Something I wrote on abortion as a human rights issue: All matter may be categorized as either living, nonliving or dead. Beginning from the sub-atomic levels, we see an ordered progression of complexity from electrons, protons and neutrons which form atoms, and collections of identical atoms form elements. Collections of atoms of various elements form molecules which in turn form organelles, for example cell walls and membranes, mitochondria and nuclei which, among others form cells which are the smallest unit of life. Sperm cells and egg cells are therefore living things.
All living things undergo certain metabolic processes such as taking in nutrients and excreting waste, growth, movement, sensitivity and reproduction and are classified by Domain, Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus and Species. Membership in one of these categories is ultimately determined by the chromosome pairs composed of amino acids in the DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid). What differentiates a human being (Homo sapiens) from a redwood tree or a sperm whale is the number and arrangement of chromosome pairs in the DNA contained in the cell nucleus.
Human cells may be haploid or diploid, depending on whether they contain a single or a double strand of DNA. Sex cells, such as sperm cells or egg cells are haploid while the remainder of ...