The Core Issue: When Does Life Begin?

It doesn’t matter what argument pro-abortioners have, it doesn’t matter what answer pro-lifers have. Whatever the specific debate, whatever the good reasons for either side, it all comes down to one, central question.
When does life begin?
Or, perhaps to be more specific, when does life begin to matter? I have heard people say “from conception”, and I have also heard people say “when the fetus breaths air for the first time”.
But to start with the basics, we do need to address when human life begins, period. So, here follows a crash course on human reproduction.
"The development of a human begins with fertilization, a process by which the spermatozoon from the male and the oocyte from the female unite to give rise to a new organism, the zygote." -- [Sadler, T.W. Langman's Medical Embryology. 7th edition]
Every person has their own, unique chromosomes. Forty-six of them, to be exact. The zygote is the earliest form of a new human there is – created in the sperm fertilizes the egg. The sperm has twenty-three chromosomes. The egg has twenty-three. Put them together, twenty-three plus twenty-three equals forty-six. Brand new genes, brand new person. These chromosomes, from the instant they are joined, specifies everything from gender to hair color to height. Everything is “decided” about the new human that isn’t affected by environment he is born into. This person’s genes are now completely different from that of his or her mother and father. (Notice that this renders the pro-abortion “a woman can do whatever she wants with her body” argument irrelevant.)
That’s the technical, scientific explanation for when a new human life begins. There is no debate over this.
Things get stickier when you actually need to decide when life begins to matter. When does killing a growing human change to murder? Or is it always murder? Does the morality change at all?
When does the zygote/embryo/fetus actually become a person? Opinions I have heard follow:

    1.   When the first brain waves are recorded. (There is debate over this. There’s debate over virtually every aspect about the timing of development of the fetus.)
    2.   When the heart begins to beat. (Obviously a functioning body now.)
    3.   When the fetus can feel pain. (Again, a lot of debate, and, if I may say so, a lot of lies.)
    4.   When the fetus develops bones.
 5.   When the baby is viable (can survive on its own outside the mother’s body). (Totally irrelevant for a number of reasons, the most obvious being that this relies on science, suggesting that the baby will achieve personhood earlier and earlier as science progresses.)
 6.   When the baby breathes. (I do not get this one. How does this mean personhood?)
 7.   When the umbilical cord is cut. (I don’t get this one either.)
8.   From conception.
Okay, are you ready for this? I could go into detailed analysis of each of these, and perhaps I will someday, but right now I won’t. Instead I dare suggest something else: it doesn’t matter. Yes, you read that right. It doesn’t matter when the baby becomes a person. Why? Though  evidence points overwhelmingly in favor of the baby, let's assume that, scientifically, we can't know when the baby becomes a person. Science proves nothing. Nobody can remmber being in the uterus.
Let’s say you’re out hunting behind your house. You had to be sneaky and clever and quick to make sure you got out without your little brother tagging along – you want to actually catch something this time. You hear rustling behind you and you turn around, aiming the gun. Now, it could be a rabbit in the underbrush. Or it could be your little brother. Do you not shoot, and risk the inconvenience of needing to hunt longer, or do you shoot and risk killing your brother?
Not a perfect analogy, but I hope you get my point. If there’s a possibility of a real, precious, human growing inside of a woman, hadn’t we better play it safe? Isn’t it better to risk nine months of inconvenience and then sorrow over adoption or money troubles because of another child, as opposed to the alternative: that you were responsible for the murder of an innocent child?
I don’t want to downplay the difficulties, hardships, and heartbreak that men and women and families go through because of unplanned pregnancies. But I don’t want to downplay the significance of thousands upon thousands of people unwittingly playing a hand in infanticide either.
Question for you: when do you believe life begins to matter? Why?
Note: Pictures taken from WebMD. No copyright infringement intended.

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