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In what sense and when is a fetus a whole organism?

It starts out single celled. Spends some time evolving into a spherical clump of undifferentiated cells. Only over time does it develop organs that do stuff, and up nearly to the point of birth it would die as surely if removed from its mothers body as would her kidney.

I'm not sure what job "is it a whole organism" was supposed to fill in that logic chain, but it doesn't appear to me that it can carry much.

I was trying to rebut the argument that a fetus is comparable to an appendix or a tonsil. Since a fetus is the whole of an organism at a point in development, it is in no way comparable to a body part such as an appendix or tonsil.

I can think of no no logical necessity that it is at some exact point that it becomes a human life. Seems more likely to me that it is a matter of degree, and it starts at 0, and is well night towards 1 when it is a toddler, and the rest is somewhere in between I know not where.

I think its important to define fundamental terms accurately in a discussion. Failure to do so invalidates the entire argument. The logical beginning of a human life per basic biology is the point of conception. To me, this is as basic a premise as the spherical nature of the earth. I think some people base their judgements in this arena on the false premise that a human fetus is not human life (i.e. zero in your analysis). Even when accepting this basic premise different conclusions regarding the relative rights of this developing human life can be reached.

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