Is There A “Right” to Birth Control?

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Short answer: no! I explore the issue in my latest piece for Crisis.


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  1. Q: “Is there a ‘right’ to birth control?”

    A: “I dunno. Is continence a ‘right’ or a ‘duty’?”

  2. No. But I don’t think anyone has a right to sex. We were commanded to multiply and fill the earth. That implies to me more of a duty.

  3. As I commented over at Crisis, “The word “right” is used in a number of different senses and much confusion results from failing to distinguish them. There are, for example “claim-rights,” such as the right to payment of a debt, which can be enforced against some specific person and presuppose a correlative obligation. Then there are rights in the sense of mere liberties – I have a right to watch my neighbour dig his garden and he has a right to grow a hedge to prevent me. This means no more than that I am committing no wrong by doing so.

    My right to walk down the road is a mere liberty, but any attempt to prevent me will probably give rise to a claim-right, a right to a reparation in damages for assault, for example.

    For the sake of completeness, we also talk of rights, in the sense of powers, such as the right to leave someone a legacy, which creates in him a claim-right against my estate to receive it. Then, there are rights in the sense of immunities – a thief can deprive me of possession of my goods, but not of my right of ownership, which becomes a claim-right against the possessor.

    I have a right to buy bread, if I can find a willing seller; this is a mere liberty. Having purchased it, I have a claim-right against the seller, if he fails to deliver it. The two are, nevertheless, quite distinct meanings of the word.”

    Often we encounter arguments ringing the changes on these different senses; equivocation, in its literal sense.

  4. Michael Paterson-Seymour: Thank you for your understanding of the concept of “Rights”. With you permission I am saving it for myself to remember later. Thank you again.
    Some people may believe that there is a God-given right to abuse oneself and another person by not loving them perfectly and further by violating one’s vow and opportunity to sacrifice for one another and their promise to cherish one another.
    Birth control, not used, transforms into tenderness and affection, charity in the intimacy of sexual expression, a special gift, unique and timeless, personal and universal, if universal may be used to describe eternal love.
    Birth control, not used, becomes respect and appreciation. Birth control, not used, is life-giving to the non-users.
    While there may even be the freedom to exercise a “right” to birth control, since that “right” to birth control is not inscribed in any of our founding principles, it may be that the “right” to birth control may be sough other than in the USA or from American citizens.
    If the “right” to birth control is found in the Constitution, birth control including abortion will become the Law of the Land and will imposed and dictated to the last person.
    Penumbras and emanations are for séances, not the Supreme Court. Conjuring is for witches not Justices.

  5. Mary De Voe, Thank you for : “Penumbras and emanations are for séances, not the Supreme Court. Conjuring is for witches not Justices.” What a wonderful opportunity to photo-shop a group portrait of the SCOTUS. The black robes can stay with pointy hats, a boiling kettle and a few black cats added. 🙂

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