Medical Questions > Abortion > Abortion Pro Choice Forum

Who Has the Right to Declare Personhood?

The government?
The state?
The individual?
No one?

If no one, then you yourself cannot even declare yourself human, and thus, killing you is no crime.


This is the question that I have posed at least three times to .Izzy, and he/she still ignores it. What about you guys, what do you think?
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replied April 9th, 2006
Especially eHealthy
Re: Who Has the Right to Declare Personhood?
lolbahlolbah147 wrote:
eiri wrote:
the government?


personhood is a legal status. It is used for legal issues, taxation, etc.


thank you; and I hppen to partially agree with you. I htink that it is given by all of those things, the governemnt, the state and the people.
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replied April 10th, 2006
Especially eHealthy
cowboys wrote:
way to go complaining about someone not answering her, I have been after proof form sandyallen for weeks as to me judging people and all I have had back is attack after attack.What a joke the pro choice movement is turning into.


that counts as complaining? At least i'm asking for one specific thing, and for all I care it could be a one-word answer, "state", "government", "individuals" or "no-one".
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replied April 10th, 2006
Especially eHealthy
I finally got my answer, and I thank izzy for finally responding!
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replied April 11th, 2006
Re: Who Has the Right to Declare Personhood?
eiri wrote:
the government?

The state?

The individual?

No one?


If no one, then you yourself cannot even declare yourself human, and thus, killing you is no crime.



This is the question that I have posed at least three times to .Izzy, and he/she still ignores it. What about you guys, what do you think?
this is like asking ,who can put more value on human life over animal life? But yet it is assumed.
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replied April 11th, 2006
Especially eHealthy
Re: Who Has the Right to Declare Personhood?
happygrl35 wrote:
eiri wrote:
the government?


The state?


The individual?


No one?



If no one, then you yourself cannot even declare yourself human, and thus, killing you is no crime.




This is the question that I have posed at least three times to .Izzy, and he/she still ignores it. What about you guys, what do you think?
this is like asking ,who can put more value on human life over animal life? But yet it is assumed.


well what do you feel? Is it then just something that is a kind if internal feeling that all humans have? I'd agree that we obviously know on a basic level that we are not like the rest of the animals; but what then do we use to define that difference? And is that difference simply human-ness, or is it personhood?
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replied April 11th, 2006
Active User, very eHealthy
eiri wrote:
well what do you feel? Is it then just something that is a kind if internal feeling that all humans have? I'd agree that we obviously know on a basic level that we are not like the rest of the animals; but what then do we use to define that difference? And is that difference simply human-ness, or is it personhood?
there are a variety of historical perspectives regarding this issue. The one that I prefer the most states that humans are humans because they have the ability to differentiate themselves from the other animals and actually think of themselves as human. Specifically, our brains have provided us with the tools to set ourselves apart from other animals over time. Before evolving, other members of the homo genus had smaller brains and thus, had less of a capacity to grow, learn, and adapt to their varying environments. Survival of the fittest being what it is, the species with the mental abilities to adapt, cope, learn, and communicate is the one that survived and propagated, us.

But our brains also do other things that were necessary for our survival. One being that we readily see patterns (even to the extent where we want to see them where they do not exist). The ability to notice patterns lead us to learn the cycle of the seasons, moon, when planting and harvest should take place, and even the cycles of rainfall and other natural occurances. Seeing patterns is necessary for the second ability to flourish. When food and shelter needs are met because the seasons (and thus planting/harvesting) are readily understood, the species can formulate symbols and attach various meaning and significance to those symbols. We systematically developed language and religious symbols because we were not focused solely on survival needs any longer. But it didn't end there.

We also attach differing significance to everything in an attempt to make everything follow a pattern that we can easily understand and that will not surprise us or make us afraid. If an elder of our tribe died, we mourned them and placed the things that they liked around their bodies wherever we buried them (the beginnings of funerals). If a member of another tribe died, we mourned them less because we did not know them (and we might have even celebrated if the two tribes were at war with one another). We started very early as a species in attaching significance to other humans. With more people in the tribe, a greater harvest or hunt could occur thereby producing more food and more material comfort for the whole tribe. If a death occurred, the loss of an often contributing member of the tribe was lamented far more than the loss of someone who perhaps did not contribute. Older siblings were valued more than younger siblings because the older siblings proved that they could survive nearly to adulthood.

We did this with animals because they were our prey. After all, you can hardly value your food more than yourself or the humans around you if you are to eat it.

In its most simplistic form, we value human persons because we are also human persons who are part of larger groups which place a great emphasis on the alleged superiority of humans. In a physical sense, we are not superior by any stretch of the imagination. It is only when you consider our gifts at creating societies, cultures, and aesthetically pleasing things that make us superior to animals. Further, we are only superior to animals in those respects because we, ourselves, have decided that those things were great, wonderful, and better than a more instinctual method of living.

In the end, then, who determines personhood? The question is still not answered by the simple form above. In today's society and culture, personhood is determined by the government which is acting off of the things that we intrinsically value about ourselves. We value contribution to the group, communication, patterns, material comfort, and those things which we deem to be beautiful or aesthetically pleasing.

The government and the state largely act as one body in this regards since neither, theoretically, are legally able to overstep its bounds where the other is concerned. Individuals do, to a large extent, determine what they believe to be personhood for themselves. However, the definition is not constant and ever changing with our new interactions with other people. A racist can believe whole heartedly that african americans and hispanic people are not people. Is s/he right? No. Likewise, a vegan can believe whole heartedly that animals are deserving of personhood. Is s/he right? The courts have not agreed in many cases but you are free to make up your own mind.

The government/state, then, in the end, must make a final, legal judgement about who is protected under the laws of the land. This, too, is not static. However, it is not as open to interpretation as some people would like thanks to our constitution and bill of rights. You can see how varied personhood is considered around the world, though, in multiple countries. Compare columbia with great britain, for example.

Hope this helps a little.
Peace,
jenn
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replied April 11th, 2006
Especially eHealthy
Thank you jenn, that post was wonderful, as always!
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replied December 9th, 2009
Experienced User
Being human is a fact, but Personhood is an opinion not a fact.
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replied June 14th, 2011
I don't know when personhood is or is not. i do know this. I am a person. I have a body. It is my body - not ours, not yours, not the states. It's mine. As such, I have the right to choose who and what I share it with. I have no responsibility and you have no right to my body. For example, if you need a kidney and you're going to die without one, and mine is a match, you still have no right to my kidney. It doesn't matter that it won't hurt me to have one. It doesn't matter that you're going to die. What matters is it's my body, it's my kidney and you have no right to it. When it comes to embryo's and fetuses, I feel the same. It's my body - my uterus, my blood flow, my vagina, my going through labour, my risk of dying. If I don't choose to allow it the use of my body, then that's my choice. No one else's.

So in the end, it's not about personhood. It's about what's mine is mine and you can't have it unless I give it to you. No means no. Deal with it.
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replied June 14th, 2011
I don't know when personhood is or is not. i do know this. I am a person. I have a body. It is my body - not ours, not yours, not the states. It's mine. As such, I have the right to choose who and what I share it with. I have no responsibility and you have no right to my body. For example, if you need a kidney and you're going to die without one, and mine is a match, you still have no right to my kidney. It doesn't matter that it won't hurt me to have one. It doesn't matter that you're going to die. What matters is it's my body, it's my kidney and you have no right to it. When it comes to embryo's and fetuses, I feel the same. It's my body - my uterus, my blood flow, my vagina, my going through labour, my risk of dying. If I don't choose to allow it the use of my body, then that's my choice. No one else's.

So in the end, it's not about personhood. It's about what's mine is mine and you can't have it unless I give it to you. No means no. Deal with it.
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