So what's the difference between a zygote and a fetus? What's the difference between a fetus and an infant? It's all about differentiation of tissues. A zygote is an infinitely differentiable cell, capable of splitting and multiplying many times and changing into other tissue types. A fetus is a collection of many different cells, far more differentiated than a zygote, and yet still highly modifiable. By the time a fetus becomes an infant, all of those cells have become "final" tissues, essentially reaching their conclusion states.
Yes, this is a highly sterile way of saying it, but I think we need this to move forward on a question like this.
This process didn't start at the zygote stage. It didn't even start when the original sperm and ovum were made. It started when the cells in the bodies of the two adults who made those gametes possible began producing gametes. Those gamete-producing cells were stem cells as well, much like those in a fetus, except less differentiable.
Why bring this all up? The point is that it's infinitely regressive. If we're going to regard a zygote as a living being, why not regard the sperm and ovum that created it in the same light? How about the stem cells that created those gametes? Why won't they be regarded in the same way?
The answer is simple: everyone, both people who are pro-life and pro-choice, takes an arbitrary position on when they feel life begins. We may not base that on any scientific reasoning - many people base that on emotional concerns. But in the end, at one stage or another, we all support the life of the child.
Pro-choice people like myself set that arbitrary point in a number of places, but mine is set squarely on viability outside the womb. As scientific advances get better and better, that point will get earlier. Even then, however, there's a certain chance the child wont survive outside the womb. I support a certain potential for life.
Pro-life individuals often support life at a variety of stages as well, but if we talk only about those who select zygote as their cutoff point, the chance that the child will be born alive goes down tremendously. We may have fewer miscarriages these days, but there are still quite a few babies that don't make it to term.
Any way you look at it, a person supports a certain percentage chance of the child being born. There is a certain likelihood for each sperm to reach an egg. It may be relatively low by comparison, but the chance still exists. By not taking it into account (as most reasonable people don't) we are all being arbitrary to some extent.
Bitch please! That sperm worked hard! It raced harder than Mario Kart! It not only deserves recognition as "Alive" but also a friggin medal.
Allow me to say...well done, sperm, you slimy sticky bastard.
To answer your question. Fetus' are alive. they are a living thing created through sexual intercourse, otherwise known as "bow chika bow wow" Anyone who says that they are not alive shall earn the title of baby murderer from me....no, I'm serious...that will be their new nickname.
The same way the skin on your hand isn't "alive". Technically, there's life, but it has no personhood. There's no mind in there, just animated tissue. If you were to cut your hand and kill the cells, it's no big loss. New tissue will grow to replace it, and the only harm is to you, because you are the mind with ownership of the hand. What "alive" refers to in this context is a functioning person, which only works with the brain.
the majority of people to me are pro choice, i have not made my decision yet on what i believe but their argument is that life...conscious life begins, outside, the womb some of them, and some of them do not claim to know this but base the babies' value on their viability or how capable the parent is to grow the child, or whether the parent is satisfied by the fact that they have a child at all.
a lot of people are also pro-life, and they believe that life begins sometime before the child leaves the womb
some believe it is during the 8th month period
some during the seventh
some people believe it is alive at stage zero
and some will go further to say that the mare fact that the child has the potential of becoming a human being is valuable, and killing it would be murder because what is in the womb is still our kind and at the very other end of the rope are people who believe that the child has a pre-destined future that will be ruined if the child is killed, or that the child could be of some benefit to society that will be lost if we don't wait and see what the child becomes or can become.
the pro-choicer's claim about life starting after the womb is based solely on belief
the pro-lifer's claim about the baby being alive inside the womb is based somewhat on faith as well
so to answer you question basically.....nobody knows, we can only guess and make our choices based on the best rationalization that we can make, or we can make our choices based on our faith in God.