The inordinate focus on rights is detrimental to a well ordered and functioning society.

Human rights, constitutional rights, and legal rights are all things that we hold near and dear and should jealously protect.  Where society has taken a wrong turn is placing rights above other equally important considerations.

Take abortion and reproductive rights for example.  The courts have decided that a woman’s right to choose is more important than any other significant consideration.  If a woman is too inconvenienced by a restriction on abortion than the law is found to be unconstitutional.  With the current state of abortion laws a married woman who already has a stable and happy family with children with her husband can abort her current pregnancy without consulting her husband.  The husband and father has no voice, no choice, no recourse and no cognizable legal standing to prevent it.  If an unmarried woman decides to keep her pregnancy a secret from a one-night stand and chooses to have the baby, the biological father can be on the hook for child support for the next 18 years without any other prior commitment to the woman or child he did not know he had.  In Texas in 2005 a 19 year old Gerard Flores was given a life sentence for helping his girlfriend force a miscarriage of twins by standing on her stomach.  He will spend the rest of his natural life in prison and she will go free because of her right to an abortion.

The autonomy and convenience of a fertile woman has been placed above all other considerations.  This completely invalidates any consideration for the potential life growing inside her or the rights of the father.  This is unbalanced and not a fair way of handling these issues.

A current hot topic is the subject of Gay Marriage.  The war cry is for “equal rights” for all.  As things stand right now, everyone has the same equal right to marry someone of the opposite gender.  There are no separate drinking fountains, restaurants, areas for riding the bus, voting restrictions, or employment restrictions based on sexual preference.

It seems the real reason for pressing this “right to marry” is more a matter of normalizing an abnormal behavior and seeking larger social acceptance by legitimizing these couplings by calling it “marriage”.  There are no rights being violated by denying a government sanctioned marital designation to committed gay couples.  They are trying to equate things that are not equal and treat things as the same which are not the same all in the name of “rights”.

There needs to be a resurgence of responsibility and public virtue.  Each person as part of making this country better should be willing to make a personal sacrifice for the public good.  Military service is one of the most visible examples of people making a sacrifice of time, comfort, and personal interest to serve the country.  Perhaps a good sacrifice for many people would be to look at what they want to do and decide if it is in the public good.

Is it in the public good to have an abortion?  Potential adoptive parents might not think so.  Is it in the public good to have a gay marriage?  It devalues the meaning of family and family bonds while undermining traditional morals with no real upside.  Looking at claims to legal rights in the prism of furthering the public good may go a long way to improving the balance between rights vs. responsibilities.

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