The Instigator
Illegalcombatant
Pro (for)
Losing
2 Points
The Contender
KeytarHero
Con (against)
Winning
4 Points

Abortion in the embryonic period is not necessarily immoral

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
KeytarHero
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/9/2012 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,210 times Debate No: 21867
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (8)
Votes (1)

 

Illegalcombatant

Pro

!! Round 1 is for acceptance only, no arguments to be presented in round 1. !!

!!! Fourth round for rebuttal and closing statements, no new arguments. !!!

Definitions

Abortion is the end (termination) of a pregnancy. A low-risk surgical procedure called suction aspiration or suction curette is generally used for first trimester abortions. Medical (non-surgical) abortions using medications such as mifepristone (RU486) are available in some clinics. [1]

The embryonic period in humans begins at fertilization (penetration of the egg by the sperm) and continues until the end of the 10th week of gestation (8th week by embryonic age). [2]

If you have any problems with the debate, use the comments section so we can agree to terms before we start the debate.

!! Round 1 is for acceptance only, no arguments to be presented in round 1. !!!

Sources

[1] http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au...

[2] http://en.wikipedia.org...
KeytarHero

Con

I accept this debate.

I would just like to clarify one point. I do believe that abortions in the case of the mother's life being in immediate danger, and both mother and child cannot be saved (e.g. during ectopic pregnancy), are justified. In this case, it is a matter of triage, not abortion. Two patients are in mortal danger and only one can be saved, the one with the greater chance of survival (the mother) is saved.

So I will be arguing that killing humans in the embryonic period of development is immoral in all other cases.

As Pro is making the claim that killing human embryos is not necessarily immoral, I will await his opening argument as he bears the burden of proof.
Debate Round No. 1
Illegalcombatant

Pro

I thank Keytar hero for accepting this debate.

My first argument is made up of the following premises and conclusion.....

1) If something contains human DNA then it is human
2) Abortion in the embryonic period destroys something that is human
3) It is not necessarily immoral to destroy something that is human
C) Therefore abortion in the embryonic period is not necessarily immoral

Now onto the warrant for the premises in this argument.....

1) If something contains human DNA then it is human

Some one may think that by human I ONLY mean a thinking, talking, feeling person, this would be incorrect. By human I refer to something that possesses human DNA and thus makes it "human" but this should not be confused with “human being” as Joyce Arthur explains..
  • “Before going further, we need to clarify and interpret some anti-choice language. First, anti-choicers often confuse the adjective "human" and the noun "human being," giving them the same meaning. I am struck by the question they often put to pro-choicers: "But isn't it human?" —as if we secretly think a fetus is really a creature from outer space. If you point out that a fetus consists of human tissue and DNA, anti-choicers triumphantly claim you just conceded it's a human being. Now, a flake of dandruff from my head is human, but it is not a human being, and in this sense, neither is a zygote” [1]
So why isn’t something that is human automatically a human being ? as Joyce Arthur continues…
  • ”Human beings must, by definition, be separate individuals. They do not gain the status of human being by virtue of living inside the body of another human being—the very thought is inherently ridiculous, even offensive.” [1]
2) Abortion destroys something that is human/possesses human DNA

I doubt Con will challenge this premise as the logical negation of this premise could be used to form an even more powerful argument in support of the resolution.

3) It is not necessarily immoral to destroy something that possess human DNA

As Wikipedia explains..."The cell is the basic structural and functional unit of all known living organisms. It is the smallest unit of life that is classified as a living thing, and is often called the building block of life" [2]

We can't accept the premise that killing something that possesses human DNA and is therefore human is always immoral as this would lead to absurdities. For example every time you scratch your nose and kill off skin cells, cells which possess human DNA you have committed an immoral act, every time you kill a human sperm you have committed an immoral act.

Now maybe you think you can get around this absurdity by claiming that a zygote or blastocyst or embryo has the potential to continue development, even the potential to become a human being, but so what ? as Sam Harris explains...
  • "Perhaps you think that the crucial difference between a fly and a human blastocyst is to be found in the latter's potential to become a fully developed human being. But almost every cell in your body is a potential human being, given our recent advances in genetic engineering. Every time you scratch your nose, you have committed a Holocaust of potential human beings" [3]
Therefore abortion in the embryonic period is not necessarily immoral

Assuming that Con agrees the argument is valid, the conclusion follows with logical necessity from the premises.

Second argument in defense of abortion, Bodily rights

as Judith Jarvis Thomson argues...
  • "But now let me ask you to imagine this. You wake up in the morning and find yourself back to back in bed with an unconscious violinist. A famous unconscious violinist. He has been found to have a fatal kidney ailment, and the Society of Music Lovers has canvassed all the available medical records and found that you alone have the right blood type to help. They have therefore kidnapped you, and last night the violinist's circulatory system was plugged into yours, so that your kidneys can be used to extract poisons from his blood as well as your own. The director of the hospital now tells you, "Look, we're sorry the Society of Music Lovers did this to you--we would never have permitted it if we had known. But still, they did it, and the violinist is now plugged into you. To unplug you would be to kill him. But never mind, it's only for nine months. By then he will have recovered from his ailment, and can safely be unplugged from you." Is it morally incumbent on you to accede to this situation? No doubt it would be very nice of you if you did, a great kindness. But do you have to accede to it? What if it were not nine months, but nine years? Or longer still? What if the director of the hospital says. "Tough luck. I agree. but now you've got to stay in bed, with the violinist plugged into you, for the rest of your life. Because remember this. All persons have a right to life, and violinists are persons. Granted you have a right to decide what happens in and to your body, but a person's right to life outweighs your right to decide what happens in and to your body. So you cannot ever be unplugged from him." I imagine you would regard this as outrageous" [4]

Judith later on says...

  • "But I would stress that I am not arguing that people do not have a right to life--quite to the contrary, it seems to me that the primary control we must place on the acceptability of an account of rights is that it should turn out in that account to be a truth that all persons have a right to life. I am arguing only that having a right to life does not guarantee having either a right to be given the use of or a right to be allowed continued use of another person s body--even if one needs it for life itself. So the right to life will not serve the opponents of abortion in the very simple and clear way in which they seem to have thought it would." [4]

Joyce Arthur explains...

  • "Even if a fetus can be said to have a right to life, this does not include the right to use the body of another human being. For example, the state cannot force people to donate organs or blood, even to save someone's life. We are not obligated by law to risk our lives jumping into a river to save a drowning victim, noble as that might be. Therefore, even if a fetus has a right to life, a pregnant woman is not required to save it by loaning out her body for nine months against her will" [5]

I look forward to Cons reply.

Sources

[1] http://www.abortionaccess.info...

[2] http://en.wikipedia.org...(biology)#cite_note-Alberts2002-0

[3] http://www.goodreads.com...

[4] http://spot.colorado.edu...

[5] http://www.abortionaccess.info...
KeytarHero

Con

I would like to thank Illegalcombatant for issuing this challenge.

First, a rebuttal to Pro's syllogism.

Premise 1

Saying that the unborn is a human being, and arguing that anything with human DNA, is equivocation. You are moving from using "human" as a noun (e.g. an embryo is a human), to using it as an adjective (e.g. skin cells are human). So the argument that skin cells are human does not negate a zygote or embryo, etc., from being considered a full member of Homo sapiens which, contrary to what Joyce Arthur thinks she knows about pro-lifers, is what pro-lifers argue.

Pro has used the words of a feminist, but I will see his feminist and raise him an embryologist (an expert on human embryos). This is from the most-used textbook on embryology: "Although life is a continuous process, fertilization (which, incidentally, is not a 'moment') is a critical landmark because, under ordinary circumstances, a new genetically distinct human organism is formed when the chromosomes of the male and female pronuclei blend in the oocyte." [1] Embryologists do not consider zygotes and embryos human in the sense that a skin cell is human, but they consider them a new genetically distinct human organism.

Ms. Arthur also argues that human beings must, by definition, be separate individuals. But by whose definition? Her own? This is special pleading. I've never seen a definition of human being that requires one being completely independent. Using her reasoning, people in comas are not considered human beings and it is perfectly moral to kill someone on a coma because they are dependent on life support, despite having a good chance of coming out of it. The reality is that embryos *are* separate individuals, not in the sense that they can survive on their own but in the sense that they are a separate entity from the mother. They are only in the mother's womb because they can't yet survive in any other location.

One might wonder if pro-choicers would remain pro-choice if artificial womb technology (which is being worked on) comes to fruition and the unborn embryo could be transferred to an artificial womb. Would it then still be all right to kill a human embryo?

Premise 2

Of course, I do not take issue with this premise, other than the wording. Abortion destroys something is is of the human species, not merely "human" as a body part. My arm is a human arm, but it is not a separate human organism. The problem is that many pro-choicers confuse parts with wholes. Human embryos are separate organisms, alive because they grow and exhibit the other signs of life, such as response to stimuli and cell division, and they are human because they have human DNA and are the product of human parents. Everything reproduces after their own kind: dogs have dogs, cats have cats, and humans have humans. At no point in human development is the product of two humans "non-human" and then suddenly become human. Embryos develop themselves from within; they are a whole human organism, not like an arm or skin cell, which are parts of a human that make up the greater whole.

Premise 3

Pro-lifers do not argue that embryos are potential humans. They are potential toddlers, but actual humans. So potentiality is irrelevant. Contraceptives are not immoral, despite the fact that they prevent a sperm from fertilizing an egg, preventing a potential human from coming into existence (there is no human in existence to do wrong to). It is not immoral to kill a skin cell, even though they could potentially be used in cloning to create a human being. Killing a human embryo is wrong because you are killing an actual human being, already in existence.

Killing a human embryo is not wrong simply because it possesses human DNA. It is wrong because you are killing a human organism, a member of the species Homo sapiens, who has an inherent right to live. They have the inherent capacity for all the things that make humans valuable. If you support killing a human embryo, you must also support killing a human fetus or a newborn for the same reason, and some pro-choice philosophers, like Tooley and Singer, argue for infanticide because killing an infant is morally no different from killing a fetus.

I agree that Pro's syllogism is valid, however it is not sound. In Premise 1, he equivocates by comparing something "human" (an appendage) with something that is a human organism. Premise 3 is inconsistent because no one would argue it is moral to kill an innocent human being without cause. You must prove that an embryo is not an innocent human being to consider it moral (or at least that it is not necessarily immoral). Killing an innocent human being is immoral, therefore killing a human embryo is immoral.

Now for Pro's bodily rights argument.

On the surface, Ms. Thompson's argument appears to be a similar situation to pregnancy. However, it fails in three key areas.

First, in this analogy you are a product of violence. You are kidnapped and forced to be connected to this person. However, the vast majority of pregnancies are through a consensual act between two people. To create a human being through an act that is consensual only to kill that individual is irresponsible and barbaric.

Consider this: you come upon a machine that at the press of a button, will give you a pleasurable experience. However, there is a one in 100 chance that a baby will pop out of the machine. You press the button for the experience, but a baby does pop out. Are you now responsible for that baby you just created, even though you only wanted the pleasurable experience?

Second, you are not responsible for the situation the violinist finds himself in. It is not your fault he is dying from his kidney ailment.

Consider this scenario: You have three sons and are playing baseball with them. Your son hits a pop fly which soars into your neighbor's yard and breaks his window. You knock on your neighbor's door and apologize for the broken window. You say, "I consented to play baseball with my sons, but not to break your window. Therefore I am not responsible for the broken window." That excuse will not fly. You are still responsible and must make restitution for the broken window.

In the same way, you are responsible for a child you create through the intimate act of sexual intercourse.

Finally, most pregnant women are not bed-ridden. They can still get out and have a life. Becoming pregnant is not the end of the world that many people fear that it is.

So, Ms. Arthur is correct that one does not have an obligation to save a drowning person they happen upon, but one does have a moral obligation to save a drowning person if you pushed them into the river.

As I have demonstrated, Ms. Thompson's analogy is not an accurate reflection of pregnancy. A person's right to life does not always trump someone's right to bodily autonomy, but pregnancy is different. In pregnancy, the mother is usually responsible for the young human being there in the first place, and the human is living in the only place in the entire universe they can survive.

I appreciate Pro's thoughtful arguments, and I look forward to our next round.

[1] Ronan O'Rahilly and Fabiola Müller, Human Embryology and Teratology, 3rd edition. New York: Wiley-Liss, 2001. p. 8
Debate Round No. 2
Illegalcombatant

Pro

I thank Con for their thoughtful reply

Correction

When I went to give warrant for the 3rd premise the heading it was under reads "3) It is not necessarily immoral to destroy something that possess human DNA". Obviously this is a mistake, the heading for the warrant should be the same as the premise as first stated. So there is no confusion I say again the third premise of my argument is "3) It is not necessarily immoral to destroy something that is human ""

1) If something contains human DNA then it is human

Con off the bat says..."Saying that the unborn is a human being, and arguing that anything with human DNA, is equivocation."

I never said the unborn are human beings or to be more exact I never said that zygote or blastocyst or embryo are human beings, so how does this point even if true apply to my argument ?

Con continues..."You are moving from using "human" as a noun (e.g. an embryo is a human), to using it as an adjective (e.g. skin cells are human). So the argument that skin cells are human does not negate a zygote or embryo, etc., from being considered a full member of Homo sapiens"

I described what I mean't as saying something is human as the same as saying it possesses human DNA. Consider for example detectives investigating a crime scene, they find some drops of blood, of course the question is going to be..."is it human ? by that they mean, is the blood human blood, and in order to be human blood this is determined by examination of the DNA.

If I have trespassed on English rules of nouns and adjectives, as long as my fundamental point is still in tact Pro is free to change my wording, cause I don't see the transgression.

Con says..."Embryologists do not consider zygotes and embryos human in the sense that a skin cell is human, but they consider them a new genetically distinct human organism."

I was to ask an embryologists is human blood human ? is there answer going to be anything other than yes ? They are not going to say its not human now are they.

2) Abortion in the embryonic period destroys something that is human

Con says..."Abortion destroys something is is of the human species, not merely "human" as a body part."

I have been quite clear what I mean by saying something is human. As such abortion does destroy something human in the sense I have explained it.

I can grant that abortion destroys a human organism and therefore destroys something classified as homo sapien, but of course its still "human" in the sense I explained it. As Wikipeida explains...
  • "In biology, a species is one of the basic units of biological classification and a taxonomic rank. 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 similarity of DNA, morphology or ecological niche" [1]
3) It is not necessarily immoral to destroy something that is human

Con says..."Ms. Arthur also argues that human beings must, by definition, be separate individuals. But by whose definition? Her own?"

Well lets look at some of the reasons that human beings must be separate inviduals as Joyce explains...
  • "Further, the wide variety of laws throughout the world were written specifically to protect born human beings and their property. There is virtually no legal precedent for applying such laws to fetuses. Even when abortion was illegal, it had a lesser punishment than for murder, and was often just a misdemeanor. The anti-choice view of fetuses as human beings is therefore a novel and peculiar one, with little historical or legal precedent to back it up.
  • "Fetuses are uniquely different from born human beings in major ways, which casts doubt on the claim that they can be classified as human beings. The most fundamental difference is that a fetus is totally dependent on a woman's body to survive. Anti-choicers might argue that born human beings can be entirely dependent on other people too, but the crucial difference is that they are not dependent on one, specific person to the exclusion of all others. Anybody can take care of a newborn infant (or disabled person), but only that pregnant woman can nurture her fetus. She can't hire someone else to do it."
  • "Another key difference is that a fetus doesn't just depend on a woman's body for survival, it actually resides inside her body. Human beings must, by definition, be separate individuals" [2]

Con says..."Pro-lifers do not argue that embryos are potential humans. They are potential toddlers, but actual humans. So potentiality is irrelevant."

In the sense that I defined what it means to say something is human, I already granted that embryos are human.

Con says..."Killing a human embryo is wrong because you are killing an actual human being, already in existence."

I don't grant that just because something is human it must mean its a human being, as such Pro will have to justify this claim.

Con says..."Killing a human embryo is not wrong simply because it possesses human DNA. It is wrong because you are killing a human organism, a member of the species Homo sapiens, who has an inherent right to live"

How does being classified as homo sapiens get something an inherent right to life ?

Con says..."If you support killing a human embryo, you must also support killing a human fetus or a newborn for the same reason,"

Oh really ? Even if we grant the right to life for children, it doesn't then follow that an embryo gets the same right too.

Con has not made the case that the right to life extends to the point of overriding a persons bodily rights. As such I reject the claim that to support/allow abortion means you must support/allow children to be killed.

C) Therefore abortion in the embryonic period is not necessarily immoral

Second argument in defense of abortion, Bodily rights

Con says..."First, in this analogy you are a product of violence. You are kidnapped and forced to be connected to this person. However, the vast majority of pregnancies are through a consensual act between two people. To create a human being through an act that is consensual only to kill that individual is irresponsible and barbaric."

Is this a concession from Con that abortion is morally permissible in the case of rape ?

Con says.."In the same way, you are responsible for a child you create through the intimate act of sexual intercourse."

How does consent to sexual intercourse rule out a woman's bodily right ? This is never justified, only implied.

I think Cliff Stamp puts it well where he argues...
  • "But here is the critical point here, KeytarHero has, in his defense of the rights of the unborn, completely ignored the rights of the mother and again this is critical to establishing the burden of proof for rights are meaningless when considered in isolation. Simply consider the following thought experiment:"
  • Right now KeytarHero is likely spending resources for his own personal benefit, however at the same time 1 out of 5 children in Africa is starving while Indonesia has over 60% of the total number of wasting children in the world. The total numbers are staggering, each year 15 million children die due to lack of food and then of course there are all the other issues such as the high rates of child mortality due to malaria and HIV/AIDS in Africa. Now the question to be raised here is why is KeytarHero not obligated to allocate his resources to save them, especially when things like a mosquito net costs less than a dollar? If he can refute this with "they are my resources I can do what I want with them – even if my choices cause another person to die" (these children are persons by any definition) then how can it be so trivially argued that a mother can not claim a right to their own person resources, i.e., their body? [3]

I look forward to Cons reply
KeytarHero

Con

I thank Pro for their response and giving this important topic the weight that it deserves.

Premise 1

The question, what is the unborn, is paramount in the topic of abortion because if the unborn is not human then no justification for abortion is necessary, but if the unborn is human then no justification for abortion is sufficient.

As I have shown in my first round, the unborn are human beings (in other words, members of the species Homo sapiens). This is true from fertilization, so it includes embryos/zygotes/blastocysts.

I am still unclear as to Pro's argument. He says he did not indicate the unborn are human beings, but he has mentioned they are human and have human DNA. So my question is what is the difference between being a human being and being human? Why is it wrong to killer a toddler because it's human, but not to kill an embryo because it's human?

As I have already indicated, embryos and skin cells are different. Skin cells are parts of a human being, whereas an embryo is a full, unique human being, developing itself from within. So while skin cells may be human, and embryos may be human, so are toddlers human. Embryos are human in the same way toddlers are, not in the same way skin cells are. My arm is a human arm, but it is not a separate human being like a zygote is. My arm is not human in the sense that it is a separate organism.

This also applies to the analogy of the blood. Blood is a part of humans, but blood is not a human being. Blood contains human DNA, but it is only human in the same sense that my arm is human. My arm may be human, but I am a full human being. Zygotes and embryos are full human beings, developing by an internal process to become more developed as human beings. Pro and I were once both embryos, and that embryo was the same fundamental human that we exist as today.

Regarding the embryologists, no, of course they would not say human blood wasn't human. But this is irrelevant. Embryologists consistently agree without significant controversy that a new, unique human being exists at fertilization.

Premise 2

Yes, abortion destroys something that is "human," but it also destroys a unique member of humanity, a full human being, which should be protected for the same reason that I should be protected: we are both human beings and it is prima facie wrong to kill an innocent human being.

Pro says that he can grant that abortion destroys a human organism and therefore kills something classified as Homo sapiens, but that's exactly my argument. It is wrong to kill an innocent member of humanity. Simply saying they are "human" as a body part is human is equivocation. Pro is not using the word "human" in the same sense. Equivocation is defined as "the misleading use of a term with more than one meaning or sense (by glossing over which meaning is intended at a particular time)." [1] Embryos are not "human" in the same sense that an arm is "human." An embryo is a living human organism. An arm is a part of a human's body.

Premise 3

Joyce Arthur is only one voice of many. Pro has given no reason why her definition of "human being" should be accepted.

Regarding what Arthur has said, the laws were not only specifically written to protect born human beings. Abortion is illegal in other countries, so obviously they have laws to protect the unborn. Additionally, in our country people often point to the Fourteenth Amendment to "prove" the unborn should not be considered persons, but this argument fails for two reasons: One, the men who wrote the Constitution were men, and they can be wrong. After all, the only reason women and blacks can vote is because an Amendment to the Constitution had to be ratified. Second, the Fourteenth Amendment says one must be born in the United States to be a citizen. Nothing more, nothing less. If it is wrong and illegal to kill illegal immigrants, then there is no reason why the unborn shouldn't also be protected in this country.

Regarding Arthur's second point, there are no many major differences between the born and unborn. Being dependent on one for your survival is not a major difference between being dependent on many for your survival. Though it is true that the unborn cannot currently be cared for by another (although artificial womb technology is being developed), consider this scenario:

You are at a public swimming pool and you are the last to leave. Before you can exit, you hear a splash from the deep end of the pool. Looking down into the water you see that a two-year-old child has fallen in and is now drowning. This child is now completely dependent on you for its survival. Do you have a responsibility to save that child or are you morally justified in just walking away?

Regarding her third point, residing inside the woman's body is also not a major change. If I can move from the living room into my bedroom and remain the same person I was with the same rights, how does an 8" journey down the birth canal suddenly ascribe rights to the previously unborn individual?

I have already justified how an embryo is a human being, and Pro even said he can admit that. I fail to see the issue here. As I have stated, if the embryo is a human being, then no justification for abortion is sufficient. I have shown from scientific evidence that the unborn is a human being and from philosophical reasoning why the unborn's right to life should be protected.

Pro asserts that if we grant the right to life for children, it doesn't follow that an embryo gets the same right. He has not, however, shown why. Why is it wrong to kill a newborn but not wrong to kill that same newborn when she was an embryo, six months earlier?

Argument Two

I have not conceded that abortion is morally permissible in the case of rape, just that in the vast majority of cases the child is there through a consensual act. Only 1% of abortions are done because of rape. [2]

Rape is a horrible crime, one that should never be done to anyone. It's a crime in and of itself that most rapists are not punished. I'm even in favor of harsher punishment for rapists. However, why should the child pay with his life for the crimes of his father? The rapist should be punished, not the child. And while some may argue that forcing the women to continue the pregnancy would be "punishment," compounding one act of violence with another (rape compounded with abortion) does not make the pain of the rape go away.

Even some abortionists recognize that abortion is not a solution for a rape victim. Abortion doctor Warren Hern has written the following: “Victims of sexual abuse and rape deserve special care. However, the abortion counselor should recognize that the emotional trauma experienced by the rape or incest victim cannot be treated adequately, if at all, in the abortion clinic setting. All rape and incest victims, as well as victims of physical abuse, should be referred for appropriate psychological counseling and support.” [3]

Notice how Pro has not responded to my analogies even though I directly responded to his. They clearly show why one must take responsibility for a child conceived through sex, so I push those analogies into the next round.

Pro's final argument is irrelevant. My arguments opposing abortion have nothing to do with the other sufferings in the world, sad as they are. My arguments against abortion are not invalidated whether or not I decide to help with other situations in the world. Pro should respond to my arguments. He has committed the irrelevant conclusion fallacy (and by the way, I do give money to organizations that help feed starving children).

I have not ignored the rights of the mother. I believe, as do all pro-lifers, that the unborn's life is just as valuable as any born human's rights. I have shown that embryos have a right to life and deserve protection, and Pro has not refuted this.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[2] http://www.guttmacher.org...
[3] Hern, Dr. Warren, Abortion Practice, p. 84
Debate Round No. 3
Illegalcombatant

Pro

I thank Con for their reply

1) If something contains human DNA then it is human
2) Abortion in the embryonic period destroys something that is human
3) It is not necessarily immoral to destroy something that is human
C) Therefore abortion in the embryonic period is not necessarily immoral

1) If something contains human DNA then it is human

I am sick of Con trying to change what I mean when I say something is "human". For example Con says..."Blood is a part of humans, but blood is not a human being. Blood contains human DNA, but it is only human in the same sense that my arm is human. My arm may be human, but I am a full human being."

As if I ever said or implied that something is human because its "part" of a human. Con repeats this kind of tactic many times. Dis-regard this non-sense.

Con then says..."Regarding the embryologists, no, of course they would not say human blood wasn't human. But this is irrelevant."

My entire criteria for what counts as something to be called "human" is the DNA identifier. You have buggered me around for all this time yet you acknowledge that an embryologist would identify human blood as human based on DNA then say..........oh its irrelevant.

2) Abortion in the embryonic period destroys something that is human

Con says..."Yes, abortion destroys something that is "human,"

Damm right it does, and if you had just admitted that at the start we wouldn't of had to spend something like a third of this debate on, well what do you mean when you say something is "human" ?

3) It is not necessarily immoral to destroy something that is human

"I have already justified how an embryo is a human being, and Pro even said he can admit that."

Only in the sense that human being in your view equates to homo sapien.

Con says..."Pro says that he can grant that abortion destroys a human organism and therefore kills something classified as Homo sapiens, but that's exactly my argument. It is wrong to kill an innocent member of humanity. Simply saying they are "human" as a body part is human is equivocation."

Everyone knows what I mean by "human". Con never explained how being classfied as "homo sapien" gets something an inherent right to life, he just asserts it. Member of humanity in Cons view just means member of the species homo sapien.

Innocence doesn't apply here within the context of dealing with free moral agents making decisions, as no decisions are being made by a zygote or embryos.

Con says..."Why is it wrong to killer a toddler because it's human, but not to kill an embryo because it's human?"

I never argued that its wrong kill something because its "human".

Con says..."Pro asserts that if we grant the right to life for children, it doesn't follow that an embryo gets the same right. He has not, however, shown why"

Its a non sequitur.....

1) To kill a child is immoral
C) Therefore to kill an embryo is immoral

Also Moral equivalence is not granted here, if Con wants to argue that to kill a toddler is morally the same as killing an embryo then he would of had to prove that, he doesn't get the premise that to kill a toddler is morally equivalent to killing an embryo by default.

Also I think we have a defeater against this whole "there is no majior difference, therefore they are morally equivalent" claim.

Take for example Sam kills Ben, An immoral act ? I will grant that if you want.

Now take that exact example except the ONLY DIFFERENCE is that Ben broke into Sams house. Remember everything is the same, same world, same neighbor, same weather, what religion these people believed in, whether they donated to charity, there is absolute no difference what so ever in the two scenarios except that Ben broke into Sams house.

Yet everyone, including Con recognizes even one change in the variables means that the two situations may not be morally equivalent.

So Con wants to claim that there is no majior difference between killing a child and say an zygote or embyro ?. A child is a thinking, feeling, self aware, with a desire to live and isn't dependent on one sole person to be forced against their will to carry them inside their body.

None of these things apply to an zygote or embryo.

As such cause there is a "major difference", the assumption of moral equivalence is defeated on the basis that different situations are not necessarily morally the same.

Con says..."However, why should the child pay with his life for the crimes of his father? "

Misleading, Con could of said embryo, but says child to take advantage that the word "child" can refer to different things. Its not about punishment for the embryo, its if a prenant woman should be forced against her will to carry or if she can choose not too.

Con says about his analogies..."They clearly show why one must take responsibility for a child conceived through sex, "

I don't think he justifed how consent to sex means you forfeit bodily rights. Take for example I walk through a bad neighbor hood, now I know its a bad neighbor hood, and I am open to the charge of acting unwisely, but does this mean I have lost my bodily right not to be mugged & raped cause I consented to walking there ? No.

Con wants me to respond to their analogies, for starters there is quite a few, I can't address them all, so I'll take the baseball one.

IF this is an apt analogy this means every women who did not mean to get pregnant should not only be given the choice of abortion, but should get an abortion. In both cases the person takes responsibility for restoring things as they were before, in the case of the window breaker, to get that window fixed, in case of pregnancy to get unpregnant.

So yes Con, I agree in both cases people should accept responsibility, the woman should accept its her responsibility to get an abortion, and of course everyone should help or at least not go out of their way when these people pursue these responsibilities.

Of course Con does not really mean take "responsibility" in this sense, what Con really means is punishment. The woman needs to take responsibility (accept her punishment), and what is her punishment ? to be forced against her will to continue pregnancy.

As such it is not necessarily immoral too destroy something that is human.

C) Therefore abortion in the embryonic period is not necessarily immoral

Second argument in defense of abortion, Bodily rights


Con says..."Pro's final argument is irrelevant. My arguments opposing abortion have nothing to do with the other sufferings in the world, sad as they are."

Oh, but your argument is about morality and rights so it is quite relevant as a refutation of your argument and advances mine.

The point here is not about charging Con with some wrong doing, in fact its quite the opposite, its that Con is not being charged with immorality, even though their decisions will make the difference as to whether children, will live or die, never the less Cons bodily rights, just the mere rights to not be forced to hand over wealth/possessions justifies him.

Now some one may say the the two situations are not morally equal, I would reply, you are exactly right. You see the pregnant woman at least has the excuse in the the embryonic period to say her decision won't change whether a child lives or die (I mean real child not an embyro here) even more so, its her body that's on the line. Con can't even have that as an excuse, as they could give up all there wealth and possessions and not put there body on the line at all, unlike a pregnant women.

If Con is not charged with immorality having lesser excuses, then how less so the pregnant women ?. As such abortion in the embyronic period is not necessarily immoral.

Vote Pro

I thank Con for the debate.
KeytarHero

Con

I thank Pro again for this thought-provoking debate. As this is our last round, I will not present any new arguments. I will simply respond to the remaining arguments from Pro.

Premise 1

I have tried several times to understand what Pro is getting at when he claims that blood, skin cells, etc. is human. He claims that we shouldn't kill embryos because they're human like blood is human, but then says that embryos are technically human beings. So they're not human in the same way that blood is human. Pro has been arguing in circles. It is immoral to kill embryos because they are very young humans, innocent members of species Homo sapiens, with the inherent capacity to perform all the things that make humans valuable (they just haven't developed them yet).

Blood having DNA is irrelevant when it comes to the morality of killing a human being, even an embryo, which is a whole human being directing its own development from within. Pro has consistently confused parts with wholes. A skin cell dying is not a tragedy because an organism hasn't been killed, it has only lost a part of its body that it no longer needs. Seeing blood on the ground is a tragedy, but not simply because there's blood on the ground. Because we know that the human who lost that blood is either either severely injured or dead.

Premise 2

Abortion destroys something that is human, sure, but it destroys a whole human entity. This is why abortion is immoral. Saying that an embryo is human in the same way a skin cell is human is equivocation. Skin cells are human because they're part of the human body. An embryo is human because it is a member of humanity, a human being. To say an embryo is no different from a skin because both are "human" is to use the term "human" in a misleading fashion.

Premise 3

Innocence does matter, because they have committed no wrong, certainly none that justifies taking their life. They may not have developed the capacity for free will yet, but they have the inherent capacity for it and will develop it as any other human does, when they develop enough (which even goes far beyond the infant stage, so if the capacity for free will is necessary for a right to life, then infants do not have a right to life and you must support infanticide if you support abortion).

Pro has argued that it's okay to kill embryos because they are human and it's not necessarily immoral to kill something that is human. Yet he never explained why it's not okay to kill toddlers, even though they are human. Since Pro never made this distinction (which I asked him to do in the previous round), Pro cannot justify killing an embryo even though it is "human."

Embryos having a right to life is not a non sequitur.

1) Embryos are innocent biological members of humanity
2) Children are innocent biological members of humanity
3) It is prima facie wrong to kill an innocent member of humanity
4) Therefore it is wrong to kill embryos and children

I don't see how Pro can say that Sam killing Ben is not an immoral act. If he believes that it's never wrong to take an innocent life, then nothing will convince him. All I can say is I hope, for his friends' sake, that no one ever tries to kill or rape them. I'd hate to be one of his friends if that were the case.

The difference between the two scenarios is that Ben broke into Sam's house, an act of violence and Sam was defending himself. Pregnancy is different. The embryo is not violently attacking the mother. In fact, in the vast majority of cases the embryo has been conceived through a consensual act. In Pro's scenario, it's more like Sam invited Ben into his house, then claimed that he broke in and killed him.

While children may be thinking, felling, self-aware, with a desire to live, this is not true of infants. So again, Pro must either oppose abortion or support infanticide. However, even the embryo is part of a sentient species and has the inherent capacity to perform these functions. They just haven't developed them yet. Pro's argument could also be used to support killing a sleeping person or a person in a reversible coma, which most people would believe are immoral acts. Additionally, I already responded to Pro's objection about being dependent on only one person, in the analogy of the swimming pool. Pro has chosen not to respond as it clearly shows that being dependent on one person does not make one non-valuable. Pro would still have a moral obligation to help that child, despite being the only person in the entire world it is depending on for its survival, even if it doesn't know it. As such, I extend my argument.

Argument 2

There is precedent for using the word "child." A pregnant woman is said to be "with child." I did not mean to use an emotional term, just to show that the human entity within the woman's womb is the rapist's child and a child should not be punished for the crimes of her father. Pro has side-stepped my argument. A child conceived in rape is still a human being. If Pro would not support killing a two-year-old child conceived in rape, then he can't support killing an embryo conceived in rape for the same reason.

In Pro's example, you may not have "consented" to being mugged and raped, but you must be open to the possibility of it. You would be foolish to walk through a bad neighborhood and expect nothing bad to happen, just like someone would be foolish to have unprotected sex and not expect to become pregnant. But this is still a different scenario because in abortion, we're talking about killing an innocent human being. There are two lives at stake, not just the mother's.

Pro never responded to the baby machine analogy, so again I extend my arguments. If you push a button for a pleasurable experience but a baby pops out, you are responsible to care for that baby. If you have sex for the pleasurable experience but conceive a child (or human embryo, if you prefer), you are responsible for caring for that young human.

An abortion does not make a woman "un-pregnant." Her body has still gone through changes to prepare itself for pregnancy. At any rate, an act of violence is not taking responsibility for an action. Pro's response to the baseball analogy only works if I knocked down my neighbor's wall that the window is in so that he wouldn't notice the broken window. That's not taking responsibility, and it's not moral for me to do so.

Claiming that I'm trying to punish the mother is an ad hominem attack, and the arguments should be ignored.

My argument is about morality and rights, but Pro has gone off on a red herring talking about the suffering of other people. If you want to talk about what needs to be done to feed starving children, that's another discussion entirely. The fact of other suffering people does not negate my arguments opposing abortion.

Pro is merely asserting that an embryo is not a child (and I have shown why it is). He gave no actual reasons not to consider an embryo a human child. Zygote, embryo, fetus, are merely stages of development like infant, toddler, adolescent. While an embryo may not have the present ability to perform these functions that Pro believes makes humans valuable, then do have the inherent capacity to fulfill these functions once they develop enough. And by Pro's definition, infants are not children.

I have shown why abortion in the embryonic period is immoral. You are killing an innocent human being with the inherent capacity to fulfill all the functions that make humans valuable. Please vote Con.
Debate Round No. 4
8 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Posted by KeytarHero 4 years ago
KeytarHero
WriterDave, would you be open to a debate on this topic? I'd be interested to know what the compelling rebuttals to my arguments are.
Posted by KeytarHero 4 years ago
KeytarHero
I understand, and I don't mean to start up another debate. It was really more for clarification, then anything else. I just want to make sure I'm not trying to create a strawman argument against you. I will probably just bring it up in the debate and you can respond to it there.
Posted by Illegalcombatant 4 years ago
Illegalcombatant
As far as what it means to identify something as "human" I can only repeat what I have said in the debate. If its got human DNA then its identified as "human". Maybe I need to read up a bit more on human Dna, I dunno, see this is what happens when your dna knowledge is based on shows like CSI eh ?

As a general rule I don't do arguments in the comments section, sometimes its like doing another whole debate just in the comments section and I don't want to do that, one is enough for me. As such I can't really address your argumentative points.
Posted by KeytarHero 4 years ago
KeytarHero
Or do you believe that a toddler being human is irrelevant and it has a right to life for some other reason?
Posted by KeytarHero 4 years ago
KeytarHero
I'm still not entirely sure what you're trying to argue, as far as embryos being "human." So that I can avoid misrepresenting your argument, perhaps you can amplify on that a little. Toddlers are human, as are embryos. How is saying it's wrong to kill a toddler because it's human different from saying it's wrong to kill an embryo because it's human? Do you agree with Joyce Arthur that the only thing that prevents an embryo from being considered a human being is its state of complete dependence on the mother, or are there other reasons?
Posted by KeytarHero 4 years ago
KeytarHero
Understood. I just clarified one thing, in case it comes up later.
Posted by Illegalcombatant 4 years ago
Illegalcombatant
Coolio, just no arguments in the first round, just acceptance.
Posted by KeytarHero 4 years ago
KeytarHero
Sure, I'll debate this with you. :)
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by WriterDave 4 years ago
WriterDave
IllegalcombatantKeytarHeroTied
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Total points awarded:24 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro relied heavily on the Thompson argument, an argument by analogy, and it does not seem that he adequately addressed Con's counter-analogies. Also, by phrasing the first premise the way he did, Pro unfortunately left the door open for Con to play the semantic game he did. There are compelling rebuttals to all of Con's arguments, but Pro did not provide them here.