What are rights? The most basic definition of rights are “principles possessed by individuals or groups that always correspond with reciprocal duties from other individuals or groups”. If I have a right to not be harmed for no good reason, then someone else has the duty to not harm me for no good reason. If I have the duty to not murder, then someone has the right to not be murdered.
In political science and law, the two types of rights that are discussed are legal rights and moral rights.
Legal rights are created by the State and the reciprocal duties that come with legal rights are enforced by the State. These rights are completely dependent on the actions of the State and as such, can be changed over time. The legal right to vote is a good example of this. I would say that there are two kinds of legal rights. The first are universal legal rights. Universal legal rights are held by all people and they correspond with universal legal duties by all people to all people. The legal right to not be raped is universal as all people have a legal duty to not rape any person. The second kind of legal right is the particular legal right. Particular legal rights are only held by some people and correspond to legal duties only held by some people. The legal right of a retiree to receive Social Security payments from the government is an example of a particular legal right.
In contrast to legal rights, moral rights are immutable and objective. Moral rights exist regardless of difference of personal, historical, and cultural opinion. An example of this is the moral right to not be tortured. Many cultures and nations have legally tortured and continue to legally torture. So in those societies, the government has a legal right to torture but a moral duty to not torture. No matter what the societal norm or legal rights are, there will always exist a moral duty to not torture. There are two types of moral rights. The first type of moral rights are natural rights or human rights. These moral rights belong to people by the very nature of their humanity. Human rights belong to all people at all times which corresponds to duties that all people have to everyone else. The moral right to be treated as a being with inherent worth, is a human right. The second type of moral rights are class-based rights or particular moral rights. Particular moral rights are moral rights that belong to a certain group of individuals that requires moral duties from a different group of individuals. The moral right of a child to be kept alive by his or her parents is a particular human right.
What is the relationship between legal rights and moral rights? The relationship varies depending on legal jurisdiction and culture but can yield three separate combinations. The first of these combinations is that of a situation where something is both a moral right and a legal right. In the USA, this is the case for the right to not be tortured (minus Guantanamo Bay), the right to not be raped, the right to not be assaulted while posing no threat to anyone else, etc. The second combination is that of a situation where something is a moral right but not a legal right. In most states, a person does not have the legal right to consume cannabis which might be considered a moral right if there exists a moral right to do anything that does not harm others or yourself. The third combination is occurs when something is a legal right but is not a moral right. An example in the USA is that of the legal right of a pregnant woman to terminate her pregnancy if there exists a moral right for human persons to be born and the fetus is a human person.