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RespectPeople.org exists to ease the animosity between Pro-Life and Pro-Choice Americans on the topics of Abortion, Fetal Personhood, and Reproductive Rights by asking Three Questions that evaluate the Morality of abortion rights.
If you're reading this, you're likely already familiar with the standard yet problematic arguments for and against abortion rights. On the one hand, the assertion that the right to liberty is a right to murder people is gravely immoral. On the other hand, the assertion that the right to life is a right to commandeer another person's body—a vessel necessary for the enjoyment of both life and liberty—is also gravely immoral. On this website, Respect People outlines a future for pregnancy termination rights that involves neither of those immoral assertions.
Before we approach the three questions mentioned above, we all need to refresh our understanding of the precious constitutional rights relevant to pregnancy termination: The right to security of person (Amendment IV) grants us bodily autonomy, bodily integrity, and privacy. The right to freedom from slavery and involuntary servitude (Amendment XIII, Section 1) protects us from being owned by another person, government, or entity and protects us from forced labor. Then there are the rights to life, liberty, and property (Amendment XIV, Section 1). The right to life is the right to not be murdered. The right to liberty is to enjoy freedom for oneself while simultaneously respecting the rights of others. And lastly, the right to property is the right to own land, tangible assets, and intellectual assets. The slider below contains all the relevant amendments in their original glory.
"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."
The Constitution of the United States of America, Preamble
The image above, courtesy of the Library of Congress (9LC-DIG-pga-08961), shows a newspaper clipping of the Virginia Assembly in 1775, where Virginia Delegate Patrick Henry concluded a passionate speech in favor of revolution against the tyrannous Great Britain with the now famous words, "Give me liberty, or give me death!" His exclamation became the rallying cry of the American Revolutionary War. It is because of this sentiment—"Liberty or Death!"—that thousands of people bravely gave their lives in war to give rise to a new government and country, the United States of America. The historical precedent is clear: life without liberty is not worth living.
Because the rights to life and liberty are so intimately intertwined, we must be very careful to ensure both are respected in any and all policy for reproductive rights. In our Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, we pledge allegiance "to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all." To honor that pledge, each of us has a duty to help heal our nation from the division sowed from disagreement on the morality of abortion. To fulfill this duty, we humbly suggest for you to consider reevaluating your own stance on abortion. You may change your mind, or you may not. Nevertheless, to fulfill your duty to this nation, to do your part to heal the splinters threatening the stability of our Republic, it is imperative that you maintain an open mind. The morality of abortion is often presented as a single question (When does life begin?), however, to respect the rights of all people, we each need to contemplate not one question, but three. The three questions are:
1. When did your life begin?
2. Do you have a right to use another person’s body without their permission?
3. What are you allowed to do if someone is using your body without your permission?
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Throughout RespectPeople.org, underlined words are hyperlinked to reference sources and/or additional information. If you are unfamiliar with hyperlinks, try clicking on any of the underlined words on this page.
Ethicists and philosophers sometimes refer to the challenge of evaluating the morality of abortion as a Gordian Knot. Respect People believes that the key to untangling misconceptions about the morality of abortion is to recognize that this "knot" is actually comprised of "three distinct pieces of rope," or rather, three distinct moral questions. We believe that the most pure, unadulterated, and unbiased conclusion about the morality of abortion can be reached by first earnestly and honestly answering each of the three questions in isolation from the other two, and then only after that to consider your three answers all together to determine the truth about the morality of abortion.