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January 28, 2022

True Right to Life

by Professor Robert J. Barth

True Right to Life

It is not surprising that America’s founders listed physical “life” as the first unalienable right. Without life you can have no other unalienable rights from the Creator, but with the endowment of life come all other unalienable rights. As recipients of life, each of us has a responsibility to the Creator as to how we take care of our physical and mental health. For children, that duty falls on the parents until the children are legally able to assume the responsibility. 

With the gift of life we have liberty with responsibility in terms of our physical well-being. God gives us the gift of life and it is to Him we owe a duty of caring for our lives according to the Creator’s design and as our conscience dictates. Without going into detail, the Creator’s gift of life and our corresponding duty to care for that life is the basis for informed consent requirements. Because each person is accountable to the Creator as to how they steward their physical life, it is a person’s right among men, to make his/her own decisions about how they fulfill their duty of caring for their physical life. Any medical or physical treatment against a person’s will violates the unalienable right to life. And, as we will see, it is the civil government’s duty to secure and protect a person’s right to fulfill his or her duty to steward the Creator-given gifts, including life.  

For many years, “right to life” has primarily been a reference to efforts that oppose abortion and the termination of the life of preborn human beings. Those opposing the right to life speak in terms of “prochoice” with an emphasis on a woman’s “right to choose” whether to terminate a pregnancy. Absent an understanding of, and an adherence to, the truth of unalienable rights, the value of life is relegated to a human decision with no regard for the rights of the preborn. Some may argue that in 1973 when Roe v Wade was decided the personhood of the preborn was in question. However, with the humanness of a preborn baby being clearly confirmed by medical science, that fact can no longer be questioned. The only differences between a baby in the womb and one after birth are time, nutrition, and growth. Yet today many, while arguing “science” in other areas, refuse to accept the self-evident and scientific truth about the humanness of a preborn baby. 

Right to life

The emphasis on an antinomian definition of “choice” regarding human life has not only been the philosophical basis for pro-abortion advocates, but it has also created a platform for pro-death arguments when it comes to the elderly, the infirm, and the handicapped. In other words, rejecting the legal basis for protecting human life that our founders expressed in the Declaration of Independence has resulted in a very significant devaluation of life to the point that man has elevated himself above the Creator’s authority over human life. Under this view, human life is no longer an unalienable gift from the Creator and an unalienable right among men, but life becomes an expendable privilege determined by individual choice or by those claiming the power to do so.


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About the Author

Professor Robert J. Barth
A graduate of the University of Illinois (B.S. 1976), Professor Robert J. Barth received his Juris Doctor from Southern Illinois University School of Law in 1979. He received his Master’s Degree in Public Policy from Regent University in 1986. From 1986 to 1995, Professor Barth was associated with Regent University School of Law in several capacities, including assistant dean for academic and student affairs, and editor of the Journal of Christian Jurisprudence. He has written several articles, and as the director for academic programs, he has authored Oak Brook College’s book, Renewing Your Mind as You Study Law.

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