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Person 1: Fetuses aren’t alive yet. Person 2 (our hero): I’m not sure I understand. Are you saying that a fetus isn’t biologically alive? Or are you saying a fetus isn’t yet a valuable person?

What Does “Alive” Mean?

This is an important clarification question. Some well-meaning pro-life advocates only focus on the fact that a fetus is biologically alive, but that’s not always helpful. Sometimes people use words like “alive” and “life” to refer to the life of a person, and we need to be prepared to give an argument that every member of the human species is a valuable person.

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Person 1: I think we should focus on helping the kids who are already alive. Person 2 (our hero): I care a ton about kids after birth, and I agree that we should focus on actual, living people. But biologically speaking, a fetus is already alive.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.Person 1 (our hero): I’d say there’s a certain fundamental equality between you, me, and billions of others. Person 2: Yeah, I agree. Person 1 (our hero): That’s kind of amazing. We’re all so different! We vary by race, sex, intelligence, etc. What do we have in common that makes us equal?Person 1: Nobody knows when life begins. Person 2 (our hero): I want to be sure I know what you mean by that. Are you talking about the start of a biological organism? Or the start of a valuable person?
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