Welcome to Personhood.net. We hope that this site will become a valuable resource for anyone looking to enter the current national debate centered upon the question: "What is a person?" Personhood.net's aim is to engage our culture, while providing educational resources, policy recommendations, and legislative models, in defense of human life and human dignity.
Our nation is unique in that it was founded upon the Judeo-Christian belief that mankind "was endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." The Right to Life is a person's most basic right. Without the protection of this one Right, all other rights are moot.
Seldom will you find disagreement with this premise. The argument arises when we as a nation attempt to answer the questions of "When" our rights attach and "Who" is a person under the law?" Dred-Scott answered it one way . . . . . Nazi Germany answered it another. In the USA our Constitution limits that Right to "born persons".
Over the past 35 years, the debate about this complex question has usually centered around traditional pro-life issues, more particularly abortion, but with the emergence of new biotechnologies the debate has widened from the ethics of life and death, to the ethics of human nature and what it means to be created in "the image of God." This is the "WHY" of human dignity and the right to life. This is our foundation for a pro-life ethic. The pro-life movement must mature beyond the singular goal of "saving babies" and engage our current "culture of death" with a return to the foundational premise that each and every human being must be respected and protected from fertilization until natural death.
In the 21st century it will not be enough to simply be pro-life, one must also be pro-human.
Michael Sleasman, Managing Director and Research Scholar for The Center for Bioethics & Human Dignity explains, "while many of the ethical questions of the late 20th Century dealt with bioethical concerns over the beginning and end of life issues (the making and taking of human life), the questions raised by these new, these emerging technologies threaten to change the nature of the human species and the very essence of what it means to be human."
Western civilization is at a critical juncture. According to U.S Congressman Brad Sherman, a member of the U.S. House Science Committee,the unprecedented capabilities of emerging bio-technologies have set the stage for a technological revolution which he referenced as analogous only to the development of nuclear technology. That our culture has reached an ethical crossroads is evidenced by the following statements made by American congressmen at a "nanopolicy roundtable" held in 2006.
"We are talking about a suite of technologies that are going to revolutionize the way we do things and how we live. And the questions are How will that happen? And what will we do as this unfolds? Do we have systems in place that are capable of keeping up with the rapid change in technology?" - Marty Spritzer (Representing U.S.Representative Sherwood Boehlert, Chairman of the House Science Committee)
"Now, like my colleagues, I do not have any answers. Rather, I hope to identify some of the questions. I know that the right time to start thinking about these questions is now...What is the definition of a human?" - U.S. Congressman Brad Sherman
What are the policy implications of the emerging medical technologies? The courts are demanding definition and law. The president and co-founder of the Institute on Biotechnology & the Human Future Nigel Cameron said, "The problem is brought into ready focus by the manner in which bioethics has essentially emerged as the conjoined twin of bio-policy."
The questions have been posed, but their answers require a deeper look into the nature of ethics and policy, ideas and action. Our role at Personhood.net is to facilitate, educate and disseminate a biblical worldview response within the larger grassroots pro-life movement.