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> For instance, could a person with Down's Syndrome be denied protection from murder?

Since nobody seems to have given a straight answer to this, I will. Someone with Down's Syndrome easily counts as an intelligent being, and is not even close to any borderline.

I suppose your question assumes that, since intelligence comes in degrees, any value based on it must also come in degrees. But instead, most people who see personhood this way believe in some sort of threshold above which everyone deserves equal protection.

OK, is it wrong to kill a stranger in a coma or PVS? They are less intelligent than dogs.

People can wake up from coma, I take it. But in cases where damage to the brain is so extensive that we can reasonably say all capacity for future thought has been lost, the primary worry really is just for the wishes of the family.

The medical establishment, at least where I live, tends to take the view that there's no intrinsic value in trying to prolong the life of such a body.

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