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Boldfaced statements are parts of the original essay (or a subsequent reply) to which the respondent has directed his comments.

Italicized/emphasized comments prefaced by (R) are those of the respondent and are presented unedited.

My replies appear under the respondent's comments in blue text and are prefaced by my initials (MB).

(R) When do you think the fetus becomes a person? This is the important question?
(MB) It certainly is an important issue in this debate. I believe that a fetus becomes a "person" at the moment of birth. I consider this to be a legal question rather than a medical one. Our laws give numerous rights, privileges, and protections to "persons" that are not also granted to an unborn child. Clearly, a "person" and a "fetus" are not the same thing in the eyes of the law.
    Such distinctions are not new to the abortion debate, either. All through American history (in fact, throughout world history) laws have defined various criteria for "personhood" that have affected such things as citizenship, voting rights, property rights and the right to the full protection of the legal system. There are still no universally-accepted answers to some of those questions.
    Any attempt to make a fetus the legal equivalent of a "person" will not only have to resolve all of the thorny legal issues but will also have to justify itself from a medical standpoint.

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