Abortion is a woman's right
Hello everyone, emospongebob here. I'd like to thank Andromeda_Z for her willingness to debate this topic with me and I would also like to thank any future voters who happen to vote on this debate.
Firstly, I would like to offer some definitions.
abortion- the termination of a pregnancy after, accompanied by, resulting in, or closely followed by the death of the embryo or fetus [http://www.merriam-webster.com...].
rights- legal, social, or ethical principles of freedom or entitlement; that is, rights are the fundamental normative rules about what is allowed of people or owed to people, according to some legal system, social convention, or ethical theory [http://en.wikipedia.org...].
The burden of proof in this debate shall be shared.
To avoid semantics and technicalities, we shall be arguing over abortion in general. This means that extreme circumstances such as rape, ectopic pregnancy, etc. will not be touched.
R4: Final Rebuttals/Crystallization/Conclusion
R4: Final Rebuttals/Crystallization/Conclusion
1) Two forfeits results in an automatic seven point ballot in favor of the other side.
2) No trolling.
3) No profanity.
Other than that, there is nothing else I feel I need to add, so I turn it over to my opponent.
Many thanks to Andromeda_Z for accepting this debate.
My argument will take the form of a syllogism and will be short, sweet, and to the point. Nothing too complicated.
My burden in this debate is to show that abortion, in general, is not a woman's right. My syllogism will attempt to show that a no one and by extension, women, has the right to end the life of another human person without moral justification. I will also try to show that since abortion does this, then abortion is not a right.
Premise 1- People don't, and by extension, women, have the right to end the life of another human without moral justification.
Premise 2- Abortion, in general, ends the life of another human without moral justification.
Conclusion- Therefore, abortion, in general, is not a woman's right.
Defense of Premise 1-
To defend my first premise I must show that people, and by extension, women, don't have the right end the life of another human person without moral justification. My underlying assumptions will be that firstly, that the unborn are human persons. And, secondly that no one has the right to kill humans without moral justification.
Are the unborn "humans"? There isn't much controversy as to when life begins, so I won't spend too much time on this argument.
To quote an embryology text book,
"Although life is a continuous process, fertilization is a critical landmark because, under ordinary circumstances, a new, genetically distinct human organism is thereby formed.... The combination of 23 chromosomes present in each pronucleus results in 46 chromosomes in the zygote. Thus the diploid number is restored and the embryonic genome is formed. The embryo now exists as a genetic unity." [O'Rahilly, Ronan and Muller, Fabiola. Human Embryology & Teratology. 2nd edition. New York: Wiley-Liss, 1996, pp. 8, 29.]
As said before, there isn't much controversy as to when life begins. It begins at fertilization. I'm sure that my opponent understands this. The more difficult part of my burden will be to show that it is generally morally wrong to kill the unborn.
The FLO Argument:
The FLO is an argument put forth by philosopher Don Marquis [http://www.bbc.co.uk...].
As Marquis analyzes, "The claim that the primary wrong-making feature of a killing is the loss to the victim of the value of its future has obvious consequences for the ethics of abortion. The future of a standard foetus includes a set of experiences, projects, activities, and such which are identical with the futures of adult human beings and are identical with the futures of young children. Since the reason that is sufficient to explain why it is wrong to kill human beings after the time of birth is a reason that also applies to foetuses, it follows that abortion is prima facie morally wrong." [Don Marquis, Why Abortion is Immoral, The Journal of Philosophy, 86:4]
1. A human's body is their own property. If a homeless person were to wander off of the street and into your home and demand to stay there (using your food, oxygen, etc.) for 39 weeks, it would be within your rights to demand that he leave, even if his continued existence depended on your allowing him to stay and to use your resources. Many legal cases for trespassing have set the precedence for this. This is no different from abortion. You have the right to your own body, and as such, you have the right to decide whether to have an embryo or fetus live in it.
2. Abortion is not a matter of morality, but of public health. It is reasonable that everyone has the right to pursue health, as technological capabilities and medical knowledge permit. It is also expected that, should women be denied the right to an abortion, people will seek one out anyway, much like theives (who do not have the right to the property of others) steal regardless. The ways that women might go about performing "back-alley" abortions are dangerous and can easily lead to both the death of the fetus and the woman. An abortion in a medical setting, with sterile equipment, well-researched drugs, and an educated medical team are far safer. Because of this, it is a woman's right to have an abortion, because allowing a woman this right enables them to pursue their right to live the most healthy life possible.
In summary, a woman's right to an abortion necessarily follows from other rights that are generally expected. To deny a woman an abortion would deny her those rights that are necessary for life as we live it.
FLO Argument This argument is correct in that to abort a fetus would be to deny it a future, but it neglects to mention that, in many cases, it may also deny the mother to that same future, placing the fetus in a position that would give it a less-than-ideal life. Women seek out abortions for many reasons. Perhaps they can hardly provide for themselves and would not be able to support a child, they are not fit to be a parent because of mental health issues or substance abuse, they do not want to be a parent (and thus lack the motivation to raise a child properly), or for any other reason that would make them unable to provide the fetus with a "meaningful future". In this case, it would be wrong of the mother to carry the pregnancy to term, for the exact reason that she would be denying the fetus a "meaningful future" if she were to do that. Depending on her reasons for seeking an abortion, by forcing a woman to carry a pregnancy to term, you would be knowingly and willfully denying her would-be child a meaningful future, and -- by your own argument -- that is not your right.
Moral Justification for Abortion As described in my arguments in favor of the resolution, abortion is a woman's right because it is a necessity of rights extended to all people, such as the right to one's own body and the right to pursue the health of that body.
Thanks to Andromeda_Z for her intriguing opening arguments and rebuttals.
1. I agree that a human's body is their own property. My opponent opens with an analogy meant to compare trespassing with an unwanted pregnancy and an unwanted trespasser (the homeless person) with a fetus in utero. I shall cover lightly the few criticisms I have of this analogy.
Firstly, the analogy assumes that you are responsible for the homeless person occupying your home. You are not, for obvious reasons. Firstly, the owner of the house is not responsible for the trespasser. In other words, the owner of the house DID NOT cause the trespasser to appear there, the homeless person did. In pregnancy through consensual sex (as I'm sure my opponent understands), two parents jointly commit themselves to the action of intercourse and they are aware that a zygote (and later, a fetus) will be created because of their actions. My second problem with this is that it assumes that killing is an appropriate response to someone trespassing on your property. I wouldn't go as far as saying that. If someone comes onto your property and attempts to use your resources, then your response should only be to kill them if they pose an imminent threat to your life i.e. self-defense. I'm sure my opponent agrees with this. If not, then I can expound upon the doctrine of reasonable self-defense later.
2. My opponent's second argument revolves around whether or not abortion should be a legal right, I shall cover this lightly.
She states that abortion is not a matter or morality, but of public health. Now, my problem with this is that, abortion is a matter of morality. It involves a living human organism (a z/e/f), which, as I argued before, still subject to moral reasoning and argumentation. Something that IS a matter of morality is something that can be argued for using arguments that revolve around morality. Something that IS a matter of morality is something that can be argued to be moral or immoral, which I did on my opening round. I also agree that everyone has the right to pursue health, but not absolutely. A woman shouldn't be permitted to pursue or enhance her own health at someone else's expense or in a manner that would grossly violate someone else's rights. As I've argued before, abortion comes at the expense of the fetus' life and the fetus' future. My opponent's argument also has gross implications. If we are simply making laws towards things that won't happen anyway, then we can't legislate upon things that will happen regardless i.e. theft, rape, murder, etc. All of these things will continue to happen even if the law bars it. We can see from this that the fact that it will just happen anyway is a weak argument in favor of making abortion legally available. Secondly, my opponent argues that legal abortion is favorable to illegal abortion because it is safer and because illegal abortions leads to back-alley abortions. And, yet she gives no statistics or arguments in favor of her claim that the risk of illegal abortion is concerning enough so that abortion should be made legally permissible.
FLO Argument My opponent agrees that abortion denies a human being of a future, but drops the other part of my argument that because it denies a human being a future, then it is immoral. So, essentially she has conceded this point. She argues that my own argument has defeated my position because not aborting causes a woman to lose a meaningful future. My problem with this is that what my opponent is arguing is fundamentally different from what I said. In abortion, a being's life is ended, they have no chance at a future, that's it, nothing, it's gone forever. If a woman carries a pregnancy to term, then she isn't necessarily denied a future. A future means all of the experiences a human has in their future, good and bad. A woman can always give a child up for adoption so that her future would become more positive and not be ruined by an unwanted child. Abortion absolutely denies one a meaningful future. Carrying a pregnancy to term does not. This is why my opponent's argument fails.
The parents are not necessarily aware that a zygote "will" be created. In many cases, pregnancy is as accidental as it can be. If partners make use of both hormonal birth control and condoms (which, combined, make pregnancy almost impossible) or one/both partners is sterilized (which is almost perfect in preventing pregnancy), and a pregnancy results from it, they will have taken every reasonable action to negate the unwanted consequences of sex and should not be held liable for consequences that ought never to have occurred. This is akin to saying that, if someone were to choose the safest model of car available, drive carefully, and always wear a seatbelt and one day got in an accident and lose a limb, they ought to live with the lifelong complications of that missing limb (instead of obtaining a prosthetic limb) because they chose to drive a car.
"If someone comes onto your property and attempts to use your resources, then your response should only be to kill them if they pose an imminent threat to your life i.e. self-defense."
An abortion would be an act of self defense because carrying a fetus removes life resources from the woman. The trespasser analogy is imperfect for this exact reason. While it conveyed my general point, it has no way of illustrating the difference between sleeping on someone's couch and siphoning away the food a person eats and the air they breathe.
2. I'll drop this. I don't have enough time to write out this whole round and if I have to leave out anything, it's this. Sorry!
FLO Argument My argument was not that the FLO argument was wrong because it denies a woman the right to a meaningful future. I concede that the FLO argument is correct that to deny someone a right to a meaningful life is wrong. My argument was that the FLO argument as you used it was wrong because to deny a woman an abortion would deny two people a meaningful future, while permitting that abortion would only deny one person a meaningful future (this is assuming that the fetus is not miscarried or stillborn through no fault of the mother). Maybe I should have written that more clearly, but there isn't much I can do about that now, so I apologize.
"I showed in my FLO argument that abortion is probably generally immoral."
Abortion is less immoral than denying said abortion, assuming we are only looking at the FLO argument, as I showed in my rebuttal to that argument. My moral justification for abortion was outlined in my first argument.
Thanks to Andromeda_Z for her intriguing round!
Alright, let's jump right into it.
1. My opponent denies that a risk is assumed in pregnancy and that parents arent necessarily aware that a zygote will be created. Now, I admit that a zygote "will" be created, but that's just about semantics. I quote Chuz-Life from his debate with with xxx00:
""I think" that an act of consensual intercourse between two adults is an "assumption of risk" on their part (for pregnancy) because sexual intercourse is without exception the greatest known leading cause for pregnancy for human beings. Every over the counter birth control we have comes with the warning that they are not 100% effective in preventing an unwanted pregnancy. This assumption of risk by both individuals implies a known consent for the pregnancy because the risks for pregnancy were known (or should have been known) and the parties chose to gamble with that as a possible consequence of their actions." [http://www.debate.org...]
Not to use his quote as an argument from authority, but he sums it up pretty well. Yes, I admit, there are many courses of action to be taken in order to prevent an unwanted pregancy, but they are not fullproof. Just like my opponent admits, pregnancy can still results from attempting to negate the possible risks, but that does not make abortion permissible.
Car Accident Analogy:
My opponent's analogy compares driving a car to consensual sex, taking safety precautions in driving to taking precautions to not become pregnant, and finally she compares obtaining an abortion to obtaining a prosthetic limb.
Okay, I agree with my opponent, in that, taking safety precautions in driving is essentially the same thing as taking precautions not to get pregnant. My objection stems from the second part of what she said. She said, "they ought to live with the lifelong complications of that missing limb (instead of obtaining a prosthetic limb) because they chose to drive a car." I think that my opponent agrees that the person driving is responsible for their condition of being without a leg if they caused (assuming someone else didn't cause the accident) themselves to be in that condition. My problem with this argument is that it falsely compares the desire to have an abortion to the desire to want a prosthetic limb. As said before, abortion comes at the cost of another's life/future and is therefore, immoral. Wanting to obtain a prosthetic limb is nothing like this. The only way for my opponent's analogy to work is if she can justify killing someone else and severing their and using it as their own. This seems more akin to what my opponent is saying. Tell me, Pro.... since you support killing someone else to alleviate yourself of your condition (pregnancy), then do you also support killing someone else and taking their leg from them because you are required to get rid of your condition you put yourself in?
Thusly, I propose a scenario to you.... If an adult female were to accidently knock a helpless infant into deep water, then should she be held legally obligated to save said infant even IF she has to use her body in a way she doesn't want to to do so. Case law would recognize this negligence as manslaughter [http://sixthformlaw.info...]. The woman shouldn't be able to shoot the infant to alleviate herself of her obligation towards the infant for putting the infant in said position of vulnerability.
Homeless Trespasser Analogy:
Note to my opponent.... as I said before, pregnancy resulting from consensual sex isn't as simple as someone "wandering" onto your property. For my opponent's argument to apply to her position she must show how it would be okay for the owner of the house to drag the homeless person onto his/her property, kill the homeless person, and then claim self-defense. Because, this seems a bit closer to what weare discussing than simply "wandering" onto your property.
2. Dropped. Clean extension.
FLO ArgumentMy opponent has thoroughly and utterly dropped that my claim that abortion denies one a FLO and by extension, drops that it is immoral, so I have essentially won this point. She simply points out that not aborting is "less immoral" than aborting, because not aborting also denies one a FLO. To address this I shall ask a question. What does it mean to be denied a FLO? Well Don Marquis sums it up pretty well. He says,
"The claim that the primary wrong-making feature of a killing is the loss to the victim of the value of its future has obvious consequences for the ethics of abortion.
The future of a standard foetus includes a set of experiences, projects, activities, and such which are identical with the futures of adult human beings and are identical with the futures of young children.
Since the reason that is sufficient to explain why it is wrong to kill human beings after the time of birth is a reason that also applies to foetuses, it follows that abortion is prima facie morally wrong." [Don Marquis, Why Abortion is Immoral, The Journal of Philosophy, 86:4]
Andromeda_Z forfeited this round.
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