The Asian elephant has a gestation period of 616 days. That is 20 and one-half months. Several other animals have approximately one year. The other extreme is just as fascinating. The domestic white mouse has less than three weeks (19 days) and the hamster varies from 16-23 days. The human gestation period is 266 days.
But then there are the marsupials who give birth to their young at a some premature point, and from then until viable, they live in a pouch of their mother where they are nourished until able to be out on their own. Of the 334 species extant at this time, the only native one to the U.S. is the opossum whose actual gestation period is 12-13 days.
The controversy is the time that each of these new animals becomes a life in itself. There is actually nothing that should be controversial at all. Everyone knows that the moment a female egg is penetrated by a male sperm, it becomes a totally new being.
Humans of course, are the ones who try and establish some different point at which time life actually begins. There is no other point to consider. If a child dies before it is born. The life is dead. It does not have to be expelled from the mother to be a dead baby. It had life, it is now ended. In many states, if someone kills a pregnant woman, at any stage, and the fetus does not survive, the killer is charged with two murders, and rightly so.
Why then, if a woman conspires with an authorithized physician to kill her unborn child, are the two of them not charged with murder and conspiracy to murder? What made the difference here? Was the murdered woman's child a bona fide human but the willfully killed one was not a bona fide human?
Some have now determined that the same action should be allowed after the child is born. Killing the child before or after it's birth is a sin, but the latter idea is as sound as the first. If you should be allowed to kill a fetus, you should have the same right until the child reaches its majority. There is no difference.
Then there are those who declare that a woman has the right to refuse to carry a fetus to termination. Wrong again. It surely is her body, but she knew the chance she was taking when she participated in forming the new being. There is where her choice was made. Once the new human was established, she has no right from that instant, to take its life. And today, with the array of contraceptives available, there is little excuse, other than rape, for a purely accidental pregnancy.
For Christians who wish to live in an obedient way that pleases God, must determine when life begins according to the Bible view and accept that. The Bible does not speak of the embryonic state as lifeless but as being a living entity.
Exodus 21: 22-25 says: When people who are fighting injure a pregnant woman so that there is a miscarriage, and yet no further harm follows, the one responsible shall be fined what the woman's husband demands, paying as much as the judges determine. If any harm follows, then you shall give life for life.
Read the entire chapter 21. The language "and if any mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life" is ambiguous for a reason (mother or child). Since we cannot exclude from the language the aborted child, the language must be viewed as inclusive of both mother and/or aborted child. You see, if God had meant to limit the language to the mother, he would have done so. To precipitate the death of the aborting mother or the aborted child necessitated capital punishment because such an act was considered murder. (verses 23, 24, 20: 13). The only reasonable conclusion, then, is life begins before birth and at the point of conception.
With the creation of a new human fetus, a new spirit is also formed. Spirits are fully mature at all times...they do not age. They are restricted by the human brain and as the new human grows in awareness, the spirit becomes restricted less and less. But never reaches its potential until released from the body in death. Every aborted fetus has an everlasting spirit and they will be in the judgment as a witness against those who caused their loss of human life.