Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Domestic Abuse

          Domestic violence is a widespread problem affecting many individuals nationwide. Domestic violence is when there is overtly aggressive behavior in the household (as it is usually behind closed doors), and is generally comprised of violence towards a spouse member or a partner (as domestic abuse is not limited to married couples). It involves the “willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault, and/or other abusive behavior as part of a systematic pattern of power and control,” usually maintained by one intimate partner who withholds constant power over the other. It also can involve the fear of being harmed, as the abuser generally amasses power over the other via threats and intimidation even if they do not engage in actual harm, as well as isolation, making the victim feel as if they are alone and have no where or one to turn to. These acts of violence and abuse can be physical, sexual, psychological, as well as emotional, all of which can harbor detrimental impacts upon the victim.
Relationship violence holds no prejudice and will claim it’s victims regardless of “age, economic status, sexual orientation, gender, race, religion, or nationality.” However, about “85% of domestic violence victims are women,” and “25% - 45% of all women who are battered are battered during pregnancy.” It is the most common cause of injury to women between the ages of 15 and 44, even more so than random muggings, vehicular accidents, and incidents of rape combined. Acts of abuse are “rarely an isolated event,” meaning that women in these positions will not be abused once, but most likely many times subsequent to the initial event of violence.
This issue of injustice is not only an immediate problem for the victim being directly abused, but also has long term effects both upon the victim and for individuals not directly involved. In terms of the victim, battery can have long term health impacts. These can range from internalized psychological issues that can remain with the victim long after they have been removed from the situation, to medical difficulties that can remain with the victim into old age; “arthritis, hypertension and heart disease have been identified by battered women as directly caused or aggravated by domestic violence suffered early in their adult lives.” It also keeps women from tending to their responsibilities, like going to work. Beyond the damaging impacts domestic abuse has on the victim, it can also impact children of the household. About “30% - 60% of perpetrators of intimate partner violence also abuse children in the household,” having a direct impact upon their safety. Not only does relationship violence impact the immediate health of these children, they also “display emotional and behavioral disturbances as diverse as withdrawal, low self-esteem, nightmares, self-blame and aggression against peers, family members and property.” This can impact their ability to perform well in school as well as hinders them from progressing later on in life. Also, young boys who do witness violence within the home are twice as likely to abuse their own family members later on in life as they have been exposed to and think this type of behavior is okay.
Domestic violence and abuse is an enormous issue of justice in this country. It is extremely prevalent, as one can see from the information given above, yet it is hardly addressed as so. One statistic states that while there are 3,800 shelters for animals, there are only 1,500 shelters for abused women, which is less than half that amount. Police reports state that “40% - 60% of the of the calls they receive, especially on the night shift, are domestic violence disputes,” yet police are more likely to respond to a distress call if the “offender is a stranger than if the offender is known to a female victim.” The issue of domestic abuse is not taken seriously in this country, even though a woman is beaten every 15 seconds in the United States by a husband or partner. 1 in 4 women will experience domestic violence within her lifetime, and 1 in 3 will be physically assaulted by a partner in their lifetime. This is clearly an issue that should take some kind of precedence, as it affects so many nationwide.

           Though it is a very pertinent problem in the United States, there are a few things that one can do to help diminish the accounts of domestic violence across the country. As a victim, one can: call the police, seek medical attention in which the injuries will be documented, go to a shelter or a safe space, or try to contact loved and trusted individuals who can help to remove one from the situation. However, these are not necessarily so easy for victims to do. As a non-victim, first and foremost knowledge is key. Spreading awareness of not only the issue of domestic violence, but also the prevalence, can be the first step in getting this country to overcome this issue. Also, advocating for victims is an essential part of helping those who have been affected. So few of the incidents are reported, perhaps because the victim is scared to do so or does not realize that they are victims, so advocating for those who do not have a voice can, in turn, give them the voice they need. Another option is donating to institutions or shelters that wish to eradicate this issue. One such institution is the House of Ruth. It helps women who are victims of battery and abuse to find the shelter, safety, and security that every one deserves. Their mission states that they provide women with the services that the might need in order to escape their abusive situations. Institutions like these are key to helping those who have been affected and are victims of this crime of injustice.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Shattering Dignity Through Trafficking

            Human Trafficking is the illegal movement of people, typically for the purposes of forced labor or commercial sexual exploitation. Human trafficking specifically targets the dignity of both men and women involved and makes the victims feel as though they are not worthy of respect and basic human rights after all they have been put through. The issue is that human trafficking is not only a global problem but it is also very difficult to locate and track because of its hidden manifestations. Due to the nature of human trafficking and its illicit activity, the results and unsubstantiated claims of its whereabouts make the information used to expose it very unreliable at times. The cases of human trafficking can vary widely, from cases of forced labor, to sexual exploitation, to commercial sexual exploitation of children in tourism, to even trafficking for tissue, cells, and organs, among much more. Out of all forms of human trafficking, one consistent aspect seems to be the abuse of the inherent vulnerability of victims.
            It can be hard to track down and infiltrate the places that hold human trafficking because many times, by the time the police know the whereabouts of the facility, the pimps have already moved the victims to another location. Trafficking victims often have contact with local law enforcement authorities, but because local law enforcement agents lack sufficient training, they fail to notice the victims or take appropriate action to bring them to safety. The toll that it takes on the victims is absolutely unimaginable. Human trafficking is an injustice that I care genuinely and profoundly about because of how closely I have worked in the past years with women who were the victims of it. I volunteer with an organization known as The Samaritan Women, which is a rehab facility for women who have been the victims of human trafficking. The organization works to get these women back up on their feet and build them into strong and independent ladies after their dignity has been shattered by their worst nightmares. Hearing from dozens of testimonies by these women, it is truly a heinous crime one could not even dare to describe. One woman I spoke with was locked in a closet – naked- for almost ten years and never saw daylight. Not only was her dignity shattered, but also her ability to interact with almost anyone was traumatizing for her after those years. Women do not know what to do with themselves after they have been through these events, so for many of them, it is easier for stay in their situations than to even try and get help.
            “Demand reduction” strategies have been implemented by government and law enforcement to focus on actions that will reduce sex buying. Localities try demand reduction after attempts to reduce prostitution have failed, or in response to community calls to do something. For example, web-based fake profiles, where sex buyers are arrested after making contact with a decoy “prostitute” who is actually a police officer. Another example of brothel-based reverse stings, where police close a brothel, make it look like it is still open, and then arrest sex buyers and pimps who arrive. But, other remedies must be implemented as well for the victims to even feel 1% of justice. Trafficking victims are in need of numerous services, from housing to medical and legal attention. Unlike domestic violence victims who run from one perpetrator, trafficking victims may be running from a whole network of organized crime. Overall, they appear to be less stable, have less knowledge about the criminal justice system, are more isolated, and have more extreme trauma and mental health needs than most domestic violence victims.
            So what can be done ultimately for these victims? Well, there are several options. One of these is known as The Samaritan Women, a program that I personally volunteer with. The Samaritan Women is a national Christian organization providing restorative care to survivors, and bringing about an end to domestic human trafficking through awareness, prevention, and advocacy. It is geared completely towards the victims of human trafficking, and helps them in any way possible through five transitional, restorative, and independent phases. Their remedies include providing them housing at the rehabilitation center, having them do activities such as planting and house-chores to get their minds off of their past traumatic events and stabilize them, and even urging them to pick up habits of personal expression such as cooking and reading so they can start building their lives once again. But even better, the program helps the women enroll in classes that actually allow them to ultimately earn a degree, whether a Bachelor or Masters, and help them find jobs – once they are stable, so that they are becoming prepared to be independent, accountable, and connected in a new community.
Other options include becoming aware and simply looking up programs that help with human trafficking. For instance, the Blue Heart Campaign which works to raise awareness of the plight of victims and build political support to fight the criminals behind trafficking while the United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Human Trafficking does fundraising to assist grass-roots organizations working with survivors or this crime. Your responsibility can go so far as pledging to not purchase goods and services that could be linked directly or indirectly with sexual exploitation. By becoming aware, involved, supportive, and responsible, we can help these women obtain the justice they deserve – their own human dignity.


Monday, April 25, 2016

Child Soldiers

The injustice that I am interested in discussing is the use of child soldiers in armed conflicts around the world. This is a very widespread, but not very often mentioned human rights issue in public discourse. The severity of the issue and the general lack of understanding of the full context of the issue prompted me to investigate further and base my injustice report on it.
The United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) defines child soldiers as "any child—boy or girl—under eighteen years of age, who is part of any kind of regular or irregular armed force or armed group in any capacity.” The issue of child soldiers being used in armed conflicts is much larger than the general public seems to believe. 23 armed conflicts around the world use child soldiers, with the average age of a child soldier being 14, 59% of them being girls, which totals to around 300,000 child soldiers being used in armed conflicts around the world. The use of child soldiers in armed conflicts around the world is not a new phenomenon; it has been occurring since armed conflicts have existed, however, the recent increase in the use of child soldiers has brought the issue back to the forefront.
Just as the issue itself is widespread, the causes for the issue are widespread as well. Poor socioeconomic conditions are one of the main driving factors for one to become a child soldier; that is, one becomes a child soldier because they have no other means to survive and provide for their families, which in turns leads to cases of families actually supporting their children to become child soldiers. Other factors which cause the issue of child soldiers to be so widespread are the fact that children as seen as loyal combatants who enthusiastically obey orders, weapons have become smaller, easier to use, and more deadly which results in children easily being able to handle weaponry, and that socioeconomic unrest leads to angry youth whom see joining an army as a way of exacting revenge on what they believe to be the cause of their strife. In various parts of Africa, for example, and ongoing AIDS epidemic has created up to 40 million orphans, which has created a “hotbed” for hopeless and angry youth to join military conflict as a way to escape their hardships.
Child soldiers are victims of countless injustices daily. They are often forced to commit atrocities such as rapes, beheadings, amputations, and burning people alive. In addition to being physically in harms way on a regular basis, child soldiers often suffer severe mental health problems as a result of the combat they have participated in. In Sri Lanka, for example, over one-third of child soldiers fighting in an anti-government militia have been diagnosed with a variety of mental health issues ranging from depression to post-traumatic stress disorder. In turn, this makes it nearly impossible for surviving child soldiers to reintegrate into society which only amplifies their suffering and the overall injustice of the issue.
In an attempt to combat the issue, various human rights groups have set up initiatives to rehabilitate demobilized child soldiers, but these groups have had a difficult time addressing the full scope of the issue as it is a very widespread problem. If one wishes to truly curtail the issue, first and foremost, the conflicts in which child soldiers are being used must be ended, limitations on the proliferations of small arms must be put in place, sanctions, and prosecution must all be used in ways which address the unique nature of the issue, which changes based on the conflict's location in the world. The International Criminal Court has been active in attempting to prosecute military leaders who have been using child soldiers in their armies, notably, issuing arrest warrants for the LRA in Uganda. Furthermore, due to international pressure, some governments around the world have taken action to combat the issue within their own countries such as in Sierra Leone, where the country's high court began prosecuting military leaders who used child soldiers in 2004.
Students such as ourselves can play a part in combatting this issue as well. Donating to the vast array of human rights groups currently fighting the issue of child soldiers is one of the best ways we can help. UNICEF and Child Soldiers International are leading the initiative and are most likely the best option to choose. Furthermore, appealing to your local lawmaker to revise the Child Soldier Prevention Act of 2008 is also an effective way of combatting the issue. This law states that the United States would not aid countries or military forces which use child soldiers in their conflicts, however, a loophole exists which waives this notion if said country or military force is working in the “interest of the United States.” This has prompted outcry from groups trying to curtail this issue, as it is seen as the U.S. only caring about the issue if it damages their national interests.


Monday, April 18, 2016

The Color of Incarceration

The Color of Incarceration:
The Injustice that I am very interested in discussing are the Disparities that face African American men in the american criminal justice system. As there are many aspects of the justice system that can be considered an injustice towards African American men, I will be specifically talk about the major disparities in the sentencing of African American men in comparison to their European American male counterparts. The reason I have chosen this topic is due to personal experiences as I have seen male peers and family alike given sentences that do not match with the crimes committed. At the same time through research and study I have seen lessened sentences given for similar or even more egregious crimes. This being said I feel as if this is an injustice that needs to be examined and later eradicated.
The United States of America has a population of 322.5 Million (2016) and is constantly growing every day as many people immigrate and many are born. Even though this is a daunting number to some it only accounts for 5 percent of the total global population. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, there are 2.2 million people (2015) that are currently imprisoned whether on a federal or state level. This number of prisoners constitutes for 25 percent of the total global prison population. Out of this number 60 percent of those imprisoned are now racial or ethnic minorities.  The group getting hit the hardest by this statistics are African American males who account for approximately 37 percent of the previous statistic, while only account for less than 10 percent of the US population .
A study done by the sentencing project has shown that on any given day 1 in 10 African American men in their 30’s are incarcerated. Outside of that statistic 1 in 3 African American men has a lifetime likelihood of imprisonment, this is in stark contrast to their European American counterparts who have a 1 in 17 chance. These statistics stem from the harsher sentencing process that are handed down, which lead to longer prison sentences for African American men.These lengthened stints in jail In another study done by the Sentencing Project, evidence has been uncovered of racial discrimination against minority defendants. Evidence of this discrimination has been found on both a federal and state level. It has also been found that young African American men are sentenced more severely than comparably-situated European American men.
There are several factors that lead to the higher severity in sentence for African American men. Many of these factors are out of their control, such as the fact that there is a higher likelihood of imprisonment pending trial, which usually leads to harsher sentences. This pattern of sentencing is extensively seen in drug cases whether they be low-level or high level, where African Americans are given sentences that at times are 20 percent longer. A great example of this can be seen by contrasting the war on drugs during the 80’s and the current war on drug. In the 80’s the primarily black drug users were incarcerated for long periods, with little to no likelihood of treatment. This contrasts the war on drugs today as many of those who are caught are European American and are given treatment rather than incarceration.
In light of this Injustice many organizations have risen to fight for justice for African American men. Organizations such as: (The Sentencing Project, The Innocence Project, The Justice Project, and The Justice Policy Initiative) have been founded to right many of the wrongs made by the american criminal justice system. However you do not need to be part of this organization to make a difference. One can write letters to state officials asking for disputed cases to be reevaluated due to the possibility of new evidence. You can also write to local attorneys asking if they would volunteer their service pro-bono in order to help inmates look their cases in order to get a change in their sentence.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

The Dark Side of Chocolate

An injustice that I am interested in discussing is child labor and slavery in the cocoa plantations of Africa. I watched a documentary on the subject a few years ago and I thought this assignment was the perfect opportunity to research the matter and bring awareness to this injustice.

The United Nations created the International Conventions on Child Labor.  In convention No. 182 on the Worst Forms of Child Labour, 1999, the Convention defines these worst forms, “to be prohibited to all persons under 18 years, as all forms of slavery or practices similar to slavery, such as the sale and trafficking of children, debt bondage and serfdom and forced of compulsory labour, including forced of compulsory recruitment of children for use in armed conflict.”  Slavery or forced child labor is illegal under the United Nations.  This applies to the cocoa plantations that use child trafficking to get workers.

70% of the world’s cocoa supply comes from Western African countries, mostly Ghana and the Ivory Coast.  The cocoa they grow and harvest is sold to a majority of chocolate companies, including Hershey, Mars, Nestle, and Kraft, some of the largest chocolate companies in the world.   60% of the Ivory Coast’s export revenue comes from its cocoa.  Demand for cheap cocoa has been growing over the years as the chocolate industry has expanded. Cocoa farmers, on average, earn an income below the poverty line at less than two dollars a day.  When a farmer is making less than two dollars a day, he will not want to spend much if any on labor.  Children usually decide to work at a young age due the intense poverty in Western Africa, especially in Burkina Faso and Mali.  Children are told by traffickers that cocoa plantations pay well when it is not so. The poverty in these countries may even lead to relatives selling their children to traffickers.  They may never see their families again.

A typical workday for children starts at 6 in the morning and ends in the evening. Children use chainsaws to cut the pods down in the cocoa forest. Other children climb the cocoa trees to cut bean pods using a machete which is extremely dangerous because most children are not tall enough to see what they are doing. Children may have to carry bags up to 100 pounds through the forest.  Children as young as 10 spray the pods with these toxins without wearing protective clothing. There is physical violence as well on cocoa plantations.  Workers that work to slow or try to escape will be whipped or beaten.  Cocoa beans are inedible until processed in a chocolate factory so most of these slaves have never eaten chocolate, the fruits of their labor.  A man that escaped slavery said of people that eat slavery produced chocolate, “When people eat chocolate, they are eating my flesh.”

Lawmakers in the past have tried to label chocolate when it is slave-free just like when a product is certified organic.  This did not go through due to intense lobbying against it by chocolate manufacturers.  It is also being suggested that more of these chocolate farmers be entered in Fair-trade producer groups so that they get minimum pay to can afford paid workers and not use slaves. What we can do is be aware of what we are buying.  There are also organizations to helps children who escaped cocoa slavery.


Uzbekistan: Most Atrocious Human Rights Record

Uzbekistan: Most Atrocious Human Rights Record
Uzbekistan is a landlocked country located in Central Asia that has consistently held the record for some of the worst accounts of human rights injustices. It is important to understand where these injustices originate from. Uzbekistan was a part of the Soviet Union in the late 1900s and like its other Central Asian neighbors, they were subject to Russia’s direct control and supervision, and also embedded within their economy. When it gained its independence in 1991 under President Islam Karimov, it had to stand on its own two feet. This lead to the exploitation of the cotton industry, which was referred to as “white gold” in the region during the time. Cotton was the only industry in which Uzbekistan could use in order to generate enough income to stand alone, without the supervision of Russia. Even to this day, much of their economy relies on the production of cotton (Central Intelligence Agency, 2016). As a result, the government has exploited the use of their population into working for the sole purpose of manufacturing more cotton, the only thing keeping their economy from falling (International Labor Rights Forum, 2016). With the exploitation of their people, they are also prosecuting their own citizens if they do not agree with the current regime. Anyone that can potentially threaten the legitimacy of the current regime will be prosecuted, tortured and often times, killed. Although there are several organizations such as the Human Rights Watch and the United Nations who are pushing Uzbekistan to reform their policies and ideals, Uzbekistan is an extremely resource-rich country that will not force into submission any time soon. It is extremely important that we work to free the oppressed citizens of the country and implement human rights laws within the country that will protect the people and return the liberties that rightfully belong to them.
To begin, the biggest issue that threatens the people of Uzbekistan is the lucrative cotton industry that funds the state and political officials. Uzbekistan’s economy and agricultural industry is still largely centered on the production of cotton. According to the Central Intelligence Agency, it is the world’s fifth largest cotton exporter and the sixth largest producer (2016). The government employs its citizens to do much of the work for producing cotton and in exchange, they are giving absolutely nothing back to the people in return for their labor. The government is implementing compelled forced labor for its annual cotton harvest. They are deliberately pulling out children from schools for free, manual labor. The children are told that if they do not comply, they will be forced to buy their own textbooks in order to study. The state is threatening their population by refusing to give them their right to education. Every year, "the government forces more than two million adults to harvest cotton under abusive conditions" (Human Rights Watch, 2016). Those harvesting cotton are not receiving anything in return for their services, but instead told that if they do not participate, they will somehow be losing something of important human value.
Moreover, those who defy the regime, attempt to reveal the situation of the state, or anyone who the government can pin as a threat to its own legitimacy is “taken care of.” Uzbekistan is known for having underground torture centers that are often disguised as repair shops and others. These “detention facilities” allow for the police to detain people and torture them to their pleasing. The main issue at hand starts with the police of Uzbekistan, who are merely puppets of the current regime, who do not protect the people, but instead are the ones committing the violence and lying to its people (Amnesty International, 2016). Like many of the cases we have studied in class like in the Guatemalan case, the police in Uzbekistan also are in control of the investigations of missing persons, even though they are the ones conducting the kidnappings and killings. This has become a vicious cycle that does not cease to end and it is inherently corrupt and is extremely imbalanced. Although the government targets people who they deem are a threat to their own rule, they also targets gays, bisexuals and transgender people. These groups are also typically discriminated against within the society and stems from homophobia of the state. In the same way, Muslims and Christians who practice their religion outside of state-sponsored beliefs are prosecuted and tortured (Human Rights Watch, 2016). With the freedom of expression being severely limited and the police operating off of corruption and bribery, Uzbekistan is in need of reform and change in order to free the people of this repressive lifestyle.
Uzbekistan, as previously mentioned, is untouchable to many organizations as well as the United States and Europe. It is not only resource-rich, but it is an advantageous geographical region for fighting off terrorism (Amnesty International, 2015). Although the United Nations attempts to convince Uzbekistan to review their human rights laws, the country refuses to comply. The case of Uzbekistan is a human rights injustice because the government institutions that are set in place, that are there for the purpose of protecting and maintain the well-being of its state and citizens, are the same institutions that are running corruption and targeting innocent people. To make matters worse, the people who are committing these crimes are sponsored by the regime. Therefore they are immune, not susceptible to punishment and are granted amnesty by the government. 
In terms of what needs to be done, change starts with the institution and foundations, itself. The Uzbekistan government and President Karimov need to understand that the benefits they rake are endangering their own people. The government need to overall stop the state-sponsored crimes, punishing those who are coercing forced labor and those who are torturing innocent people. There should be minimum wages set in place in exchange for the work that the people provide and the police need to be protecting, instead of prosecuting individuals who are not actually a threat. Citizens should be given at least a standard of freedom of speech, because they are not allowed to, there is no facilitation of ideas that could potentially make a better state. Moreover, the World Bank needs to stop funding the Uzbek government’s “projects in agriculture.” Although there have been reports sent to the World Bank about forced labor, they have not yet suspended their loans of $500 million dollars (International Labor Rights Forum, 2016). Although there are many organizations that we can donate to in order to help this tragic situation in Uzbekistan, they will not have much impact. In addition, writing letters to the Uzbekistan embassy has been noted as futile. Professor Grodsky, who has worked as a diplomat in Uzbekistan, stated that the only way we can force a change in Uzbekistan is by internationally shaming them. Uzbekistan cares about their image. Therefore, by donating to funds, signing petitions, writing reports that are specifically targeted towards them, such as the “Cotton Campaign,“ this will gradually urge the regime and officials to make changes in their laws (B. Grodsky, personal communication, April 7, 2016). Uzbekistan is a country that is in dire need of justice and reform, it is important to spread the word and help the people of the country who cannot expedite change themselves. 
1. Amnesty International. Stop the secrets and lies. Retrieved April 10, 2016, from

2. Amnesty International. (2015, April 15). Uzbekistan: US and Europe turning a blind eye to torture. Retrieved April 10, 2016, from

3. B. Grodsky, personal communication, April 7, 2016

4. Central Intelligence Agency. (2016, March 22). Central Asia: Uzbekistan. Retrieved April 10, 2016, from

5. Human Rights Watch. Uzbekistan. Retrieved April 10, 2016, from

6. Human Rights Watch. Uzbekistan: Events of 2015. Retrieved April 10, 2016, from

7. International Labor Rights Forum. World Bank: Stop support for forced labor in Uzbekistan! Retrieved April 10, 2016, from

8. International Labor Rights Forum. About the Cotton Campaign. Retrieved April 10, 2016, from

Link to the “Cotton Campaign”

Monday, April 4, 2016

Murder in the Name of Convenience: Abortion in the United States since 1973

To clarify before I begin, when I use the word abortion, I mean that it is the intentional act of killing a human being in utero. This is an important distinction because there are medical procedures that could result in the death of an unborn human being, but the primary goal of those actions would be to save either both lives or the life of the mother.
The unborn is a human. Science consistently tells us that at conception, the unborn is a living, distinct, whole, and unique human being. According to Dr. Micheline Matthews-Roth of Harvard Medical School, “….it is scientifically correct to say that human life begins at conception.” At conception, the embryo has its own genetic code, hereditary characteristics, and gender that it will carry throughout development and continue to have unchanged through the rest of its life. The unborn is, by scientific standards, a living organism in that it undergoes cellular growth and internal development; in the span in five weeks, an embryo goes from two cells to developing cells for specific functions: blood cells, kidneys, a nervous system including the spine and brain, and a digestive tract.  Its rate of growth, metabolism, and function of parts contribute to its own development. It responds to stimuli, such things like sound, pain, a twin, and nutrients. One embryology textbook argues that birth is simply part of the developmental process for a human, as “it should always be remembered that many organs are still not completely developed by full-term.” And these statistics and the plethora of others that exist lead to the logical conclusion that human beings are human at conception, through intra-womb development, and after birth.
Therefore, because science has proven that the unborn is human, logically the unborn should be entitled to the rights that post-birth humans intrinsically bear, such as the right to life. The United Nations recognized this in 1990 in their Declaration on the Rights of a Child, stating that, “the child... needs special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection, before as well as after birth”. We know from class that, “human rights are possessed by all people simply because they are human. Such rights do not rely on states, treaties, constitutions, or nongovernmental organizations ...for their existence. They are inherent.”(SHRJ). Why then is the act of intentionally killing a human being in utero protected by the United States Constitution under the right to privacy in the 14th amendment?
Because of the interpretation of the Courts of the United States, abortion continues to be legal. The closest estimates for the loss of lives from surgical abortion is at 58 million human beings total since 1973, and growing approximately one million per year; some include chemically administered abortions and put the cumulative number as high as 410 million lives. Eighty seven (87) percent of women choose to get an abortion for reasons of convenience: pregnancy interferes with work, financial concerns, or simply the desire not to be pregnant at that time. Only twelve percent of women report “physical concerns”, and only one percent report rape or incest as their primary reason for an abortion.
Some States simply do not report their abortion statistics to the government, which does not require statistics to be sent. The CDC allows States to voluntarily submit their abortion statistics.
To further the injustice, abortion is being sponsored by the government. Though the Hyde Amendment was passed in 1977, preventing federal funding for abortion “except in cases of ...rape or incest”, which all States are required to provide, 17 States go further, extending state funds for these reasons as well, and “three States provide state funds for abortions in cases of fetal impairment.” In sum total, that amounts to 14% of all abortions in the United States paid in near totality with public State funding. South Dakota is the only State in the Union to allow state funds only for “abortions in cases of life endangerment”, or as I explained earlier, state funding for medical procedures that result in the death of the unborn to save the life of the mother- not an abortion.
Beyond offering funding for abortions at the State and federal level, the government at all levels provides the largest abortion provider, Planned Parenthood with funds which increased “from $203 million (30 percent of Planned Parenthood’s consolidated revenue) during its fiscal year 2000–2001 to $528 million (41 percent of revenue) during 2013–2014.” Though Planned Parenthood argues that its abortion procedures are three percent of its overall services, “Planned Parenthood affiliates perform about 20 abortions for every prenatal care visit and about 200 abortions for every adoption referral based on the approximately 300,000 abortions they perform each year.” And they’ve doubled the amount of abortions they have provided from the years 2000 to 2011 despite an overall national decline in the number of abortion procedures in the United States. Currently one in three abortions are provided by the abortion giant.
Legal action on this injustice has been fitful at best. Since Roe v. Wade and other cases like it, States have constructed a complex structure of laws to educate, prevent, and discourage abortions. Everything from preventing barbaric abortion practices like partial-birth abortions, gestational limits, and funding to waiting periods, education for the mother, and parental consent are required in several States and not others. Often times, against the will of the state citizens, a law will rise to the Supreme Court to be struck down as unconstitutionally preventing a woman’s right to the privacy to intentionally kill a human being in utero.
In order to fight this injustice, we need to educate, support, and legislate. We need to educate the public about abortion and the intrinsic human rights that the unborn have. We need to support pregnant mothers by offering them counseling, adoption resources, and post-abortion healing services. Finally, we need to work with our legislators to strengthen life preserving anti-abortion bills. Court cases that value the mother’s opinions over the child’s rights can be overturned, and the dignity of human life can once again be recognized in the United States.
We’ve talked in this class about how it is critical that we demand justice for the silent, the oppressed, the marginalized, and the ignored in any way we can. Science has proven that the unborn are human beings. We now need to bridge the gap. When we recognize that they are human, we must recognize that it is critical that we step up and demand justice for the unborn.

(References are available on request)