Personhood Essay

873 words - 4 pages

In session one of this class one of the things that was discussed in our reading material in "The Bedford Guide for College Readers" was writing an opening. The Bedford Guide suggests to "Begin with a story" it advises that "Often a simple anecdote can capture your readers’ interest and thus serve as a good beginning" (2011 pg 429). The story of Aaron is very powerful; as a parent it tugs on my heartstrings and immediately drew me into the rest of the story.
The subject of this essay is, at what point do we stop being meaningless cells and become an actual living person. My personal opinion on this subject, is that we have always been people; at every point from beginning to end. The Bible tells us in Jeremiah 1:5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations" (ESV). God is specifically talking about Jeremiah in this verse, but I firmly believe it applies to all of us. God knew us before we were ever born, how could he have known us if we weren't alive and in fact people.
The essay brings up several complex points, there is no definitive proof of personhood, and many different people have many different beliefs on when it actually begins and ends. Does it begin once you are born? Is it something you have to have a specific level of capability to obtain? Is it something you could lose if you dropped below that capability.

Smietana cites many people of many different mindsets in the essay. The first of course being Susan Barg she seemed to be of the mindset that God knew what he was doing from the start. At the very least I would say she would agree (though not specifically stated) that life begins at conception.
Robert D. Orr, director of ethics at the University of Vermont College of Medicine also shares this view, as does John Kilner, director of The Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity. Susan Haack, a Wisconsin OB-GYN and member of the ethics commission of the Christian Medical Association shares this belief as well.
Amy Laura Hall adamantly opposes IVF. She feels that it is clear looking at an embryo that life begins before conception.
Bioethics professor Peter Singer of Princeton University would argue Aaron is not a person; this would indicate his stance was that a specific level of development is required to obtain personhood. Michael was, ceo of Advanced Cell Technology does not believe that an embryo is a...

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