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LIFE. The aggregate of the animal functions which resist death. Bichat.
2. The state of animated beings, while they possess the power of feeling and motion. It commences in contemplation of law generally as soon as the infant is able to stir in the mother's womb; 1 Bl. Com. 129; 3 Inst. 50; Wood's Inst. 11; and ceases at death. Lawyers and legislators are not, however, the best physiologists, and it may be justly suspected that in fact life commences before the mother can perceive any motion of the foetus. 1 Beck's Med. Jur. 291.
3. For many purposes, however, life is considered as begun from the moment of conception in ventre sa mere. Vide Foetus. But in order to acquire and transfer civil rights the child must be born alive. Whether a child is born alive, is to be ascertained from certain signs which are always attendant upon life. The fact of the child's crying is the most certain. There may be a certain motion in a new born infant which may last even for hours, and yet there may not be complete life. It seems that in order to commence life the child must be born with the ability to breathe, and must actually have breathed. 1 Briand, Med. Leg. 1ere partie, c. 6, art. 1.
4. Life is presumed to continue at least till one hundred years. 9 Mart. Lo. R. 257 See Death; Survivorship.
5. Life is considered by the law of the utmost importance, and its most anxious care is to protect it. 1 Bouv. Inst. n. 202-3.