Do children have rights?

Children, unlike fetuses, do possess individual rights. A newborn child, unlike a fetus, is a physically separate entity. A child is an actual human being, with a capability to reason, and thus a child has the same right to life as an adult. However, the application of this right for a young child differs in practice from that of an adult, as a child’s conceptual faculty is not fully developed, i.e., a six-year-old does not have the right to choose to enter a sexual relationship, whereas an adult does.

Why does a child, or adult, have a right to life, and not a fetus?

A child, like an adult, exists as a physically independent entity. A fetus cannot exist as a sovereign entity but requires a host to survive. A fetus’ so-called right to life boils down to the “right to remain in the womb”—and such a “right” is only possible by the violation of the actual right of the pregnant woman to her body. In contrast, observe that a child’s right to life does not contradict the rights of anyone else. The principle here is that any alleged “right” that by nature entails the violation of the rights of another is not a right. There is no such thing as “trading one’s rights for the rights of others.” Proper rights, i.e., rights that are objectively defined, are non-contradictory.