The Instigator
JTSmith
Con (against)
Losing
36 Points
The Contender
beem0r
Pro (for)
Winning
38 Points

Abortion: A Topic of Deadly Consequences

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/25/2008 Category: Health
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,593 times Debate No: 3806
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (10)
Votes (20)

 

JTSmith

Con

I myself am very passionatly anti-abortion. Very...very...passionatly so...
the argument itself boils down to ethics and morality. By that I dont mean religion. I will not be discussing god, or the bible, but simple human ethics.

It is an understood human ethic that murder is bad. This understanding exists among all forms of humanity as we know them. To take away an innocent human life is unforgiveable. So I start with this:

Murder Is Bad

Most everybody would agree with this statement. This brings me to my next statement.

Abortion is Murder

Not everyone would agree with this. Here is why i define abortion as murder. Abortion is the premeditated taking of an innocent human life. That to me is clearly murder. Though legally during the first trimester it is legal to abort a fetus, ethically speaking, it is murder, legal or not.

If Murder is Bad
and
Abortion is Murder
then
Abortion is Bad

Simple logic.

Many arguments I here from those who condone abortions are:

1. "It's the mothers choice!!"
-Thats right it is. Her choice begins when she chooses to have unpretected sex though. Not after she has created life. Once she is pregnant she has already made the wrong choice. Isn't it time to suffer the consequences?

2. "Its better than the baby being born in an unsuitable home."
-First, when did it become worse to live than to die? Second, there are hundreds of couples waiting on outrageous waiting lists to adopt children. These families provide stable growing enviroments for children. Give someone else a chance to raise a kid and give ur kid a chance to live! Now thats a great deal!

3. "Its not fair to force the parents to ruin their lives by raising a child they aren't ready for."
-One question...When did it become okay to kill other people to improve our comfort in life? Gee, the next time i get stressed out...I'll kill a baby. That will make me feel better. I'm sorry. I know its hard, but mothers have to face the consequences when they make a decision that gets them pregnant. Life is not always fair, but killing humans to make it better is not an option.

4. "Its not human yet anyway, so its not murder."
-Seriosuly??? I dont care if it looks like a baby or a seahorse. If you go straight to the DNA, it is human. Something does not have to be able to make its own decisons to be human. It doesnt have to look human, to be human. If the DNA says its human, than its human and killing innocent humans is never ok.

5. "Its not able to live outide the womb, so its not alive yet."
-This goes back to the last statement. It doesnt matter, its human. I mean, we have plenty of people living in a vegitative state that cannot survive without life support, yet we consider them alive. Whats more, to kill them would be murder. Why doesnt the same apply to babies??? Because its convenient?

6. "Women are going to get them anyway. We might as well make it safe."
-Murderers are going to kill people anyway, but we aren't gunna make that legal. People are always going to break the law, and frankly, as far as safety goes, if a woman decides to break the law by getting an abortion and she gets harmed by the poor conditions and procedure, thats not our problem. She broke the law and she earned the consequences.

Now I understand that I said things pretty bluntly but this is reality. This is how I see it and I can't fathom how anybody could ever feel that an abortion is ok. Its not.
beem0r

Pro

My opponent's argument is thus:

1. Killing an innocent human is murder.
2. Murder is wrong.
3. Abortion is killing an innocent human.
4. Abortion is murder.
5. Abortion is wrong.

That is the sequence of logical thinking. If we agree with the first three statements, then the last two follow naturally.

However, I must disagree with one of the first three statements.

I take issue with #3: Abortion is killing an innocent human.

My opponent already attempted to address the argument I am making, so I will reply to his counterargument.

He argues that as long as something has human DNA, it is human, regardless of whether it can think, etc on its own.

I have two responses to this, each attacking a different point on the logical reasoning pathway I provided above.

First, is the fact that you have human DNA the reason it's wrong for me to kill you? I would think not: I would think it is wrong for me to kill you because you are a sentient being; because, like me, you have feelings, emotions, and the fact that you are part of the mutually beneficial society we all are oart of.

Those same reasons cannot be said for an embryo, especially before a certain stage.

Second, I would like to point out some things that are not human yet have human DNA. Blood cells, for example. If I cut my arm right now, many of my blood cells would die as a result. If we are to count anything with human DNA as fully human and deserving of the rights thereof, I would be committing genocide by cutting my arm.
All cells in your body have human DNA, yet they are not human. Thus, it cannot be said that having human DNA makes something human. Therefore, the "killing embryos isn't murder" argument is still valid. And thus, I put that argument forward.

I'll let my opponent defend against these points now.

I look forward to the rest of the debate ;]
Debate Round No. 1
JTSmith

Con

You would say it would be wrong to kill a sentient being. I agree with you of course, however, you continue to call this justification for killing a fetus.

My opponent says that since a fetus is not a sentient being, it is not murder, and is therefore, ok.

How about killing a person who is in a coma? Is that ok. He or she has no stream of conciousness. They have less sensual perception than most animals, and they certainly couldn't sustain their lives by themselves. By that you can say that they are completely insentient.
I think most people would agree that killing a human in a coma is still an act of murder. Why then would it be ok to kill a human fetus?

Both are alive, both are human, and both have the capacity to gain conciousness in the future.

Moving on to your second point:

A human could be defined as a complex organism made up according to human DNA.
For a fetus to meet this requirement it requires three characteristics.

1.It must be an organsim. Since is fetus is an individual living system, it is, in fact, a living organism.

2. It would have to be a complex orgnanism, meaning it would need more than one cell. A fetus most certainly has more than one cell, so it is a living and complex organism.

3. It must be made up by the blueprints of human DNA. It is, in fact, growing according exactly to those blueprints and is, therefore, human.

Your point about a human blood cell being human and cutting an arm to be genocide is voided in that both are not organisms and therefore, cannot be defined as human.

In conclusion, I finish this turn by restating my two points.
First, to define a human by its concsiousness and perception is not reasonable since we consider those in in a coma and/or in a vegitative state, to be human.

Second, to say that a fetus is not human simply based on its DNA is true, but it is human based on the three characteristics I mentioned. Seeing as arms and single cells dont meet all of the characteristics, they are not human.
beem0r

Pro

My opponent has made two counterarguments against my own.

First, he argues that sentience cannot be used as a criteria of worth for an organism. To back this up, he asks if it would be OK to kill a coma patient.

The answer to that is no, but a coma patient is sentient. Like a man in a deep sleep, a coma patient is simply UNCONSCIOUS. I didn't say consciousness was something that gives an individual rights. I don't have the right to kill you when you sleep, when you fall into a coma, or when I hit you over the head with a sap. The fact that you're not actively utilizing your sentience makes no difference, you have it nonetheless. Conscious does not mean sentient.

Second, my opponent has decided to define what constitutes a human being.

He has given 3 criteria by which something can be called human.

1. Must be an organism.
2. Must have more than one cell.
3. Must be made up by the blueprints of human DNA.

First, I would point out that my opponent arbitrarily made up these definitions.

Second, I would like to point out that based solely on the list my opponent has given, it is not immoral to kill another human.

In round 1, I put forward the idea that it is immoral to kill something else if it is sentient, feeling, intelligent. It would not be right for us to kill sentient, feeling, intelligent aliens, would it? Outside of war, of course.

My opponent is asking that we base who or what should live based on what DNA it has. Does this sound familiar? Many people, even today, think that certain races are inferior, less than 'human.' All because different races have different DNA. In fact, we ALL have different DNA.

A fetus does not have the ability to feel, a fetus does not have the ability to think, a fetus does not have the ability to do anything except leech nutrients and grow. At least before certain stages, it does not have any qualities that should grant it the rights and privileges given to everyone else in society.

My opponent is asking that we value life based on DNA codes. I am asking that we value life based on that which is actually valuable - emotion, intelligence, feeling, etc. Which is more reasonable? The answer should be clear. Valuing life based on what brand of DNA you're sporting is just racism on another level.

If we accept my value system here, then an embryo does not deserve the rights us fully-developed humans have.

And that's if we accept my opponent's definition of human, which he manufactured to fit his argument. As far as I knew, humans were bipedal primate mammals(1). Embryo's certainly aren't bipedal, and it's debatable as to whether they are primate mammals.

(1)Note: This is an ACTUAL definition, from http://www.merriam-webster.com... .
Debate Round No. 2
JTSmith

Con

To begin, my opponent stated the following:
"The answer to that is no, but a coma patient is sentient. Like a man in a deep sleep, a coma patient is simply UNCONSCIOUS. I didn't say consciousness was something that gives an individual rights. I don't have the right to kill you when you sleep, when you fall into a coma, or when I hit you over the head with a sap. The fact that you're not actively utilizing your sentience makes no difference, you have it nonetheless. Conscious does not mean sentient. "
To provide a foundation for my claims I provide a definition from my opponents most trusted Merriam-Webster.

Main Entry:
sen•tient
1 : responsive to or conscious of sense impressions
2 : AWARE
3 : finely sensitive in perception or feeling

Merriam-Webster defines sentience as a state of responsiveness and consciousness. Furthermore, Merriam Webster defines insentience as follows:

Main Entry:
in•sen•tient
: lacking perception, consciousness, or animation
— in•sen•tience \-sh(ē-)ən(t)s\ noun

Merriam-Webster defines insentience as a lack of consciousness and perception. Seeing as an individual in a coma or in a vegetative state is lacking in consciousness and perception they can and, in fact, are defined as completely insentient. There is, therefore, no difference in sentiency between a fetus and an "unconscious individual." Both are equally incapable of feeling emotion and perceiving with their senses.
___________________________________________________________

Next, my opponent chose to compare my use of DNA as a basis to declare an organism human as fallible by suggesting that somehow race enters the equation. Race has absolutely nothing to do with the definition of "human". Black, White, Asians, Hispanics all have the same genetic make-up. We are of the same Genus and Species and are scientifically similar enough in DNA that we are all without doubt considered human. In Fact, the difference in DNA between races is almost invisible. Being that we are of the same Genus and Species, we are all scientifically human.

____________________________________________________________
Lastly, Since my opponent believes I have manufactured my definition of "Human" to suit my argument (much like he defined "sentient" to best suit his argument) I will continue explaining my definition of "Human" using scientific facts.

Scientifically speaking, a human can best be defined as a member of the genus "Homo" and the species "Sapien". That is a scientific fact.

Scientifically speaking, A species is determined by its genetic make-up. Its DNA

"A species is often defined as a group of organisms capable of interbreeding and producing fertile offspring. While in many cases this definition is adequate, more precise or differing measures are often used, such as based on similarity of DNA or morphology."
-http://en.wikipedia.org...

As stated by the definition, DNA is a more precise way to define a species.

Finally, A fetus is, in fact, human because it is a member of the Homo genus and the Species, Sapien. So, scientifically, a fetus is human as long as it is alive.
_____________________________________________________________

In closing, my opponent has tried to define humanity, by consciousness and sentience. This definition fails as those in a coma or in a vegetative state are completely insentient as defined earlier in this round, yet it remains illegal to kill them.
Furthermore, my opponent claims that my definition of human is manufactured by myself. I have, myself, redefined the meaning or "genetically human" using scientific fact and sources.

Seeing as a fetus, genetically is a human as defined previously, it is immoral to kill them. Hence

Murder is Bad
Abortion is Murder
Abortion is Bad
beem0r

Pro

I suppose it was a bit foolish of me not to look up sentient.

And to clear this up, I don't trust Merriam-Webster above all other dictionaries.
In fact, I generally prefer Oxford, but Oxford's definition for human was "a human being," which doesn't help. However, it is a good dictionary and I will not argue against the definitions it provides. Especially because this is the last round, and I should have defined things myself last round.

So it might be true that sentience is not the reason why we should value each other's lives. However, I brought up other points.

Emotion
Intellect
Ability to contribute to the society we all depend on

These are all reasons for valuing human life that I have given earlier in the debate.

My opponent believes that we should value life solely based on it's DNA. That we should value life based solely on whether it is 'genetically human'

Let's take a look at my opponent's justification for his definition of human.

He solely supports the fact that human must have human DNA. This brings in the question once again: are blood cells part of the human species? My opponent has upheld the only contention of his definition that I originally agreed with. He has not supported his made-up notions that the being has to be a separate organism and it has to be complex.

Now I would like to recap.

My opponent wants us to value human life BECAUSE it is human (genetically). This, as I said before, is clearly a sentiment in the same vein as racism. As long as they're in OUR LITTLE GROUP, they deserve rights. That is not a meaningful way to assign rights, nor is it fair. If we're going to assign special rights to humans, there better be reasons besides "because they're humans."

I, on the other hand, have offered other reasoning for why people deserve rights.
Because we have feelings and emotions - pain, pleasure, happiness, sadness, etc. This means we can empathize with one another.

Because we are intelligent. This means we can think on a high level, that we have a good level of understanding of what we see. That we try and figure things out, etc.

Because we are part of a mutually beneficial society. This means that the other person's existence in fact helps us.

These are all good reasons to value life. No attempt was made against any of these, my opponent simply argued that 'sentient' wasn't a good criterion. Based on the definition that was given, it was in fact a bad criterion, and I apologize for that. However, the rest of my argument stands.

Abortion is not wrong. At least before a certain stage, an embryo does not have attributes that should grant it the rights and privileges you and I enjoy. Simply being part of our genetic group is not a good reason to grant rights, and I have provided better criteria.

For great justice, vote PRO.
Debate Round No. 3
10 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Bray 7 years ago
Bray
lol. i only read the first to entries and the pro made a very good point about the whole DNA thing.
good job.
i agree that abortions are wrong, yes because of all the murder is wrong (and i do believe it is murder at whatever stage of pregnancy) but also because it's and easy out for people.
you have unprotected sex, young age or not, and get pregnant.
you're not married, you're not ready, you don't have a good job, the dad left you, you want to finish school and get a good job first.. BLAH BLAH BLAH.
if you don't want a baby, or you don't want to carry a baby for 9 months and then give it up for adoption, like to a family that can't have children but desperately wants to, THEN DON'T HAVE SEX.
sorry but, if you're such a grown up & so responsible, enough to have sex.. you're responsible enough to have a baby, or carry a baby.
oh the girl got raped?
darn.. that sucks, really it does. i feel bad for you. that guy should be in prison.
i really, truly sympathize for you.. but, it's not the babies fault. give the baby a chance at life.
whether you take care of it or give it to a family that WANTS to take care of it, i don't care.. but killing it is just ridiculous.
oh the baby is going to be mentally challenged because of incest?
don't bang your cousins.
girls/women that get abortions have LOADS of excuses as to why they get them, i don't buy them.
grow up, take responsibility for yourself and the life that YOU created.
my mom had an abortion, i still love her. i lost a LOT of respect for her. she had no reason to, she was young and poor, big deal. adoption mom.
my grandma, young, poor, RAPED.. gave him up for adoption, he got a chance at life, and i hear he's doing pretty well. good job grandma.
as for making it illegal, against that.
while i do wish that nobody aborted, i know that people do.
marijuana is illegal, i know plenty of people who smoke.
same would happen if abortion were illegal, plenty of people would do it, unsanitarily.
Posted by DemosthenesC 8 years ago
DemosthenesC
Hmm, it really should be the womans right to have a *shmishmortion*. After all how many of us have been in the position these woman are in? Who are we to judge them? Get yourself knocked up at 16 or so then tell me shishmortions are bad.
Posted by CP 8 years ago
CP
Good stuff.

Merits:
The issue I have with the merits argument is that the merits of which you speak are inherent to human beings. As it is the nature of a fetus to develop into a being that possess these merits, it seems rather specious to discount its sole (natural) purpose as something that "might" happen. It would be more logical to assume that a fetus WILL become the intended being. Nevertheless, I still must decline the acceptance of the merits contention in its entirety given that the below cannot be justly reasoned with it.

"The question is, how many of your criterion must a being possess before it is granted the right to life? There are a multitude of scenarios that can be presented where a human does not possess all of these attributes, yet it would certainly be impermissible to kill them."

Therefore, it stands to reason that a fetus is a human being, and any attempt for me to counter the paradox you offered would be superfluous.

Future Values:
I like the proposition of likening this situation to money; however, I would offer an opposing analogy:

Currency traders ONLY take into account the projected FUTURE value of money in order to determine its actual value within the market. If the probability is high that the dollar will be valued greater in the future, then a trader would be willing to pay a higher futures price for that dollar than the current value. This would be done with the intended result being that the settlement price will yield the trader financial gain.

Thus, knowing (or presuming to know) the future attributes/assets of a thing should be a consideration in determining its current value. This is especially true when the probability of the future occurrence is high, such as the case of carrying a fetus to term. Of course, I will grant that the probability argument can become a slippery slope.

Thanks for the discourse. I look forward to reading more of your arguments.

Take care.
Posted by beem0r 8 years ago
beem0r
Oh, I guess I just misunderstood then. Might as well continue then.

Yeah, the conflict would then just shift to whether something should be fully considered as something it MIGHT in the future become. If we're clear that it's merits that give us our rights rather than the DNA code, and that a fetus, at least before a certain point, does not have these merits, why should we give it full rights based on its possible future value?

That's like valuing a dollar as two dollars, because it's future value at X% interest for Y time would be two dollars. Still, you will see no merchants valuing a dollar for anything more than a dollar. Future value is not considered here, why is it considered for a fetus?

Further, valuing a fetus as a fully-developed human is based on the assumption that the fetus will in fact eventually become a fully-developed human.

And let's consider something else, something that makes the basis for rights you support rather paradoxical:
If we have a 100% solid plan to abort a fetus, there is a 100% probability that that fetus will not become a fully-developed human. Since this takes away any possible future-human-ness of a fetus, future-human-ness can no longer give the fetus rights. You'll need some pretty complex wording of criteria to get around that, and pretty complex wording, as a general rule, is pretty hard to defend.
Posted by CP 8 years ago
CP
Duly noted. I was intending on just extending the dialogue, those arguments played no part in my reasoning for voting. I don't mean for these points to be taken into consideration for voting by others. If it has come across that way, I do apologize and emplore other voters to disregad my comments.
Posted by beem0r 8 years ago
beem0r
Before a certain stage, it has none of those attributes.

Also, my opponent didn't make the "They will have those characteristics in the future, so they should get the rights now" argument.

You're using your own arguments against me, rather than the arguments my opponent made.
Posted by CP 8 years ago
CP
I think the problem with that argument is that you are essentially describing those characteristics that are (as far as we know) only attributed to human beings (see "humane" below). Thus, a human being possesses, or at least in the case of a fetus, will possess those characteristics. The question is, how many of your criterion must a being possess before it is granted the right to life? There are a multitude of scenarios that can be presented where a human does not possess all of these attributes, yet it would certainly be impermissible to kill them.

hu·mane
1. Characterized by kindness, mercy, or compassion: a humane judge.
2. Marked by an emphasis on humanistic values and concerns: a humane education.

humane

adjective
1. pertaining to or concerned with the humanities; "humanistic studies"; "a humane education" [syn: humanist]
2. marked or motivated by concern with the alleviation of suffering [ant: inhumane]
3. showing evidence of moral and intellectual advancement
Posted by beem0r 8 years ago
beem0r
Yeah, I overlooked a lot of things in this debate, and I didn't word things very well. Was pretty rushed when I was writing my R2 and R3 responses.

Still, the fundamental conflict of the debate was : what should give a being rights?

My opponent's argument was that something should have rights because it's apart of species X, mine was that certain attributes, such as ability to feel emotion, intelligence, etc., should be what grants things rights. It's clear that a blade of grass doesn't deserve the same rights as humans. The question here is why. Is it because it doesn't have human DNA, or is it because we don't empathize with grass, because grass can't feel pain, can't think, can't express emotion, can't actively contribute to society?

That was where the conflict of the debate was. If we accept my criteria, then the embryo does not deserve rights, morally or legally. If we accept my opponent's criteria, that we get rights based on being part of some special group that gets automatic rights, then the embryo does. I thought my criteria won out, but perhaps not.
Posted by CP 8 years ago
CP
beem0r,

I enjoy reading your arguments, but the last round of this one felt like you were grasping at smoke. JT offered a definition of "species" as "a group of organisms..." which negated the argument of whether or not a human being (Homo Sapien) must be an organism and, in turn, the blood cell case. However, you still returned to these as contentions he had not addressed.

You did leave me with a bit of a laugh on your recap in the last round...

http://www.merriam-webster.com...

Main Entry: peo·ple
1 plural : human beings making up a group or assembly or linked by a common interest
2 plural : human beings, persons —often used in compounds instead of persons

Now just replace every mention of "people", "we", and "us" with either definition and behold the amusement!

:. Votes CON .:
Posted by whyugottabelikedat32 8 years ago
whyugottabelikedat32
I say that to kill a baby, even before it reaches any kind of conciousness. They are human, if you aren't prepared for the consequences don't have sex. I am voting for the negative because they are human. At any stage in LIFE is a person human, that includes in the womb. In fact, they are more human than anyone because they are yet to sin, because they can't maybe, but it's all the same. In the constitution it states that everyone has the right to LIFE, as well as liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Therefore I vote JTSmith.
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