Today, in our world, there is a crisis in the human rights department. Many countries, throughout the world, have legalized abortion and some even force it upon women, depending on the sex of the baby they are carrying. Some people are asking the questions: so what if these embryos are being destroyed? Does it really matter? Does this actually have anything to do with human rights? Is it that big of an issue? The answer is yes and this is why.

Abortion is the biggest human rights issue today, simply because of the number of people’s rights that it violates. There are 3,700 abortions performed every day in the United States alone. Abortion tears down the dignity of all humanity. How can our society legalize the killing of millions of innocent babies? If a society can kill innocent children who have done nothing wrong, then what protects others’ right to life?

All people have sinned against someone; all are guilty. If the innocent are devalued and destroyed, how can society respect the rest of humanity who are imperfect? No one’s rights are sure to be protected with the legalization of abortion.

Then the other questions to ask are: if children are killed, what protects those who are old or handicapped? How can mere mortals put a value on life? Who are mortals to decide who should live and who should die? This is like playing God. This homicide could very easily carry over into euthanasia of the old and-or handicapped. Abortion affects the rights of all people.

Abortion degrades women, making them of lesser value. Abortion often goes against the woman’s right to make a decision. Many women are pressured into having abortions. Most women are not educated about the consequences of the choice they are making. “The more information women are given, the more empowered they will be,” says Ann Brennan.

The consequences of abortion will follow them throughout their lives. Abortion affects women by increasing their risk of contracting breast, cervical, ovarian and liver cancer.

Dr. R.L. Walley, an honourary research professor of obstetrics and gynecology, has said, “Women have a basic right to know of this increased risk of breast cancer and it is unacceptable that the information should be denied them by the medical and cancer research establishments.”

Abortion can also make a woman infertile and give her a perforated uterus or bladder. Ten per cent of all abortions will be followed by immediate complications and one-fifth of these complications are life-threatening. By having an abortion, women are more likely to be depressed, suicidal, have anxiety attacks, sleeping disorders, low self-esteem, fits of rage, etc. These are only a few of the negative affects abortion has.

Abortion not only violates the rights of the child being aborted, it also violates the rights of a woman’s future children. Women, who have had an abortion, increase their subsequent children’s chances of having birth defects and-or being born prematurely. None of these children do anything to deserve this.

Patricia Heaton, Emmy winner, explains the positive results of women in unexpected pregnancies who decide to carry a baby to term. “Women who are experiencing an unplanned pregnancy also deserve unplanned joy.” Abortionists portray women as weak and not capable of taking responsibility for their actions or their children. This contributes to men’s disrespect for women and women’s bodies.

The “pro-choice” movement would argue that the baby does not have rights because she is totally dependent on the mother and the mother has no obligation to let the child live “off of” her. Pro-choice advocates say abortion only has to do with the mother’s right and that not allowing her to have an abortion goes against her “reproductive rights.” Even by looking at it from this point of view, there are obvious faults with this opinion.

As shown above, it goes against the woman’s right to her health of body, mind and spirit. The other problem with the pro-choice view is that the baby does have rights. The embryo is a human being imprinted with God’s image. She is holy and no one has the right to decide whether that child of God is to live or die.

As Mother Teresa put it, “Human rights are not a privilege conferred by government; they are every human being’s entitlement by virtue of his humanity.” To prove that the child is a human being, take a look at biology. A human being is also called a homo sapiens. Homo is the name of the genus that he belongs to and sapiens is the species.

By examining and classifying an embryo (by looking at his/her DNA, proteins, etc.), the results would be that the child is a homo sapiens. The child is indeed a human being and therefore, deserves the respect and the rights of all human beings. One of these is the right to life. Peace is impossible with the continuance of abortion. War and abortion are violence, in which many innocent people’s rights are violated.

Mother Teresa explained the relationship between abortion and war by saying, “The so-called right to abortion has pitted mothers against their children and women against men. It has sown violence and discord at the heart of the most intimate relationships … It has portrayed the greatest gift – a child – as a competitor, an intrusion and an inconvenience.”

Abortion has sucked love from relationships. Without love, there cannot be peace. Every child, every human being, has the right to be loved and to share this love with others. This child who is being aborted is being cursed as unwelcome and unloved. Consequently, other children are having trouble bonding with mothers who have had an abortion. How can a mother destroy one child and give open love to the next?

Abortion is clearly, by this evidence, a major human rights issue. It affects all of humanity, not just those individuals directly involved. If there is ever going to be peace, this evil, which violates so many people’s rights, must come to an end.

This is one of three co- winning essays for the 2007 Father Ted Colleton Scholarship Award. Janelle Brodner lives in Lloydminster, Sask. and attends school at Holy Rosary High School Lloydminster, Alta