The Instigator
DebatingPassion
Pro (for)
Losing
2 Points
The Contender
bluesteel
Con (against)
Winning
38 Points

Abortion Should Be Illegal

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 10 votes the winner is...
bluesteel
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/28/2011 Category: Politics
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,235 times Debate No: 19540
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (11)
Votes (10)

 

DebatingPassion

Pro

Abortion is immoral. Once the sperm has fertilized the egg, life is created and even though not born. This concept can be easily misconceived as "not murder" but I beg to differ. I affirm this resolution by agreeing with philosophers on the truth that killing a fetus is still killing a human being. Murder. I thank my opponent for accepting this challenge and wish the best!
bluesteel

Con

Thanks for seeking me out and challenging me debatingpassion. In this debate, I will defend that abortion should NOT be illegal (which is a double negative), or alternatively that abortion should be legal.

I would like to begin by pointing out that we must subdivide murder before we can have a moral discussion because not all types of murder are equal. Suicide is murder. Killing an enemy soldier is murder. And my opponent asserts that abortion is murder. Yet most of the moral arguments of pro-life advocates take all of the arguments against HOMICIDE (one type of murder) and apply them to abortion. This would be analogous to taking all the arguments against coal power plants and trying to apply those arguments to solar power using the slogan "Solar power is POWER and all power is DIRTY."

Without appealing to homicide, I ask my opponent to prove why other types of murder (suicide, killing enemy soldiers, (allegedly) abortion) are immoral.

Throughout this debate I will be appealing to the ethical system called utilitarianism, whereas pro-lifers usually appeal to the Categorical Imperative. The Categorical Imperative asserts that there are certain actions we can NEVER take. It is very rigid ethical system.

Here is my proof that Utilitarianism is preferable to the Categorical Imperative (henceforth "CI"):

===============================================

== Utilitarianism is preferable to CI ==

Joseph Nye of Harvard University cites the following hypothetical to show the ridiculousness of the categorical imperative: you pass through a conflict area and a rebel captain has captured 30 innocent villagers. The captain is going to execute the innocent villagers for being from a rival tribe. You pass by and the captain, for his amusement, hands you a gun and says: shoot one villager and I will let the rest go free. If you refuse, the captain will order his men to shoot all of the villagers. Nye asks, "Will you shoot one person with the consequences of saving [the rest], or will you allow [all] to die but preserve your moral integrity by refusing to play his dirty game?" [1]

Judging the morality of an action a priori, without looking at consequences, leads to rigid ethical systems that prefer 30 people to die rather than one, merely because "murder is "on face" wrong and is never morally permissible."
=============================================

Next I offer a brief thought experiment:

You wake up one morning and find yourself attached to a famous Violinist by means of a long tube. You are told by the doctors that if you remove this tube, the Violinist will die. During this time period, you must take time off work because you cannot walk around with an invalid attached to you. If you are poor, you cannot afford to take this time off work. The Violinist requires that you eat twice as much food as normal. Again, this is quite difficult if you are poor. Do you have the right to pull the tube out of your body?

If you answered yes, then you acknowledge that if a life is contingent on our own, severing that contingency is not immoral. By this logic, an abortion that merely severs the placenta is not morally wrong.

Now moving on to a few reasons why abortion should be allowed:

1) Clear cases where abortion should be allowed

(a) Rape

The woman does not choose to become pregnant. This fits perfectly with the Violinist analogy, since you are forced to be attached to the Violinist and should not be held morally culpable for refusing to accede to this situation.

(b) Medical need

In cases, like ectopic pregnancy (where the fetus is growing in the fallopian tube), the mother has a substantial chance of dying if the fetus is not aborted, in which case abortion is a life-saving medical procedure. If abortion is defined as murder, then medical need would not matter; the mother would be forced to carry any life to term, regardless of danger (even with 100% certainty she would die).

If conjoined twins shared a heart and had a condition where the heart could only keep one of them alive, should we force them both to die, or separate the conjoined twins and give the heart to one of them, even though this technically kills the other twin.

The choice is either one death or two, in both cases.

2) Abortions don't decrease when we ban them

The New York Times reports that "A comprehensive global study of abortion has concluded that abortion rates are similar in countries where it is legal and those where it is not, suggesting that outlawing the procedure does little to deter women seeking it. Moreover, the researchers found that abortion was safe in countries where it was legal, but dangerous in countries where it was outlawed and performed clandestinely. Globally, abortion accounts for 13 percent of women's deaths during pregnancy and childbirth." [6] This study empirically proves that women don't stop seeking abortions when they are illegal; they are merely forced to seek more dangerous abortions. Utilitarianism thus sees no benefit to banning abortion since it saves no fetuses but does harm many women.

To give a US example: According to Associated Content, in 1932, 15,000 women died each year due to illegally and improperly performed abortions.

3) Unwanted children are bad for society

The CDC reports that 60% of women seeking an abortion already had one child, and often their method of birth control has failed. According to studies by the Guttmacher Institute. "a majority of women who report their reasons for seeking abortion say they can't afford a child or are unready to raise one. Women living below the federal poverty level are more than four times more likely to terminate a pregnancy than women earning above 300 percent of the poverty level."

A study by Steven Levitt found that the 40% decline in the homicide rate can be directly attributed to Roe v. Wade and the decline in unwanted children. [7] The 5 states that legalized abortion prior to Roe saw declines in crime earlier than other states and the crime declines lagged abortion's legalization by about 18 years in all states.

This means that banning abortion is bad, on utilitarian grounds, because it leads to more deaths from illegally performed abortions and leads to more crime (through more unwanted children).

My opponent may argue foster care, but that just churns out sexual abuse victims, who are likely to become abusers themselves. A study by Orlow (2009) found that "As many as 75 percent of all children in foster care, upon leaving the system, will have experienced sexual abuse." [8] Churning out sexual abusers is obviously bad for society.

5. Overpopulation

There are 42 million abortions performed worldwide per year. [1] If we COULD stop these, that would quickly lead to overpopulation (approximately 1 billion additional people every 20 years). That's an awful lot of "unwanted" mouths to feed.

Sources: http://www.debate.org...
Debate Round No. 1
DebatingPassion

Pro

Some consider abortion to be murder since the being inside the mother is living. The definition of something living includes the ability to grow, which is exactly what is going on inside a woman who is pregnant. An abortion ceases the growing process, therefore ending the future life of a human being. This little being may not start off with a heartbeat or brain activity, but cells are still dividing and allowing it to grow.Children can't and don't ask to be born, this is purely an option only adults have. Whether the woman chose to get pregnant or not, pro-life individuals feel that abortion is taking the right to live from a human being. This is a right that an embryo cannot defend. Some people say that humans only get to exercise the right of choice once they are old enough to reason, but others feel that a competent adult can also speak for those who are unable to do so on their own. Adoption is always brought up when people talk about aborting an unwanted child. The idea of aborting a child who would make a welcome addition to another family's household is expressed by many pro-life individuals. There are tons of people who get rejected when they apply to adopt a child, which makes the idea of adoption seem far-fetched to these individuals. However, most people feel putting a child up for adoption is much better than going through an abortion. Not all abortions are handled in a manner that is both sanitary and done by a professional. Abortions can be very expensive, which causes some women to seek services wherever possible. There have been quite a few cases of women dying, becoming sterile from a botched abortion, or ending up in the hospital with further complications. I don't know if making abortions illegal would help this though. I do think that it would lessen the numbers of women who endanger their lives by looking for abortion services that aren't up to par. The modern version of the Hippocratic Oath doctors take doesn't specify that doctor are only to save people and make them better, but it is expected of them. The classic version of this oath actually has the phrase, ‘…I will not give to a woman an abortive remedy.' and the original Hippocratic Oath states, ‘…I will not give a woman a pessary to cause an abortion.' Any mention of not performing an abortion has been taken out of the Hippocratic Oath, but not from the minds of people who expect doctors to save lives. Everything else has evolved over the year, so why not the idea of abortion? Sure, abortion, child abandonment, and even infanticide were all once permitted under Roman law, but that doesn't make them humane. Leaving your child on someone's doorstep or committing murder are both considered a major penalty, so why not abortion? Women who go through an abortion have to always carry that thought with them. They often wonder what their child would have looked like, acted like, and what type of person he/she would have been. No matter how strong a woman is, an abortion causes mental anguish that never truly goes away. At least with adoption a mother or father has the chance to see what their child has become.
bluesteel

Con

Thanks for the quick response.

My opponent obviously still needs to respond to my opening salvo.

== Rebuttal to Round 2 ==

My opponent makes the classic "abortion is murder" argument because every fetus is a "potential human." But firstly, the classic reductio ad absurdum is that menstruation and masturbation are then murder, since these are also potential humans. The classic pro-life response to this is: but an additional step is needed for sperm and ovum to become a potential human. However, MANY steps need to be taken for a fetus to become a potential human as well. If a mother does not eat enough calories, the fetus will die. So the reductio stands.

Also, my opponent fails to differentiate abortion from homicide. We know homicide is wrong, but there are exculpating circumstances for other types of murder. For suicide, it's not the same as homicide because you're killing YOURSELF and you have some claim over your own life. For killing an enemy soldier, moral culpability is lessened because your country demands that you do so. For killing a fetus, moral culpability is lessened because the fetus cannot feel pain and is not self-actualized, meaning it does not know what "life" is, what "death" is, and never learns what it is missing. That which never existed cannot feel sorrow at its own non-existence. We may as well feel sorry for the vacuum of space that it never gets to feel life.

Furthermore, unless my opponent proves that the CI is preferable to Utilitarianism, there is no reason to reject specific types of "murder." We care only about which policy maximizes societal good. Allowing abortion maximizes societal good by preventing unsafe abortions (which would kill 15,000 American women each year), by preventing massive overpopulation, and by preventing crime caused by unwanted children.

My opponent says, "There have been quite a few cases of women dying, becoming sterile from a botched abortion, or ending up in the hospital with further complications." She is probably referring to illicit abortions. Modern abortions, in the U.S., are extremely safe procedures, WHEREAS illicit back-alley abortions are quite dangerous. I provided a world-wide cross-national study showing that if we banned abortion, we would only shift abortions into the back-alley.

My opponent says many parents are turned down for adoption. First, I'd like to know how many. Second, the reason many parents are turned down is because they are looking for certain types of babies that are in short supply (such as white babies). The New York Times cites a study that Black, male babies are considered by prospective parents as the least adoptable. [13] NPR reports that 50% of children waiting to be placed within the foster children are African American. [14] The problem is that most of the children put up for adoption would be minorities but many of the adoptive parents don't want minority children and specifically put down on their request forms that they refuse to adopt a racial-minority child.

Lastly, many people who are turned down for adoption are turned down because a social worker has deemed them unfit parents. My opponent must provide evidence that people are turned down routinely for adoption due to a lack of children in foster care (which is clearly NOT the case since foster homes are swamped with kids).

Lastly, my opponent cites the "mental anguish" that women undergo when giving up a child. Some women may experience mental difficulties. However, informed consent laws requires physicians to thoroughly warn women that they may experience feelings of regret. If they choose to follow through anyways with the abortion, that is their choice to make. Young single mothers who are forced to raise a child they don't want have mental problems of their own; they often look back on their lives and think "what if I hadn't had a child when I was X years old. It's a damned if you do, damned if you don't situation.

My opponent claims that if a mother gives a child up for adoption, at least they can see the child later. This is untrue - when you give a child up for adoption, you must sign a form waiving all rights to ever see the child again. Many women also experience serious psychological problems stemming from the adoption process and wonder their whole lives what would have happened if they kept the child. This form of psychological problem is MORE severe because the woman saw the full grown baby before giving it up AND the woman got a dose of hormones intended to pair bond her to the child (right after childbirth). Wondering "what could have been" is much worse in the case of adoption than abortion. As such, women should be able to make this decision, after reading a consent form outlining common psychological problems that women experience.

Sources: http://www.debate.org...
Debate Round No. 2
DebatingPassion

Pro

DebatingPassion forfeited this round.
bluesteel

Con

Forfeit = I win
Debate Round No. 3
11 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by cameronl35 5 years ago
cameronl35
The location is somewhat irrelevant. The true factor is the motive, which is to protect the country. I find that the most compelling argument from the pro-abortion perspective is the back-alley issue.
Posted by bluesteel 5 years ago
bluesteel
@cameron - not really. The whole "you put yourself in that situation" argument still applies to soldiers. They only have to "defend themselves" often times because they are INVADING enemy territory.
Posted by cameronl35 5 years ago
cameronl35
also Con questions how abortion is immoral? Abortion is intrinsically wrong. Killing enemy soldiers is a matter of credential judgement. Abortion violates one of the biggest cannons of moral decency-the taking of innocent life. When killing an enemy soldier, the purpose is to defend yourself against those who are a threat to the sanctity of your very own life. Two completely different things.
Posted by cameronl35 5 years ago
cameronl35
I think the masturbation argument is somewhat fatalistic..it's like comparing the odds of me getting hit by lightning to me waking up the next morning...how can you even compare a fetus to a sperm cell?
Posted by bluesteel 5 years ago
bluesteel
this is also problematic in societies where women have few rights, since power dynamics often dictate whether women can use birth control. Where women are not empowered, condom use is much lower.
Posted by bluesteel 5 years ago
bluesteel
the pro-life response to that is: you still know you're taking a risk when you have sex.

Yes, but you know the risk is small (as low as .5%). Would you stop listening to music if I told you there was a 0.5% of waking up attached to a Violinist? If it's hard to give up music, it's probably even harder to give up sex.
Posted by bluesteel 5 years ago
bluesteel
i can provides statistics that show almost half of women who seek abortions were using condoms or were on birth control
Posted by OberHerr 5 years ago
OberHerr
One problem with your violinist argument. A woman can decide to have that violinist, by having sex without protection. (rape is the exception, and that is a small percentage of abortions) Why is it to much to ask for people to not be flimsy with sleeping with someone, or to have protection if so? If they are married then I don't see the problem, and if the can't afford a baby, then use protection. It's really quite simple.
Posted by bluesteel 5 years ago
bluesteel
lol, technically you need to hold down shift to make those 3 symbols...
Posted by vmpire321 5 years ago
vmpire321
:O!

....That's all capital letters?
10 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Vote Placed by 16kadams 4 years ago
16kadams
DebatingPassionbluesteelTied
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Reasons for voting decision: read the debate. She gets pity points
Vote Placed by InVinoVeritas 4 years ago
InVinoVeritas
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Reasons for voting decision: Forfeit = Con wins
Vote Placed by thett3 4 years ago
thett3
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Reasons for voting decision: "Forfeit=I win" Couldnt agree more.
Vote Placed by Lordknukle 4 years ago
Lordknukle
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Reasons for voting decision: CON made valid arguments that were easily refutable, but were not refuted.
Vote Placed by Boogerdoctor 5 years ago
Boogerdoctor
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Reasons for voting decision: Con made better arguments, which pro failed to refute. Also, I give a point to con for conduct because pro forfeited a round
Vote Placed by jm_notguilty 5 years ago
jm_notguilty
DebatingPassionbluesteelTied
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Reasons for voting decision: See below
Vote Placed by caveat 5 years ago
caveat
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Reasons for voting decision: Con refuted all of Pro's arguments without much defense on Pro's part except futile parrying with slightly topical tangents. Conduct to Con for Pro's FF.
Vote Placed by wiploc 5 years ago
wiploc
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Reasons for voting decision: Con countered Pro's initial argument. Pro, unable to counter Con's arguments, talked about other things. Pro's secondary arguments were unclear and unconvincing; at times you couldn't tell which side he was supporting. Con was always on target.
Vote Placed by drafterman 5 years ago
drafterman
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Reasons for voting decision: While Pro's statement started off low, it took a 360 and went down hill from there, ending up in - what I thought was Pro's most convincing argument - a forfeiture in Round 3. No detailed explanation as to *why* abortion was immoral. Just that it was.
Vote Placed by vmpire321 5 years ago
vmpire321
DebatingPassionbluesteelTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Obvious much?