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Perversion in human rights – The Second in a Series on ‘Abortion, the Road to National Horror’

Published: 03.04.2024

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· Abortion advocates manipulate human rights slogans which remain relevant to Polish citizens in order to force the public into supporting abortion.

· Appealing to human rights is intended by the promoters of legalising prenatal murder to make it appear that their demands are rooted in the best traditions of humanism.

· The revolutionary view of human rights that is guided by pro-abortion propaganda ignores fundamental rights such as the right to life, justice, and even freedom; it places the selfish ‘triumph of the will’ above them.

· The triumph of political will placed above immutable human rights leads to the domination of violence and the segregation of people on the basis of arbitrary criteria; this is how it worked under communism, under Nazism, and now under liberalism.

· Agreeing to the legalisation of abortion is only the first step towards a society in which violence committed by the stronger against the weaker is normalised and justified via higher values.


See also: The Leftist Crushing of Conscience - The First in a Series on ‘Abortion: The Road to National Horror’


Advocates of the legalisation of prenatal homicide like to use rhetoric that makes use of the language of human rights. This is a highly effective method of persuading the uncertain, as the concept of human rights contains a significant level of ambiguity through which public opinion can be manipulated. This is particularly true for that part of public opinion which, while seeking the moral good when considering their opinion on issues such as the protection of life, is at the same time strongly influenced by political emotions.   


The adherence of pro-abortion propagandists within the broadly understood political left to the language of human rights in their anti-human narratives is useful for at least three reasons. It also has a deeper justification, which is addressed in what follows.


Firstly, the language of human rights helps to camouflage the violent nature of the demands and goals pursued by abortionists. Secondly, it allows one to maintain the ruse that these demands are rooted in the Western world’s high moral and cultural heritage. This concerns not so much distant traditions as those sources of moral thinking that inform everyone who is alive today. Whether we are believing Catholics or do not adhere to this faith, we still live within a space of social consciousness in which the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is an important document and a point of reference. It is worth recalling that human rights were referred to by all those who fought the communist dictatorship in our country before 1989, whether it was John Paul II or the intellectuals of the secular left. Invoking human rights today allows one to maintain an illusion of continuity between the historical cause of national freedom and independence and the right to kill the unborn


Thirdly, the invocation of human rights by pro-abortion groups and parties helps to reinforce in the public square the notion that at the very root of these rights are irreducible contradictions between non-negotiable values. These contradictions are supposed to be the basis for demanding some sort of concession from pro-life advocates. After all, the first article of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that ‘All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.’ Whereas the third article reads: ‘Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.In the modern mind, which is usually incapable of prioritising the most important goods and principles, but rather lists them in one breath as equal, reading the text of the Declaration must inevitably cause dissonance. A so-called conflict of values seems almost inevitable. To a large extent, it stems from the simple disorientation of a man who has been deprived of any criterion that would allow him to put the issue of innocent life before that of unlimited freedom.


Human rights – those which were established in 1949 as the moral seal closing the horrors of the Second World War – carry with them an additional authority in relation to public opinion. They were the product of a relatively brief alliance between the leaders of post-war Christian opinion and what might be described as the opinion of the liberals and the Enlightenment. Many people may have thought that with the Declaration, a remarkable historical synthesis of Christian and secular civilisation was being born. It is clear that today, few people are aware of the historical circumstances in which the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was written, yet its myth is still ubiquitous in today’s societies. The problem we face today is that the Declaration, as well as human rights themselves, have to a large extent become mere legends that are exploited as a means by politicians.


The myth of human rights now allows slogans to be planted in societies that have nothing to do with the intentions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights’ drafters, and in no way find their place in the Declaration itself. ‘Women’s rights’ are singled out from universal rights; the slogan ‘reproductive rights’ disguises the right to take away another, innocent human being’s right to life; and finally, the ‘right to abortion’, having been perverted from what it meant in the Declaration’s text, is now explicitly being pushed as a human right. Today’s promoters of such new human rights tend to remain silent when speaking to the public about the fact that they themselves see these rights quite differently from the way they are presented in the text of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. They remain silent because this silence is politically convenient for them.


The process of transformation in the understanding of what human rights are, which is currently underway in international expert and decision-making bodies, was described a few years ago by Mr Jerzy Kwaśniewski, the president of the Ordo Iuris Institute, as an ‘internal revolution’ in the discourse on fundamental human rights.


‘What we are [...] witnessing is the tacit transformation of the catalogue of immutable fundamental rights – life, freedom, health, security, conscience, and property – into an expanded catalogue of new rights whose purpose is not to strengthen such guarantees, but to profoundly transform society’, wrote Jerzy Kwaśniewski in 2019 within the pages of the Rzeczpospolita newspaper. This transformation consists in the gradual abandonment of the catalogue of fundamental rights contained in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in favour of limiting them to narrowly-conceived human rights based solely on the arbitrary principles of personal dignity and the prohibition of discrimination. In practice, this means that further demands for legal protection have been added to the catalogue of ‘human rights’ in the name of which human rights experts are willing to speak out, or which have the potential for political pressure movements to organise around them. As a consequence, human rights cease to differ properly from other forms of positive law – with the difference that the law in democratic states, or at least its form, is subject, even if indirectly, to social control. These new human rights, which are debated in international bodies and tribunals, are devoid of such control. At the same time, they are an entirely viable tool for exerting pressure on the sovereignty of states, as the authority of human rights continues to operate and is used particularly in international politics.



‘The essence of the post-war system of human rights was not the positivist protection of equality, but a turn towards the search for norms that pursued the principles of justice after the night of legal positivism of Nazi Germany. In place of the cult of the certainty provided by statutory law, mandating obedience even to the deepest statutory lawlessness, there was a rediscovery of the importance of human conscience, reason, and the “conscience of mankind” (the preamble to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)’, wrote Jerzy Kwaśniewski in the aforementioned text. Now that the very letter of the Declaration is being questioned, instead of strengthening the immutable human rights which are derived from the deepest sources of Western civilisation, we are witnessing the return of the positivist triumph of the will, the return of the rule of arbitrary segregation and violence against the weak, which is allegedly justified by these supposedly highest principles. The best example of this is the progressive legal normalisation of prenatal murder and the dehumanisation of children at the prenatal stage of life – but not only this. People who are physically ill, elderly, suffering mentally, and newborns constitute a broad group of people who are being threatened by the utilitarian ideas which are being proposed as legal solutions


However, the fact that something was going wrong with human rights was noticed well before the end of the second decade of the 21st century. The French philosopher Jean Madiran devoted a book to this problem entitled Les Droits de l’homme DHSD as early as the late 1980s. At the time, when in Poland great hopes were still being placed on the doctrine of human rights – quite rightly, in fact – Madiran was describing the twilight of the post-war project of a universal moral doctrine. While the Poles saw in human rights a political synthesis of the best European religious and ethical traditions which are capable of opposing totalitarianism, Madiran saw that on the soil of the human rights debate there was a revival of totalitarianism, only in its democratic and liberal version.  


According to Madiran, for the left as well as liberal circles, the correct point of reference has never been the 1949 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, but the French revolutionary Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen of 1789, given that within its structure – irrespective of the order in which the individual rights were written down – the most important thing remains the content of articles 3 and 6. Their text provides the entire declaration with its proper form, which we could characterise as democratic totalitarianism. Article 3 of this revolutionary Declaration states that ‘no body nor individual may exercise any authority which does not proceed directly from the nation.’ Article 6, in turn, states that ‘law is the expression of the general will.’ The two points combined say no more and no less, but that anyone who wants to oppose the essentially arbitrary will of the people in the name of some higher – e.g. ethical or religious – right can be considered an enemy of democracy. Modern democracy, according to the revolutionary view of human rights, is the rule of the subjective desires of various collective identities representing the will of the people. If the people agree that the unborn child or the old man are social parasites, no one should even discuss the ‘right to abortion’ or the ‘right to euthanasia’, because they are expressions of properly understood human rights. The constitutional protection of the right to abortion, which was recently introduced in France, is precisely an expression of this kind of logic.


Why, then, is the left unable to accept that in some nations at least, the expression of the democratic spirit – of the will of the people – is opposition to prenatal infanticide? This is mainly because, in a revolutionary and progressive perspective, this kind of social opinion is seen as not genuinely democratic, but rather constitutes a result born from the influence of the pre-revolutionary world’s residues, in which those authorities that did not arise from the people – religion, parental authority, the authority of superiors in professional life – played a decisive role. All these forces can be described, on the one hand, as limiting man’s dormant desire to dominate and even exterminate others, and on the other as bringing out the possibilities within everyone’s nature. But in the logic that also dominates the Polish debate on the protection of life, anyone who invokes sources of social order other than the element of mob rule can be considered an enemy of democracy, freedom of choice, and an advocate of arbitrary bans.


But then, do all the experts who today, as a principle – adopting positions that are against life – say that ‘human rights are not to be voted on’, not step into the role of the old, pre-revolutionary – and indeed natural – authorities who bypassed the not-always-fair will of the people? In their own minds, no, because they consider themselves to be the guardians of the 3rd and 6th articles of the 1789 Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, i.e. the guardians of the very essence of human rights. The mechanism of this thinking is simple. Matters which belong to the foundations of social justice, such as the protection of the lives of the unborn, yet which carry at least an element of involvement of, for example, religious authority, must be subjected to multiple validations by the ‘will of the people’ until they are finally judged negatively in the name of ‘true democracy’. In fact, the same logic accompanied the political narratives that, during the eight years of centre-right rule in Poland, reminded us of the need to restore democracy in our country. The idea was – no more and no less – to confine politics to a group of parties which recognised the pragmatic, relativistic, hedonistic, and in effect violence-based principles of organising public order.


According to the revolutionaries, such as the politicians of the KO (Civic Coalition) or the Left, what people really want is limited to egoistic desires, and no one is allowed to limit these desires. The basis of the promoters of modern human rights’ actions is therefore some sort of anthropological vision, and not what people declare they actually want. And if people want something other than what the vision offers, they must be persuaded to accept that vision without any regard for the moral dimension of the means of persuasion. These mechanisms are very well known from history. From the perspective of these new rights’ propagators, people are divided into those who recognise unconditionally the 3rd and 6th articles of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, and those who consciously oppose them or who nuance their meaning. The latter are the enemies of democracy, and those who are still mired in a false consciousness must be dragged to the side of the revolution at all costs so that the results of the opinion polls come to agree with their ideology.


It depends, among other things, on the outcome of the human rights debate whether public order in Poland will preserve its legal-natural principle in its most important aspects, or whether we will rather follow the path of France. The logic of the revolutionary view of human rights is inexorable. Today’s proposals by the Left and the KO, but also of Poland 2050 and the Polish People’s Pary (PSL), all part of Prime Minister Donald Tusk’s governing coalition, should be regarded only as intermediate steps on the way towards the constitutional safeguarding of prenatal infanticide. Those who today – hoping for a new ‘compromise’ on the right to life – are inclined to applaud pro-abortion projects in the name of protecting social harmony should realise that they are trapped in an unfounded error of not only a moral, but also a political nature.





Tomasz Rowiński is a senior research fellow of the project ‘Ordo Iuris: Civilization’ by the Ordo Iuris Institute, as well as an editor at Christianitas and the portal He is also a historian of ideas, a columnist, and an author of books, among them: Bękarty Dantego. Szkice o zanikaniu i odradzaniu się widzialnego chrześcijaństwaKrólestwo nie z tego świata. O zasadach Polski katolickiej na podstawie wydarzeń nowszych i dawniejszych, Turbopapiestwo. O dynamice pewnego kryzysu, and Anachroniczna nowoczesność. Eseje o cywilizacji przemocy. He lives in Książenice, near Grodzisk Mazowiecki, in Poland.

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