Value of Life and Abortion

Indicators of Humanhood: A Tentative Profile of Man (compiled by Joseph Fletcher)

Positive Human Criteria
  1. Minimal intelligence: Anyone with an IQ under 40 is questionably human. Anyone with an IQ less than 20 is definitely non-human.
  2. Self-awareness: Newborn babies are not self-aware and therefore not human. This quality develops at about one year of age.
  3. Self-control: If a person lacks self-control, he is on a low level of life comparable to a paramecium.
  4. A sense of time: Anyone without a good sense of the passage of time is not human.
  5. A sense of the future. How `truly human' is any man who cannot realize there is a time yet to come?
  6. A sense of the past: A focus on `nowness' truncates the nature of man.
  7. The capability to relate to others, particularly in relationships of the sexual-romantic and friendship kind.
  8. Concern for others: Lack of this ambience indicates psychopathology.
  9. Communication: Completely isolated individuals are sub-persons.
  10. Control of existence: Ignorance and total helplessness are the antithesis of humanness.
  11. Curiosity: Without a certain amount of curiosity, individuals are not persons deserving legal rights and protections.
  12. Change and changeability: If an individual is opposed to change, he denies the creativity of personal beings.
  13. Balance of rationality and feeling: To be `truly human,' one cannot be either Apollonian [extremely rational and logical in character] or Dionysian [of frenzied and emotional character].
  14. Idiosyncrasy: To be a person is to have an identity, to be recognizable and callable by name.
  15. Neo-cortical function: Before cerebration [thinking] is in play, the person is non-existent. Such individuals are objects, not subjects.
Negative Human Criteria
  1. Man is not non-artificial or anti-artificial.
  2. Man is not essentially parental.
  3. Man is not essentially sexual.
  4. Man is not a bundle of rights. All rights are imperfect and may be set aside if human need requires it.
  5. Man is not a worshipper.
`Ethicist' Joseph Fletcher. "Indicators of Humanhood: A Tentative Profile of Man." Hastings Center Report. Volume 2, Number 5, November, 1972 [if implemented, Fletcher's criteria would cause more than 100 large groups of persons to automatically lose their humanity.

These groups would include the following, and would comprise approximately one-fifth of the human population -- all infants under one year of age; twins and triplets; all celibate persons; the profoundly retarded; habitual drunkards and drug addicts; prisoners; all comatose persons; pro-life activists; emotional persons; and all religious persons.

Fletcher's theory, if implemented, would eliminate the 260,000 United States citizens with IQs of less than 25, and the 630,000 with IQs of from 25 to 49].