There is no question or scientific denial that a fetus is a living being. So this is a societal and political question, not a scientific one. The question of abortion is very difficult and should be handle on a case to case basis. In case of rape, the woman should not be forced to carry the child. If the child cannot be reasonable cared for, wouldn't it be better not to be forced to life in misery all its life? People that oppose abortion should talk to the women who plan for them and offer to adopt the child. Both sides would be help. Again, the question was not scientific. An embryo is a living being.
I really believe that a human is living, no matter what stage it is in, and thusly should be classified as such. A bacteria, something people kind of know as living but doesn't come to mind first when thinking of living things, is classified in this category, so a human being from when they first came into being should also fall into this category.
Bacteria are living things - but they have no rights. Industry sells dish washing soaps and other products that intentionally kill 99.9% of bacteria they come in contact with. If a bacterium-rights advocate was to take any of these companies to court, he would almost certainly lose because of the potential danger posed by these tiny organisms. A human embryo is a living thing but as some have already explained, they are not self-sustaining and require a uterine wall to attach to, in order to begin developing an umbilical cord to obtain sustenance from the mother during the fetal stage. You should understand that an embryo therefore cannot survive independent from the mother.
But the zygote is not a life. There are 7 characteristics of life and a zygote does not meet a few of these criteria. Bacteria do meet all 7 of these criteria, so they are a life (though humans value bacteria differently than a human zygote). But is it alive? Yes. It has the ability to stop growing, therefore die. So yes, it is alive, but it is not a life.
Yes, it is fair to say that this is true considering an embryo the moment of conception really isn't much. Not to say a child isn't much, but after all an embryo is not yet exactly a child. You can call a baby in the womb many things, it can even be argued that a baby could be considered a parisite. Now this may seem like a bit of a stretch, but the baby benifits of the mother while the mother has no bennifets to this transaction at all.
1. Bacteria is self-sustaining and embryos are not - FALSE. Bateria is not self-sustaining. Nothing is self-sustaining. Everything that lives needs to rely on other things to continue to live. Humans cannot live without food/water/rest. Bacteria cannot live without nutrients. THIS ARGUMENT DOES NOT WORK.
2. Humans do not have memory of themselves as a fetus - TRUE. But ameoba and flies and other small organism also do not have the ability for memory...Yet we believe that they are alive. THIS ARGUMENT DOES NOT WORK.
3. The same people that claim human embryos are alive would also claim that insects and bacteria are not alive. FALSE. Seriously?? Do I even need to say anything else? Why do we spend so much time and energy to "kill" bacteria that you say, we dont think is alive. THIS ARGUMENT DOES NOT WORK.
4. I believe the whole abortion issue should be handed over to the women. It is not an issue that shold involve men as there bodies are not the ones that are affected. FALSE. The men helped create the fetus. The abortion issue does not only affect the womens body, it also affects (and mostly affects) the fetus' body. If men should not have a say in abortion, then women should not be allowed to request money from the baby-daddy. THIS ARGUMENT DOES NOT WORK.
5. Embryos depend on a human host to thrive. TRUE. But so to parasites and bacteria and these are considered alive. If you only look at it as the embryo depends on something else to survive. This is also true. But so to children until they are at the earliest, three years of age. But these are considered alive.THIS ARGUMENT DOES NOT WORK.
6. Humans have names, birth certificates, citizenship, opinions, viability. To assign the same rights to the unborn is wrong and offensive to the living, especially women. TRUE and FALSE. Many pregnant women name the unborn child. The child does not get a birth certificate until they are born because...Well...It is a BIRTH certificate, not a certificate of life. Citizenship does not a human make. Humans have opinions at a certain point in their lives but ask a 3 month old for there opinion and let me know how that goes. Viability is something that is defined as "living outside the womb". What about mentally/physically disabled people that cannot live on there own without help. Are we to considere them not alive? Secondly, how is this offensive especially to women? Women are gifted with the ability to create life and help grow a human being. Men will never be able to do this.I am still confused how this is offensive to women. THIS ARGUMENT DOES NOT WORK.
I have 9 more rebuttles to non-scientific claims on the side of the NOs but have lost room to do so.
There is no unequivocal definition of life. Instead we have to resort to descriptions that appear to be common to all things that we consider to be living (Davison, 2008, 'How to Define Life'). These are currently considered to be the following seven characteristics: homeostasis, organization, metabolism, growth, adaptation, response to stimuli and reproduction.
All embryos can be easily seen to fulfill the following characteristics: homeostasis, by using internal self-regulation common to all cells; organization, both intracellularly and after the zygote begins to divide and differentiate; metabolism, via the exchange of nutrients and excretion of waste; growth, using the aforementioned ability of cell division and response to stimuli, cell division also means apoptosis. The harder two to define are adaptation, because the uterus is controlled by the mother's physiology and reproduction. However, we have already stated that on the cellular level, growth and reproduction is interchangeable so that takes care of that. And to be able to exhibit homeostasis is indicative of cellular adaptation so when we are talking about single cells or populations of cells then these two are also synonymous.
For those that are complaining that the embryo is fully reliant on the mother for survival or cannot reproduce on its own and therefore cannot be considered alive, think on this. Take a newborn baby and place it outside by the side of the road. It will die because it will not be able to exert sufficient homeostasis or adapt appropriately to allow it to survive. And yet no one would consider calling a newborn 'not alive'. Equally it cannot reproduce because it has no mature sex organs but that does not preclude it from our definition of life.
Additionally, for those who support the woman's unequivocal right to make decisions over her own body, that's great, that is admirable. But the baby growing inside, whether it is one cell or a million does not have the same DNA as its mother so cannot be considered her body.
We don't need to look at religion to answer this one. The science is sufficient.
To say the embryo is not a life since it cannot sustain itself is inane. A 14 month old child cannot sustain itself either, but we consider them alive. A person on a ventilator cannot sustain themselves, but they are considered alive. A hatched eaglet in a nest cannot sustain itself but we consider it alive.
The only reason for not acknowledging the embryo as a living being is because of the abortion issue. If the embryo fits the scientific definition of life isn't it life? Not acknowledging an embryo as life only makes abortion more palatable at the expense of our acceptance of science as the final arbitrator. Why should acknowledging an embryo as life make abortion less palatable. We have decided that legalized killing of life, human life is acceptable, capital punishment and war, and at times are a source of national identity and pride. We are big on promoting scientific objectivity in comparison to religion in the "creation evolution debate" yet we are willing to forgo the same objectivity when it comes to abortion. So what if abortion is described as killing a human life. It is our right to decide what we can choose.
I see many people saying that because embryo's are not self sustaining, like bacteria, it can not be considered living. This is a fallacy because there are numerous protozoa that are single-cellular parasitic organisms. These require a 'host' to live, thus if these are considered living so are embryo's.
To meet the scientific definition of "alive," an organism must do all of the following: be made of cells, obtain and use energy, grow and develop, respond and adapt to their environment, and reproduce. Fetuses/embryos do not reproduce, so they are not alive.
Since a human embryo cannot survive on its own, I would not consider it a living being. In addition, does anyone here have memories of themselves at this stage? The biggest problem with the whole abortion debate is that it hinges on the idea that the embryo is alive. It isn't. The same people that claim human embryos are alive would also claim that insects and bacteria ate not alive. In addition, the idea of making laws telling a person what they can and can't do with their own body is ludicrous. In my opinion, I think the whole abortion issue should be completely handed over to women. Make it where only women enable politicians can come up with policies on the issue and where only female Americans can vote on it. It's not an issue that should involve men; they are not the ones whose bodies this is affecting.
I believe a living thing must be able to survive on its own. A single cell of bacteria sustains its own existence. However, the embryo, at the moment of conception, cannot survive without the housing of the mother's womb. At a certain point, the fetus can be removed and can survive outside. But, before that, it cannot be considered a living independent creature.
A clump of human cells does not make a human being. A blood stain, a fingernail clipping, or more to the point, a sperm cell, is not a human being. No organs, no organism. A gamete, a zygote, a blastocyst, an embryo, these are stages of development that precede a human being, but none of them are human beings. Cut a lock of hair from my head, it will have my DNA, but there is no connection between that and my rights. Furthermore, a bacteria has no rights, simply because it is alive - human status requires at the very least a brain and nervous system, before or after that exists, you have human tissue, human cells, human DNA, but not a human being.
Organism - An individual living thing that can react to stimuli, reproduce, grow, and maintain homeostasis. It can be a virus, bacterium, protist, fungus, plant or an animal. - http://www.Biology-online.Org/dictionary/Organism
A fetus fails 3 of the 4 criteria to be described as an organism .. Especially in early term.
1. It does and cannot react to stimuli
2. It cannot reproduce
3. It cannot maintain homeostasis
The fetus only meets the growth criteria, but so do your fingernails.
I do not believe that the human embryo should be given the status of a living being at the moment of conception. While this moment is the beginning of growth I do not believe that until there is a heart beat and brain development that a human embryo can be considered a living being.
Fetuses/embryos do not constitute life at the moment of conception nor for some time afterward, no more so that your blood, or your arm, or a tumor, or your heart.
First of all, they have not developed any reproductive organs. Second, they do not respond to stimuli. The individual cells do not yet even have a specific function. The individual cells might respond to some stimuli, but the embryo as a whole does not. It is more like a colony of unspecified cells just hanging there, and cells are not quite considered living organisms. There are single celled organisms, but they are almost always prokaryotes (bacteria). Plus, most people don't care about single celled life. Otherwise, people would be considered to be committing mass genocide every time they washed their hands. Even multicellular organisms, such as flies, bees, and mosquitoes, all of which are far more advanced than the embryo and are all considered living beings, are killed off en masse without so much as a second thought. What makes the embryo better than a mosquito? Hell, what about rats and mice, people kill them all the time without a second thought, and they are mammals with complex brains, and they can think! If you can tell me that an EMBRYO, a collection of perhaps 100 to maybe a few hundred or a thousand unspecified cells, is somehow better than that rat or mouse, then I pity you for having an iq below 50. No offense, but if you consider an embryo as being better than a mouse or rat, which can actually FEEL and even THINK, then you must be insanely stupid. You might say, "no, just religious˝. My reply to you would be, "what's the difference?". You still believe the embryo to be somehow superior to the mosquito, or even the mouse or rat, with NO supporting evidence, so you are STILL insanely stupid and irrational.
Embryos depend on a human host to thrive. Although developing, they cannot and should not have the same rights as actual human beings. Humans have names, birth certificates, citizenship, opinions, viability. To assign the same rights to the unborn is wrong and offensive to the living, especially women. Conception is a moot issue for me. Plenty of eggs go on to spontaneously abort and die after conception. Rights should only be afforded to those living outside the womb. I suppose dangerous bacteria should be permitted to multiply and vote now also?
There are simply too many variables that go into the development of anything beginning at the first cell to consider it living at that moment.
Just like the theory of natural selection, survival depends on more than simply being the strongest. There always seems to be a bit of luck involved in whether or not a bird's first attempt at flight allows it to launch successfully from the nest or crash into the ground. The same with the journey of turtles, penguins and numerous other animals. Impact from an animal's own species is a common barrier to survival.
How we as humans determine life is a tricky question, but because technology and science allows us to increase the odds of survival, does that mean we have caused life to exist sooner?