Debate: At what point does "Human" life begin?

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One of the fundamental issues in the pro-life/pro-choice controversy is determining when human life begins, particularly in terms of being regarded as fully "human" in the eyes of the law. The catalyst for this page was the legislative initiative in North Dakota to define human life from the earliest possible stage. The bill declares that "any organism with the genome of homo sapiens" is a person protected by rights granted by the North Dakota Constitution and state laws. This interpretation would not only define unborn, developing fetuses in the womb as fully human, but also carry the label and legal protections of being fully human to fertilized human eggs or frozen embryos that have yet to be implanted in a mother's womb.

Others feel that life as a human begins once a baby is independent of the womb and can survive in that mode, even if significant medical assistance is required. In this context, a developing fetus still in the womb in the 7th month is not a human being, but if prematurely born at that time it becomes one because it is now independent of the mother's body.

Neither definition is satisfactory to people who stand fully behind being either pro-life or pro-choice, and each side has compelling reasons to support those positions. The purpose of this debate page is to allow those ideas and expressions to be given a fair and open airings, which will hopefully provide guidance to people who are unsure if the truth is one side, the other, or somewhere in the middle.

Please note that the section labels below do not represent the only options - they are placeholders to organize responses, so new sections can be added as appropriate.

Human Life begins with a fertilized egg

Human Life begins with childbirth

Human Life begins at a certain stage of neonatal development