First off, the definition of what is living and what isn’t living is a very complex topic. (Just look at the debates about viruses in the past.) However, there is a set of characteristics of living matter that is commonly accepted.
One of those is the ability to respond to stimuli. Which is something fetuses are not able to do until the third trimester at the earliest, and even then it’s still not fully clear.
In addition, fetuses are not conscious, cannot reason, are unable to communicate, and are not self-aware. As such, they are biologically human, but are not people yet. It sounds cruel, but they’re at the same level as animals and plants. If you want to judge the future developments, then you should also make it illegal to kill dolphins, elephants, parrots, crows, apes, and other animals that have had individuals who were able to reason, were somewhat self-aware, and could learn to communicate.
The capability to one day develop the ability to reason does not necessarily mean that it must treated as a person in it’s entire existence. Plus, an embryo will never itself develop self-awareness. It could develop into a being that is, but that does not mean that an embryo or zygote is the same as a human being.
Even if the fetus does have a right to live, it does not have the right to use the mother’s body. Self-awareness does not entitle you to use the body of another, especially when it was forced upon the person. (As is in cases involving rape.)
Finally, in philosophical terms, the main point of argument is whether or not you believe that the capability to develop into a person automatically makes the fetus or embryo a person. Does the capability to develop into something more advanced make you equal to that? Does the ability to become self-aware mean that you are right now?
Oh, and in addition, Roe v. Wade decided that women have the right to have an abortion, though late-term abortions are outlawed.
Also, unless I’m wrong, those laws concerning the killing of fetuses as homicide exclude abortion. Instead, the law was created in order to charge people who assaulted or performed abortions without the woman’s consent with homicide.
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This post was created by a user and has not been vetted or endorsed by BuzzFeed's editorial staff. BuzzFeed Community is a place where anyone can post awesome lists and creations. Learn more or post your buzz!