With the issue of abortion rights, a hot button that partisans on both sides of the political spectrum knock each other over to press, at our nation's forefront once again, a very important question has failed to be raised. This is not about public funding, mandatory waiting periods, age limits, parental notification, or religious imperatives. No, this question is about something far more important, the entire subject's actual root. At what point does human life begin when evaluated on an objective basis?
As life itself is defined as an organism's capacity for self-sustainment, with the singular alternative being nonexistence, also referred to as death, it becomes very difficult to claim that an embryo or, in certain cases, fetus is truly alive. While both undeniably possess the potential for life, the equally undeniable fact is that potentials are not actualities. Opponents of abortion rights frequently state that heartbeat begins at a relatively early stage of pregnancy. They are not wrong, but what is being spoken of pertains only to muscular action. Without the woman in question's incubatory support, all potential for life would vanish.
Viability comes about a far later stage. Estimated to occur between twenty-four and twenty-eight weeks into pregnancy, this is when one can make an, in my opinion, convincing argument that the fetus is no longer a solely developing entity. With the ability to survive outside of its host, it has legitimately attained the status attributed to a living human being. After all, if said fetus no longer requires total and complete support from an objectively living individual, has it not become an individual in its own right? Does any individual have the liberty of taking the life of another? In a nation of laws, of course not.
Some hardline anti-abortion rights activists strongly believe that life begins at the instant of conception. If one is to seriously consider this idea, then all cells operating within a person's body are alive as well, whether they be in a strand of hair or an appendix. Severing either of these, in turn, becomes murder. It goes without mentioning that such a concept, if applied to the legal system, would cause chaos and strife of epic proportions. The law would collapse under the weight of its own ludicrousness and leave those trying to adhere to it in a worse situation than experienced beforehand.