Larry Mason writes that the unborn are not U.S. citizens. But U.S. law protects not only its citizens but all persons under its jurisdiction — citizens of other countries or of no country (stateless persons). So the real question is, “When does someone become a legal person?”
Most opposition to abortion is motivated by religious superstition. But even for those who think rationally — who don’t consider mythical entities such as gods and souls — the onset of legal personhood is debatable.
A fetus one day before delivery and a baby one day after delivery have almost identical physical, mental and emotional capabilities. For legal purposes, we definitely do need a bright line to designate the beginning of legal personhood. That point is not fertilization — a freshly fertilized egg is not a functioning individual human. But it’s not obvious at it’s birth, either.
A woman has the right to control her own body. She doesn’t have the right to kill a legal person living inside her body, if that is what, at some point, an unborn baby becomes. It’s neither an easy nor an obvious issue, no matter what either side claims.
— George Michael Sherry,