There is a consensus in North America that both a human ovum and spermatozoon are
types of human life; most people consider them to be alive. and they contain human DNA. There is also a
general agreement that neither is a actual human person.
There is a lack of
consensus in North America about when -- between conception and childbirth --
human life becomes an actual person who is entitled to legal rights including
the right to not be killed. This lack of consensus has led to a deep division in the U.S. and Canada
between the pro-life and pro-choice movements. The former generally
believe that the transition from human life to human person happens at
conception. Pro-choicers generally believe that it happens later; some suggest
it happens at childbirth.
The main activities of the pro-life movement has concentrated on restricting
abortion as much as is legally possible without violating the Roe v. Wade
decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in 1973 which guaranteed the legality of abortion early in pregnancy. Meanwhile, the pro-choice movement
their effort on making a woman's choice to have an abortion available throughout pregnancy.
About the year 2006, a new emphasis surfaced. It is a desire to minimize
unwanted pregnancies and thus eliminate the need for many or most abortions.
This is a goal that many pro-lifers and pro-choicers can enthusiastically
embrace. Many countries in Europe have successfully lowered their rate to levels
far less than those in the U.S. Unfortunately, the methods that they used
may prove to be deeply offensive and unacceptable to many in the North American
The 2008 presidential elections showed a clear difference between the
platforms of the Democratic and Republican parties: