The Instigator
Con (against)
7 Points
The Contender
Pro (for)
17 Points

Abortion Laws Should Be Legalized.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/31/2010 Category: Politics
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,670 times Debate No: 12870
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (1)
Votes (4)




Seeing as I'm the Con Debater, I'll let my opponent, RoyLatham, start this. I thank him for accepting this debate, and hope it shall be a good one.

~ TheWheel


My opponent wanted practice debating, but did not feel up to writing an affirmative case, so I have obliged on an agreed-upon topic.

I understand that the resolution means "abortion should be legal." For this debate, I will consider mainly first trimester abortions, but also abortions at any time when the life of the mother is at stake. Negating the resolution requires that no abortion should be legal, so to it suffices to affirm that some abortions should be legal. this puts aside the issue of late term abortion.

1. Whether or not to have an abortion is a moral decision, but it is a personal decision to be made by the woman, not a decision for society. The Supreme Court ruled that for the first trimester the fetus is by nature totally dependent upon the mother, so it is properly considered part of the mother. The fetus cannot survive independently. The Court also ruled that the Constitution has an implied right of privacy. I don't necessarily agree that there is such a right in the Constitution, but the logic of the fetus being part of the mother is sound. The mother has an inherent right to manage her own body, and no law ought to interfere with that right.

2. The life of the mother ought to be prioritized above the ultimate survival of the fetus. Society has a lot invested in the mother in terms of education, and she is highly valued by her friends and family. The fetus has no perception, and most important, no memories. Consequently, if it comes to a medical decision to save either the mother or the fetus, it ought to be the survival of the mother that prevails. Legalizing abortion to save the life of the mother is required to make the right decision.

3. For the first few days after conception, the fertilized egg is a microscopic undifferentiated sphere. Many fertilized eggs, more than half are spontaneously aborted naturally. No one considers spontaneous abortion as morally significant. No one holds them to be comparable to a late term miscarriage. Generally no one knows they happen, and no one thinks it important to find out. Since natural abortions in the first few days are not given moral significance, it is consistent to make early induced abortions legal. Incidentally, the "morning after pill" is a contraceptive, not an abortion drug, but there are other drugs that accomplish early abortions.

4. Modern society has needs that differ strongly from those of primitive societies. In primitive societies many people died in childhood. Having many children was required to maintain populations. That is consistent with an instinct to carry pregnancies through to term. Modern societies are far more likely to suffer from overpopulation than underpopulation. Even if first-world nations, raising a child properly is an expensive undertaking for both the parents and society. It is therefore rational to allow legal abortion as a mechanism for population control. Cumulatively, there have been about 50 million abortions in the United States since legalization in 1973. We are having problem caring for the population we have, let alone 50 million more. Abortion should be legal for the good of society.

5. The alternative to legal abortion is illegal abortion. Illegal abortion was rampant before legalization, and if made illegal it would be so again. Illegal abortions are often performed by quacks.

5.1 Making abortion illegal would deter some abortions, but at the expense of injured women. In the United States, the death toll would not be as high as in other countries. In 1965, the number of deaths due to illegal abortion was 235, a limited number as a consequence of real doctors treating the injuries with antibiotics. 235 unnecessary deaths per year is 235 too many.

5.2 Wealthier women could afford to travel to a country where abortion is legal, while the poorer would endure illegal abortions. Making abortion illegal is therefore unjust. If abortion were illegal everywhere, then the toll of death and injury worldwide due to improperly performed illegal abortions would be much higher.

5.3 In the U.S., emergency room treatment is provided to everyone who needs it. Consequently, while death could often be avoided, there would be a substantial drain on medical resources to patch up botched abortions.

The abortion decision is a serious one, but it is not one that should be made by government, and certainly not in a broad way that makes all abortion illegal.

The resolution is affirmed.
Debate Round No. 1


Since laws, and rights, are being dealt with, I shall argue on the same matters.

1. An infant is dependent of the mother, yet it is not "part" of the mother. Unobrn children are NOT part of the mother's body. If the opponent's claim were to be true, a there would be far less expansion of the world. However, that isn't true. If a Swedish man impregnates a japanese woman, the child is still Swedish, the mother is not. Next, if it were true, the Genetic Code of both the mother and embryo would match. However, they are both different. In half of pregnancies, women give both to male infants don't they? There even needs to be a chemical substance to weak the immune system in the uterus for the "foreign" body, known as the unborn child.

2. Former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, stated in a 1996 New York Times editorial that because of the advances in modern medicine, "partial-birth abortions are not needed to save the life of the mother." Sixteen years earlier, he wrote: "In my thirty-six years in pediatric surgery I have never known of one instance where the child had to be be aborted to save the mother's life." As General Koop has said, medicine has grown much in the past few decades, and has no need for abortion to save a mother's life. If her life even needs to be saved, abortion is not necessary to do it. The "right" decision? I ask my opponent to specify their definition of what's "right."

3. Birth is done naturally, but we don't have the right, or ability to do it otherwise. Abortion laws should be made ILLEGAL, so the natural abortions are the only way someone can be aborted.

4. My opponent's plan would be somewhat pro to democratic destruction. If we start getting more and more mothers aborted, it can get worse eventually. Perhaps we'll be underpopulated from this. We also cannot put a value on a life. One of the aborted kids could've been in power if he/she lived, yet we will never know. There's also the traumatic experience on the mother whose "lost something."

5.1 The Emotional pain (as stated before) is highly more serious than any injuries. She's lost something, and having an empty feeling. It's traumatic for women who get an abortion.

5.2 Abortion is not unjust due to the economy. Wealthy people can ride first class, but the poor cannot. Is that unjust? No. And this all depends on where the woman is, and if abortion is illegal or not. My opponent has not been specific for this example.

5.3 There are many floors in Hospitals, and many doctors whom work in those rooms. It is highly doubted that merely abortions could substantially drain the resources at the hospital.

As abortion is an option that directly affects society, I urge a Con Vote.


We are examining many of the abortion-related issues. That makes for a good debate.

1. Con argues that the fetus is not part of the mother, on the grounds that the DNA of the fetus is different from that of the mother. In both males and females, mitochondrial DNA only has the DNA of the mother. So by Con's logic, adult sons' mitochondria are still part of the mother rather than of a different human. Red blood cells have no DNA, so by Con's logic the red blood of a human is not necessarily part of a human at all. DNA is not the determinant.

Con's is equivocating "part of." In the contention, clearly the operative definition of "part of" was that the fetus is integrated with the mother and cannot survive independently. Con did not dispute that contention.

Con claims that the mothers immune system is weakened to accommodate the child. If so, that does not mean that the fetus is not part of the mother. It only means that some parts of the mother are accommodated differently than other parts.

Of course, after the birth the child is dependent on adults, but not necessarily the mother. Dependent sick people are not "part of" their caretakers.

2. Late term or not, abortions are sometimes medically necessary:

"Dr. Papa discussed the case of one thirty-year-old woman, both of whose parents had a history of heart attacks. This woman, herself, had a heart attack in which her cardiac tissue was damaged. She desperately wanted to have her baby, but after careful examination and many diagnostic tests, Dr. Papa determined that she could not carry the child to viability without a high probability of her own death. Suddenly this poor woman and her husband were plummeted into a world where, instead of choosing baby names and nursery furniture, they were making a date to be admitted to the hospital for a medically necessary abortion. ... Another woman was found to have severely enlarged arteries near the heart, a condition of which she was unaware before she became pregnant. She, too, underwent a medically necessary abortion even though she, too, really wanted to have her baby."

Politicians have no business making a legal decision that abortions are never necessary. The decision is for physicians and patients.

3. My point was that since spontaneously aborted microscopic embryos are not given tiny caskets and funerals, we know that people judge microscopic embryos as substantially less important, virtually insignificant, compared to fully-formed independent humans. If a person dies from, say, a lightning strike, we care a great deal, regardless that the death was due to natural causes. These reactions are a product of human nature. It is therefore illogical to claim that a microscopic embryo is somehow just like any other human.

Nothing is more natural than mothers dying in child birth or children dying very young. Tour an old graveyard and read the tombstones. If nature is to prevail, we would have to allow such horrid things. Perhaps there is some relief in not having to make the choices that modern technology forces upon us, but that is a price for advancing beyond the barbarous times when nature inevitably took its course. We must be allowed to choose, and not pretend that we should not.

4. The occurrence of future Einsteins and future Hitlers alike are in proportion to the total number of births. The proportions do not change whether or not there are abortions.

Con speculates that there might be a danger of underpopulation. What exactly is that danger? The only negative I can think of is that Ponzi-scheme social programs burden future generations. The cure for that is to have savings instead, a much better idea than requiring ever-growing population. In any case, economic conditions are the dominant conditions determining population growth, and the dominant mechanism is birth control. In the US the Great Depression marked the lowest birth rates. The dangers of over-population are easily demonstrated. Countries cannot keep up with the resource needs of large population growth.

5.1 Con claimed that the emotional pain of abortion is more serious than any injuries. That's untrue, because the injuries include death, and there are vanishingly few people who would choose death rather than risk emotion pain. The issue is who gets to make the choice. Many women who have abortions have no significant emotional distress. One study found "50–60% of women undergoing induced abortion experienced some measure of emotional distress, classified as severe in 30% of cases. The risk factors identified suggest that it may be possible to ameliorate or even prevent such distress."

If abortion is illegal, then many of the women will have illegal abortions. It is illogical to assume that illegal abortions are less stressful than legal ones. They are surely more stressful. If the abortion is deterred, then childbirth is stressful as well. All major life events are stressful: marriage, divorce, childbirth, moving to a new city, and changing jobs, for example. The goal should not be to pass laws that prevent stressful events, but rather to allow people to make choices, even if the results are stressful.

5.2 Con grants that wealthier women will be able to travel to obtain safe legal abortions, while poorer women will not. Con argues that is like any other advantage of wealth, akin to affording a Ferrari rather than a plain Ford. The difference is that the unfairness is created by a law imposed by government that restricts free choice. For example, suppose the government decided for some reason to put a very high tax on vaccines, so that poorer people could not well afford them. The unfairness in that it is unnecessary, artificially induced by government. Government ought not be in the business of creating new, unneeded inequity.

5.3 I argued that fixing botched illegal abortions would put an unnecessary financial strain on hospital emergency rooms. Con argued that hospitals could handle the increased burdens, but did not dispute that the burden would be large nor that it is unnecessary. The question is why the public should have to pay more taxes to attempt to repair the human suffering caused by making abortion illegal. The burden is substantial:

"Many deaths from illegal abortion would go unlabeled as such because of careless or casual autopsies, lack of experience and ability of autopsy surgeons, and simply the shame and fear associated with abortion's illegality. According to a 1967 study, illegal abortion was the most common single cause of maternal mortality in California.37 Doctors who worked in emergency rooms before 1973, and saw first-hand the consequences of illegal abortion,
would be in the best position to know. Dr. Louise Thomas, a New York City hospital resident during the late 1960s, summed up the dangers of illegal abortion, remembering the "Monday morning abortion lineup" of the pre-Roe period:

'What would happen is that the women would get their paychecks on Friday, Friday night they would go to their abortionist and spend their money on the abortion. Saturday they would start being sick and they would drift in on Sunday or Sunday evening, either hemorrhaging or septic, and they would be lined up outside the operating room to be cleaned out Monday morning. There was a lineup of women on stretchers outside the operating room, so you knew if you were an intern or resident, when you came in Monday morning, that was the first thing you were going to do.' " (ref lists 36-38 in

Abortion is a difficult and stressful decision, but it should be a personal one.
Debate Round No. 2


TheWheel forfeited this round.


My opponent has left the building. The site says his account is no longer active.

All of my arguments stand unanswered.
Debate Round No. 3


TheWheel forfeited this round.


I have refuted all of my opponents arguments, who has provided no rebuttal.

My opponent has has forfeited the the last two rounds, which is bad conduct.
Debate Round No. 4
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by wjmelements 6 years ago
He may have been referring to Roe v. Wade.
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Reasons for voting decision: Con jumped ship half-way through. Easy vote for Pro.
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