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An Individual Life vs. Life in General

When we say “life begins at conception,” we’re not talking about the beginning of life in general. We’re talking about the beginning of an individual life. From a purely biological standpoint, fertilization creates a new, unique, tiny, living organism.

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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: 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: Acorns aren’t oak trees; fetuses aren’t humans. Person 2 (our hero): I want to understand what that line means to you. Do you think that biologically speaking, a fetus isn’t a human organism? Or are you concerned about something more philosophical?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.
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