Saturday, October 23, 2010

Hsieh/Armstrong on Personhood and Health Choice

The October 22, 2010 Denver Daily News published the OpEd by Diana Hsieh and Ari Armstrong, "A62, A63 Reveal Ideological Rifts". In this piece, they discuss Amendment 62 (the "personhood" measure) and Amendment 63 (the Health Care Choice measure).

They discuss why a proper approach to individual rights leads them to oppose Amendment 62 and support Amendment 63. In particular, they note:
Both the left and the religious right, then, express contradictory views about liberty and individual choice. They support it in some cases, but not in principle. Why is that?

The left rejects America’s founding ideal of liberty as each person’s freedom to pursue his own life and happiness using his own property. They regard rights as entitlements to goods and services provided by others, not freedoms to think and act without coercive interference.

...The religious right claims to support individual rights, but its conception of rights is little more than sectarian dogmatism. Rights are whatever God declares them to be, on this view.

By contorting some Bible passages and ignoring others, advocates of Amendment 62 claim that newly fertilized zygotes -- even before implantation in the uterus -- must be declared persons with full legal rights. By similar methods, they ignore the Bible's overt hostility to individual rights and capitalist values.

The consistent, secular view of individual rights is opposed to both the entitlements of the left and the dogmatism of the religious right. Rights, on this third view, define the individual's proper sphere of freedom in a social context. They enable each person to act by his own judgment and for his own life and happiness.

Such rights are based on the facts of man's rational nature, not the whims of the majority or the arbitrary commands of God. They apply equally to every person, to individuals living in society, as opposed to an embryo or fetus entirely contained within a pregnant woman’s body.
(Read the full text of "A62, A63 Reveal Ideological Rifts".)