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Articles on Personhood

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A man holds a sign that reads ‘Hands Off Roe!!!’ as abortion rights advocates and anti-abortion protesters demonstrate in front of the U.S. Supreme Court in December 2021. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

U.S. abortion bans compel women to be not just Good Samaritans, but ‘splendid’ ones

50 years ago, a noted U.S. philosopher argued that banning abortion forces women to go above and beyond to help an unborn fetus. What other individual rights are at stake if Roe v Wade is overturned?
The Supreme Court hears a case on Dec. 1, 2021, regarding a Mississippi abortion law that poses a legal challenge to Roe v. Wade. (Photo by Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images

Supreme Court could redefine when a fetus becomes a person, upholding abortion limits while preserving the privacy right under Roe v. Wade

The upcoming debate at the Supreme Court is less about the existence of the right to abortion and more about how that right is limited by the emerging personhood of a fetus.
In February, the Innu Council of Ekuanitshit and the Minganie Regional County Municipality declared the Muteshekau Shipu (Magpie River) a legal person, a move that may provide greater certainty for this majestic river’s future. (Boreal River)

Rights for nature: How granting a river ‘personhood’ could help protect it

A recent declaration of a river as a legal person in Canada recognizes Indigenous laws and governance, and champions people as the guardians of nature.
Jean Vanier, founder of L'Arche communities, poses for a photograph after he received the Templeton Prize at St. Martins-in-the-Fields church in London, U.K., in May 2015. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

I once thought Catholic humanist Jean Vanier a hero. Now I’m wrestling with his coercive legacy

Jean Vanier, Catholic founder of L'Arche International, allegedly had abusive sexual relationships. Religious tolerance for the veneration of male leaders may be partly to blame.
Lightspring/Shutterstock

Why are we so afraid of dementia?

A society which values people with dementia is one that values people in general – something we should be running towards, not away from.
A makeshift shrine at the Cincinnati Zoo, where Harambe, a male gorilla, was killed by zoo officials. William Philpott/Reuters

Gorilla’s death calls for human responsibility, not animal personhood

The death of Harambe the gorilla has sparked outrage and raised questions over the adequacy of zoos, but protecting some animals through legal personhood is flawed and dangerous, says legal scholar.
The more academics fear being involved in media storms, the less they feel free to explore topics they consider important. Tim Ellis/Flickr

Talking about our work is important but it can land researchers in trouble

Public engagement of academics has increased enormously in recent decades. But this new level of engagement is producing problems and conflicts for which many academics are ill-prepared.
Prop 91 - just one of three ballot initiatives on marijuana decriminalization Steve Dipaola/Reuters

Ballot initiatives take the pulse of the nation

Editor’s note: There were 146 state-wide ballot measures up for consideration by voters in this week’s midterm elections, covering all manner of controversial issues – from abortion and guns to minimum…

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