The abortion debate is not about when life begins. Science has answered that question. Life begins at conception. The newly formed embryo meets all the scientific criteria for new human life. From the beginning he has metabolic processes and is responsive to his environment. He initiates movement of both his entire organism as well as his individual parts. He grows by increasing the size of existing cells as well as by increasing the number of cells. The embryo exhibits differentiation, meaning cells transform from unspecialized stem cells to cells designed for a specific purpose. Finally, the embryo is capable of reproduction: he can form new cells for growth, repair, or replacement. Most importantly, the embryo accomplishes these life processes under his own direction. The mother supports and nurtures these processes but does not direct them. As far as science is concerned, the embryo is a distinct living human being from the moment of conception.
Therefore, it is wrong to suggest the abortion debate centers around the humanity of the embryo. That question is irrefutably resolved. The debate is actually about whether or not an unborn human being is a person who deserves legal recognition and protection.
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