Sorry, son, you’re just not a person

How interesting to learn from James Guest (Opinion, 28/6) that “the
vast majority of mankind for millenniums” (sic) have believed that
human personhood begins at birth, rather than conception. But I
suspect it would also come as news to the other vast majority of my
acquaintance.

Of the hundreds of expectant parents I’ve met, virtually all have
instinctively viewed their not-yet-born children as persons. It has
long been recognised that a stillbirth or miscarriage is far more
than a clinical mishap; it is the loss of a dearly loved family
member, with many of the normal emotions associated with grief. It is
therefore normal and highly desirable that the lost child be named
and given a funeral. This would be a bizarre futility indeed if as
Guest baldly asserts, the child was considerably less than “a full
member of our community”, a mere conglomeration of cells.

Take care, Mr Bracks. Therapeutic cloning – the latest quest to
enhance the value of human life – may yet devalue it further. Then
again, perhaps my problem is that I’m just not an “average pragmatic
Australian” like Mr Guest.


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