It was relatively easy for the framers to define the upper age of the child. In article 1, they stated that a child is every person under age eighteen unless the law of a nation grants majority at an earlier age. But what is the minimum age of a child Is it at conception or at birth With the abortion issue in the background, this was one of the most controversial issues in designing the Convention. (Cantwell, 2002) To reach a consensus, the framers decided that in the legally binding text of the Convention (in article 1), there would be no mention of a minimum age. Thus the minimum age could be at either birth or conception. But at the same time, the framers decided to recognize in a legally non-binding way the importance of the prenatal environment to the health and well-being of the child. Thus, in the preamble to the Convention, it is stated that the child "needs special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection, both before as well as after birth." In short, while the importance of prenatal care is recognized, the legal protection of children could include, but would not require, the prohibition of abortion.
Following Thomas Hammarberg, we can divide the substantive rights of the Convention into the "three Ps": provision, protection, and participation. (Hammarberg, 2000). The rights of provision refer to children's rights to be provided with basic welfare and nurturance. For example, children have the right to survival and development (article 6), basic economic welfare (article 27), health care (article 24), education (article 28), and play and recreation (article 31). They also have the right to a name, to acquire a nationality, and to know and be cared for by parents (article 7). The rights of protection refer to children's rights to be protected from harmful acts or practices. For example, children have the right to be protected from abuse and neglect (article 19), economic exploitation (article 32), sexual exploitation (article 34), and discrimination (article 2). Children in trouble with the law also have the right to protective treatment in the form of a separate juvenile justice system (articles 37 and 40). Finally, rights of participation refer to children's rights to express an opinion in matters affecting the child and to have that opinion heard (article 12). As part of participation, children have the right to freedom of expression and information (article 13), freedom of thought, conscience, and religion (article 14), and freedom of association and peaceful assembly (article 15).
The three Ps are rights that apply generally to all children. But the Convention also provides for rights concerning children in special circumstances or in particularly difficult situations. For example, children with disabilities have a right to special care (article 23). Children who are orphans also have a right to special care (article 20). Refugee children have a right to special protection and assistance (article 22). And children of minority communities and indigenous populations have the right to enjoy their