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Bloomington Activists celebrate "Human Rights Day"

But they forgot something very important...

By Scott Tibbs, December 10, 2004

BLOOMINGTON -- A host of Bloomington activist groups marched from the IU Sample Gates and held a rally on the lawn of the Monroe County Courthouse to celebrate "Human Rights Day". Specifically, the activists were expressing support for the Univeral Declaration of Human Rights.

Bill Breeden of the Bloomington Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty (and a reverend at the Unitarian Universalist Church) spoke to the assembled activists on the steps of the courthouse. He denounced the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq and the campaign to pacify Fallujah as a violation of human rights. He said while Americans have the right to speak freely, not enough are acting on it.

Bloomington City Council member Chris Gaal spoke on behalf of his colleagues in support of the UDHR. Gaal said the UDHR is the foundation of freedom, peace and justice. Gaal touted the UDHR's call for protection of "life, liberty, and security of the person". Isabel Piedmont of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee spoke later to address threats to Constitutional liberties and to denounce the use of Tasers by local law enforcement.

While I do not agree with all of their views, I respect the convictions of the organizers of this march and rally. Human rights is an important subject and human rights are too often violated. The problem with this rally, though, is that it ignored the proverbial elephant in the living room.

Over 44 million babies have been slaughtered by America's abortion industry since 1973, and this killing has been completely legal. Abortion is a grotesque example of man's inhumanity to man. How can someone see the results of abortion and not recognize it for the gross violation of human rights it is?

The national tragedy of abortion should strike a chord in the heart of any human rights activist, especially in Bloomington. Every Thursday, a number of babies are butchered at the Planned Parenthood facility on South College Avenue, just a few blocks from where the human rights rally was held. While the death of jail inmate James Borden was indeed tragic, what about the lives that are snuffed out every week while Bloomington residents drive by in their cars, seemingly oblivious to the slaughter that is going on? How is it that an entire community can be up in arms over one death but not even notice hundreds of other deaths?

Article III of the UDHR states "Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person." How can everyone have the right to life when it is legal to kill unborn children? How can everyone have the right to "security of the person" when the bodies of unborn children are ripped to shreds on a daily basis? The unborn have no right to "appear as a person before the law".

It is true that there are many tragedies in the world. Some may argue that millions of voters give pro-life politicians a pass on how they deal with the other tragedies because of their stance on abortion. What about hunger? What about child poverty?

The answer to why this is the case is quite simple. While no one denies the importance of other tragic events around the country and around the world, none of them can compare to the horror of abortion. The sheer number of babies who die by abortion each year overwhelms everything else. Instead of asking why pro-lifers don't pursue other human rights issues, perhaps human rights activists should ask themselves why they do not oppose the ultimate violation of human rights.

The rally was sponsored by:
  1. Bloomington Peace Action Coalition
  2. IU Asian Culture Center
  3. No Sweat!
  4. IU Students for a Free Tibet
  5. Bloomington Bill of Rights Defense Committee
  6. IU Department of Gender Studies
  7. IU Progressive Faculty Coalition
  8. IU GLBT Student Support Services
  9. IU Burmese Student Association
  10. Citizens for Appropriate Rural Roads
  11. Local chapter of RESULTS,
  12. Local chapter of Amnesty International,
  13. Local chapter of Women's International League for Peace and Freedom
  14. Local chapter of Jobs With Justice