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If one applies basic facts of biology, one (libertarian, democrat, republican, naderite) HAS to admit that a fetus is a human life. Its not another species. Its not dead tissue or cells. I think its important to separate "belief" and scientific fact. Scientific facts are more appropriately used as a basis for law than "beliefs." The state's role is in legislating the rights of this life and balancing those with the rights of the life on which it depends - the mother.

As far as your argument goes, a finger or a leg or an appendix or a tonsil is a human life. I don't think we want to criminalize appendectomies and tonsilectomies "except to save the life of the mother." An unnecessary tonsilectomy may be stupid, but it is not homicide.

You might extend the standard to add "...which can survive on its own." Unfortunately, it isn't that hard to keep at least some body parts alive after they are removed, but that still doesn't make them human lives, and it IS hard to keep a premie, or someone who has just been badly injured in some cases alive without assistance, and yet they ARE still human lives.

Trying to define human life purely on the basis of whether its got functioning human cells involved is, in my opinion, doomed to an unsatisfactory conclusion.

Which isn't to say I DO know the answer.

Ultimately, the law NEEDS to make distinctions between legal and illegal termination of a pregnancy (by the mother and/or another assailant).

Absolutely. A pregnancy which is looked forward to, which is terminated by a criminal assault, I am HAPPY to call that murder. Even if the woman could have legally gone in and had an abortion.

You can complain about my shallowness, but I am willing, in law, to define human life depending on the intent of the person in whom the fetus is no more independent than an appendix or a kidney. Until I see a compellingly better way to do it.

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