Non-Person. n. A person whose expunction from the attention and
memory of the public is sought, esp. by governmental action and
usually for reasons of ideological or political deviation.
The American Heritage Dictionary. 1985,
the Houghton Mifflin Company.
We should not be surprised to find a human fetus looks like us;
rather we would be amazed if it resembled an elephant. But a dead body
also looks very much like us, yet does not prevent us from cutting
that body, as in an autopsy, since the person is no longer there as
the person is not yet there in the case of a fetus.
Back to the central issue of personhood and rights; other
non-persons (pigs, cows) have toenails, heartbeats, and the capacity
to feel pain (some say a fetus can only feel pressure, not pain, but
we're not sure), yet these factors alone do not prevent the
destruction of such entities.
It is a fact that the fetus is human life, but when do we accept
that developing human life as a fellow human being? That question can
only be answered according to our individual beliefs.
National Abortion Rights Action League.
As described in the previous two chapters, a rigorous analysis of the
exact biological and social status of the unborn can only be performed
in three steps.
The first, and most basic, level of analysis must answer the
question: Are the unborn alive?
Chapter 69 has answered this strictly biological question in the
The second step of the analysis is to further classify this living
being as either human or non-human (there is no other
possible classification there is no entity that is "partially
Chapter 70 has shown conclusively that this second strictly
biological question results in the preborn being classified as human.
The final step of the analysis is the most difficult and slippery of
all, because it deals with a social, not biological,
classification. The third question: Is this living human creature a person,
endowed with the same rights that accrue to all other persons? Or is it
somehow less that human, subject to whatever abuse and genocide we may
deem to visit upon its entire 'subspecies?'
This chapter examines the ideological question: Should society confer
upon these preborn, living human beings the status of person?
The Pro-Abortionist's Last Stand.
I do think abortion is murder of a very special and necessary sort.
What else would one call the deliberate stilling of a life? And no
physician involved with the procedure ever kids himself about that ...
legalistic distinctions among "homicide," "justified
homicide," "self-defense," and "murder"
appear to me a semantic game. What difference does it make what we
call it? Those who do it and those who witness its doing know that
abortion is the stilling of a life.
Pushing 'Em Back.
In the initial stages of its push for unlimited free abortions, the
pro-abortion movement claimed that not only were preborn babies not persons,
they were not even human or alive!
In the mid-1960s, the sciences of fetology and genetics were advanced
to the point where there could be no possible question that the unborn
were both human and alive.
The silly (and plainly dishonest) assertion that preborns were
non-living, non-human beings led many leading pro-abortion 'thinkers' to
make convoluted and twisted statements that are still good for laughs,
even though they were committed 25 years ago. These quotes show how far
anti-lifers will reach in their desperate attempts to dehumanize and
trivialize the preborn.
One of the best examples was provided by Garrett Hardin, professor of
biology at the University of California at Santa Barbara, who is still
making inane statements after all these years; "A set of blueprints
is not a house; the DNA of a zygote is not a human being. There is no
moral obligation to conserve DNA if there was, no man would be allowed
to brush his teeth and gums, for in this brutal operation hundreds of
sets of DNA are destroyed daily."
The pro-abortion movement now realizes that it will continue to lose
credibility with the American public if it doggedly insists that the
preborn baby is not alive and not human. Any four-year old knows better.
And the public does, too. The pro-life movement has gained thousands of
recruits from pro-abortion organizations, because these people finally
became fed up with the pro-abort's self-deceptive Newspeak and obvious
close-mindedness to the basic facts of biology.
The pro-abortionists have gradually been forced back in the face of
overwhelming scientific evidence first into admitting that the
preborn are, in fact, living; and secondly, that they are, indeed,
Their second to last chance to retain abortion is to deny unborn
living human beings their personhood. One typical attempt is
given us by 'bioethicist' Mary Anne Warren of the Hastings Institute;
If we are to make a reasoned judgment about the moral status of
fetuses, and of nonhuman animals, alien life forms, intelligent
machines and other problematic entities, we must develop a criterion
of moral rights that is species-neutral. That is, it will not do to
make 'genetic humanity,' or mere genetic affiliation to the human
species, either a necessary or a sufficient condition for the
possession of full moral rights.
[The criteria for personhood is] an entity that has the actual, not
merely potential capacity for consciousness, complex, sophisticated
perception, rationality, self-awareness and self-motivated
Notice that Warren has defined 'personhood' in exactly the same
manner that the Nazis did. Under the above definition, not only would
newborn babies not be classified as persons, but "useless
eaters" would be excluded as well: The comatose, the mentally
handicapped, and the chronically drunk could be euthanized and disposed
of under Warren's classification.
The current pro-abortion philosophy is desperately dangerous. As the
quote by the National Abortion Rights Action League at the beginning of
this chapter shows, pro-aborts now acknowledge that the preborn are
alive and that they are human, but assert that a determination of
'personhood' can be left up to the individual.
In other words, the preborn baby is not a human being until its
mother confers such humanity upon it with her will.
THIS IS THE VERY BASIS OF ALL OPPRESSION.
When we loftily decide, either on a personal or national level, that
we can summarily deprive others of their rights, we are oppressing them.
The Neofeminists say that men have oppressed them by taking away
The Nazis oppressed the Jews and Gypsies and Catholics by taking away
Whites oppressed Blacks by taking away their rights.
And now the Neofeminists, in turn, feel justified in taking away the
rights of the preborn with a mere thought.
The Nazis used this same slippery logic to define Jews as
"living, human, but non-persons." When others protested
against the resulting genocide, the Nazis used the same logic that NARAL
does, only on a larger scale; they argued that the definition of
'personhood' should be set by individual nations.
For more detailed information on past instances of mass oppression,
see Chapter 53, "Holocaust Analogy to Abortion," and Chapter
86, "Slavery Analogy to Abortion."
The Final Stand.
If pro-abortionists finally concede that the unborn really are
persons, and if they continue to cling to their notion that these
persons are expendable, they will have taken a philosophical step beyond
even the Nazis, who acknowledged that Jews were human, but were not
persons "in the real sense."
Some pro-abortion organizations have already taken this final step.
One of these groups is the 'Religious' Coalition for Abortion Rights,
a pseudo-religious 'front' organization whose twin purposes are
deception and infiltration/subversion.
Virginia Ramey Mollenkott stated in an RCAR propaganda pamphlet
absurdly entitled "Respecting the Moral Agency of Women" that
Even if we were to concede the highly controversial and recent
supposition that an embryo is a human person from the moment of
conception, we would still be looking at only one very important value
that has to be weighed against many other very important values, such
as the quality of life that the unborn could look forward to after
birth; the probable impact of that birth on the welfare of the already
existing family; the mental health, wellbeing, and conscience of the
potential mother; and the impact on society of laws that repress
obedience to the dictates of conscience and remove a woman's control
over her own destiny.
In other words, Mollenkott is perfectly willing to dispose of entire
classes of living human persons if those in power herself
included, of course should decide that their existence is substandard in
Note that Mollenkott's definition empowers the State to abort poor
women against their will because their fetuses are "less
persons" than those of the rich; in fact, the above statement is a very
close parallel to the justification of the Chinese forced abortion
program as described in Chapter 50.
Mollenkott's statement, of course, is a mere propaganda cover, and in
no way restrains pro-aborts from acting in any manner that they please.
As always, the only thing that matters for pro-aborts is that
they be allowed to kill. The status of the unborn means nothing.
For example, Mollenkott says that "one very important
value" is the "quality of life that the unborn could look
forward to after birth."
Who is she trying to kid? If pro-aborts really cared about the
quality of life of newborns, why do they so fanatically oppose any
restrictions on pregnant women drinking or using dangerous drugs? Each
year, 400,000 newborns come into this world adversely affected by their
mother's drug or alcohol abuse. In a nationwide poll, 82 percent of
respondents said that they considered it fair for courts to sentence
pregnant drug users to treatment programs, and 68 percent would approve
of arresting women who give birth to babies adversely affected by drugs,
thus treating them like any other drug pusher. Ignoring these figures,
columnist Anna Quindlen of the New York Times calls such beliefs
tantamount to those of the "fetus police," and claimed that
"freedom's just another word for being able to act stupid if you
We must wonder whether or not Quindlen would dismiss rape as just
"acting stupid." What about wife-beating, Anna is that
"just acting stupid?" How about driving drunk?
Implementing the Worldview.
Mollenkott's statement is certainly not "far out" when one
realizes that her philosophy is already being applied on a vast scale in
Our so-called 'halls of justice' ring with the voices of abortionists
proclaiming that the preborn are human beings, babies but that abortion
is legal, so they have no trouble with exterminating them.
Many judges have accepted this 'reasoning.' In a 1986 abortion clinic
trespass case, The State of Virginia v. Christyanne Collins and Harry
F. Hand, Judge Bruce Bach of Fairfax, Virginia stated in his opinion
I will find as a matter of fact that unborn human lives were being
terminated in the clinic that morning because that's what the evidence
in this particular case is. And I am not a medical doctor. All of the
evidence is that first trimester fetuses are human beings ... I reject
the defense of necessity because we have in our society many instances
of, I'll call it, State-sanctioned killing of human beings. And while
the evidence is that human lives are being terminated, the Virginia
statutes clearly allow the termination of human lives in the first
trimester ... people at that clinic have a right under our law as it
is today to do what they were doing and to do it without interference
from people, well-meaning or otherwise ... So I do find them [the
defendants] guilty and those are my reasons.
The Spreading Stigma of Non-Personhood.
It is important to understand that while abortion does involve the
taking of a human life because all life that is in and of a human
being is human life in order to call it murder we would have to
believe that prenatal life in the early stages of pregnancy is a human
person and that there were absolutely no reasons that justified the
taking of that life ... [However], you may feel you have reasons that
justify abortion regardless of your beliefs about personhood.
Marjorie Reiley Maguire and Daniel C.
Maguire of 'Catholics' for a Free Choice.
The Pool of 'Nonpersons' Expands.
The process of revoking the humanity of a group of 'targeted' human
beings must be performed slowly and with great care and vigilance.
As always when making 'advances' in bioethics, the first critical
step is the hardest. Ask the Nazi 'doctors,' who began their entire
program of genocide with the killing of a single handicapped infant,
Baby Boy Knauer.
Once the first step is taken and public response is carefully
monitored and found to be favorable or neutral all subsequent steps are
much easier and smoother to achieve, especially if there is no organized
outcry against the initial 'advance.'
In the United States, the first difficult step in the 'depersonization'
of groups of helpless people was taken in 1973, when the Supreme Court,
in its ridiculous Roe v. Wade decision, revoked not only the
personhood of the preborn, but their very status as living beings as
well, by labeling them "potential life."
The following two decades has seen subsequent steps come at smaller
and smaller intervals until they have appeared to meld into a single,
smooth headlong sprint down the 'slippery slope.'
This principle certainly holds true in the judicial system. Since
1973, the 'non-personhood' and privacy doctrines outlined in Roe v.
Wade have justified the following, as more and more human beings
have their personhood revoked;
a Kentucky court held that a man who killed his estranged
wife's 34-week baby by forcing his hand into her uterus and strangling
the child could not be convicted of a crime because, as the Court
noted, Roe v. Wade does not confer personhood on the unborn. (Hollis
v. Commonwealth, 652 S.W.2d 61 (Ky. 1983)).
wrongful birth suits, which are filed by parents who allege
that a baby should have been aborted instead of born (Beaman v.
Allen, 80 N.J. 421, 404 A.2d 8 (1979));
letting handicapped newborns die a horrible death of starvation
and thirst (American Academy of Pediatrics v. Heckler, 561
F.Supp.395 (D.D.C. 1983));
the denial of heart surgery to a mentally handicapped toddler (Bothman
v. Warren, 445 U.S. 949 (1980));
the denial of cancer treatment to an elderly person (Supt.
of Belchertown v. Saikewicz, 373 Mass. 728,370); and
the cessation of respiratory aid to a comatose teenager (N.E.2d
417(1977), in re Quinlan, 70 N.J., 355/A.2d 647 (1976)).
Others would expand the pool of nonpersons even further than the
court system has. The most extreme example of the "quality of
life" mentality has (so far) been demonstrated by 'bioethicist'
Joseph Fletcher. Fletcher has drawn up a comprehensive list of
'positive' and 'negative' human qualities that define exactly what a
person is and is not, as shown in Figure 71-1.
JOSEPH FLETCHER'S CRITERIA FOR HUMANITY
POSITIVE HUMAN CRITERIA
(1) Minimal intelligence: Anyone with an IQ under 40 is
questionably human. Anyone with an IQ less than 20 is definitely
(2) Self-awareness: Newborn babies are not self-aware and therefore
not human. This quality develops at about one year of age.
(3) Self-control: If a person lacks self-control, he is on a low
level of life comparable to a paramecium.
(4) A sense of time: Anyone without a good sense of the passage of
time is not human.
(5) A sense of the future. How 'truly human' is any man who cannot
realize there is a time yet to come?
(6) A sense of the past: A focus on 'nowness' truncates the nature
(7) The capability to relate to others, particularly in
relationships of the sexual-romantic and friendship kind.
(8) Concern for others: Lack of this ambience indicates
(9) Communication: Completely isolated individuals are sub-persons.
(10) Control of existence: Ignorance and total helplessness are the
antithesis of humanness.
(11) Curiosity: Without a certain amount of curiosity, individuals
are not persons deserving legal rights and protections.
(12) Change and changeability: If an individual is opposed to
change, he denies the creativity of personal beings.
(13) Balance of rationality and feeling: To be 'truly human,' one
cannot be either Apollonian [extremely rational and logical in
character] or Dionysian [of frenzied and emotional character].
(14) Idiosyncrasy: To be a person is to have an identity, to be
recognizable and callable by name.
(15) Neo-cortical function: Before cerebration [thinking] is in
play, the person is non-existent. Such individuals are objects, not
NEGATIVE HUMAN CRITERIA
Man is not non-artificial or anti-artificial.
Man is not essentially parental.
Man is not essentially sexual.
Man is not a bundle of rights. All rights are imperfect and may be
if human need requires it.
Man is not a worshipper.
Reference: Joseph Fletcher. "Indicators
of Humanhood: A Tentative Profile of Man." Hastings Center
Report. Volume 2, Number 5, November, 1972.
If implemented, Fletcher's criteria would cause more than 100 large
groups of persons to instantly lose their humanity. These groups would
include the following, and would comprise approximately one-fifth of the
all infants under one year of age;
twins and triplets;
all celibate persons;
the mentally handicapped;
habitual drunkards and drug addicts;
all comatose persons;
emotional persons; and
all religious persons.
Fletcher would casually kill the 260,000 United States citizens with
IQs of less than 25, and the 630,000 with IQs of from 25 to 49.
It seems that every advocate of euthanasia for the handicapped is
able-bodied and healthy. Why don't we take a page from the
pro-abortionists who say that men have no right to oppose abortion
because they can't get pregnant? We could say to these pro-eugenics and
pro-euthanasia people "You have no right to advocate euthanasia for
the handicapped unless you yourself are handicapped."
If everyone on Fletcher's list were eliminated, we would certainly
have a more perfect (and more soulless) world.
And Now "Neomorts!"
It is not only the preborn who are in danger of having their
personhood permanently revoked by the medical elitists and utilitarians.
Whenever there is a perceived biomedical need, and whenever there is a
group of persons at hand who cannot defend themselves, there we will
find the ghouls ready to pounce.
Dr. Willard Gaylin, former President of the Institute of Society,
Ethics, and the Life Sciences (the "Hastings Institute"),
shows that, once the 'personhood' of one class of human beings has been
revoked, it is very easy to do the same to others.
Gaylin would like to see comatose persons (he calls them "neomorts")
stockpiled in special repositories (called "bioemporiums") for
organ harvesting and experimentation.
One of Gaylin's colleagues approvingly writes that
Neomorts would provide a steady supply of blood, since they could
be drained regularly ... Bone marrow, cartilage, and skin could be
harvested, and hormones, antitoxins, and antibodies manufactured in
neomorts ... To do this, [Gaylin] notes, we would have to accept the
concept of "personhood" as separate from
"aliveness" for adults, as we do now with fetuses.
The Christian Response.
Highlight Glaring Pro-Abortion Hypocrisy.
The hypocrisy of the pro-death position is absolutely breathtaking
and should be highlighted at every opportunity.
The pro-aborts will fight for more handicapped parking slots at
supermarkets, but stand silently by while handicapped newborns are
starved to death in nurseries all over this country.
The pro-aborts set up shelter for battered and abused women, but
approve of and facilitate sex-selection abortions that are directed
almost exclusively towards exterminating those preborn children whose
sole birth defect is that they are female.
And they will have sign-language experts translate all speeches at
pro-abortion rallies for the benefit of those who are deaf, while they
simultaneously fight to kill all preborns who are handicapped in the
Caring for All of God's Creations.
Hypocritical pro-aborts will often hiss at pro-life picketers and
sidewalk counselors: "How many unwanted or handicapped children
have you adopted?" The answer is irrelevant, of course: It doesn't
matter what the pro-lifer answers. Even if he or she has adopted
two or three handicapped babies, the pro-abort will still find fault.
It is interesting indeed to note that there is not a single
pro-abortion crisis pregnancy center (CPC) in the entire country. There
are no pro-abortion homes for the handicapped. And individual pro-aborts
simply do not adopt or foster unwanted kids.
This is logical, since the anti-life mentality strives to be free of
any and all limits to personal freedom.
Christian organizations, on the other hand, operate more than two
thousand crisis pregnancy centers and an equal number of homes for
As always, the Church is left to pick up the mess caused by secular
'revolutions;' while the Humanists go on their merry and selfish way,
discarding little human beings who do not fit into their program of
self-fulfillment and self-actualization, there will always be Christians
standing ready to accept those people who the self-proclaimed
"inclusive and tolerant" Humanists simply reject.
And it will always be so, just as it should be.
And What About Penalties?
There are several issues that each pro-life activist must eventually
deal with when fighting abortion and related atrocities.
Perhaps the most difficult and painful of these questions revolves
around whether or not women who obtain abortions should be punished
along with their abortionists, should the procedure ever again be
Very occasionally, pro-abortion writers will pose difficult
hypothetical situations that must be firmly and honestly addressed. One
speaker at a 1992 National Abortion Federation second-trimester abortion
conference outlined such a question;
If prenatal human beings are to be recognized as full-fledged
persons, it follows that those who kill them for reasons less
compelling than self-defense must be recognized as full-fledged
murderers and treated as such. Those who are rigorously opposed to
allowing elective abortion on the ground that prenatal human beings
are persons must confront this implication sincerely and sensitively,
and they must be explicit about what they are willing to accept as the
practical implications of their position. If they are not willing to
accept that those who abort should be subject to exactly the same
treatment as others who murder, then they need to recognize that they
do not really believe that prenatal human beings have the moral status
of persons. And this is true of those who hold that such matters
should be left up to the individual states, since states are not, in
other cases, free to allow those who murder innocent persons to be at
large in the community.
This statement is obviously a smooth attempt by the speaker to paint
aborting women as double victims and pro-lifers as inconsistent
hypocrites, but the implications raised by the NAF must be answered.
There is a lot to be said for the NAF's position. If pro-lifers
really feel that the preborn are full members of humanity, and that
their killing really is murder, we must demand some sort of
punishment for women who abort. This may seem heartless, but remember
that, as Chapter 87 shows, more than 95 percent of all abortions are
obtained for purely economic or social reasons. One effective way of
choking off the majority of this stream of convenience abortions and
abortions for birth control would be the institution strict legal
After all, we don't allow women in 'desperate situations' to dispose
of newborns, do we? Nor do we allow 'consumers' of illegal goods
go scot-free. Drug users get busted right along with their pushers. And
those who possess illegal automatic and other weapons wind up in a cell
next to their sellers. And, of course, those people who put a successful
contract out on another human being are tried for murder along with the
Therefore, it would be ethical and consistent for pro-lifers to
demand some kind of penalty for aborting women, because they have hired
'hit men' abortionists to kill their preborn children.
There are other reasons that pro-lifers should work for jail terms
for women who obtain abortions. As described in Chapter 18 of Volume I,
"Pro-Abortion Illegal Activities," many Neofeminists, in
anticipation of abortion restrictions, are gearing up "underground
railroads" and "Jane networks," where women will abort each
other. The only answer to such dangerous activities is some sort of
If pro-aborts (or pro-lifers, in some cases) say that this is a
brutal or inhumane position, we must ask them this question: What is
more inhumane, for a woman to sit in a jail cell or for a preborn to
face the death penalty without hope of appeal?
Finally, if abortion is to be made a crime, is there to be no
punishment for the person who arranges the crime? There is no
parallel to such a situation anywhere else in the law, with one
exception a successful suicide. A law without sanctions is an absurdity,
and utterly useless on its face.
References: The Unborn As Persons.
 Looseleaf booklet entitled "Organizing for Action."
Prepared by Vicki Z. Kaplan for the National Abortion Rights Action
League, 250 West 57th Street, New York, N.Y. 10019. 51 pages, no date.
 Magda Denes. "Performing Abortions." Commentary
Magazine, October 1976, pages 33 to 37. A truly frightening and
profoundly sickening article by a doctor who observes and describes in
graphic detail a number of saline abortions and their results. She
acknowledges that abortion is killing, but a type of
"necessary" killing. Also see the "Letters" sections
in the December 1976 and February 1977 issues of Commentary
 Garrett Hardin, professor of biology at the University of
California at Santa Barbara. Quoted in Redbook Magazine, May
1967. Also quoted on page 101 of Ruth Barnett. They Weep On My
Doorstep. Beaverton, Oregon: Halo Publishers, 1969.
 Mary Anne Warren. "Can the Fetus be an Organ Farm?" Hastings
Center Report, October 1978.
 Virginia Ramey Mollenkott. "Respecting the Moral Agency of
Women." Propaganda issued as an "Educational Pamphlet" by
the 'Religious' Coalition for Abortion Rights.
 Anna Quindlen, quoted in Edward Tivnen. "Drugs, Lies,
Privacy: The Tough Ethical Questions We Face." Family Circle,
April 1, 1992, pages 40 to 44.
 "Judge in Virginia Trespass Case Acknowledges
'State-Sanctioned Killing.'" ALL News, April 25, 1986, page
 Marjorie Reiley Maguire and Daniel C. Maguire. "Abortion: A
Guide to Making Ethical Decisions." 'Catholics' for a Free
Choice," September 1983.
 Joseph R. Stanton, M.D. "From Feticide to Infanticide."
Human Life Review, Summer 1982 pages 35 to 45.
 World Trends and Forecasts. "Recycling Human Bodies to Save
Lives." The Futurist, April 1976, page 108.
 James W. Knight and Joan C. Callahan. Preventing Birth:
Contemporary Methods and Related Moral Controversies. University of
Utah Press, 1989, pages 220 and 221. Also contained as an extract in
National Abortion Federation. Second Trimester Abortion: From Every
Angle. "Fall Risk Management Seminar, September 13-14, 1992,
Dallas, Texas. Presentations, Bibliography & Related
Further Reading: The Unborn As Persons.
Paul B. Fowler. Abortion: Toward an Evangelical Consensus.
Portland: Multnomah Press, 1987. 222 pages. Reviewed by John
Jefferson Davis on page 5 of the May 14, 1987 National Right to Life
News. The author traces the roots and social forces that decimated
the Christian consensus against abortion before Roe v. Wade, and
argues against the statement that the unborn are only 'potential
persons.' The best part of the book is a comprehensive examination of
what Scripture says about life, death, and the unborn. Mr. Fowler also
challenges all Christians to do what they can to end the abortion
Peter Kreeft. The Unaborted Socrates: A Dramatic Debate on the
Issues Surrounding Abortion.
Order from: Life Issues Bookshelf, Sun Life, Thaxton, Virginia
24174, telephone: (703) 586-4898. Reviewed by Richard Doerflinger on
page 5 of the November 24, 1983 issue of National Right to Life News.
This book shows that all arguments for and against abortion are reduced
to one primary position: That the unborn are or are not persons. It is
also a valuable debating tool in that it shows pro-lifers how to master
the Socratic method of clarifying issues and their underlying themes
through logic and directed questioning.
Sean O'Reilly, M.D. Bioethics and the Limits of Science.
Christendom College Press, Route 3, Box 87, Front Royal, Virginia
22630. 1980, 176 pages. Reviewed by Robert E. Joyce, Ph.D. in the Fall
1980 issue of the International Review of Natural Family Planning,
pages 274 to 276. Recommended for college students working in a
Christian context. This book covers the definition of life and person,
how technology has complicated the debate, the norms of bioethics, the
definition of death, and a description of false and true humanist ethics
and the foundation of Christian ethics and the authority of the Church.
© American Life League BBS 1-703-659-7111
This is a chapter of the Pro-Life Activists Encyclopedia published
by American Life League.