Forward Thinking: What Is Personhood?

Forward Thinking: What Is Personhood? July 8, 2013

It’s that time of the month once again! Or rather, its a week late, but there are five Mondays in July, so that’s okay! Head on over to Camels with Hammers to see Dan’s roundup of the posts written in response to his prompt on the ethics of challenging people’s belief systems two weeks ago, and with that said, it’s time to turn to our next Forward Thinking prompt.

With all of the talk of abortion regulations and personhood bills in the news lately, I want to turn this month’s Forward Thinking prompt to that issue—specifically, I want to invoke thought about “personhood.” Note that discussing personhood is not identical to discussing whether to ban abortion, because a person can technically embrace both fetal personhood and abortion rights on a bodily autonomy and/or self defends basis. So I want to bracket any discussion of the legality or even morality of abortion and instead focus solely on personhood itself:

What is personhood? When does it begin? When does it end? Is it gained and/or lost gradually or all at once?

I want to invite readers to discuss this question in the comment section and to invite bloggers to respond on their own blogs. At the end of two weeks I will post a round-up of links and excerpts to both blog posts elsewhere and especially insightful comments here. Bloggers should email their links to lovejoyfeminism (at) gmail (dot) com with “Forward Thinking” in the subject line if they want to be included in the round-up.

Happy thinking and discussing!


Forward Thinking: A Values Development Project is an invitation to both readers and fellow bloggers to participate in forming positive values and grappling with thorny questions. Click here to read the project introduction.

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