In an age when many are pursuing human-animal chimeras, a “less stringent” definition is sought:
The pace of biotechnology research is blurring the bounds of humanity so rapidly that two US scholars are calling for a rethink on what it means to be legally human.
Writing in the journal Science biomedical law experts Bartha Knoppers, from McGill University in Canada, and Henry Greely, from Stanford University in the US, say technologies that mix non-human and human cells, such as CRISPR, xenotransplantation and chimeras, mean a less stringent definition of “human” will be needed going forward.
For the purposes of ascribing all-important human rights, set out in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we should only require the organism to be “substantially” human, they argue.
One biotech prompting the taxonomy shift is the human-animal chimera.Paul Biegler, “What does it mean to be human?” at Cosmos Magazine
Many jurisdictions now allow abortion up to the moment of birth and some allow infant euthanasia of children who are obviously human. So “legally human” means they can’t just legally kill you because someone has the power to end your life.
Perhaps we will morph into a civilization where a turtle with some human cells is legally human and therefore has security of the person but vast swathes of humanity are not. If you vote for people who think that’s cool, at least you will get something you voted for. Happy New Year.