Pewartanusantara.com – The current debate concerning the democratic institution is about how we elaborate on the question of to what extent are human rights being alright? Since the government incrementally increases their capacity to control and assist human conditions, there is a bounce of law issues that should be legalised in order to secure citizens and society and make explicit the rule of government. But the mechanism of democracy tends to construct the relationship between the ruling authority and the subject of citizens always in dialectical tense.
On the one hand, citizens want protection—based on their recognized rights—from the state. And the other, the state must be obliged to provide it through law as the rule of game. However, this dialectical tention is never monolithic because society has complex interests.
The revision of the Roe vs. Wade case nowadays can be said a clear sign of the dialectical mechanism of a democratic society. That case surely is a result of the development of the American regulation system that is based on liberalism. Liberalism can be understood as an ideology that insists on individual choices. This ideology tends to celebrate and encourage self-expression and personal decision. But, for some people, in a certain condition personal preference must be regulated.
For instance, a condition that lies in abortion. This abortion issue thus becomes a public debate because of the variety of arguments about whether the pregnancy is better decided to continue or to end with certain conditions. This debate then has been simplifying between the pro-life vs. pro-choice.
Barrack Obama, former American president, commenting the overturn of the Roe case as an effort to reduce human freedom. Then, he called the American people to involve in activism and support the local protest. From political point of view, this new legal framework is actually influenced by conservative arguments that prioritize public morality over personal decisions. It is also the effect of the American political situation since Donald Trump holds the power.
This situation, which is worsened by inequality and the wane of hegemonic power, made civic life in America experience polarization. In other words, the American political outlook tends to handle the socio-economic problems by withdrawing from their previous paths. It seems clear in Trump’s restriction of economic policies.
Such a scene lifts me to ask deeper about how we understand human rights. Maybe we should comprehend that human rights are a doctrine that demanded a kind of recognition of the essential rights that were embedded since we were born.
The scope of human rights is broader and covers but is not limited to the right to life, the right to have an identity, the right to have culture, the right to determine the self and etcetera. But we have to consider that the universal claim about human rights assumes that the embodied individual is its main object.
This necessarily requires biological approach to construct the features of human rights. Therefore, human rights are permanently possessed by human living.
From this point, thus, when human living actually carries out human rights? It is a simple question but also sometimes problematic. Because human living cannot be born or exist without the women’s body, human rights have a contradictory problem to approach pregnancy.
It is a transgressive case while the agent of reproduction of human living also has the right to decide their body. This specific feature is thus confusing when we consider the different moral stances and the complexity of the actual condition at stake.
From religious perspective, the moral stance about this issue is how to accommodate and accept human living whatever conditions are. In contrast, the liberal perspective tends to take seriously the actual conditions and insists that the agent take full responsibility for their choices.
This is why human rights are nothing other than the realms of contestation to seek the balance between personal life and communal interest. It is also the tension between individual preference and public morality. Then, what is the significance of human rights? It is nothing other than a universal truth that we accept to be a fundamental value in our modern worlds. But, as a human concept, human rights have no idea about what made humans alive. In other words, human rights are based on the materialist paradigm. Therefore, the objective of human rights is how to secure the human body, and something attributed to it from outside harm.
I suppose this conceptualization impoverishes the human universe in which the meaning of life is not limited to the body but also the spirit or soul. However, the insistence to secure a human integrated body is one virtue that we must accept. The problem is, then, when it is being regulated by institutional power that can coerce, not secure, humans in a certain direction.