The Instigator
MrCarroll
Con (against)
Winning
16 Points
The Contender
Robikan
Pro (for)
Losing
15 Points

A real debate on abortion

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/15/2011 Category: Society
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 5,002 times Debate No: 14801
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (13)
Votes (6)

 

MrCarroll

Con

I will be taking the position that abortion is wrong, unethical, immoral, etc. My opponent will explain why abortion should be allowed.

Definition of abortion
- killing a fetus
- aborting a pregnancy

To show the gravity of the situation, here are some statistics:
"In 2008, 1.21 million abortions were performed, down from 1.31 million in 2000. However, between 2005 and 2008, the long-term decline in abortions stalled. From 1973 through 2008, nearly 50 million legal abortions occurred" [1].

The argument is quite simple. Because a human life begins at conception, and abortion removes the fetus after conception, then abortion is killing a human life. This is widely known in the english language as murder.

The Law of Biogenesis states that life-forms produce other life-forms after their own kind. For humans, this happens at fertilization. If then, an individual human is born, which my opponent cannot prove otherwise, at conception, then abortion always kills a human. Humans accept that killing other humans, especially someone killing their own child, is immoral.

"I think we have deluded ourselves into believing that people don't know that abortion is killing. So any pretense that abortion is not killing is a signal of our ambivalence, a signal that we cannot say yes, it kills a fetus" [2] - Faye Wattelton, Planned Parenthood's longest reigning president.

I am not sure what my opponent will debate here to show abortion is wrong, but I am sure it will be interesting.

[1] http://www.alanguttmacher.org...
[2] Faye Wattleton, "Speaking Frankly," Ms., May / June 1997, Volume VII, Number 6, 67.
[3] http://www.abort73.com...
Robikan

Pro

I thank my opponent for this challenge, and look forward to a lively debate.

To begin, I will agree that abortion amounts to killing, but disagree with the use of the word "fetus". In most cases, the appropriate term for what is being aborted is a human embryo.

My opponent states that killing a human life is murder. What he fails to mention is that not all forms of killing are widely viewed as murder, or even as immoral. Many people find the death penalty, killing as a military action, killing in self-defense, etc. not only morally acceptable but noble or righteous. It seems that humans do not view killing itself as being wrong, only killing for certain reasons. For this reason, I believe the onus is on my opponent to prove not that abortion is killing, but that this particular form of killing is wrong and why.

My opponent asks that I explain why abortion should be allowed. I have several reasons:

1. No harm comes to a conscious, independent being. The embryo is not aware of itself yet, no bonds have been formed and the child could not survive outside the womb.

2. Presumably, the parents have reason to believe they are unfit to take care of their child. There is a substantial chance that the child will grow up in a poor environment. I believe it is morally reprehensible to intentionally bring a child into the world that will not be cared for.

3. The government is not responsible or trustworthy enough to make decisions like this on an individual's behalf.

I look forward to my opponent's response.
Debate Round No. 1
MrCarroll

Con

Thank you very much for accepting the debate. And now, my response:

Firstly, a human embryo contains the chromosomes and the genes of an individual human. Therefore, it is a human life. Do you decide that it is not so? The only reason anyone would claim that anyone would not call a human embryo a human would do so in order to justify its death. There are more than enough authoritative, public resources to prove human life begins at fertilization:

"Human development begins at fertilization, the process during which a male gamete or sperm (spermatozoo developmentn) unites with a female gamete or oocyte (ovum) to form a single cell called a zygote. This highly specialized, totipotent cell marked the beginning of each of us as a unique individual."

"A zygote is the beginning of a new human being (i.e., an embryo)." [1]

"[The zygote], formed by the union of an oocyte and a sperm, is the beginning of a new human being."[2]

"Although life is a continuous process, fertilization (which, incidentally, is not a 'moment') is a critical landmark because, under ordinary circumstances, a new genetically distinct human organism is formed when the chromosomes of the male and female pronuclei blend in the oocyte." [3]

Secondly you are right, there may be justification of death. However, there is no justification of killing an unborn child. Do mothers kill their children out of the womb? No, it everyone agrees it is wrong, immoral, unethical, etc. It is in fact murder. I back myself with an absolute standard of morality. If you believe that morality is relative, then that is different. In this case, no one can prove anything is wrong or immoral, because it is relative. So in order to prove your case, you must either give an absolute standard, or you must give me a convincing explanation of why abortion should be allowed. You attempt to do so next.

"1. No harm comes to a conscious, independent being. The embryo is not aware of itself yet, no bonds have been formed and the child could not survive outside the womb."

The first part I do not understand your point. What does it matter that the embryo is aware of itself? (Plus you are assuming that) No bonds have been formed? There is an obvious physical bond formed. A one-year-old child would not survive by itself, it must be cared for or else it is child-abuse. As far as I can tell, you have made no significant argument.

"2. Presumably, the parents have reason to believe they are unfit to take care of their child. There is a substantial chance that the child will grow up in a poor environment. I believe it is morally reprehensible to intentionally bring a child into the world that will not be cared for."

So you are saying that if a person is in poor environment, you have the right to put them out of their misery? You have the right to kill them? You think it is morally reprehensible that a person should only live if they are brought up in circumstances that you decide and not them? A mother has a young child, but realizes she cannot feed both herself and the child. Thus she kills her child. Is this morally right? You know it is not.

3. The government is not responsible or trustworthy enough to make decisions like this on an individual's behalf.

Correct, our government is not smart enough or have the guts to make such a decision. It was our government that stated, "The judiciary, at this point in the development of man's knowledge, is not in a position to... resolve the difficult question of when life begins... since those trained in the respective disciplines of medicine, philosophy, and theology are unable to arrive at any consensus" [4]. In biological terms, is a settled fact. Individual human life begins at fertilization as I previously explained. However, I believe a proper government should give every human the right to life. So maybe we should make some changes in our government.

[1] Keith L. Moore, The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology, 7th edition. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders, 2003. pp. 16, 2.

[2] Keith L. Moore, Before We Are Born: Essentials of Embryology, 7th edition. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders, 2008. p. 2.

[3] Ronan O'Rahilly and Fabiola M´┐Żller, Human Embryology and Teratology, 3rd edition. New York: Wiley-Liss, 2001. p. 8.

[4] Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973).
Robikan

Pro

"Firstly, a human embryo contains the chromosomes and the genes of an individual human. Therefore, it is a human life. Do you decide that it is not so?"

You misunderstood. My disagreement was simply with your choice of words. It is important to use correct definitions in a debate, and I feel that you used the word "fetus" when you should have used "embryo". That's all. I admitted right off the bat that, either way, it was in fact killing human embryo.

"However, there is no justification of killing an unborn child."

Why not? You agree that other forms of human killing may be justified, so why can't abortion be included. You have yet to offer a reason.

"No, it everyone agrees it is wrong, immoral, unethical, etc."

This is a logical fallacy -- appealing to the majority.

"I back myself with an absolute standard of morality."

Which is? Where did these morals come from, and why should I trust morals that say one form of killing is justified while another is not? And yes, I believe morals are relative.

The point of my first argument is that very little harm is truly being done. "Harm" implies a certain amount of self-awareness, or a taking away of something one is aware they once had. A one year old knows they are alive, they recognize their loved ones, they are known and loved by others, they have working brains, etc. None of this applies to a few-week old embryo.

"So you are saying that if a person is in poor environment, you have the right to put them out of their misery?"

No, I am saying that if I know I cannot care for something that is not yet born, I have the right to choose that it never be born.

"You think it is morally reprehensible that a person should only live if they are brought up in circumstances that you decide and not them?"

If I am their primary life and caregiver, yes. This is actually quite common in the animal kingdom -- if a mother or father cannot properly care for their young, they will kill all or the weakest of them. This ensures that any children they do have will have the opportunity to thrive.

Now, thus far you have only questioned my own arguments and used logical fallacies. I believe the onus is on you to prove abortion is immoral and why, and you have yet to do so. Please answer the following questions:

1. What makes one form of killing justifiable and another unethical?
2. How does abortion fit into the unethical side?
3. Do you believe it is moral to bring a child into an environment in which they will not be stable, nurtured or cared for?
4. What significant differences do you see between humans and other mammals?
Debate Round No. 2
MrCarroll

Con

You have pointed out that I have some logically fallacies. I think we can agree that what I have said was true, however, you are correct in telling me to revise my arguments so they are logically correct.

My point in the first statement was that it does not matter in either case; they are both an individual human.

Let us think, what could possibly be wrong with killing an unborn child? What could be wrong with killing a child outside the womb? Why does the womb negate the child's right to live? I gave you an example earlier. A mother killing or not caring for her one-year-old is committing either murder or child abuse or both. Here is why abortion is murder:
The elements of common law murder are:
1. the killing
2. of a human being
3. by another human being
4. with malice aforethought. [1]
The four states of mind recognized as constituting "malice" are:
I.Intent to kill,
II.Intent to inflict grievous bodily harm short of death,
III.Reckless indifference to an unjustifiably high risk to human life (sometimes described as an "abandoned and malignant heart"), or
IV.Intent to commit a dangerous felony (the "felony-murder" doctrine). [1]
This is murder by the law, and abortion, if the embryo is a human, falls under this category. Now the only way I can state that this type of murder is absolutely wrong, immoral, and unethical is to state that the Bible claims murder should not be done. It is against God. Now, if you do not believe in God, then this is not a legitimate argument. But the problem is, if there is no standard on which to apply morality, then there is no way of saying ANYTHING is wrong. If morality is relative, then I can justify practically anything. There cannot be anything wrong with a starving mother killing her one-year-old because she needs to feed herself.

You yourself cannot give any justification of why abortion should be allowed; therefore, it is not right to continue abortion because it is indeed murder.

"The point of my first argument is that very little harm is truly being done. ‘Harm' implies a certain amount of self-awareness, or a taking away of something one is aware they once had."

harm (plural harms)
Injury; hurt; damage; detriment; misfortune.

In this definition, there is harm being done in abortion.

Even if you say there is no harm done, in this logic, there is nothing wrong with killing a person in a coma. Even worse, there is no harm with killing your neighbor in their sleep because they are not self-aware. Even if they are self-aware, even if there is no "harm" done, it does not justify killing the human.

"I am saying that if I know I cannot care for something that is not yet born, I have the right to choose that it never be born."

True, you can choose. But the choice is NOT: instead of letting the person die, we kill the person. There is no justification. If you cannot care for a child, you can choose the following, (1) not to have sex, (2) prevent fertilization, (3) adoption. Murder is not one of these options.

"If I am their primary life and caregiver, yes. This is actually quite common in the animal kingdom -- if a mother or father cannot properly care for their young, they will kill all or the weakest of them."

If the mother is the primary caregiver, she should care for her child. Using animals as an example is irrelevant because animals do plenty of things that humans consider immoral, unlawful, unethical, etc. Reptiles eat their children.

Which brings us to your questions

1. What makes one form of killing justifiable and another unethical? We can know the answer by having a standard for ethics, by the law, or by consulting your conscience. The law is by far the weakest of these, but it is the only standard a moral relativist can live by. Or that of their conscience which no one can prove.

2. How does abortion fit into the unethical side? The law states it is wrong. Abortion is legal because the government has shied away from the definition of a human life. I have shown otherwise. God says it is wrong by simply stating you shall not murder. Your conscience tells you that murder is wrong. This cannot be proven so disregard it in your argument, but you know it is true.

3. Do you believe it is moral to bring a child into an environment in which they will not be stable, nurtured or cared for? No I do not. This is called child neglect or child abuse. But it is not justifiable to kill the child.

4. What significant differences do you see between humans and other mammals? Skyscrapers, scientists, clothes, pain in childbirth, vehicles, art, emotion, mathematics, kindness, hate, sports, packaged food, philosophers, morality, law, music, the computer you are typing this on, etc. Physically we are made of the same things, but otherwise humans and animals are totally different. Of course if you are an evolutionist, you have other beliefs.

I would like to say one more thing - often in such a debate, the subject of rape, incest, deformities, etc. come into question. These questions don't address the fundamental ethics of abortion, but they do introduce a host of difficult variables. Let's take rape for instance. The girl never meant to have a child. However, this child still has a right to life. Abortion and rape are both acts of violent assault against an innocent victim, and one wrong does not justify another.

Thank you, that is all I have to say.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org...
Robikan

Pro

I do not believe you have proven that abortion is murder. Here is why:

"The elements of common law murder are:
1. the killing
2. of a human being
3. by another human being
4. with malice aforethought. [1]
I.Intent to kill,
II.Intent to inflict grievous bodily harm short of death,
III.Reckless indifference to an unjustifiably high risk to human life (sometimes described as an "abandoned and malignant heart"), or
IV.Intent to commit a dangerous felony (the "felony-murder" doctrine). [1]"

This applies to just about every form of human killing. The death penalty, military action, etc. all fits this definition, yet we not only allow but applaud these forms of killing.

"Now the only way I can state that this type of murder is absolutely wrong, immoral, and unethical is to state that the Bible claims murder should not be done."

So, in essence, you have no logical reason, you are simply deferring to a book.

"You yourself cannot give any justification of why abortion should be allowed"

I offered several reasons, you just do not accept them.

"Even if you say there is no harm done, in this logic, there is nothing wrong with killing a person in a coma. Even worse, there is no harm with killing your neighbor in their sleep because they are not self-aware."

People who are asleep or in a coma still have self-awareness and have formed emotional bonds with others. Bad argument.

"If you cannot care for a child, you can choose the following, (1) not to have sex, (2) prevent fertilization, (3) adoption. Murder is not one of these options."

The first two choices are moot. Clearly, if we are discussing abortion, the fertilization has already taken place. Adoption is certainly an option, but you have not offered any reason why it is a *better* option that abortion.

"Using animals as an example is irrelevant because animals do plenty of things that humans consider immoral, unlawful, unethical, etc."

The relevant question here, though, is *why* do we consider them immoral. Thus far, you're only real reason for abortion being wrong has been "because it's wrong". You have not offered a single reason as to *why* it's wrong, other than "God said so". Since one cannot reasonably apply their own personal religious ideals to the whole of humanity, I believe you have failed to make your case.
Debate Round No. 3
13 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Robikan 4 years ago
Robikan
It seems the person who left me a comment has now deleted their profile, but in reference to an email I received this morning:

"Hello, Robikan

I happened across your debate on abortion and would like to construct up an essay for my informal logic class, do you mind if I use you as a reference?

Ricky"

If this is seen by Ricky, yes, you certainly can. My real name is Robyn J. Williams, if that is needed.
Posted by MrCarroll 6 years ago
MrCarroll
Is it wrong to vote on your own arguments? I would feel kind of lame doing it but Danielle or Lwerd or whatever her name is votes on her own arguments.
Posted by MrCarroll 6 years ago
MrCarroll
I'm up for it.
Posted by Robikan 6 years ago
Robikan
Haha, well, if you'd like another, let me know!
Posted by MrCarroll 6 years ago
MrCarroll
Im already having one ha. Although my opponent isn't saying much at this point.
Posted by Robikan 6 years ago
Robikan
There are many ways to judge morality. One is the so-called "Golden Rule", another is to determine the greater good, etc. If you are interested in having a debate about morality without God, I would be game.
Posted by MrCarroll 6 years ago
MrCarroll
So what is your basis?
Posted by Robikan 6 years ago
Robikan
MrCarrol, I believe the mistake you are making here is assuming that moral relativism means there is no basis by which to judge morality. This is simply not true. It just means that one cannot claim God as a moral source.
Posted by MrCarroll 6 years ago
MrCarroll
I feel like I've lost because I did not prove murder is wrong, but how can I prove anything is wrong to a moral relativist? I should have pointed out that in the other cases death is a consequence for their actions. An unborn child has made no actions that merit death. I'll remember that next time. Thanks for the debate Robikan.
6 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Vote Placed by IamZero 5 years ago
IamZero
MrCarrollRobikanTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro used no source, aruguement that abortion is related to death penalty is laughable.
Vote Placed by socialpinko 5 years ago
socialpinko
MrCarrollRobikanTied
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Vote Placed by Steelerman6794 6 years ago
Steelerman6794
MrCarrollRobikanTied
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Vote Placed by TheBrightestNeon 6 years ago
TheBrightestNeon
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Vote Placed by BlackVoid 6 years ago
BlackVoid
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Total points awarded:23 
Reasons for voting decision: Con was unable to prove why abortion is different from other acceptable acts of killing. Pro argued this issue very well and its the biggest point of the round.
Vote Placed by Cliff.Stamp 6 years ago
Cliff.Stamp
MrCarrollRobikanTied
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Reasons for voting decision: "Thus far, you're only real reason for abortion being wrong has been "because it's wrong". You have not offered a single reason as to *why* it's wrong, other than "God said so". Since one cannot reasonably apply their own personal religious ideals to the whole of humanity, I believe you have failed to make your case." Agree