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Person 1: Cloning doesn’t involve fertilization, so fertilization can’t be the beginning of life. Person 2 (our hero): I think what matters is the beginning of a new organism. That’s typically fertilization, but you’re right that in rare cases it might not be.


Every member of the human species deserves human rights.

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Person 1: The beginning of personhood should be an instant. Fertilization is a process that takes hours. Person 2 (our hero): I agree. I’m just saying personhood begins sometime in that interval. Similarly, marriage begins with a wedding.Person 1: Why are zygotes more valuable than sperm? Person 2 (our hero): Good question! A zygote is a whole organism. When you were a zygote, you had the same DNA you have now. Before that, a sperm had just half your DNA.Person 1: Nobody cares when sperm or eggs die. Why care when a zygote dies? Person 2 (our hero): It’s true that they’re all tiny living cells, but unlike sperm and eggs, a zygote is a new entire organism, a member of the human species, with its own DNA.Our hero: A human fetus displays the key characteristics of life, such as cellular reproduction, responding to stimuli, and converting food into energy. It’s debatable whether viruses are alive, but it seems pretty clear that a human fetus is biologically alive.
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