The New Hierarchy of “Rights”

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At the core of the battle of the Obama-HHS mandate on contraception and abortion drugs is a battle with modern progressives over the very essence of rights.

The Declaration of Independence heralds our God-given “inalienable rights” of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The First Amendment of our Constitution enumerates freedom of religion, speech, press, and assembly.

All of those rights have constituted our sacred rights for over 200 years.

The progressive project, however, seeks to change all of this, even while progressives—President Obama chief among them—insist that they admire the Declaration and Constitution.

There have been two major turning points: Roe v. Wade, decided in January 1973; and now the Obama contraception/abortion mandate. What have these two actions done? What are progressives now doing with these actions?

They have created—yes, created—a “woman’s right to choose” and elevated that so-called “right” as a paramount right, a pinnacle right, the ultimate sacred right that trumps all other rights, including freedom of religion and conscience.

This is especially amazing given that a “right to choose,” or “right to an abortion,” or even “right to privacy”—the words upon which Roe’s “abortion rights” are based—are words themselves not even found in the Constitution. They are invented, inflated, and elevated at the expense of words like “right to life,” which are found in the Constitution.

So, where are we today? Liberal “progressives” like Barack Obama and Kathleen Sebelius and Barbara Boxer and Nancy Pelosi insist that Catholics and other religious believers be denied their historic, Constitutional conscience exemption and religious liberty. They insist that these people of faith acquiesce to the dictates of the state. They are essentially arguing that a so-called “right” to taxpayer-funded abortion drugs trumps religious freedom.

This is their brave new progressive world. And how many self-professing Catholics voted for it—voting for these legislators under the banner of “social justice?” They have unwittingly voted for the undermining of their own rights of religion and conscience.

Well, you reap what you sow.

Dr. Paul Kengor


Dr. Paul Kengor is professor of political science at Grove City College and executive director of The Center for Vision & Values. His books include “The Crusader: Ronald Reagan and the Fall of Communism” and “Dupes: How America’s Adversaries Have Manipulated Progressives for a Century.”

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  • Joe DeVet

    “Self-professed Catholics”–two of the four mentioned as “liberal progressives” who have done this to us are self-professed Catholics.  Sad state of affairs.  Time to right the wrong.