Notice that if you ask "When does life begin?" you get a definition, not a fact. What does this mean for the debate between pro-choicers and pro-lifers, one side defining life to begin at birth, the other at conception? Doesn't it mean that it's a problem without a solution?

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"'The fetus is a person" is a definition, a stipulation, not a fact. I'm just sayin'.

And I wasn't disagreeing with that, Unseen.  I was addressing, specifically, your question about why it would be the state's business.  Under some possible definitions, it's the the state's business--and under those circumstances it would be legitimately so, under others, it wouldn't be legitimate and is not.

Yes, debating when life begins is a waste of time. What I consider more valid is when life is undeniable. The courts in most civilized nations now define that as ex utero viability. If the fetus is viable outside the womb, it's right to life is legally recognized. I'm fine with that.

"The real question is, at what point do we think the little bugger has legal rights not to be killed?"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unborn_Victims_of_Violence_Act

I should have phrased it, "at what point should we consider the little bugger to have..."

What a ridiculous law.  Combined with the fact that abortion is recognized as a right, anyone who kills a fetus can be prosecuted for murder... unless it's done with the permission of the mother?  There is a glaring inconsistency here, and that of course is probably why they passed the law in the first place; to create the inconsistency and hopefully at some point in the future resolve it the way they wanted it resolved.

Once again, I point out that it's a matter of definition, not fact. By that I mean that while facts may determine how the law is applied, first comes a definition. And those who succeed in making their definition (opinion) law typically know full well what the result will be. So, if you want the state to be able to butt into a woman's medical decisions, all you have to do is define the unborn child as, if not a citizen, as at least a person subject to the protections of the state. But whether a fetus is a person is, as I'm always pointing out, not a factual matter but a one based on which definition one wishes to promote. Both sides of the debate want you to think they have the facts on their side, but actually the same facts could result in diametrically opposite conclusions depending upon the definitions embedded in the law.

I think this has a two-part answer.

One, the legal view (my reply above) and the other is "The Trolley Dilemma"
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trolley_problem
When is it right to take a life?
But first you have to make up your mind when it is a life.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophical_aspects_of_the_abortion_...

"The bodily rights argument"
... that the woman's right to abortion does not include the right to directly insist upon the death of the child, should the fetus happen to be viable, that is, capable of surviving outside the womb.

My personal view.
The fetus becomes a human/person when it's capable to survive "on it's own".

But the final word goes to the only gender that has a womb.

My personal view.
The fetus becomes a human/person when it's capable to survive "on it's own".

That's not a fact. It's the definition you like. You see, this is all about competing definitions, not about facts, except that once you determine which definition you choose, you can go fact shopping.

Out of curiosity, what exactly is the factual definition of pain and suffering?

Yes, that's the definition in terms of its colloquial use, but how exactly do you measure or quantify sensation, suffering, and distress? 

Also, is all pain bad?...Rihanna sure doesn't seem to think so.

I think we need a proof that pain and suffering are bad. I was taught that they build character. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger. What does kill you makes something else stronger. It's Nature's Plan.

There are many definitions of life. It can be argued that galaxies are alive; they spin around, interact with their surroundings, and split off to form new galaxies. For the same reason, it can be argued that the weather is alive. The question is which forms of life *should* not be killed. On that note, we all agree that ants (and other pests) are alive, yet we happily kill them.

So what makes some life worthwhile, and other life expendable? 

I say it's not a fundamental distinction but an arbitrary definition: we avoid killing humans in respect for an unspoken ethical code allowing humans to live in non-anarchy.

Personally I think that a mother's decision to abort her own fetus does not disrupt the non-anarchy. Evolution will keep the practice in check.

But then, can we allow a mother to kill her own infant? I say no, because it is significantly more difficult to discern which child belongs to which mother after birthgiving. Among other reasons, of course.

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