Personhood USA: Personhood for chimps is based on false premise

Dec 13, 2013, 18:57 ET from Personhood USA

NEW YORK, Dec. 13, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Lawsuits filed in New York last week are calling for the personhood recognition of chimpanzees, drawing attention to the use of animals in captivity. Personhood USA warns that this denigrates the value of human life, particularly in the womb.

"The most dangerous flaw in these lawsuits is the premise that personhood is based on cognitive abilities. Cognition or self-awareness is not a standard to determine personhood. If that were so, some disabled people, infants, and elderly determined to have fewer cognitive abilities than others could be labeled non-persons," explained Jennifer Mason, Personhood USA spokeswoman. "Personhood is not based upon intelligence, location, size, development, appearance, color, or sex. All human beings are persons, with dignity and rights – being a human is enough."

Notably, the failed lawsuits, which are now on appeal, were filed in New York, which has been called the "abortion capital" of the United States with nearly double the national average of abortions. Despite statistics showing a nearly 1:1 ratio of abortions to live births, NYC Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio has vowed to increase access to abortions.

Mason continued: "It is nothing short of outrageous to consider personhood for animals when human beings in the womb are being denied their personhood rights. While animal abuse is a serious issue, it should not be promoted over the more immediate need: to stop the killing of millions of innocent baby boys and baby girls in the United States alone."

Steven Wise, the adjunct professor at a Catholic law school who filed the lawsuit, has been quoted as saying that he saw no difference between a chimpanzee and his four-and-a-half-year-old son. Taking a page from Peter Singer, the nation's foremost enemy of personhood for all members of the human family, Steven Wise has become another voice clamoring for the dehumanization of people deemed "lesser" than himself.

"While of course it is important to be kind to animals, and treat them well, charity begins at home. Let's value the rights of our own kind and protect other innocent human beings first and foremost," concluded Mason.

SOURCE Personhood USA