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Death

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The root of the philosophical debate on abortion stems from our society’s inability to define death. Without a concrete definition of death, there is no definition of life, therefore there is no way to determine the rights that should be given to a fetus. Due to the nature of the definitions of life and death being considered reciprocals of each other, when one lacks a factor “X”, they are considered dead, conversely, when one obtains factor “X”, they are considered to be alive. Unfortunately, one can not simply ask an individual or fetus if they are dead or alive, therefore we must determine a factor which marks the existence of one human being from the lack of existence of another. For all intensive purposes, I chose to define factor X as cerebral cortex function. Therefore, those who are dead have an irreversible loss of cerebral cortex function, and those who are alive have cerebral cortex function. The beginning of cerebral cortex function, or “brain activity” in a fetus is the point at which abortion should be illegal, on the grounds of killing a human being. In order to understand how I have come to the conclusion that humans are alive once they obtain the factor of brain activity, we must begin with excluding the factors which can not determine if a human is alive. A number of individuals believe that a person is alive once cellular life begins, or when the cells that constitute you begin to grow and divide. The problem with this view is that biology has proven to us that cellular life does not simply “begin”, it is a complex, continuous cycle. Science has shown that every cell that is alive in your body is the result of a split of some prior cell, so technically your body and its constituent cells have been “alive” for about 4 billion years. More specifically, the cells that constitute the potential DNA that could belong to you have been in existence...

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