The Instigator
KeytarHero
Pro (for)
Winning
21 Points
The Contender
Magicr
Con (against)
Losing
9 Points

Abortion is Generally Immoral

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 7 votes the winner is...
KeytarHero
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/27/2012 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,346 times Debate No: 24885
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (33)
Votes (7)

 

KeytarHero

Pro

I would like to debate the proposition that abortion is generally immoral.

To start with, I do believe that life-saving abortion are morally justified as long as the unborn child is not yet viable. This is because in rare cases (such as ectopic pregnancies), the child's and mother's life are both in danger. If you do nothing, both will die. It is better to lose one life than two.

I will be arguing that abortions in all other cases are immoral.

First round for acceptance/clarification.
Second round for opening arguments/rebuttals.
Third round for rebuttals.
Fourth round for rebuttals/closing statements.
Magicr

Con

I accept this debate.

Definitions:

Abortion- the removal of an embryoor fetus from the uterus in order to end a pregnancy [1].

Moral- of, pertaining to, or concerned with the principles or rules of right conduct or the distinction between right and wrong; ethical [2].

http://dictionary.reference.com...

BoP

In this debate, the BoP is shared, however my opponent bears the majority of it.

"I will be arguing that abortions in all other cases are immoral."

My opponent must prove that abortion is immoral except in the case that the life of the mother is endanger and the fetus is not viable. All I must do is to show that abortion can be moral in more cases than this. If I can do this, I will have fulfilled my BoP.

Some additional things I would like to add:

1. No semantics
2. No new arguments in the last round

I wish my opponent luck and look forward to this debate.
Debate Round No. 1
KeytarHero

Pro

I wish to thank Con for taking up this debate, and generally agree with the definitions Con provided. The only difference being that abortion is not simply the removal of the embryo or fetus, but is most often the act of killing the embryo or fetus in order to remove it from the uterus (obvious exceptions to this are abortifacients like RU-486).

I will be defending the Substance View, as given by Francis Beckwith. [1]

1. The unborn entity, from fertilization [2], is a full-fledged member of the human community.
2. It is prima facie morally wrong to kill any member of that community.
3. Every successful abortion kills an unborn entity, a full-fledged member of the human community.
4. Therefore, every successful abortion is prima facie morally wrong. [3]

Premise 1

Embryologists, who are the experts in the field, consistently agree that life begins at fertilization. For example, from the most-used textbook on embryology, the authors note: "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." [4]

Another embryologist has written the following: "Human development begins at fertilization, the process during which a male gamete or sperm unites with a female gamete or oocyte (ovum) to form a single cell called a zygote. This highly specialized, totipotent cell marked the beginning of each of us as a unique individual." [5]

On top of that, the more sophisticated pro-choice philosophers, like Judith Jarvis Thompson (who came up with the famous analogy of the violinist), and Peter Singer, accept the full humanity of the preborn. Peter Singer has noted, “It is possible to give ‘human being’ a precise meaning. We can use it as equivalent to ‘member of the species Homo Sapiens’. Whether a being is a member of a given species is something that can be determined scientifically, by an examination of the nature of the chromosomes in the cells of living organisms. In this sense there is no doubt that from the first moments of its existence an embryo conceived from human sperm and eggs is a human being.” [6]

Additionally, pro-choice philosopher David Boonin writes: "Perhaps the most straightforward relation between you and me on the one hand and every human fetus on the other is this: All are living members of the same species, homo sapiens. A human fetus after all is simply a human being at a very early stage in his or her development." [7]

It's simply common sense. We know the preborn are alive because they grow. Non-living and dead things don't grow. They also exhibit the other signs of life, such as metabolism and cell division. The preborn have human DNA, and they are the product of human parents. Creatures reproduce after their own kind; dogs have dogs, cats have cats, and humans have humans. At no point in human development is a member of humanity a "non-human."

This is also different from saying that a hair follicle has human DNA, so it is wrong to pluck them out. Zygotes/embryos/fetuses are unique individual humans, developing from within, made up of all the individual parts. A hair follicle must stay plugged in to the parent organism to function. However, the parent organism can still function even if he/she loses parts of their body. The zygote/embryo/fetus is a full human organism made up of individual parts of which it develops from within, not constructed like a car.

The pro-life position is that life begins at fertilization, which is supported by science. The pro-choice position places "human life" at certain arbitrary points which change from human to human. The pro-life position is the only consistent one.

Premise 2

When I say the preborn are innocent human beings, I am not talking "spiritually" innocent, but physically innocent. They have committed no crime, and certainly not anything worthy of being killed for it. The only thing they have done is exist, and in the vast majority of cases it was through a consensual action of two people. If two people engage in a consensual act that results in the creation of a new, needy human life, they bear a responsibility to care for that life.


I say that it is prima facie morally wrong to kill an unborn member of humanity because not all killing is wrong. The Substance View entails that we are the same substance that was in our mother's womb. You didn't come from an embryo, you once were an embryo. As such, if you are the same substance outside the womb as you were inside the womb, then if a morally justifiable reason is needed to kill you now, a morally justifiable reason was needed to kill you inside the womb. There is simply no difference between a human in utero and a human post utero that would justify killing one for any reason but not the other.

Conclusion

Every abortion takes the life of a new, unique, living member of humanity, which has an intrinsic value just based on being human. Abortions take the life of an innocent, unique human being and is therefore immoral.


My contention is that because the preborn are biological members of humanity, and killing an innocent member of humanity is prima facie wrong, then killing them through the act of abortion is immoral. If Con is to win this debate, he must show why the preborn are not members of humanity. For if they are not human, then no justification for abortion is necessary. But if they are human, then no justification for abortion is sufficient.

Thank you for reading and I look forward to Con's response.

[1] Francis J. Beckwith, Defending Life: A Moral and Legal Case Against Abortion Choice, (Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, New York, 2007), p. xii.
[2] Beckwith argues from the "moment of conception." I have changed this to fertilization. Conception is not actually a "moment," and the process of bringing a human into existence occurs sometime during the fertilization process, even though the exact point has not yet been agreed upon (Beckwith also mentions this later in his book). So I have substituted fertilization because I feel it's slightly more accurate.
[3] It should be noted that if the Substance View succeeds, then even unsuccessful abortions are immoral since it is wrong to even attempt to take someone's life, even if the actual outcome was less than was intended (or if no harm actually arose).
[4] Ronan O'Rahilly and Fabiola Müller, Human Embryology and Teratology, 3rd edition. New York: Wiley-Liss, 2001. p. 8.
[5] Keith L. Moore, The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology, 7th edition, Philadelphia, PA: Saunders, 2003. p. 16.
[6] Peter Singer,Practical Ethics, 2nd ed. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993), 85-86.
[7] David Boonin, A Defense of Abortion. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2003) 20.
Magicr

Con

Introduction

In this round I will dismember Pro's case. He has offered three premises and from those he has drawn a conclusion. If any of the statements falls, the entire argument falls. I will examine each premise, and by refuting them, will refute the conclusion. Even if I am not able to successfully refute all three, as long as I can refute one, the resolution is negated.

P1: The unborn entity, from fertilization is a full-fledged member of the human community.

There are fundamental differences between an unborn human organism and a full-fledged human being. One main difference is that for a long period of time, a fetus is not viable outside the womb of the mother.

This point at which the fetus is viable is generally at 28 weeks (7 months), but can be as early as 24 weeks [1]. Even if we look at the lower number, this is two-thirds of the way through the pregnancy. The percentage of abortions that occur after 21 weeks is 1.5%. 88% of abortions take place in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy [2].

Obviously, the vast majority of the time, abortions are conducted on an organism that is not viable outside the womb.

Now, why is this whole viability thing important? Because my opponent is arguing that unborn human organisms are full-fledged humans. His argument does not justify a non-viable fetus as a full-fledged human.

I will now specifically refute some of his arguments.

"Embryologists, who are the experts in the field, consistently agree that life begins at fertilization."

Life, yes. Full-fledged human life, no.

"'a new genetically distinct human organism is formed when the chromosomes of the male and female pronuclei blend in the oocyte.""

A human organism. Not a full-fledged human being.

"'Human development begins at fertilization....This highly specialized, totipotent cell marked the beginning of each of us as a unique individual.'"

The process begins here, but this does not warrant the claim of full-fledged humanhood. A few analogies:

A seed is not a plant. An egg is not a chicken. A fetus is not a human.

As far as the Singer quote, we can categorize a fetus as a member of our species rather than of another species, but I disagree with Singer on whether an embryo is a human being.

The same applies to Boonin. A fetus can be classified as a homo sapien, but that does not make it a full-fledged human.

"We know the preborn are alive because they grow."

The preborn are alive. So are bacteria and grass. The preborn are not examples of full-fledged human life.

"At no point in human development is a member of humanity a 'non-human.'"

But it is not fully a human being. It is a human being in development.

"The pro-life position is that life begins at fertilization, which is supported by science. The pro-choice position places 'human life at certain arbitrary points which change from human to human."

Life begins before fertilization: The sperm and the egg are both alive. Full-fledged human life, however, does not begin at fertilization. This is not supported by science. My position is that there is not a full-fledged human being until birth. This is also how society recognizes the beginning of human life.

The president of the United States must be a natural born citizen, not have been conceived in the United States. We do not allow a pregnant person to drive in the carpool lane on a freeway.

The premise is negated.

P2: It is prima facie morally wrong to kill any member of that community

I have proven that a fetus is not a full-fledged member of that community. Because of this, abortion is not the killing of a human being, it is the killing of the beginnings of a human.

"If two people engage in a consensual act that results in the creation of a new, needy human life, they bear a responsibility to care for that life."

A pregnancy is not always the result of a consensual act. My opponent did not challenge my statement on the BoPs, and by doing so, he accepted that he must prove that all abortions, other than in cases where the life of the mother is in danger and the fetus is not yet viable, are immoral. Therefore, we are not only concerning ourselves with pregnancies as a result of consensual sex, but also pregnancies resulting from rape.

It is wrong to force a woman who has been raped to suffer the emotional trauma of carrying the product from that horrifying experience for 9 months. This immorality can be justified through the following:

P1: Forcing suffering is immoral.
P2: Forcing a woman to carry out a pregnancy that is the product of rape is emotional suffering.

Therefore, this is immoral.

If a fetus was considered a human being, then we would have to weigh the immorality of the woman's suffering with the immorality of the killing of a human, but I have shown that abortion is not the killing of a full-fledged human.

Therefore, it would be immoral to deny a raped woman an abortion.

"The Substance View entails that we are the same substance that was in our mother's womb. You didn't come from an embryo, you once were an embryo."

Is an egg a chicken?

P3: Every successful abortion kills an unborn entity, a full fledged member of the human community

My opponent himself can refute this point. He said at the beginning of R2 that abortion is most often the act of killing the embryo or fetus in order to remove it, but not always. Therefore, every successful abortion does not kill the unborn entity. It may just remove it, and because it is not viable outside the womb, the fetus dies. As for the second part of this premise, I already refuted that.

Conclusion

In this round I refuted Pros' premises and therefore his conclusion.

A quick review:

1. Zygotes, embryos, and fetuses are not full-fledged humans, just as eggs are not chickens.

2. There are cases when abortion is moral.

3. Abortion does not kill a full fledged human.

4. Therefore, abortion is not prima facie morally wrong.

Additionally, I provided an example of a case where denying abortion would be immoral, so in the case of rape, abortion can be moral. In doing so, I fulfilled my BoP.

The resolution is negated.

I look forward to my opponent's response.

Sources:

[1]- http://en.wikipedia.org...

[2]- http://www.guttmacher.org...



Debate Round No. 2
KeytarHero

Pro

I wish to thank Con for his time in debating this issue with me.

Con claims he has dimantled my case and refuted my argument, but this simply isn't true. In fact, if he wishes to show that unborn humans are not full-fledged members of the human community, he has gone about it completely wrong.

Premise 1

Con has not offered any reasons to believe that viability is the appropriate measure of considering someone a full-fledged human. In fact, viability is a moving target. Viability used to be at 28 or 29 weeks, but is now generally considered to be at 24 weeks [1], although babies have been born as early as 21 weeks and still survived [2]. This means that you would have to consider an unborn human at 24 weeks (or possibly 21 weeks) a full-fledged member of humanity now, but 50 years ago the unborn at 24 weeks' gestation was not a full-fledged member of humanity. Obviously this makes no sense.

His claim that my argument does not justify a non-viable fetus as a full-fledged human is ridiculous. My argument shows that we are full-fledged humans from fertilization, and his argument has not cast doubt on this in slightest.

Regarding the embryologists, they do, indeed, consider the unborn to be full-fledged human life, as illustrated by my previous argument. His attempt to nit-pick the quotes by embryologists does nothing to undermine my case. From fertilization, the unborn are full-fledged members of the species Homo Sapiens.

I'll offer a couple more.

"[The zygote], formed by the union of an oocyte and a sperm, is the beginning of a new human being." [3]

"We talk of human development not because a jumble of cells, which is perhaps initially atypical, gradually turns more and more into a human, but rather because the human being develops from a uniquely human cell. There is no state in human development prior to which one could claim that a being exists with not-yet-human individuality. On the basis of anatomical studies, we know today that no developmental phase exists that constitutes a transition from the not-yet-human to the human." [4]

There is no doubt that scientifically, the unborn from fertilization are full-fledged humans in a biological sense. If Con means they are not full-fledged humans in a morally relevant sense, he has not supported that contention, either. I have shown why viability fails to offer that distinction. In fact, pro-choice philosophers like Peter Singer support infanticide because of the simple fact that there is no morally relevant difference between an embryo/fetus and a newborn.

Additionally, Con's analogies regarding the seed and egg fail. Saying an egg is not a chicken is like saying a womb is not a human. Of course it's not, but it's a part of the human. The womb contains the growing/developing human embryo, just as a chicken egg contains a growing/developing chicken embryo.

Furthermore, a seed may not be a plant, but it is a developing plant, just as an embryo is a developing human (but still a human). In fact, human development doesn't stop after birth. So simply being in development does not mean a full-fledged human isn't present. Con would say that seed:plant as embryo:human, but this is a false analogy. It is more accurate to say that seed:plant as embryo:adult. Plants begin their lives as seeds, and humans begin their lives as embryos.

Now, Con makes a quite elementary mistake of confusing parts with wholes. See, human life begins at fertilization. Sperm and eggs are parts of another human's body; they are not a part of the new human embryo. The sperm and egg cease to exist once the human is brought into existence. The new human embryo is a unique individual organism, one that has its own parts, and all the parts of the organism work for the good of the organism. The sperm and egg both exist solely to contribute genetic material to the new human that will be conceived, but they are not a part of the organism. It is simply incorrect to state that human life begins before fertilization, even though the process is begun before fertilization.

Saying that society recognizes the beginning of human life is unconvincing. First, society could be wrong. Second, society doesn't recognize that life begins at birth. A man can kill a pregnant woman and her unborn child and be tried for double homicide, as in the recent case of Scott and Lacy Peterson. In fact, prior to Roe v. Wade, the unborn were persons legally protected by the Fourteenth Amendment. [5]

So judging it based on society means that society can change the rules at their whim. But being a full-fledged member of humanity is not something that changes. You're either a full-fledge human or you're not.

Premise 2

My first two premises stand. Rape is an incredibly horrible act, and no woman should ever have to go through with it. But allowing her to abort the child would not cause her to forget the rape, and it would never take the pain away. In fact, in a civilized country, we do not allow the victim to punish the child of a criminal as retribution. But allowing abortion in the case of rape does just that. If a woman finds herself pregnant, the unborn child is a second victim, not the perpetrator. Why should the child pay with her life for the crimes of her father?

Plus, as an abortionist points out, “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.” [6]

Since abortions cannot currently be performed without killing the child, it is not morally justified to kill the child. Say you are out on your boat in the middle of the ocean, and you discover a stowaway. You are not justified in throwing the stowaway overboard and leave him to drown, even though he will be consuming your resources. You must wait until you get back to land to expel him from your boat.

Premise 3

I think Con here is mistaken about what abortions entail, and about my own words. I said abortion are most often the act of killing the embryo or fetus. This is because there are abortion pills, like RU-486, that merely prevent implantation. In that case, the embryo is not actively killed (but I would argue is still immoral). In all surgical abortions, you are actively killing the embryo. You are not simply removing and allowing to die (which is illegal, at least in the United States). However, even if you removed the embryo from the environment in which he must survive, you are still actively killing the embryo. This may change if artificial womb technology is ever developed, and the embryo can be safely removed and implanted into an artificial environment that she can survive.

Conclusion

I have successfully defended my argument. Con has not dismantled or refuted my argument at all. I look forward to our next round.

[1] http://www.marchofdimes.com...
[2] http://socyberty.com...;
[3] Keith L. Moore, Before We Are Born: Essentials of Embryology, 7th edition, Philadelphia, PA: Saunders, 2008. p. 2.
[4] Erich Blechschmidt, Brian Freeman, The Ontogenetic Basis of Human Anatomy: The Biodynamic Approach to Development from Conception to Adulthood, North Atlantic Books, 2004, p. 7.
[5] Francis J. Beckwith, Defending Life: A Moral and Legal Case Against Abortion Choice, (Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, New York, 2007), p.22.
[6] Dr. Warren Hern, Abortion Practice, p. 84.
Magicr

Con

Premise 1

A clarification must be made. My opponent seems to be confusing human as in homo sapien and human being as in a full-fledged person. It is clear that we can say that a fetus is a Homo Sapien, in contrast to another species. But just because we would classify the preborn in one species rather than another, does not mean that the preborn are a full-fledged member of that species. So my opponent has proven that the unborn are part of our species, not that they are full-fledged humans. He has yet to fully fulfill his BoP and prove that the unborn are more than potential.

"Con has not offered any reasons to believe that viability is the appropriate measure of considering someone a full-fledged human."

Fetus's are not full fledged humans. Full-fledged implies existing in the entirety of something. A fetus that cannot live if it is separated from the umbilical cord has the potential to be a full-fledged human, but is not yet a full-fledged human.

Let P= the potential for something, S= the something that came from the potential, U= unborn.

P does not equal S.
U is P.
Therefore, U does not equal S.

Quite simple. A fetus is the potential to be a full-fledged human. Potential for full human life is not the same as full human life.

This is a human zygote:

http://www.ehd.org...

According to my opponent, this is a full-fledged human. This is an absolutely ridiculous claim. We can see that this zygote is nothing like a full-fledged human being. This is the potential for a human being. This is not a human being.

"From fertilization, the unborn are full-fledged members of the species Homo Sapiens."

We can classify the unborn as a Homo Sapien. My opponent must prove that this is a full-fledged human being. He has not done so.

There is a difference between full-fledged human life, and full-fledged humanity.

My opponent continues by offering two more quotes claiming that zygotes are humans. The first one is indeed true, a zygote is the beginning of a new human being, but this does not prove that a zygote is a full-fledged human being.

The second quote is also correct in saying that there is no point at which we can say "This was not a human being, but right now is when it changes." The same is true in evolution. We cannot say "This was not a new species, but this is the generation that is an entirely new species." Nature does not give us these markers, we must create them ourselves. In evolutionary biology, we can say that a new species has arisen when it cannot produce viable offspring with another animal. It is absolutely ridiculous to say that the above picture is a picture of full-fledged human life.

"Saying an egg is not a chicken is like saying a womb is not a human. Of course it's not, but it's a part of the human. The womb contains the growing/developing human embryo, just as a chicken egg contains a growing/developing chicken embryo."

This does not matter. The analogy can just as easily be stated as the contents of the egg. My point still stands.

"Furthermore, a seed may not be a plant, but it is a developing plant, just as an embryo is a developing human (but still a human)."

And here, my opponent looses. He concedes that a seed is not a plant, but a developing plant. He continues by saying just as an embryo a developing human. This is covered with an afterthought stating that it is still a human, but the pitfall is shown through the logic that was demonstrated previously. Potential does not equal the result, by the very definitions of the words.

If my opponent is arguing that an embryo is a developing human, but still a Homo Sapien, then that is fine. But those are two different things as I have already shown.

" It is simply incorrect to state that human life begins before fertilization, even though the process is begun before fertilization."

I was not saying that human life begins before fertilization, merely that life exists before fertilization.

"But being a full-fledged member of humanity is not something that changes. You're either a full-fledged human or you're not."

I disagree. Just like in evolution there is not a point where you are either one species or you are not. There is not a point when you are a human being or not. It is a gradual process.

I've just said an awful lot so I'd like to summarize it:

1. My opponent concedes that an embryo is the potential full-fledged humanship.
2. By definition, potential does not equal result.
3. Therefore, an embryo does not equal full-fledged humanship.

Premise 1 falls.

Premise 2

"But allowing her to abort the child would not cause her to forget the rape, and it would never take the pain away. "

It is easy to see how carrying a result from rape for 9 months would be a terrible experience. So, no, it would not take the rape away, but it would be saving her from a terrible, unnecessary pain.

"Why should the child pay with her life for the crimes of her father?"

This is utterly ridiculous. The picture from above is not a child. The zygote does not suffer. The embryo does not suffer. It is not a child to begin with.

"Since abortions cannot currently be performed without killing the child, it is not morally justified to kill the child."

It is not a child.

A very brief review:

It's not yet a child. Look at the picture. We can't kill a child if it isn't a child. I also gave an example of a moral abortion. I have fulfilled my BoP.

Premise 3


"I said abortion are most often the act of killing the embryo or fetus. This is because there are abortion pills, like RU-486, that merely prevent implantation. In that case, the embryo is not actively killed (but I would argue is still immoral)."

The resolution was not limited to surgical abortions.

"However, even if you removed the embryo from the environment in which he must survive, you are still actively killing the embryo."

My opponent just contradicted himself.

Premise 3 is defeated because my opponent contradicted himself.

Conclusion

Premise 1: Potential does not equal result. The premise is dead.

The resolution is in tatters.

I look forward to my opponent's response.

He must still prove that a zygote (see the picture) is a full-fledged human being.

Debate Round No. 3
KeytarHero

Pro

Unfortunately it seems Con hasn't been reading my arguments very closely. First, my argument does not rest on any definition of "personhood." In fact, the word "person" does not even appear in my opening argument. This is because I have made the argument (supported by reason and evidence) that basic human rights (such as the right to life) should be established as soon as the human comes into existence. We are the same entities from fertilization to natural death, and so an equally morally justifiable reason is needed to kill that entity at all stages of his/her life.

Second, he has made some baseless assertions about my argument that simply aren't true.

Premise 1

Con keeps asserting that embryos/fetuses are only potential, but doesn't mention what they are actually. A potential X is an actual Y. If the unborn aren't fully human, then what are they? The reality is that the unborn are potential toddlers, but fully human. Con has not given compelling reason to believe otherwise.

I have already shown why viability is not a criterion for establishing full-fledged humanity. Con has not refuted these, so I extend my arguments here. However, additionally Con would have to admit that a human on life support is not fully human, because they can't survive on their own without technology aiding them. It would be morally justified in pulling the plug for any reason, regardless if they had a good chance of recovering or not.

Therefore, while Con's argument is valid, it is unsound. The unborn have the potential for adulthood, but they are already fully human.

Now, the bulk of Con's remaining argument is no more than an emotional appeal, which is a logical fallacy. The zygote may not appear as adults do, but neither do toddlers. However, a zygote is a human and while not appearing like mature humans do, the zygote does appear as all humans do at their stage in their development. Clearly the appearance of being human is not a criterion for establishing full humanity, otherwise Joseph Merrick, more commonly known as the "elephant man," would not have been fully human.

Con has not proven my claim that the zygote is a full human being is ridiculous. His entire argument is, "here, look at this! This isn't human!" but offers no reasoning to support his claim.

In fact, there are four main differences between the unborn and born human beings, their size, level of development, environment, and degree of dependency. [1]
Size is not accurate criteria for establish human rights, otherwise toddlers would have less basic human rights than adults, and women would generally have less basic human rights than men (since they are generally smaller). It would not be wrong for a basketball coach to choose Shaquille O'Neal over Gary Coleman to play on his team, but it would be equally wrong to kill them both.

Level of development is not good criteria, otherwise toddlers would still have less rights than adults, and the disabled would have less rights than those who are not disabled.

Environment is not good critera, because our nature does not change by changing location. I went to Italy three years ago, but my nature as a human being did not change. Neither does the nature of the unborn change by an eight-inch journey down the birth canal.

Degree of dependency is not good criteria because that would mean that toddlers deserve less rights than adults, and it would be moral to kill someone in a reversible coma for any reason simply because he is more dependent than those of us who are not.

There is no moral difference between a zygote and a fetus, or between a zygote/embryo/fetus and a newborn (which is why some pro-choice philosophers, like Peter Singer, support infanticide).

In fact, Abraham Lincoln used similar reasoning in his debate with Stephen Douglas:

"You say 'A' is white and 'B' is black. It is color, then the lighter having the right to enslave the darker? Take care. By this rule, you are a slave to the first man you meet with a fairer skin than your own.

You do not mean color exactly -- You mean the whites are intellectually the superiors of the blacks, and therefore have the right to enslave them? Take care again: By this rule you are to be a slave to the first man you meet with an intellect superior to your own.

But you say it is a question of interest, and, if you can make it your interest, you have the right to enslave another. Very well. And if he can make it his interest, he has the right to enslave you." [2]

It seems that Con wishes to argue with the experts on the issue. But the embryologists consistently agree that human life begins at fertilization. This is full-fledged human life (biologically). No amount of trying to reinterpret the words of embryologists will disprove my position.

Con appeals to Evolution but the cases are not parallel at all. Science has proven that human life begins at fertilization, as I have shown.
Con says my objection to his analogy does not matter, but he misses the point entirely. My objection does matter because it refutes his case. An egg is not a chicken just like a uterus is not a human. But a chicken embryo (inside the egg) is a chicken, just like a human embryo (inside the uterus) is a human.

Additionally, I did not concede that a seed is not a plant. Con simply did not pay close enough attention to my argument. I was saying that a seed is not the same as a mature plant. His analogy fails. The accurate analogy would be seed:plant as embryo:adult. Therefore Con is relying on faulty logic to try and support his case.

Con has not shown that a developing human is not fully human. In fact, I have shown that his statement is not true. We don't stop developing at birth. In fact, our brain doesn't even stop developing until we're 25. [3] Therefore, Con would have to support infanticide. He would have to support the right to kill anyone at least until they're 25, when their brain stops developing.

I have shown that human life begins at fertilization. Sperm and eggs may technically be "alive," but they are not "human life" in the morally relevant way that humans are, the way that I have argued we all are from fertilization (due to being the same substance in the womb as we are outside the womb).

Needless to say, premise one stands.

Premise 2

Con has actually not rebutted any of my arguments about abortions being immoral in the case of rape, so all of my arguments I extend.

He relies on more emotional appeal, but the child that is conceived is biologically the rapist's child. So my point about punishing the offspring of a criminal still stands. Additionally, there is precedent for referring to the unborn as a child. Pregnant women are said to be "with child," and even doctors will refer to the developing embyro/fetus as a child or baby. Plus, the word "fetus" itself means "offspring." [4]

Con's entire objection relies on a fallacious appeal to emotion.

Premise 3

I did not contradict myself here, Con is just not reading my argument very carefully. Taking a pill like RU-486 just results in preventing implantation of a conceived zygote/embryo. You are not actively killing it in the sense of dismembering or poisoning it, as in surgical abortions. But even if you were to induce labor and remove the embryo/fetus from the womb in that manner, you are removing it from the only environment in which it can survive. Therefore you are still an active agent in its death.

All three of the premises stand, therefore the conclusion stands.

Conclusion

My entire argument stands. Con's entire rebuttal relied on emotional appeals and misinformation.

[1] Schwartz, Stephen D., The Moral Question of Abortion, Chicago: Loyola University Press, 1990, pp. 15-19.
[2] The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, Vol. 2, (Piscataway, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1953), p. 222.
[3] http://www.academic.marist.edu...;
[4] http://www.etymonline.com...;
Magicr

Con

Unfortunately, Pro will not get the chance to respond to my arguments, so although I will do some specific rebuttals, I will focus on summarizing the reasons presented throughout the debate for the resolution to be negated.

Premise 1:

It quite amusing to me that Con chose to dodge my strongest argument and label everything as "an emotional appeal."

A reminder of this argument:

Potential does not equal result.

The unborn are potential for full-fledged humanship.

Therefore the unborn are not full-fledged human beings.

"Con keeps asserting that embryos/fetuses are only potential, but doesn't mention what they are actually. A potential X is an actual Y."

What are they actually? They are actual zygotes/embryos/fetuses. The potential humans are actually zygotes/embryos/fetuses.

"If the unborn aren't fully human, then what are they? The reality is that the unborn are potential toddlers, but fully human."

They are full-fledged zygotes, embryos, and fetuses. My opponent is yet again confusing human as in the species and, and human as in a human being. The unborn are potential toddlers, but not yet full-fledged human beings.

My logic stands.

"However, additionally Con would have to admit that a human on life support is not fully human, because they can't survive on their own without technology aiding them. It would be morally justified in pulling the plug for any reason, regardless if they had a good chance of recovering or not."

And my opponent has not provided a reason to believe that a human on life support is a full-fledged human. Therefore, I see no reason why this is not moral.

"Therefore, while Con's argument is valid, it is unsound. The unborn have the potential for adulthood, but they are already fully human."

Species vs. human being again. Potential does not equal result by definition.

"Size is not accurate criteria for establish human rights"

Perhaps not in a smaller sense, such as between two adults, but the difference between a baby and a zygote are huge. In the case of such a large difference, size can be an accurate criteria. My opponent has not provided sufficient reason to believe that size is not an accurate criteria when we are dealing with the difference between something so very small.

"Level of development is not good criteria, otherwise toddlers would still have less rights than adults, and the disabled would have less rights than those who are not disabled."

Toddlers do have less rights than adults.

"Degree of dependency is not good criteria because that would mean that toddlers deserve less rights than adults"

Toddlers do have and deserve less rights than adults. You wouldn't want a toddler to vote would you?

"But the embryologists consistently agree that human life begins at fertilization. This is full-fledged human life (biologically)."

Taxonomically. This is not full-fledged human life. A zygote does not have the traits of a human. A zygote cannot think, which is one of the primary distinctions of being human.

"Con appeals to Evolution but the cases are not parallel at all."

Pro provides no reason to believe that the cases are not parallel at all. He simply states this. My evolutionary analogy stands.

"But a chicken embryo (inside the egg) is a chicken, just like a human embryo (inside the uterus) is a human."

Other than saying that a a chicken embryo is like a chicken because it has all the DNA, there is no similarity between the two. Same as with humans. We don't say "I'm going to eat this chicken." We say "I'm going to eat this egg." And by egg I mean the contents of the egg.

Review of Premise 1:

Basically, my argument still stands.

Potential is not the result.
Zygote is potential.
Zygote is not the result.

Premise one falls.

Premise 2

My opponent never actually justified why killing an innocent human is wrong. Beyond that, because premise 1 has fallen, premise 2 is irrelevant.

Premise 3

I concede premise three, but it really doesn't matter because premise one has failed.

Conclusion

1. I proved that potential does not equal the result, therefore the potential for full human life does not equal full human life.
Ex. A zygote cannot think.

2. I fulfilled my BoP by providing a morally acceptable abortion situation.

Therefore, the resolution is negated.

I thank my opponent for this debate and I hope voters can see my sound logic and will vote Con!

Debate Round No. 4
33 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by KeytarHero 4 years ago
KeytarHero
Heisenberg, this is what Magicr said regarding the picture of the zygote:

"According to my opponent, this is a full-fledged human. This is an absolutely ridiculous claim. We can see that this zygote is nothing like a full-fledged human being. This is the potential for a human being. This is not a human being."

There is nothing here about its lack of thinking or other functions. The only thing one can seriously take from this is "it doesn't look like us, therefore it's not human." If he had wanted to argue that it can't think, or any other form of "it's not as developed as we are," he should have specified so that I could have responded to that objection in the debate.
Posted by heisenberg 4 years ago
heisenberg
Keytar, what Magicr just commented was pretty much said in the debate already. Certainly not word for word what he said, but at least he just repeated what I already understood from his main argument.
Posted by KeytarHero 4 years ago
KeytarHero
In fact, I'd like to respond to some of the new points you brought up in the last round, but I won't yet because that wouldn't be appropriate (and I wouldn't want to influence anyone's vote). Once the voting period is over, I'll respond to some of the additional points you made in the last round.
Posted by KeytarHero 4 years ago
KeytarHero
Magic, you never actually made that argument in the debate. You can't continue to debate here. If you want to point out a flaw in Axiom's vote, then fine. But you can't just continue to make further arguments here. The only argument you made with the picture was that it doesn't appear human, so it's not.
Posted by Magicr 4 years ago
Magicr
Axiom, the reason the full-fledged part is important is because that was part of his premise. If his premise falls, then the whole thing falls. That is why Pro had to do that. The reason a fetus is not a full-fledged human is simply that it is not a complete human being. It cannot think, and all of the physical parts are not there. That was the purpose of the picture: To show that the physical parts are not there.
Posted by Axiom 4 years ago
Axiom
In con's R3 P2, I find that he is assuming his conclusion in P1--I found P1 to be unconvincing in the fact that con's entire strategy was hinged on the ambiguous term, 'full-fledged human.' Con concedes, "We can classify the unborn as a Homo Sapien... My opponent must prove it is a full-fledged human being." I am not convinced that Pro must do any such thing. I find that conceding 'Homo Sapien' is sufficient in determining value of life rather than simply 'appearance (picture of zygote) and Con's argument that if something cannot exist apart from the umbilical cord it is no 'full-fledged' human being. That fact alone doesn't devalue their 'full fledgness' in this voter's mind. I find that pro can easily concede, "unborn not being full-fledged human beings," as not full-fledged can be a term easily applied to many humans whose rights are acknowledged. (infants, teenagers, senile, trauma patients... Anyone that hasn't reached their physical or intellectual maturity with the capability to survive on one's own. Once again, it is an extremely ambiguous definition.) I feel Pro should've done a better job of defining 'full-fledged' to support his debate.
I also found that countering viable sources with assertions to be a poor tactic in the opening round on Con's part, and because of the detail given to sources by Pro, I gave him that point.
Grammatically and conduct wise they were both equal.
Posted by Magicr 4 years ago
Magicr
Hitch has justified his vote, so Mircrosuck, you can get rid of half of your six point counter if you still feel the need to counter Orator.
Posted by 16kadams 4 years ago
16kadams
Update:

Sources as a picture is hardly a source, and either war the other two sources where Wikipedia and guttmacher (PP). Wikipedia is an adequate source, though Pro had things that topped it. And guttmacher is biassed.

Therefore pro deserves sources.
Posted by 16kadams 4 years ago
16kadams
P1 was the real showdown, p2 though would strike more controversy.

In P1 con basically said abortion is moral until a fetus is viable. Though his overall analysis was unable to rebut Pros statements on embryology. He was ale to prove that science shows that a fetus is a member of our species by the moment of conception. By this statement it proves any removal of a fetus, any removal of a human from its life source, would be an immoral procedure. Based in this P1 pro.

In P2 con attempted to argue in the case of tale abortion would be a moral practice as the pregnancy was not planned. Pro countered, effectively crippling the argunment, that abkrtion does not fix the situation nor should we allow victims to murder innocent aftermaths of a situation. In this debate as pro won P1, this means if one was raked it should be moral to kill the newborn child. This would be an atrocioys immoral act and therefore abortion would still be immoral.

P3 was con using wordplay. In any way you see it pro proved any type of abortion kills the fetus.
Posted by KeytarHero 4 years ago
KeytarHero
Those were not my words, Hitch. You are relying on faulty misinformation in order to cover up a bad RFD. You are *clearly* biased, since you assume 16k *must* be biased for voting for me.

But that's the last I'm going to say about it.
7 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Vote Placed by JoshBrahm 4 years ago
JoshBrahm
KeytarHeroMagicrTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro made more arguments, and Con made more unfounded assertions. For example, - “Full-fledged implies existing in the entirety of something.” - “According to my opponent, this is a full-fledged human. This is an absolutely ridiculous claim.” You've got to do better than making fun of Pro's arguments and replacing your arguments with assertions. Confusing toddler's rights to vote with their right to life at the end was just sad. Those two rights are not at all comparable.
Vote Placed by Axiom 4 years ago
Axiom
KeytarHeroMagicrTied
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Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments.
Vote Placed by 16kadams 4 years ago
16kadams
KeytarHeroMagicrTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Con really needed to rebut P1 the most. Analysis in comments.
Vote Placed by TheHitchslap 4 years ago
TheHitchslap
KeytarHeroMagicrTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Con fulfilled his BOP for abortions in time of rapes .. as PRO was unable to refute powerfully enough, even in his own words it does not completely absolve the situation and Con had a good point of what makes it worse? The happening or the reminder every day? Arguments to CON Edit: The Pro clearly stated that ONLY in time of the mother/baby's life is in risk is abortion legitimate, Con clearly showed it was legitimate in time of rape hence win. Now Microsuck remove your vote, I didn't VB.
Vote Placed by heisenberg 4 years ago
heisenberg
KeytarHeroMagicrTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Con's arguments in Round 4 surrounding how potential does not equal result are why I find his overall case more convincing. I recognize both his handicap of not being able to go into more detail since it is the final round and Pro's handicap of not being able to respond, but Con's final arguments ultimately negate the backbone of Pro's contention that the unborn are full-fledged members of the human community. For that reason, arguments to Con. Everything else is a draw. Interesting debate.
Vote Placed by Microsuck 4 years ago
Microsuck
KeytarHeroMagicrTied
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Reasons for voting decision: orator and hitchslap, please give better rfd.
Vote Placed by TheOrator 4 years ago
TheOrator
KeytarHeroMagicrTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro is arguing that abortions in all cases other than live-saving are morally wrong. Therefore, all Con has to do is successfully prove that one kind of abortion (in this case after rape) other than that is morally permissible. As he has done so, the resolution is negated.