What Is Personhood?

The Wellness Librarian has been doing some traveling lately and has become disturbed at something: it is “not nice” to kill people before they are born.

Human dignity…protection of innocent human life…Declaration of Independence…14th Amendment…these are the pillars of the movement to raise public awareness of the value, even the sanctity, of human life. Personhood amendments as well as personhood legislation have been introduced in several states and state legislatures.

To whom does the Personhood concept apply? To start with, all of us. Who among us will not one day be infirm, possibly incapacitated or disabled in some way or from some unexpected happening? Or how about the ability just to tell someone, “I’m so glad you were born!” We can do that if we protect infant and preborn human life.

In an article in Issues in Law and Medicine (vol. 22, numbers 2&3, Fall 2006/Spring 2007), Charles I. Lugosi argues that in the 14th Amendment, “person” and “human being” mean the same thing.

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What Did You Say?

Sometimes people are afraid to speak out about the personhood issue because others might be offended. But “human rights” is a two-way street, in the sense that whenever two people interact, both have a stake in the outcome of their association. Some have a loud voice, others have no voice at all.

From the Denver, Colorado based www.personhoodeducation.org comes news that several countries have either adopted Personhood in their national constitutions or heavily restrict abortion. In our own hemisphere, the Dominican Republic has a pro-Personhood constitution. Eighteen Mexican states have passed Personhood amendments. And Chile has made abortion illegal since 1989.

According to new research from the MELISA Institute, since Chile’s ban on abortion, maternal health has improved, and the number of women seeking illegal abortion has decreased, from 41.3 to 12.7 per 100,000 women (69.2% reduction).

Source: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2014-11/mi-tca110614.php

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Legal Protection

Given the health risks to women and children posed by contraception* and abortion** it is not surprising that there is a growing movement in various states of the U.S. and throughout the world to protect the personhood of human beings, from conception to natural death.

Personhood legislation has been introduced in more than 35 states since the founding of an organization called Personhood USA in November 2008. Personhood USA seeks to uphold and promote the dignity of the human person. It is a Denver-based online community that, according to its website, desires to help create a culture of life, where all human beings are protected by love and by law, through constructive social tension, initiatives, and political action. It is a worldwide grassroots network, across cultures and legal systems, devoted to building awareness of the equal and unalienable rights of human beings.

Colorado initiatives have not been successful, but advocates everywhere continue to promote awareness of the issue of personhood. In the new year 2015, legislation was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives, South Carolina, New Hampshire, and Mississippi. An additional personhood resolution was filed in Virginia.

What is a person? A person is a human being at every age or stage.


* Yaz and NuvaRing, for example, are the subjects of a documentary to be released next year. In the July 30, 2015 issue of Science, an article by Carolyn Moynihan discusses this film being produced by Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein.

**Upcoming crowd-funded film being produced about Kermit Gosnell, as well as recently released videos on Planned Parenthood practices.

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Where Does YOUR Food Come From?

An acre of land is about the size of a football field and can produce, in Texas for example, the following amounts in crops: 650 pounds of cotton, 7,560 pounds of corn, or 1,800 pounds of wheat. That’s a lot of food!

American farmers produce 16 percent of the world’s food on 10 percent of the world’s land.

Every U.S. farmer today produces food and fiber for 154 people.

Food is the most affordable in the U.S., where consumers spend less than 10 percent of their income on it.

Agriculture is the nation’s largest employer, with more than 21 million people involved in some phase of it.

— Adapted from a memo from the Texas Farm Bureau, June 2015

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Ecological Breastfeeding

There are many benefits to breastfeeding. According to Natural Family Planning International, Inc. (NFPI), the federal Agency for Healthcare and Research Quality * reviewed more than 9,000 abstracts and primary infant-health studies and published the results in 2007 (see below).  The agency concluded that breastfeeding reduced the risk of many diseases, including acute otitis media, severe lower respiratory tract infections, asthma (young children), type 1 and 2 diabetes, childhood leukemia, and necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC).

And NEC, it turns out, is a very serious disease that can afflict sick and/or premature babies, in which a part of the intestine literally dies (that’s what necrotizing means). The best measure to ensure better health and prevent this disease? Breastfeeding exclusively for the first six months.

The benefits of Ecological Breastfeeding are so many. No one wants an infant to suffer the pain of disease. Breastfeeding can help ward off potential problems. Spread the word.

*”The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s (AHRQ) mission is to produce evidence to make health care safer, higher quality, more accessible, equitable, and affordable, and to work within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and with other partners to make sure that the evidence is understood and used.” — from the agency’s website, http://www.ahrq.gov/.

Read on for a summary of the report as it appeared in the agency’s April 23, 2007 Electronic Newsletter (http://archive.ahrq.gov/news/enews/enews226.htm#5):

New Evidence Report on Breastfeeding Available

AHRQ released a new report that finds there is evidence that breastfeeding decreases infants’ and mothers’ risk of having many short-term and chronic diseases. The report found good evidence that breastfeeding reduced infants’ risk of ear infections by up to 50 percent, serious lower respiratory tract infections by 72 percent and a skin rash similar to eczema by 42 percent. Children with a family history of asthma who had been breastfed were 40 percent less likely to have asthma, and children who were not prone to asthma had a 27 percent reduced risk compared with those children who were not breastfed. The risk of developing type 1 diabetes was reduced by about 20 percent. These benefits were seen in infants who were breastfed for 3 or more months. Breastfeeding also reduced the risk of type 2 diabetes by 39 percent compared with those who were not breastfed.

The report also found that breastfeeding was associated with fewer episodes of diarrhea during infancy, decreased incidence of childhood leukemia, and decreased deaths from sudden infant death syndrome. The report found no clear relationship between breastfeeding and improvement in IQ. In premature infants, breastfeeding decreased the occurrence of necrotizing enterocolitis, a serious gastrointestinal infection that often results in death.

For health outcomes in mothers, there is good evidence that women who breastfed their infants had up to a 12 percent reduced risk of type 2 diabetes for each year they breastfed. Breastfeeding decreased the risk of ovarian cancer by up to 21 percent. Breastfeeding also decreased the risk of breast cancer by up to 28 percent in those whose lifetime duration of breastfeeding was 12 months or longer. Women who did not breastfeed their infants were more likely to have postpartum depression, but unmeasured factors—such as depression that was undiagnosed prior to giving birth—may have increased the rate of depression seen in this group.

The report was nominated and funded by the HHS Office on Women’s Health and prepared by AHRQ’s Tufts-New England Medical Center Evidence-based Practice Center in Boston. Select to access the report. A print copy is available by sending an E-mail to ahrqpubs@ahrq.hss.gov.

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This Just In…

A quiet apostolate is steadily doing its good work in a corner of the United States. Please take a look at its website, www.nfpandmore.org, and read about Steve and Ann Craig, dear friends, who teach a happily moral, holistic approach to human sexuality and procreation. It supports the family (don’t all children want brothers and sisters?) through the covenant theology of sexuality, the Prem method of sympto-thermal Natural Family Planning, and Ecological Breastfeeding for natural child spacing.

Next post: what is Ecological Breastfeeding and what are its benefits?

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What Is Your Health IQ?

HOW many times does someone throw out a health statistic and you wonder where in the world it came from?

DO you ever read medical articles in the daily paper that leave you more confused than ever?

DOES a friend or relative ever ask you a health question you can’t answer?

HOW comfortable are you in searching the Web for reliable health and wellness information to back up or refute claims that are often heard in our information-overloaded society?

WHAT is health information literacy?

WE shall see!

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