In all the hysteria over abortion rights, there are some considerations often left out of the debate. The most important of these are the definitions of "life" and "personhood."

According to science, life begins with conception. Two cells merge to create a third independent cell which contains its own roadmap for growth and development.

The problem arises when the pro-life and pro-choice folks try to assign value to each stage or event during a pregnancy — conception itself, or a heartbeat, or a quickening, or the ability to live outside the womb or the first breath.

That is, when does the life form become a person? That’s the real debate for the abortion dilemma.

If you step on a caterpillar, you haven’t killed a butterfly. But you have killed a caterpillar.

In my view, the focus should be personhood. It’s absurd to say that a fertilized egg is a person. But is an embryo? Or a fetus? And at what stage of development?

This is important because a person is entitled to certain rights and subject to the law. Notwithstanding certain conditions, the abortion of a person is murder.

And, the responsibility of the sperm donor should also be considered: child support, health insurance or sharing the cost of prenatal care and delivery.

Both sides of the debate need to take a breath and think through all the issues involved in a decision to permit an abortion.

Legislators, are you listening?

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