image of pro-life advocates attending the annual March for Life in Washington. (CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn).