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Civil Rights for All

By Fr. James Farfaglia
January 21st, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

I too have a dream, the dream that one day soon every unborn child will have civil rights. They are persons with equal protection of the law as guaranteed by the 14th amendment of the United States Constitution. 

CORPUS CHRISTI, TX (Catholic Online) - There is a direct connection between the civil rights movement and the pro-life movement.  Unborn babies have civil rights too because they are persons with equal protection of the law as guaranteed by the 14th amendment of the United States Constitution. 

"All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

If laws are permitted to exist that do not give equal protection to all citizens, what will keep the worse kind of tyranny from trying to emerge in our country?
 
"The moment a positive law deprives a category of human beings of the protection which civil legislation ought to accord them, the state is denying the equality of all before the law.  When the state does not place its power at the service of the rights of each citizen, and in particular of the more vulnerable, the very foundations of a state based on law are undermined.  As a consequence of the respect and protection which must be ensured for the unborn child from the moment of conception, the law must provide appropriate penal sanctions for every deliberate violation of the child's rights" (Catechism of the Catholic Church #2273).
 
It is important that we commemorate the life, legacy and struggle of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  Since the civil rights movement of the 1960's much has been accomplished in order to guarantee civil liberties for all Americans. 

Nevertheless, the noble desire for true civil rights for all will never occur until we understand the fundamental right to life that all human beings have from the moment of conception until the moment of natural death. 

Alveda King, Martin Luther King's niece and pro-life advocate stated in a LifeNews.com article by Andrew Bair, that her uncle was strongly pro-life.  "Were he alive today, he would be working to secure peace and justice for those in the womb and healing for a nation that is still pained by over 53 million missing lives," King says.  "The toll abortion has taken on the African American community is enough to shock the conscience of every American."

Bair reports that "according to the US Census Bureau, African Americans comprise 12.4% of the American population; however, over 30% of the nation's abortions are done on black women.

Data from the New York City Department of Health shows the Big Apple hitting a 40% abortion rate. As if that number wasn't appalling enough, when the data is broken down all racial lines, around 60% percent of New York City's abortions are done on black women. In other words, 1,448 African American babies are aborted for every 1,000 born. Among black teens in New York City, that number jumps to a staggering 72% abortion rate or 2,360 abortions for every 1,000 babies born."

Bair also reports that "the Department of Health has reported that in the city of Philadelphia nearly half of all black babies are aborted."

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness" (The Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776).

We have heard and read these famous words many times.  Yet, it should be interesting for us to note that of the three fundamental rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, the founding fathers of our nation recognize life as the first of these three unalienable rights. 

Freedom and the pursuit of happiness are impossible without the fundamental right to life. 

If anyone has the right to terminate the life of an innocent human being, not only are those who are being terminated no longer equal under the law, but proponents of abortion are laying the ground work for choices to be made about the extermination of other groups of people.

The right to life is the most fundamental of all rights.  All other rights depend upon the right to life. 

Man is not autonomous.  He is created by God and therefore, must live in union with his creator. 

James Madison, the fourth president of our nation and one of our founding fathers once said, "We have staked the whole of all our political institutions upon the capacity of mankind for self-government, upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God."

As you walk up the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court, you can see Moses holding the Ten Commandments. As you enter into the Supreme Court courtroom, the two huge oak doors have the Ten Commandments engraved on each lower portion of each door.  As you sit inside the courtroom, the Ten Commandments are displayed right above where the Supreme Court judges sit.

On August 28, 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King delivered one of the most famous discourses in American history.  "I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.'"

I too have a dream, the dream that one day soon every unborn child will have civil rights. They are persons with equal protection of the law as guaranteed by the 14th amendment of the United States Constitution. 

And as Dr. King cried out on that famous day in 1963, "This will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with a new meaning, 'My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing.  Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim's pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring."

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Father James Farfaglia is a contributing writer for Catholic Online and author of Get Serious! - A Survival Guide for Serious Catholics.  You can visit him on the web at www.fatherjames.org. 

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