The Articles of Confederation were written a decade after Thomas Jefferson declared: "...all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights." It would be nearly a century later before the Civil War led to the Emancipation Proclamation, which freed the slaves, and another century before civil rights legislation recognized those "endowed" rights.
The distinction is important. The federal government did not grant rights to African Americans. It recognized rights endowed by their Creator. It is when nations depart from this noble creed that we get abortion on demand, infanticide for the "defective" and "unwanted," and now euthanasia. Removing protection at one end of life inevitably threatens all life at every stage.
It is more than ironic that a group known as the Nonhuman Rights Project has made it their mission to "...change the common law status of at least some nonhuman animals from mere 'things,' which lack the capacity to possess any legal right, to 'persons,' who possess such fundamental rights as bodily integrity and bodily liberty..." Bodily liberty? Based on what?
Three New York courts have so far rejected the NRP's efforts, but give it time. Society may soon devolve even further than it has already.
This is the problem when humanity does not accept an Authority higher than itself, an Authority that holds life, all life, however inconvenient, however tiresome, infinitely valuable. But if we consider ourselves nothing more than evolutionary accidents in an impersonal universe, then we are all potentially vulnerable, depending on the value assigned to us by the state.