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Disabled Children - Abortion?

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If you knew you'd have a disabled child, would you consider abortion?
Yes.
Never!
Depends on the disability.
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I'd consider the opinion of my partner.
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Skinny Kazoo
Post #592404
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5:31 am, Mar 26 2013
Posts: 146


First off, I didn't bother reading the previous post as the majority are probably full of ignorant and immature opinions (not including the apparently raging debate about the definition of a human).

Secondly, as someone with a sister who cannot and will never walk and as someone who has been engaged in the disabled community as a whole, I find this topic to be highly offensive and insulting.

From my years (and by years I mean every day for 21 years) of experience I can testify that the disabled community is a vibrant one filled with some of the smartest, funniest, and courageous people I know. If you're not prepared for any possibility as a parent, don't try to have a kid or just adopt one. I find it despicable to take away the future opportunities of any person (or soon to be person if you prefer) just because you can't handle the responsibility.

I am pro-choice, but abortion because a child will be disabled, especially in America where these people can succeed, is just ignorant.

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vietangelix
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6:27 am, Mar 26 2013
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Honestly, I would seriously consider an abortion. For every success story, there is one that's not so successful. I have a cousin that has a certain type of mental retardation--they never told me what it was exactly-- and he wears his family down. He keeps hitting the younger children--we can't take him to any places with children--and scratching his sisters until they bleed. At school, he would try to hit the other kids, and try to take off his clothes and run around...It's tough on my aunt because she's a widow and she has two other kids to care for beside him. Her smile is rare now and it's hard watching her cry.

Now, as his sister gets older, everyone is looking at her to take care of him if anything happens; she's barely 15! The adults even explicitly stated that she's not allow to go to any college that's not within the 30 mile radius...Her opportunities are lessen due to the choices of others and a stupid disability; after all, it's not her brother's fault that this existed and he can't control it.

In the end, I would just consider it because not every disability is similar to my cousin's. I just don't think I can face the burden of taking care of a child all my life and knowing that they'll act the same 20 years from now. I want the child to have at least the opportunity to fulfill their own life--even if they have a disability. This seems a bit callous of me but oh well.

Last edited by vietangelix at 6:33 am, Mar 26

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lynira
Post #592413
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7:33 am, Mar 26 2013
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Quote from -shiratori-
Well for persons that are unconscious/in coma, their human rights are partially suspended. Because they cannot think/care for themselves anymore they can get a legal guardian and it is even possible for them to get killed because their legal guardian decides so. Not that I support this, but it's just to demonstrate how important conciousness is for your status as a person.
It's true that a person in a coma can sometimes be legally killed (whether that's right or wrong is a whole new discussion), but that person is nonetheless a living human being. Do you really think he/she isn't? Also, there are still the remaining cases where someone is simply unconscious for a short period of time ("passed out"), and I forgot to mention that a person who is sleeping is also not conscious. But we still say that those people are living human beings--it'd be ridiculous to say that a temporarily passed out or sleeping person isn't a person, and rightly so. So consciousness can't be necessary for personhood.

Quote from -shiratori-
Well you can come up with wacky definitions of what a human being is
You probably shouldn't say that an idea is wacky unless you can prove that it is false...

Quote from -shiratori-
but why exactly do you think is it wrong to kill them?
It's wrong to kill an innocent person simply because all people have the God-given right to live. (In other words, I agree with the idea that it's self-evident that all humans are given by God the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.)

Quote from -shiratori-
it is because they can feel higher emotions like love, hate, friendship, affection, happiness etc.
It's an interesting idea that the ability to feel higher emotions is necessary for personhood, but it can't be correct. This is because there are many times when living human beings (and therefore people) cannot feel those emotions. Anyone unconscious (coma, passed out, or sleeping (but not dreaming)) can't feel those emotions, but they're still living human beings. Also there are people who are mentally disabled to the point where they can only feel basic emotions (happiness & sadness), not higher ones such as hate, yet those people are still people. It'd be ridiculous to say it's fine to kill a mentally disabled person on the grounds that he/she can't feel higher emotions.

So since the ability to feel emotions can't be necessary for humanity, an embryo or fetus, despite not being able to feel emotions, can still be a living human being (and therefore a person), entitled to the same basic human rights as all of us other people.

Last edited by lynira at 7:54 am, Mar 26

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-shiratori-
Post #592443 - Reply to (#592413) by lynira
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12:39 pm, Mar 26 2013
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Quote from lynira
It's true that a person in a coma can sometimes be legally killed (whether that's right or wrong is a whole new discussion), but that person is nonetheless a living human being. Do you really think he/she isn't? Also, there are still the remaining cases where someone is simply unconscious for a short period of time ("passed out"), and I forgot to mention that a person who is sleeping is also not conscious. But we still say that those people are living human beings--it'd be ridiculous to say that a temporarily passed out or sleeping person isn't a person, and rightly so. So consciousness can't be necessary for personhood.


1. Human being and person are not the same concept.

2. It's ridiculous to say that a sleeping human is not a person because well, it's sleeping. It's a normal condition for humans. Everyone knows that the consciousness comes back after waking up. This is fundamentally different from animals who don't have consciousness at all or embryos who have not yet aquired it.

Quote from lynira
It's wrong to kill an innocent person simply because all people have the God-given right to live. (In other words, I agree with the idea that it's self-evident that all humans are given by God the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.)


What denomination are you adhering? Just curious.

Quote from lynira
It's an interesting idea that the ability to feel higher emotions is necessary for personhood, but it can't be correct. This is because there are many times when living human beings (and therefore people) cannot feel those emotions. Anyone unconscious (coma, passed out, or sleeping (but not dreaming)) can't feel those emotions, but they're still living human beings. Also there are people who are mentally disabled to the point where they can only feel basic emotions (happiness & sadness), not higher ones such as hate, yet those people are still people. It'd be ridiculous to say it's fine to kill a mentally disabled person on the grounds that he/she can't feel higher emotions.

So since the ability to feel emotions can't be necessary for humanity, an embryo or fetus, despite not being able to feel emotions, can still be a living human being (and therefore a person), entitled to the same basic human rights as all of us other people.


I never said that higher emotions are necessary for personhood, just that they are the reason I believe that killing humans is wrong. Again, sleep and similar conditions have nothing to do with this.
I'm no expert but I don't think happiness is a basic emotion. Also I don't believe there are any living humans without higher emotions.

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jelzin89
Post #592489 - Reply to (#592443) by -shiratori-
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8:35 pm, Mar 26 2013
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Quote from -shiratori-
1. Human being and person are not the same concept.

2. It's ridiculous to say that a sleeping human is not a person because well, it's sleeping. It's a normal condition for humans. Everyone knows that the consciousness comes back after waking up. This is fundamentally different from animals who don't have consciousness at all or embryos who have not yet aquired it


1. that's what I thought,too, when reading her posts. human being and person are two different philosophical ideas (or universals, leaving plato out)

2. animals do have consciousness. they can react to danger and remember where to get food, and the like, but it's not nearly on human level and they aren't endowed with reason like humans.

aristotle already used this thought to divide humans from animals.
following that, one has to be careful not to confuse the human animal part (genes, species) with the philosophical one which was used for the definition of humanity which is protected by the human rights.

Last edited by jelzin89 at 10:28 pm, Mar 26

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lynira
Post #592737
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1:57 am, Mar 29 2013
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Quote from -shiratori-
Human being and person are not the same concept.
Yes, I agree, "person" and "human being" are different. I thought I made it clear when I said "at the very least, all living human beings are people," but I'll try to do a better job of explaining. What I meant is all living human beings are people, but all people are not necessarily living human beings (parallel case: all circles are shapes, but all shapes are not necessarily circles). So "person" can be used to replace the term "living human being," which I have done many times. I'm assuming you agree that all living human beings are people?

Quote from -shiratori-
It's ridiculous to say that a sleeping human is not a person because well, it's sleeping. It's a normal condition for humans. Everyone knows that the consciousness comes back after waking up.
Ok, but if consciousness is necessary to be a living human being, then it must be that any human that is not conscious is not living. That includes sleeping, passed out, and comatose people. According to your definition, they were living human beings before that condition, they're not living while in that condition, and when they regain consciousness, then they are living human beings again. It's what must be so if your definition is true. Is it ridiculous? Absolutely, and that's why consciousness can't be necessary to be a living human.

Perhaps the definition you are thinking of is "what is necessary to be a living human being is to be either conscious or to be capable of becoming conscious soon," in other words "being a living human being requires either consciousness or only temporary unconsciousness." Then sleeping people can be considered living humans. Is this more like what you're thinking? (Please don't say yes, as this definition also has at least two major problems.)

Quote from -shiratori-
This is fundamentally different from animals who don't have consciousness at all or embryos who have not yet aquired it.
Consciousness is the condition of being actively aware of one's surroundings and existence. Embryos do not have consciousness, I agree with that. But you also think animals don't have this at any time during their lives? I guess you must mean the high-level consciousness that most humans have because of our reasoning capabilities, like jelzin89 says. High-level consciousness is indeed limited to humans, not animals/plants, and only to humans after they wake for the first time (this is during labor for most babies I think); I agree with those points. But still, high-level consciousness can't be required to be a living human because of what I mentioned earlier: there are times when living human beings do not have any consciousness at all.

Quote from -shoratori-
What denomination are you adhering? Just curious.
Not really on topic, but it can be answered quickly so I guess it's ok. I'm Christian, but I don't follow any particular denomination.

Quote from -shiratori-
I never said that higher emotions are necessary for personhood, just that they are the reason I believe that killing humans is wrong. Again, sleep and similar conditions have nothing to do with this.
If it is a reason why killing humans is wrong, then all humans must possess that quality all of the time, don't you think? (For example, if someone says, "The reason why killing humans is wrong is that humans have blonde hair," it doesn't really make sense, because not all humans have blonde hair, and those that do may not have it all the time (hair can change color depending on age & environment). (Ignore for a minute how the sentiment behind the definition is ridiculous, and focus on the more basic flaw in the logic of it.)). Also, there isn't really any justification for why it's wrong to kill the humans when they don't have the quality.

Last edited by lynira at 2:02 am, Mar 29

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Sagaris
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2:34 am, Mar 29 2013
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A Modest Proposal for Preventing Disabled Children From Being a Burden to Their Parents or Country, and for Making Them Beneficial to the Public?

caozhi
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5:59 am, Mar 29 2013
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When I think of this I immediately think of Hitler and his strategy to keep the Aryan blood clean. That and forced castrations and whatnot performed not too long ago. I would never want my child to be in pain, but I feel it would be up to me to make the most of their life. When you think about it, not many people on this forum could even produce a child without "defect" or "disability". Then there's the whole guilt I would feel: "I knew my child was going to be disabled, so I aborted her." Noway in hell man, nope, not me.

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jelzin89
Post #592779 - Reply to (#592737) by lynira
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11:38 am, Mar 29 2013
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Quote from lynira
What I meant is all living human beings are people, but all people are not necessarily living human beings (parallel case: all circles are shapes, but all shapes are not necessarily circles). So "person" can be used to replace the term "living human being," which I have done many times. I'm assuming you agree that all living human beings are people?


no I don't . as stated above babys aren't persons yet but I don't say they aren't human because of that. even when they are only human on animal-level yet they at least have started to develop the human mind which divides us from animals and is protected by the human rights.
the developement of the person person along the general definition "self-conscious and self-determinded living being" end psychologically around the age of 19 and that doesn't mean it can't change anymore. so strictly speaking even children and adolescents are incomplete persons (regardless of how much we all want to deny that when we are adolescent).

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A Modest Proposal for Preventing Disabled Children From Being a Burden to Their Parents or Country, and for Making Them Beneficial to the Public?


not that I want to imply you actually meant that but that is the cold and convenient argumentation the nazis would have used. yours are certainly valid points but it should at least be considered too, whether the life that would come to be was worth living or whether there would be too much pain and sadness for a fulfilled life


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caozhi
Post #592889
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7:52 am, Mar 30 2013
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There are plenty of disabled people who have had excellent impacts on society. We'd have a lot less inspiration and admiration for the human ability to persevere and overcome if they were not given the chance to have a crack at life.

"The best and most beautiful things in the world can not be seen or even touched - they must be felt with the heart." - Helen Keller

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NightSwan
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9:02 am, Mar 30 2013
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Well, to each their own.
I personally think it's the mother's choice to decide what to do with her pregnancy.
If she's willing to be burdened with a, say, both mentally and physically disabled child (that would grow into a disabled adult) for a good chunk of her life, it's her choice.
If she doesn't want that, it's up to her.

Thing is, this conversation wouldn't have even taken place a century ago.
Such a child wouldn't have survived, or would have been placed abandoned if it had.
Nowadays, we have the means to support and raise such children to adulthood. But at what price?
Our body kills and aborts anomalies all the time, but some mutations fall through the chairs and continue to a full term pregnancy. I'm not saying "kill them all!", but what about quality of life?
There are some disabilities people can live and function with, others make them completely dependant on full time care. What happens when the main care givers die or decide they have had enough?
What about the opinion of say, like the OP's example, a person with Down's Syndrome?

A life never lived is a life never suffered.
We all struggle through life and need the best start possible, even if it doesn't guarantee success or happiness.

But then comes the question, where does it stop, where does it end?
My answer is that I don't know and nobody but the parents should make this decision.
Regardless of the child's condition, I think only people who are capable of taking care of one should reproduce.

I would like to stress my point of this being the parents' responsibility and decision.
Not anyone else's.



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whitespade
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4:18 pm, Mar 30 2013
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i will abort my fetus if theres anything wrong with it. but if i pop one out without knowing they are disabled, i will take care of them.once they are out of my body, i feel it is my duty to provide the best.

but all this are just hypothesizing. who knows i will just leave them in the hospital?

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kirabook
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4:28 pm, Mar 30 2013
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Well, I don't plan on having children either way, but if I discovered that my child was going to have a disability, then I would most certainly have an abortion.

Call me the devil, but I don't see a fetus as a human until it is able to survive outside of the mothers womb, feeling pain or not.

I'm not just thinking about how I would feel and how much stress is would cause me, but what would happen to my child once I'm gone? If the disability is that terrible and they have to be taken care of for the rest of their lives, can I honestly be happy I brought someone like that in the world? Someone who can never stand on their own two feet and has to rely on other people to take care of them?

I wouldn't trust leaving my child in the care of other people, too many bad possibilities. It's just a bad situation all around.

So yes, when it comes down to it, if they have a disability that restricts them from living a full healthy life (including after I'm dead), then I won't bring them into this world.

Last edited by kirabook at 4:00 am, Apr 3

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Post #592967 - Reply to (#592737) by lynira
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Quote from lynira
Yes, I agree, "person" and "human being" are different. I thought I made it clear when I said "at the very least, all living human beings are people," but I'll try to do a better job of explaining. What I meant is all living human beings are people, but all people are not necessarily living human beings (parallel case: all circles are shapes, but all shapes are not necessarily circles). So "person" can be used to replace the term "living human being," which I have done many times. I'm assuming you agree that all living human beings are people?


This is exactly what we are debating here. A human embryo is undeniably a living human being, yet I'm arguing that it is not a person.

Quote from lynira
Ok, but if consciousness is necessary to be a living human being, then it must be that any human that is not conscious is not living. That includes sleeping, passed out, and comatose people. According to your definition, they were living human beings before that condition, they're not living while in that condition, and when they regain consciousness, then they are living human beings again. It's what must be so if your definition is true. Is it ridiculous? Absolutely, and that's why consciousness can't be necessary to be a living human.

Perhaps the definition you are thinking of is "what is necessary to be a living human being is to be either conscious or to be capable of becoming conscious soon," in other words "being a living human being requires either consciousness or only temporary unconsciousness." Then sleeping people can be considered living humans. Is this more like what you're thinking? (Please don't say yes, as this definition also has at least two major problems.)


Again, person != human being. Also even in sleep humans retain basic functions of their consciousness. Sleep is just no argument here.

Quote from lynira
Consciousness is the condition of being actively aware of one's surroundings and existence. Embryos do not have consciousness, I agree with that. But you also think animals don't have this at any time during their lives? I guess you must mean the high-level consciousness that most humans have because of our reasoning capabilities, like jelzin89 says. High-level consciousness is indeed limited to humans, not animals/plants, and only to humans after they wake for the first time (this is during labor for most babies I think); I agree with those points. But still, high-level consciousness can't be required to be a living human because of what I mentioned earlier: there are times when living human beings do not have any consciousness at all.


There are apparently several grades of consciousness, the most basic one probably being able to recognize oneself in a mirror, a test which several animals pass. But what I am referring to is to be able to reflect over one's thoughts as this is what bears fruit to higher emotions.


Quote from lynira
If it is a reason why killing humans is wrong, then all humans must possess that quality all of the time, don't you think? (For example, if someone says, "The reason why killing humans is wrong is that humans have blonde hair," it doesn't really make sense, because not all humans have blonde hair, and those that do may not have it all the time (hair can change color depending on age & environment). (Ignore for a minute how the sentiment behind the definition is ridiculous, and focus on the more basic flaw in the logic of it.)). Also, there isn't really any justification for why it's wrong to kill the humans when they don't have the quality.


This is because all humans indeed have this quality all the time. A sleeping person can simply wake up and return to the state it was before. A human that takes a nap is the same person before and after the sleep. This continuity shows that sleep does not change their personhood at all.

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Quote from jelzin89
no I don't . as stated above babys aren't persons yet but I don't say they aren't human because of that. even when they are only human on animal-level yet they at least have started to develop the human mind which divides us from animals and is protected by the human rights.
the developement of the person person along the general definition "self-conscious and self-determinded living being" end psychologically around the age of 19 and that doesn't mean it can't change anymore. so strictly speaking even children and adolescents are incomplete persons (regardless of how much we all want to deny that when we are adolescent).
Um, whoa. You believe that not all living human beings are people? And that babies aren't people, and neither is anyone under 19? That's definitely an extreme claim. What's your justification for this? I explained previously how consciousness cannot be necessary for personhood.

Quote from NightSwan
I personally think it's the mother's choice to decide what to do with her pregnancy.
If she's willing to be burdened with a, say, both mentally and physically disabled child (that would grow into a disabled adult) for a good chunk of her life, it's her choice.
If she doesn't want that, it's up to her.
You can't really mean that... "because this person will burden me, and he/she is my child and I would have to be responsible for and take of him/her" is nowhere near a good enough reason to kill someone, even if that person is mentally/physically disabled. You can't really believe that it is...

Think about it: No judge nor jury would accept such an explanation as justification for killing. If my friend killed her 1-year old baby girl, and in court she said that she should be acquitted, saying, "She was my child, my responsibility, and as her mother I had every right to kill her, since I'm the one who would have to take care of her if she lived. On top of that, she was a great burden on me," it would of course be dismissed as absurd (and incredibly cruel), and she would be convicted of murder. (And hopefully sent to much needed counseling to help her.)

I don't believe that you're such a cruel person that you would consider the responsibility of taking care of someone as a good enough reason to kill anyone after they were born. Even if that person was mentally disabled and required a ton of attention and care, no one would say it's fine for the mother/father/guardian to kill that person. Why do you consider it a good justification while the person is in the womb? As I've explained earlier, babies inside the womb are just as much living human beings as the rest of us, and so their basic human rights should be protected by the law.

Quote from -shiratori-
This is exactly what we are debating here. A human embryo is undeniably a living human being, yet I'm arguing that it is not a person.
You believe that not all living human beings are people? That's a bold claim. Your justification is that personhood requires the capability of high-level consciousness (you didn't explicitly say capability, but I'm guessing it's what you mean based on your saying that sleeping people retain basic functions of consciousness, and that sleeping people have the quality all the time. I'm guessing this because people of course do not have consciousness all the time (not while they sleep), so it'd be ridiculous if you were to say they do, so your saying that they do must mean you're really thinking of something slightly different, you just didn't explicitly say so. Anyway, correct me if you meant something a bit different.), which sleeping people definitely do have: their capabilities to be conscious (high-level, as you said) are still present while they sleep, so using that definition they can be called people.

However, capability for high-level consciousness can't be necessary for personhood. There are at least two reasons: First, because of the high-level consciousness part, you've excluded severely mentally disabled human beings from personhood. The high-level consciousness that is present in humans but not in any other animals is made possible by humans' high-level reasoning abilities. But some severely mentally disabled people are only capable of low-level reasoning, similar to an animal. Without high-level reason, high-level consciousness is not possible, so those disabled people only have a lower-level consciousness, yet we still consider them to be people.

Second, for people in a vegetative state and some people in comas, there is no capability for consciousness (let alone high-level consciousness). This is because in those cases enough of the brain has been damaged that consciousness is not possible. Yet these people are still considered to be people, so capability for consciousness cannot be necessary for personhood, and all living human beings are people.


Last edited by lynira at 4:47 am, Apr 3

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