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Personhood is properly defined by membership in the human species, not by stage of development within that species.
A living being's designation to a species is determined not by the stage of development but by the sum total of its biological characteristics— actual and potential—which are genetically determined…. a member of Homo sapiens, we must say it is a member of another species. Dictionaries define person as a “human being,” “human individual,” or “member of the human race.” What makes a dog a dog is that he came from dogs.
Age, size, IQ, or stage of development are simply differences in degree, not in kind. When we reach maturation, there are many different degrees of skills and levels of IQ.
But none of these make some people better or more human than others.
Nor does human life begin at conception: It is an unbroken chain dating back to the origin of species, tens or hundreds of thousands of years ago. When it comes to this issue, no one is talking about when the earth began or when the first humans began, but when each individual human being's life begins.
None of us existed 150 years ago, but we do exist now.
British anthropologist Ashley Montague says that no one becomes human until he is molded by social and cultural influences.
If a two-hundred-pound man loses fifty pounds, does he lose one fourth of his personhood?
The only objective questions we can ask are: Life in the womb represents the next frontier for studies of human development, and the early explorations of the frontier—through ultrasound, fiber-optic cameras, miniature microphones—have yielded startling discoveries.
He hears loud music and may even cover his ears at loud noises from the outside world.
None make some qualified to live and others unqualified.
There is no objective evidence to indicate that someone can be a member of the human race, but because he lacks certain qualities, he thereby fails to be a person.