Sunday, December 10, 2006

A hierarchy of rights

The student union at Carleton University recently passed a motion banning student groups who oppose abortion. Their arguement is that a women's right to choose abortion is violated by groups who advocate" right to life" policies.

These groups are now suing under freedom of speech provisions in the Canadian Charter of rights and freedoms.

Are all rights equal or should some trump others?


Mike B. said...

Hi there,

The reason given for original motion seems bizarre. I could perhaps understand it if the RTL groups actually had a negative effect on the capacity of women to choose abortion. But if those groups are merely expressing a view on the matter, then it is hard to see how they are "violating" the "rights" of women. Saying that women's rights should be curtailed does not make it so. Agree?

James said...

"Are all rights equal or should some trump others?"

The question should never arise. Any theory of rights which can result in a scenario where there is a conflict between different rights is beset by an internal contradiction.

adamvs said...

yes, I do agree especially since curtailing the right to freedom of expression opens the possibility that pro-choice groups will find Their freedom of expression curtailed.
I think Jame's comment succintly highlight's the problem with the Carleton student's position, and you have provided a very concrete counter arguement to those same student's.

"If I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friend, I hope I should have the guts to betray my country."
-E.M. Forster