Persons or Parsons, Robert, 1546-1610, English Jesuit missionary. He left a fellowship at Balliol College, Oxford, and went to the Continent to be received (1575) into the Roman Catholic Church, then entered the Society of Jesus and was ordained (1578). Active in the English College at Rome, Persons probably suggested the secret Jesuit mission that was sent to England. That mission (1580-81) to reestablish Roman Catholicism in England, which he undertook with Saint Edmund Campion, was the most notable event in Persons's career. When Campion was caught, Persons fled to the Continent, where he remained the rest of his life, trying to promote Catholicism in England by political schemes and by building up in France and Spain seminaries and monasteries for English Catholics. The school he founded at Eu was later transferred to Saint-Omer, and in 1794 it moved to Lancashire, England, where it became Stonyhurst College. Persons was rector of the English College from 1597 to 1610. Of his many works the best remembered is the devotional Book of Resolution; or, The Christian Directory (1582).
"The Pre-persons" is a science fiction short story by Philip K. Dick. It was first published in Fantasy and Science Fiction magazine, October 1974.

It was an anti-abortion response to Roe v. Wade. Dick imagines a future where the United States Congress has decided that abortion is legal until the soul enters the body, which is specified as the the moment a person has the ability to do simple algebra. The main protester — a former Stanford mathematics major — demands to be taken to the abortion center, since he claims to have forgotten all his algebra.

Dick said of the story in 1980:

In this ... I incurred the absolute hate of Joanna Russ who wrote me the nastiest letter I've ever received; at one point she said she usually offered to beat up people (she didn't use the word 'people') who expressed opinions such as this. I admit that this story amounts to special pleading, and I'm sorry to offend those who disagree with me about abortion on demand. I also got some unsigned hate mail, some of it not from individuals but from organizations promoting abortion on demand. Well, I have always managed to offend people by what I write. Drugs, communism, and now an anti-abortion stand; I really know how to get myself in hot water. Sorry, people. But for the pre-persons' sake I am not sorry. I stand where I stand: "Hier steh Ich; Ich kann nicht anders," ["Here I stand, I can do no other"] as Martin Luther is supposed to have said.


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