At the very core of things, both women’s rights (to reproductive choices and equality of opportunities) and health care are inalienable human rights. These two very essential rights are key to the protection of the world’s interests of economic viability and biological stability in the sense that both have adverse effects on the global population.
Women have always held the most vital position in terms of reproduction. Many societies subdue their women and curtail their freedoms and opportunities, forcing these women to accept the roles designated to them by their husbands and by the social norms.
“…there are cultural, even religious, factors that place young women in a subservient position…” (Sen 324). Despite this, I believe women are the primary determinant of fertility and therefore of the increase of population.
I believe that the term human rights covers all human beings, thereby assigning the same inalienable freedom already bestowed upon men to choose one’s path of life, to receive equal opportunities to achieve one’s aspirations, and to receive respect from one’s society.
In this manner, no social dictate nor political stance can eradicate the very basic rule that endows upon women the capacity to make use of their bodies and minds in pursuit of the happiness they value.
Most precious of these freedoms is the capacity for self-determination and self-improvement.
The most hindering obstacle for women to leap into social freedom is lack of knowledge – lack of awareness of their basic freedom and lack of know-how to create opportunities other than child-bearing and rearing.
The United States, as the beacon of human rights, carries the responsibility – not only to pursue the betterment of the world – but also the protection of women’s freedoms all over the world. In the case of women’s fertility choices, both the world and women benefit.
In promoting women’s literacy, education, and equity in the workplace, fertility rates decrease and consequently population growth is significantly curtailed. However, it must be noted that the method of decreasing fertility and population growth should also be given importance – the means do not justify the ends. Neither gruesome practices nor subtle social enforcement (promotion of contraceptives) should be forcefully employed.
Not only do these methods infringe upon other human rights, such as to freedom and choice, these are also not as effective as the simple increase in education and employment opportunities given to women.
“While China’s sharp fertility decline is often attributed to coercive policies (the “one-child family”), one could have expected a roughly similar decline because of China’s excellent achievements in raising female education and employment.” (Sen 325).
Another equally important right is the right of all human beings to receive proper health care. It is in every person’s right to be protected from harmful situations that place their lives in danger. It is usually from the abuse of people’s human rights that most health issues arise. Inhumane living conditions promote and even enhance the development of dangerous diseases.
“Lack of ventilation, over-crowding, and perpetual sickness allow the disease to thrive.” (Schulz 343). Although in the previous quote, Schulz describes the conditions of a Russian prison, it is not far from the living conditions of the poverty infested third world.
Clearly, whether it be assistance during sickness or the protection from circumstances that promote health risks, people deserve to live healthy lives, and necessarily through the aid of others.
Poorer countries simply lack the capacity to defend their citizens from such health dangers. In essence, we speak here of protecting the population – this time not from overgrowth, but from perilous decreasing through epidemics and other health issues. The U.S. again is equally tasked along with the rest of the world with the same responsibility to uphold this right of all (not just U.S.) in humanity.
The most basic and moral reason for this duty is the simple concept of human brotherhood. A dying Australian is a dying man in one world. But the more realistic reason for the U.S.’s concern for the health of other countries’ citizens is this: absolute globalization. The limitless access of people to reach any part of the geographic world pave the way for the even greater freedom of diseases, microbes, and viruses to tour the planet.
“The growth in global trade with its exchange of goods…is a major vehicle by which vectors – those organisms that transmit pathogenic fungi, viruses, and bacteria – make their way around the globe. In essence, a plague in Asia is an epidemic at the American doorstep. In fact, miles can be made up by these transnational sicknesses from a single sneeze and a single international business transaction.
Again the resolution of such threats to a population’s welfare should not be solved using backward methods. For example, shutting the world off from America might (however unlikely) end the threat of viral diseases from outside, but will not prevent the sicknesses already within the country from wreaking havoc.
Also such a drastic move will cripple the country’s economic capabilities. Clearly, the only positive step is to participate in the protection of the population of the world as a whole, instilling vigilance in the promotion and security of human rights everywhere.