The Instigator
Xie-Xijivuli
Pro (for)
Losing
2 Points
The Contender
cactusbin
Con (against)
Winning
29 Points

Abortion Should be Made Illegal in the United States

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/5/2010 Category: Health
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 3,680 times Debate No: 11335
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (9)
Votes (7)

 

Xie-Xijivuli

Pro

Thanks for accepting this debate!

Abortion: The willing extermination of one or more fetuses in the womb of a mother.

In this debate will attempt to show why abortion should be illegalized in the United States of America in the majority of cases, the only exceptions being rape or when the life of the mother is in grave danger. The United States currently has one of the highest abortion rates in the developed world, which is unacceptable (1).

"We fed the public a line of deceit, dishonesty, a fabrication of statistics and figures. We succeeded because the time was right and the news media cooperated. We sensationalized the effects of illegal abortions, and fabricated polls which indicated that 85 percent of the public favored unrestricted abortion, when we knew it was only 5 percent. We unashamedly lied, and yet our statements were quoted as though they had been written in law." - Dr. Bernard Nathanson, founding member of NARAL and former abortion doctor responsible for 75,000 dead fetuses. Now a pro-life Catholic.

"Sweeter even than to have had the joy of caring for children of my own has it been to me to help bring about a better state of things for mothers generally, so their unborn little ones could not be willed away from them." - Susan B. Anthony (1889)

REASON IT'S WRONG No 1: A Fetus is Human

First let us talk about the definition of a human. A human is any member of the hominid family, characterized by upright walking, and articulate speech; A human is a member of the genus Homo and especially a member or Homo Sapiens.

Now, in order to fit into the species Homo Sapiens, which all of us are, you must:
• Have eukaryotic cells. E cells are cells that have many complex structures called organelles, each with its own purpose. All things in Kingdom Animalia have eukaryotic cells.
• Have the same DNA sequence. Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) is what makes us individuals and who we are. If I am not mistaken, about 98% of a human gene is the same as anyone else; it is that other 2% that makes us different from everyone else.
• As said before, have the potential to walk upright (usually, for instance, paraplegics cannot walk upright -- but they are still human) and articulate (again, if you cannot do this because of a disease, you are still human). Fetuses have the potential to do this if given enough time.

Those are the requirements for being a human. However, the main requirements are a and b, because c has exceptions (Again, such as disease, paralysis, etc). The question now: Does a human fetus meet these requirements? The answer to all of them is yes. (2)

Does the fetus have eukaryotic cells? Genetic inheritance: When the sperm and egg, both eukaryotic cells, collide, they create another eukaryotic cell -- the zygote, which is something we all were. A fetus has eukaryotic cells.

Do fetuses have the same DNA sequence? All fetuses share the same 96-98% of DNA with us. The same is with all people; the remaining two to four percent are what make us individual.

Do fetuses walk upright and speak? Well, no. However, the fetus has the potential to -- and will, within two years, when they are physically and mentally able (which varies between everyone)—speak and walk upright.

It is quite safe to say a human fetus is, indeed, human.

REASONS IT'S WRONG No 2: Fallacies in Common Pro-Choice Arguments

1: The fetus becomes human when it can exist outside of the womb, and 'to the point where the fetus can have conscious thoughts."

A fetus does not, nor does a human baby, have conscious thoughts -- or so some think. In a way, we cannot really tell. Babies gurgle and cry, and have dreams (fetuses have also been documented to have brain patterns during sleep), but that does not necessarily make them conscious. Since consciousness is so hazy and unknown to us, this is an invalid argument. It's like arguing that the surface of a planet millions of light years away is made of candy -- we simply do not know enough about the planet to tell. Until we know what consciousness is and when it begins, we cannot argue using the idea of consciousness.

So, I will focus on the former contention: A fetus cannot exist outside the womb.

A baby, which has already been born, is not dependent on the mother, and is a human, will die without this nurse and life support system. Now, by the logic of the statement above, this baby is not human – it is dependant, and can be killed at any time without reprimand.

Premature births often result in intense life support for the child. They can and do often happen. These all increase the risk of a premature birth: If the mother... is younger than 17 years or above 35 years; is carrying twins, triplets or more; Previously had more than three abortions; has already delivered a premature baby; has certain uterine or cervical abnormalities; or hasn't gained sufficient weight during pregnancy.

All of us are dependant. I, being barely a teenager, am dependant on my mom. She buys me food, works, and cooks for me. I sit and play on the computer. Does that mean I am without rights? Almost everybody is dependent on something – whether financially, emotionally, or biologically. Even so, ALL innocent humans deserve basic human rights.

2: If you illegalize abortion, people who have been raped will suffer.

According to the Guttmacher Institute, an organization dedicated to sexual and reproductive health studies worldwide and in the US, 1.21 million abortions were performed in the United States in 2005. Out of these, there were 93,934 rapes that year according to the FBI. California State University says that about 5% of rapes result in pregnancy. That turns out to be approximately 4650 pregnancies due to rape per year.

So, in 2005, 4650 (we will assume all were aborted, even though this is not true) out of 1,210,000 abortions were because of rape. This turns out to be less than one half of a percent of abortions performed because of rape. Thus, very few abortions occur because of rape -- and I wish to protect the vast majority, the over one million fetuses who are not a result of rape yet aborted anyways.

Some also say it is a woman's right to have an abortion, simply because Roe v. Wade says so. Roe v Wade is a scientifically outdated law -- we did not have info like that shown in RIW1 in the seventies, such as the human genome -- that was not mapped until the year 2000!

In conclusion, abortion is wrong for one main reason:

The fetus is a human, and the taking of an innocent human life is illegal in every first-world country, including the United States. Until the fetus has committed a crime (which it is not capable of) it has the right of life, liberty, and justice.
_____
Bibliography:
(1) http://www.guttmacher.org...
(2) http://en.wikipedia.org...
cactusbin

Con

I would like to begin by wishing my opponent good luck in this debate.

Before I begin with my main arguments and defences I would like to point the topic out for any readers/votes: "Abortion Should be Made Illegal in the United States" The topic is very clear and concise, and the wording must be very closely paid attention to.

Just for further clarification, I would like to point out that my opponent is arguing for the truth of this statement: "Abortion Should be Made Illegal in the United States" while I am arguing that this statement is false, in other words: "Abortion Should NOT be Made Illegal in the United States"

One last comment is that abortions are currently legal, and thus the burden of proof is on my opponent. My opponent has to provide SUFFICIENT WARRENT (good reason) why ABORTIONS MUST BE BANNED. If my opponent does not do this, I must win by default.

I will now move on to my case.

Argument 1: Mothers are humans

Subpoint A: Humans have a right to life

A pregnant women is obviously a human. My opponent claims humans have the right to live. But if you make abortions illegal, this right to life is violated. There are many cases where a mother will die unless she gets an abortion. Remember, my opponent is advocating the following statement: "Abortion Should be Made Illegal in the United States" If he is advocating that statement, there are no exceptions. If my opponent wished there to be exceptions, it must be explicitly stated in the topic.

Subpoint B: Humans have a right to dignity

One of the most fundamental rights is the human right to dignity. Why are things like rape so terrible? Because it takes an hour of the victim's time? No, because it violates their dignity. Dignity is an essential right to humans. Making abortions illegal violates human dignity in three ways:

1) Women who are raped should not be forced to have an illegitimate baby. It violates the mother's human dignity.

2) If doctors know a baby will have a serious disease (mental retardation, quadriplegia, etc.) but the mother is forced to have that baby, that is violating the human dignity of that baby. The baby will be born with no dignity, and will have no dignity throughout life. Doctors CAN know this ahead of time, especially with instances such as incest.

3) If a mother knows ahead of time they will not economically be able to support a baby, they should not be forced to have that baby. If a mother is forced to have a baby, she may have to scrape together money any way she possibly can, including the drug and sex trade. This strips her of her dignity. In addition, the baby and mother may end up living on the streets because they have no money, this strips both of them of their dignity. This is very common, according to the Guttmacher Institute 57% of women who get abortions are economically disadvantaged [3]

Argument 2: Back Alley Abortions

Humans have a natural desire to exercise free will. According to the SEP: "'Free Will' is a philosophical term ... for a particular sort of capacity of rational agents to choose a course of action from among various alternatives." [1] If a law stands in the way of a human exercising their free will, they will simply circumvent that law. This is natural and happens all the time (drugs, theft, etc.). If a mother does not want to have a child, and abortions are illegal, they will still get an abortion, just an illegal one.

When abortion was illegal before Roe vs Wade, it did not decrease the number of abortions. "Criminalization of abortion did not reduce the numbers of women who sought abortions. In the years before Roe v. Wade, the estimates of illegal abortions ranged as high as 1.2 million per year." [2]

A problem arises because illegal abortions are often very unsafe. When abortions were illegal many back-alley abortions caused serious health complications for women. "Many women died or suffered serious medical problems after attempting to self-induce their abortions or going to untrained practitioners who performed abortions with primitive methods or in unsanitary conditions. During this time, hospital emergency room staff treated thousands of women who either died or were suffering terrible effects of abortions provided without adequate skill and care."[2]

Argument 3: Abortions stimulate the economy

According to the Guttmacher Institute, 1.21 million abortions are performed a year. [3] The average cost of an abortion is $850. [4] That's $1,028,500,000 a year. In these shaky economic times, stopping that big of a market literally overnight would have serious repercussion for the whole economy.

Defense 1: Fetuses are not legally humans

My opponent claims that fetuses are human. While they may be biologically human, that does not mean they are legally human (nor should they be).

Let me ask the reader/voted a very important question:

Murder of a human is illegal in the United States. According to my opponent, a fetus should legally be considered a human. Having a miscarriage is killing a fetus, should the mother be charged with manslaughter?

If you kill a person in the United States (even if you didn't intend to) it's a very serious felony. Miscarriage would be considered manslaughter by my opponent's definition.

Defense 2: Fetuses are not conscious

My opponent does not provide any clear or concise evidence, just vaguely throws out that consciousness is not well known enough and it's not a good argument. While consciousness is not COMPLETELY known, enough of it is known for the purpose of this debate.

First, consciousness can be defined. The definition is: "Consciousness is subjective experience or awareness or wakefulness or the executive control system of the mind." [5]

Second, it IS known that fetuses do not possess consciousness: "a fetus doesn't possess enough neural structure to harbor consciousness until about 26 weeks, when it first seems to react to pain. Before that, the fetal neural structure is about as sophisticated as that of a sea slug and its EEG as flat and unorganized as that of someone brain-dead." [6] At 26 weeks it is past the second trimester, and thus is already illegal in the United States.

Defense 3: Rape

My opponent claims there are only a small number of women who are raped a year. And out of that small number only a small number get pregnant. The thing is, this doesn't matter. Human dignity is such an essential right, even more important than the right to life. NOBODY should be forced to live an undignified life.

Sources
[1] http://plato.stanford.edu...
[2] http://www.prochoice.org...
[3] http://www.guttmacher.org...
[4] http://www.prochoice.org...
[5] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[6] http://www.slate.com...
Debate Round No. 1
Xie-Xijivuli

Pro

Just a beforehand, I will be going on vacation for a week starting Sunday. If I happen to get WiFi, I will respond, but I apologize in advance for any absence. I will do my best to respond in a timely manner. Thanks!
_____

If you'll notice, cactus, the title that you demand is this:
Abortion Should Be Made Illegal in the United States Except in the Cases of Rape or Grave Danger to * Mother or Fetus
... or something along those lines. Trust me, I would have put this if I were allowed to. However, the character limit goes to the asterisk, and as such, I put my exceptions in the third paragraph, well before my initial argument.

Again, the topic WOULD NOT permit me to say all that I needed to. This problem seems to negate the following of your statements:
(Subpoint A) "If he is advocating that statement, there are no exceptions. If my opponent wished there to be exceptions, it must be explicitly stated in the topic."
(Subpoint B) "2) If doctors know a baby will have a serious disease (mental retardation, quadriplegia, etc.) but the mother is forced to have that baby, that is violating the human dignity of that baby. The baby will be born with no dignity, and will have no dignity throughout life. Doctors CAN know this ahead of time, especially with instances such as incest"
(Defense 3) "My opponent claims there are only a small number of women who are raped a year. And out of that small number only a small number get pregnant. The thing is, this doesn't matter. Human dignity is such an essential right, even more important than the right to life. NOBODY should be forced to live an undignified life."

===
Refuting Subpoint B
===

//1) Women who are raped should not be forced to have an illegitimate baby. It violates the mother's human dignity.//
-- My opponent claims that the right to dignity is a basic human right, and that by illegalizing abortions great dignity is lost. This has two fatal flaws, however. One of such flaws is the implication that dignity is a greater right than life. The
basic right of all non-criminal humans is life, not dignity. Although my opponent disagrees with me, I pose this question: Would you (including the voters) kill yourself if you lost some dignity? If you would, then for you, life is worthless without full respect. If you wouldn't, then you could live without the total respect/dignity of everyone.

//3) If a mother knows ahead of time they will not economically be able to support a baby . . . Guttmacher Institute 57% of women who get abortions are economically disadvantaged [3]//

In my argument, you can see that less than on half of a percent of abortions occur because of rape (more info: (1)) . 57% occur in mothers that are economically disadvantaged. So, we can say that at least 56.5% of those mothers were haveing consensual sex, and therefore, should deal with the consequences. Yes, condoms slip and things sometimes do not work. However, adoption is an option.

As for your little bit saying that they could end up on the street, you are making a very dangerous assumption: The fetus would want to die anyways. You are making a decision for something that cannot express its will; you are deciding that since it may live poor, it shouldn't live at all. I think that if in the course of its life the fetus (eventually a child/teenager/adult) wants to end its life it should be able to, but after its own decision -- not yours, the mother's, the doctor's, or Roe v Wade's.

===
Refuting Argument Two
===

My opponent says that since humans have free will, laws will be broken. If abortion is made illegal, people will get hurt and put in prison for back alley abortions. This is a terrible argument, and let me again ask another question to counter it:
We know that someone will break a law, such as murdering someone. Since we know someone will eventually murder someone because of their free will, does that mean we should just do away with the law? I think not.

Are illegal abortions unsafe? Yes. Is sticking a scalpel, potassium chloride shot, or vacuuming a fetus unsafe? Yes.

===
Refuting Argument 3
===

Abortions do stimulate the economy, granted. So did the Holocaust -- thousands were employed keeping death camps up and running. Slavery stimulated the economy, too. And yet...

===
Refuting Defense 1
===

In defense one, my opponent says tat fetuses shouldn't be legally human, using a manslaughter analogy to get his point across. However, that analogy is very flawed.

Let me ask the readers another question before I get to the point: Would you hold a person responsible for attempted suicide if their lungs failed? (assuming they didn't, say, stab themselves in the lungs. You get what I mean.) I don't think so.

Most miscarriages are believed to be natural selection; they are the body routing out babies who would not live (2). You wouldn't persecute the woman for "having" a miscarriage -- it is a natural cycle. There's a line between purposely killing a fetus and having your body do something natural.

* I wil cede defense two to my opponent in that fetuses have no consciousness. I do, however, believe they should be kept alive until they can make the decision to live or die for themselves. *

(1) http://www.guttmacher.org...
(2) http://www.healthsquare.com...
cactusbin

Con

While I feel I have been misled on this topic, I will continue debating it.

I would like to clarify a few things before I move to my main points.

Subpoint A: This has been defeated by my opponent "clarifying" the topic

Subpoint B: This WAS NOT defeated. My opponent seems to realize this, as he has made a defense for it, which I will discuss later.

Defense 3: This was a response to an issue my opponent brought up. Thus if this is defeated by the "clarification" his original point on rape is also non-topical and should not be a voting issue.

Now to move on to the "line-by-line".

===========================
Subpoint B
===========================

Point 1:

My opponent claims the right to life is more important than the right to dignity. This is untrue, I will explain this later.

Point 2:

My opponent said this is not topical because the topic is: "Abortion Should Be Made Illegal in the United States Except in the Cases of Rape or Grave Danger to Mother or Fetus". This doesn't defeat my point.

My point was, the doctor will know ahead of time that a child will have a serious disease after being born (mental retardation, etc.) Not because of the abortion. The abortion is not a "grave danger to the mother or fetus". This is still topical.

So, again, the child will be born WITHOUT DIGNITY and will have to live their life without dignity. Extend this point.

Point 3:

This point still remains even with your added statistical analysis.

As I said previously, there are 1.21 million abortions are performed a year [1]. Again, 57% are economically disadvantaged. [1] That's 689,700. Now, 50% are not the mother's fault (45% rape (your stat) and 5% condom breakage [2]). That's still 344,850 people A YEAR.

So, if we ban abortions, every year 344,850 mothers and 344,850 children are going to be stripped of their dignity. Extend this.

Ending up on the street:

First, the baby will not have any dignity, which is more important than life, which I will explain later.

Second, not only will the baby not have any dignity, neither will the mother. The mother is being stripped of her dignity because she was forced to have a baby.

===========================
Argument 2
===========================

You have not directly addressed my argument. Let me restate my argument: banning abortions will lead to back-alley abortions, which are bad.

"We know that someone will break a law, such as murdering someone. Since we know someone will eventually murder someone because of their free will, does that mean we should just do away with the law?"

Missing the point. Banning abortions leads to back-alley abortions. The way in which the law will be circumvented is very important.

"Are illegal abortions unsafe? Yes. Is sticking a scalpel, potassium chloride shot, or vacuuming a fetus unsafe? Yes."

My opponent has provided no evidence for this claim. Current abortions are very safe, only 1 serious complication for ever 200 abortions [3]. As I stated before: "During this time [when abortions were illegal], hospital emergency room staff treated thousands of women who either died or were suffering terrible effects of abortions provided without adequate skill and care [back-alley abortions]." [4]

My opponent has not refuted that banning abortions will lead to back-alley abortions. And he has only provided an evidence-less defense against back-alley abortions being unsafe. Thus we must assume, again, that banning abortions will lead to back-alley abortions, which are extremely unsafe. Extend this argument.

===========================
Argument 3
===========================

Just another reason why Con has to provide sufficient warrant for banning abortions (more on this later).

===========================
Defense 1
===========================

My opponent has conceded that fetuses are indeed not conscious. This is extremely important. Let me just state my quote again, as I feel it is very important: "a fetus doesn't possess enough neural structure to harbor consciousness until about 26 weeks, when it first seems to react to pain. Before that, the fetal neural structure is about as sophisticated as that of a sea slug and its EEG as flat and unorganized as that of someone brain-dead." [5]

What makes a human, human? It is our ability to reason, and to be aware of ourselves. Fetuses "[don't] possess enough neural structure to harbor consciousness" [5] and "[it's] neural structure is about as sophisticated as that of a sea slug" [5] Why should a fetus who has no mental characteristics of a human (and can't even feel pain) be given the same rights as a full grown human? It shouldn't.

===========================
Human Dignity
===========================

Human dignity is the most important right of humans. What distinguishes humans from animals? Why are we simply not ape-like figures that roam the lands hunting for food off the ground? Because we have dignity. Without dignity we are the same as animals. Dignity is more important than life because an undignified life is not a life worth living.

This is not a view I simply made up, it is held by countless philosophers throughout history. "Dan Egonsson, followed by Roger Wertheimer, argue that it is conventional for people to equate dignity with 'being human' (Egonsson's 'Standard Attitude', Wertheimer's 'Standard Belief')" [6]

===========================
Burden of Proof
===========================

In my first speech I said the following: "abortions are currently legal, and thus the burden of proof is on my opponent. My opponent has to provide SUFFICIENT WARRENT (good reason) why ABORTIONS MUST BE BANNED. If my opponent does not do this, I must win by default." My opponent has not contested this, and thus it is assumed to be true.

My opponent's only reason is that you shouldn't have abortions because my opponent considers that killing a human. I have clearly outlined why fetuses are not humans and do not deserve the same rights as humans.

In addition, I have provided multiple harms that banning abortions will cause. My opponent needs to account for these harms in order to win this round.

Sources:
[1] http://www.guttmacher.org...
[2] http://www.avert.org...
[3] http://www.todaysplanet.com...
[4] http://www.prochoice.org...
[5] http://www.slate.com...
[6] http://en.wikipedia.org...
Debate Round No. 2
Xie-Xijivuli

Pro

I apologize; am leaving for my vacation now; there is no way I continue this. Again, I apologize, and I would like to consider this debate over as I cannot fully respond with the time I have. Thanks!
cactusbin

Con

I would like to thank my opponent for a very good debate. I hope to debate you again in the future. Good luck!
Debate Round No. 3
9 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 9 records.
Posted by RoyLatham 6 years ago
RoyLatham
A fetus is human, but not a human being. If a fetus were in the same category as adult human beings, then there could be no exceptions for rape or the life of the mother. Even abortion opponents recognize the difference, even if they claim the difference shouldn't count.

The resolution includes embryos that are undifferentiated spheres, without a nervous system. So definitely no pain or consciousness.

It's irrelevant to this debate, but about 20% of the population has memories of early childhood. I can remember things from <3 months. Just trivia.

The resolution was completely clear at the outset. Because the title is limited to forty characters or so, it is common to have to put the full resolution in the argument. Ya gotta read the opening argument carefully.
Posted by KafkianRoach 6 years ago
KafkianRoach
Manslaughter differs from Murder, as Murder is shown to planned, whre manslaughter is more homicidal, .. like going outside and getting into a fight that ends in someone's death is manslaughter, or running someone over as you turn around a corner with a fork lift is manslaughter, .. deliberately poisoning someone's food or hiring a hitman, is conspiring to commit murder at the very least.

However I already agree with Cactus, and he to me, has the better arguments. :P (I wish I could vote for you, but Debate.org, still needs to call me.)
Posted by cactusbin 6 years ago
cactusbin
They pay employees, buy supplies, pay taxes, and pay rent. Which all technically stimulate the economy.
Posted by left_wing_mormon 6 years ago
left_wing_mormon
One major flaw about abortions being an ecconomic stimulant. Planned Parenthood for example is a non profit organization so the practices they preform do not "stimulate" the ecconomy in anyway. That money is used to keep the health clinics open and to pay doctors. The money is a misleading factor in the "Choice Debate".
Posted by left_wing_mormon 6 years ago
left_wing_mormon
"Now, in order to fit into the species Homo Sapiens, which all of us are..."

As a dog I find that offensive you just assumed I am one of you.
Posted by Xie-Xijivuli 6 years ago
Xie-Xijivuli
From my first post...

" REASON IT'S WRONG No 1: A Fetus is Human"

Do you mean shouldn't have instead of should've?
Posted by popculturepooka 6 years ago
popculturepooka
Eh, Xie, you should've made the argument that a fetus is a person. No sophisticated pro-choicer will deny that a fetus is human...

I can spot some problems on both sides; but, otherwise, good debate, guys.
Posted by cactusbin 6 years ago
cactusbin
'Murder of a human is illegal in the United States. According to my opponent, a fetus should legally be considered a human. Having a miscarriage is killing a fetus, should the mother be charged with manslaughter?'

I'm not very well acquainted with laws and such, but I'm pretty sure 'manslaughter' isn't the same as 'accidental killing'.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

In essence it is.

Manslaughter: "Manslaughter is a legal term for the killing of a human being, in a manner considered by law as less culpable than murder."

culpable: "meriting condemnation or blame especially as wrong or harmful"
Posted by Kinesis 6 years ago
Kinesis
'Murder of a human is illegal in the United States. According to my opponent, a fetus should legally be considered a human. Having a miscarriage is killing a fetus, should the mother be charged with manslaughter?'

I'm not very well acquainted with laws and such, but I'm pretty sure 'manslaughter' isn't the same as 'accidental killing'.
7 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Vote Placed by kingofslash5 6 years ago
kingofslash5
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