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Civil Liberties and Multiculturalism


A bill of rights is simply a set of human rights. In most cases it is used to in controversial issues such as legalizing abortion, capital punishment, assisted death and lesbian, gay and bisexual relationships. Usually the controversy is between the moral issues and the human rights. In most cases the church supports the moral issues while the policy makers use the human rights to justify why such controversial behavior should be done.

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The Bill of rights

Capital punishment has always raised concerns. It involves terminating a human being life. Methods used include: the use of an electric chair, chopping off the head, hanging, lethal injection, intoxication with gas and stoning. Execution is done on legal basis where the court may subject someone to death penalty. Life is considered sacred like the Catholic Church states. The Christians claim that it is only God who has authority to take a human beings life. It is considered morally wrong for an individual to take another individuals life (Robinson Para 2). The state is therefore questioned because it fails to protect the life of those who belong to it.

Another controversial as indicated by Robertson (4) is assisted death. Assisted death is also referred to as Euthanasia. Debate is endless when it comes to assisting someone terminate their life especially if they confess wanting to end their life. At times, close family members are torn between terminating their loved one’s life if they are terminally ill and no medical intervention would cure them. The main concern is whether to assist them die instead of enduring pain as they await death. Another situation is mental illness. The challenge is to make judgments if to let them live or terminate life which is morally wrong.

Lesbian, gay and bisexual relationships are a controversy. The controversy is weather their relationships are moral and the right to equal treatment. When they confess to belong to lesbian, gay, and bisexual relationship, some people discriminate them. They claim that their rights are violated. These rights are: the right to marry, protection from hate and the right to get equal treatment. For instance, they may be denied employment on the basis of being gay.

Cloning is another debatable topic. Cloning involves duplicating for instance an embryo in order to get twins or triplicates. The production of another human being that resembles the first organ has been questioned. There are those who see cloning as source of destruction for the human beings and others see it as a success to the scientific field. Robinson (8) mentioned that some people feel that cloning is disrespecting God and that those cloned cannot be considered to be human beings. Cloning can be considered as abuse of human rights, if those who are cloned are not given human rights.

The Catholic Church does not support abortion. As Miller (Para 1) points out, the Church has for a long time been in conflict with the law makers. The church believes that abortion is killing and therefore it is a crime. As a result, the government breaches the human rights if it legalizes abortion. The right to life is contravened by those who make it. Robinson argues that the fetus has a human soul.

According to his study, Christians believe that life begins at conception. Consequently, abortion at any trimester of pregnancy is murder. Subsequently, the Church expects the state to treat abortion as a criminal act. The controversy is widened because some of those who fight for abortion to be legalized are Christians. This is because a section of Christians believe that life begins at quickening; thus life begins when the mother can feel the movement of the baby.

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There is controversy whether access to abortion is a human right (Ndegwa 3). The right to health requires states to make the cost of health affordable, distance to the health care considerable and to ensure that all the aspects that would make the right to health impossible is eradicated. When abortion is taken into consideration, the issue is treated differently. The right to life is also featured in examining abortion as a human right. Another dimension is the right to privacy. Abortion is considered by pro- abortion activist to be a private affair. For that reason, they argue that abortion should be granted as a right to privacy. These rights are not considered by the policy makers as sufficient enough to grant an abortion.

Skuster (3) asserts that abortion is a human right. He explains that a woman has a right to determine her fertility. Women should be allowed to decide if they want to have children and choose when to have those children. In most countries safe abortion is granted when the life of the mother is at risk. However, those countries that allow access to abortion cannot guarantee that the health of the pregnant woman will not be affected or damaged. Therefore, countries that support abortion as a human right should make quality healthcare so that abortion services are available and accessible. This is because a large number of women die while succumbing to post abortion injuries. They die from causes related to poor sanitation and if abortion is conducted by untrained persons.

The United Nations Human Rights Committee (UNHRC) in 2005 recognizes abortion as a human right. The government of Peru denied a woman suffering from an anencephalic pregnancy an abortion. Despite the doctor’s advice that the baby would die if the pregnancy was carried up to full term the government denied her legal permission to conduct a safe abortion. However, the baby was born although she lived for four days only. She felt that her rights were denied and that she should not have gone all the way to giving birth. The UNHRC recognized that her rights to privacy and freedom from discrimination were discriminated. This was in line with “The 2003

Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights that requires governments to authorize abortion in certain cases” (Skuster 3).


The bill of rights is concerned with, the right to life, the right to privacy, the right to equal treatment and the right to health. The freedom from discrimination and the right to marry are also included. These are basic human rights that are put to test with moral issues. The religion has been used to define what is moral. Slowly, the number of people supporting the controversial issues is increasing. Individual faith defines what is moral and what is immoral.

Works cited

Bill’s Rights ‘Breach’, 2008. Melbourne: The Age Company Ltd. Web.

International Women’s Health Coalition. Access to Safe Abortion is a Human Right. New York: IWHC, 2008. Web.

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Linder, Doug. Exploring constitutional law, 2008. Web.

Robinson, Bruce. Religious Tolerance: Evolution of Roman Catholic Position on Abortion. US: Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance, 2007. Web.

Robinson, Bruce. Religious Tolerance: “Hot” topics. US: Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance, 2007. Web.

Skulster, Patty & Ndegwa, Charles. What is reproductive justice? US: The Abortion Magazine. Winter 2008. Web.

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