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IPFS News Link • Pro-life/Pro Choice

Abortion, Personhood, and the Beginning of Life

•, by Kerry Baldwin

This is the fundamental issue at stake in the broader abortion debate. That is, on what conditions does one qualify for protections under the law: life or personhood?

Where Does the Personhood Question Come From?

The philosophical concept of personhood is ancient, but American civil law required a different approach to personhood with the end of legalized slavery. The purpose of the 14th Amendment was to correct the practice of legally recognizing the rights of only a select class.

The 14th Amendment says in part, "…nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." The question at issue in Roe v Wade was whether the reference to "any person" included unborn humans.