The Instigator
coffeyk87
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
szexiv
Con (against)
Winning
1 Points

Abortion is always immoral

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
szexiv
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/31/2016 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 9 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 414 times Debate No: 85813
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (4)
Votes (1)

 

coffeyk87

Pro

I will be arguing that abortion is always immoral.
Definitions:
Abortion: "The deliberate termination of a human pregnancy, most often performed during the first 28 weeks:" http://www.oxforddictionaries.com......
NOTE** Putting aside miscarriages also called "spontaneous abortions".

Unborn: "A human offspring at any stage of development from the moment of conception up until birth." Supplied by me

Human Being: Any living member of the species Homo Sapiens. Supplied by me

Definition of Morality for this debate: "The rightness or wrongness of a certain behaviour, which is an objective reality to which all individual moral agents should abide."
Anyone who is going to argue that morality is relative to the individual AND that they can do whatever they want in all cases will be taken as just trying to scuttle the debate and are not welcome.

Rules:
1:Let's stick to morality and not legality. (although the moral outcome could have legal consequences)
2: No Ad Hominem arguments.
3: Please reference hyperlinked sources back to place in argument. (or place them right after relevant portion of argument)

Opening Argument:
Prem1:"Intentionally killing innocent human persons is always immoral".
Prem2:"All that is necessary to be a human person is to be a human being".
Prem3: "The unborn are human beings".
Prem4:"Abortion intentionally kills the unborn".
Prem5: "The unborn are innocent".
Conclusion: "Therefore, abortion is always immoral".

I will wait for the challenger to present their opening argument and challenges to my premises before going into more detail.
szexiv

Con

I want to thank the the pro, coffeyk87, for initiating such a provocative, if not ubiquitous debate. I accept the challenge and hope that if nothing else, we enjoy a solid, well structured debate! I accept the rules of the debate in that I will be sticking to morality as opposed to legality, not using ad hominem arguments, and will do the best I can to sight sources.

Within this debate, I will not be taking the side that abortion is always moral. Rather, I will attempt to point out what I believe are fallacies within the PROs argument. I hope that this is acceptable within the rules/realm of this debate. I look forward to the PROs response, as well as a good debate!

Definition of Morality for this debate: "The rightness or wrongness of a certain behavior, which is an objective reality to which all individual moral agents should abide."
Prem1:"Intentionally killing innocent human persons is always immoral".
Prem2:"All that is necessary to be a human person is to be a human being".
Prem3: "The unborn are human beings".
Prem4:"Abortion intentionally kills the unborn".
Prem5: "The unborn are innocent".
Conclusion: "Therefore, abortion is always immoral".

Prem1: Morality: "The rightness or wrongness of a certain behavior, which is an objective reality to which all individual moral agents should abide."
Prem2: Morality applies to both individuals, as well as collectives and/or societies
prem3: A moral action may be deemed as "good" if it is beneficial to an individual, or society
prem4: A moral action may be deemed as "evil" if it is to the detriment of an individual or society
prem5: It is morally "good" to perform actions that have the highest intrinsic moral value.
prem6: Actions that affect societies have a higher intrinsic moral value than actions that affect one individual.
prem7: Sometimes, taking lives is in the best interest of society.

Conclusion: intentionally killing a human person is sometimes moral.

It should also be noted that if we are using the PROs definition of morality, the term of "innocence" is null as PRO has claimed that, by definition, we are basing our moralistic claims in objectivity. Being that "innocence" is an inherently subjective term, it has no baring in determining intrinsic moral value. In order to remain objective as it pertains to this debate, as well as the PROs definition, all human life must be weighed equally.
Debate Round No. 1
coffeyk87

Pro

Thank you Con for a well thought out argument, I to hope that we have a well structured debate!

Regarding my use of the term "innocence" in Prem1. Con wrote:
"It should also be noted that if we are using the PROs definition of morality, the term of "innocence" is null as PRO has claimed that, by definition, we are basing our moralistic claims in objectivity. Being that "innocence" is an inherently subjective term, it has no baring in determining intrinsic moral value. In order to remain objective as it pertains to this debate, as well as the PROs definition, all human life must be weighed equally."

I would argue that the term "innocence" is not null as it is not "inherently subjective" as Con says, but it instead describes the objective state of being or status of the person as to whether or not they are guilty of an infraction against the objective moral standard, whatever that standard may be. It is a descriptor of an objective reality i.e. the person's lack of transgressing against the objective moral order, and is therefore not a subjective concept. The last part that all human life must be weighed equally is true, but irrelevant to the use of this term as the term would apply equally to each person and describe whether or not they were guilty of some infraction against the objective moral standard, the same standard which applies equally to everyone.

Con wrote:
Prem1: Morality: "The rightness or wrongness of a certain behavior, which is an objective reality to which all individual moral agents should abide."
Prem2: Morality applies to both individuals, as well as collectives and/or societies
prem3: A moral action may be deemed as "good" if it is beneficial to an individual, or society
prem4: A moral action may be deemed as "evil" if it is to the detriment of an individual or society
prem5: It is morally "good" to perform actions that have the highest intrinsic moral value.
prem6: Actions that affect societies have a higher intrinsic moral value than actions that affect one individual.
prem7: Sometimes, taking lives is in the best interest of society.
Conclusion: intentionally killing a human person is sometimes moral.

I will take issue with Con's prem5:
Con has made the move from prem4, which admits that all that is needed for an action to be evil is for it to be a detriment to at least an individual, to prem5, which is a completely utilitarian concept and potentially disregards the very same individual described as being affected by "evil" in prem4. This is because what is in accordance with the "highest intrinsic moral value" (of society presumably) in prem5 could be very detrimental to the individual noted in prem4. That is a contradiction. We must remember that society is made up of individuals FOR individuals, not individuals for society.

Con's Prem5 in effect says that is ok to commit an evil act so long as you have a "good" enough reason to do so. That evil is permitted as long as it works out for society's best interest in the grand moral calculus.

Definition of morality "The rightness or wrongness of a certain behavior, which is an objective reality to which all individual moral agents should abide."

Isn't killing an individual always "detrimental" to him/her as noted in Con's prem4 and therefore a wrong behavior?
Isn't the agent of the state or the individual who does the killing a moral agent? Don't they have to abide by this moral standard?

Con's prem7 & conclusion: If my analysis above of Con's prem4+5 is correct, that any deliberate killing of any individuals would be an evil, and that any evil present in society is detrimental to that society (as evil by definition is undesirable), it then seems to me that deliberately "taking (innocent) lives" is never in the best interest of society.

Also, even if Pro's prem1 is seen as unreasonable, a positive case needs to be made as to how abortion benefits society or how Pro's other premises (regarding fetal personhood) are also unreasonable.
szexiv

Con

First, I would like to apologize for what will be a short rebuttal Pro's arguments. I'm currently battling the flu, and have not had enough time, or mental fortitude to properly give this debate the full attention it deserves.

I will concede that society is indeed made up of individuals. However, that does not negate the premises or conclusion of the argument that I have offered. Simply because society is made up of individuals does not necessarily mean the best interest of the collective is dependent on a single human being. As an example, if a population was at its absolute limit to the degree that birthing another human being would lead to the destruction of the society as a whole, would it not be more moral so sacrifice the one unborn life to save the rest of the community? Within the realm of this argument, I feel that providing a general semantic argument supporting my claim is sufficient as the burden of proof falls to the pro. His argument being "abortion is always immoral" all I must do is provide any number of instances where abortion may be (even hypothetically) the most moral option.

Again, I apologize for the lack of substance within this entry. I look forward to Pro's replay, and hope that i've mended up so that we may close this debate properly
Debate Round No. 2
coffeyk87

Pro

Con, I wish you a full and speedy recovery, I think it is just that time of year.

Con says: "Simply because society is made up of individuals does not necessarily mean the best interest of the collective is dependent on a single human being."

Pro: Right, but when we are determining what is "moral" it doesn't follow that we need to take the most general or "zoomed out" view. Instead we should be examining each and every action. We need to ask ourselves not only the "why" (motivation or reason for doing) but the "what" (action being done). both the why and the what need to be good, otherwise the action is morally corrupt. Is there ever a motivation that justifies rape? Or slavery? Or killing an innocent person? The "utilitarian" view that Con is advocating for leads to all sorts of solutions to problems that hardly anyone would agree with. Instead of abortion, why not substitute the fetus with a 12 year old child in the overpopulation scenario?

I would like to make a distinction between knowing what the right thing to do is AND what thing is easy or "understandable" to do. Take this situation for example: Imagine being a prisoner in a Nazi concentration camp during WWII and the guard offers you a bribe: Rat out any prisoners who are planning on escaping and we will feed your starving wife and kids. What a tough situation the prisoner would find himself in. Either let his family continue to starve on minimal food or feed them at the cost of betraying another prisoner to his sure death (assuming that he will be killed by the guards). I think most people could agree that NOT betraying the other prisoner is the right and moral thing to do, but it would be easy and understandable, although immoral, to take the bribe to feed one's kin and send someone to their death.

Con uses a "maximal stakes" scenario to make his point, i.e. the whole of society will perish if one more person is born. Well if Con's utilitarian argument is to hold water, it should also work in a "minimal stakes" scenario so long as the balance of scales in the utilitarian moral calculus tip in favor of the "greater good". If that is the case then deliberately killing 1 person could be justified to save 2 people, and also deliberately killing an elderly or disabled person in favour of a younger or more abled person. Killing a mentally handicapped person in favor of a smart person, or even killing an ordinary person in favor of a very smart person. Get that, even people of ordinary intellect and ability wouldn't have a right to life if the situation arises that they are being compared to even just one person with more "cherished" qualities as deemed by society. Or even better, what if a bank robber demands that you rape an 8 month old infant or he will shoot 10 hostages? By Con's logic, it would be immoral not to rape that infant. This would really open society up to unspeakable horror (in a hypothetical society even more likely than Con's proposed one), if the utilitarian logic was carried out to the fullest extent in the culture.

Pro had pointed out to Con that there was a contradiction between Con's premises 3,4&5 and that they would have to be modified for his argument to flow logically.

Even if Con's overpopulation argument were correct and that we needed to kill someone in the best interests of society, why kill the unborn? Looking at the world from a certain point of view it can be seen that some people are what could be called "givers" (entrepreneurs, doctors, blue collar workers etc.) that make a net contribution to society and then there are what could be called "takers" (the homeless, drug addicts, elderly, disabled, criminals etc.) who are simply a net drain on society's resources. My question would be: Isn't it better to "cull" the people who are for sure "takers" instead of the unborn as the unborn could be either givers or takers?

While I do realize that Con was unable, because of being sick, to respond fully, I wanted to give it a good go.
szexiv

Con

Thank you pro for your well wishes. I haven't fully mended, but seeing as you've provided an in depth response to my argument, I feel its necessary to defend my argument, and refute yours.

First, I would like to address the Pros notion of premise 3,4&5 being contradictory. It must be noted that I've only specified that: "prem4: A moral action may be deemed as "evil" if it is to the detriment of an individual or society" is a necessary statement to make to fully encompass both sides of morality as it pertains the argument. I must stress that the two, in this scenario aren't design to be mutually exclusive. That said, I would like to, as Pro pointed out, adopt the utilitarian aspect of things. As I've previously said, the needs of the masses outweigh the needs of the few. If ending one life is to the betterment of a collective, it ought to be considered the more moral choice.
Within that, pro asks as to why it needs to be an unborn life as opposed to what some may term as degenerates. As a response to that, I would argue that it makes no difference. As I've pointed out, all human life ought to be weighed equally. Now, having established that, I would like to add that that statement in of itself DOES NOT necessarily contradict my original statement. In this hypothetical instance, it is only necessary that a life be taken. If that life happened to be an unborn childs, so be it. Again, the only thing that I, as a con, have the burden of proving is that: in some instance, no matter how wild or far fetched the scenario, it is sometimes moral to abort.

On that note, I would like to change the pace of my argument and move from generalized statements to a more concrete example as to where abortion may be the most moral outcome. While browsing through some old medical case files, I came across a file of a pregnant woman who was afflicted by hemophilia. Being a generally unwell human, she started to go into labor early into the second trimester. At this point, doctors told her that both she and her child would die if she attempted to go through the delivery procedures. Essentially, it was either abort the child and live, undergo a procedure that would claim both the mother as well as the child's lives. In this no win scenario, it is clear to see that abortion is both the best and most moral option. Without going into more detail, I can come up with several other similar scenarios involving rape, and both maternal/child death and general well being hangs on the unfortunate procedure of abortion.

I would also like to address Pros statement involving the killing of, in this instance, eight people versus the rape of an infant. I would never go so far as to say that the rape of an infant is a positive action in any light. That being said, in the proposed scenario, what IS the most moral action? Can Pro honestly argue that the loss of 8 lives (in this scenario) is of lesser value than the rape of an infant? Suppose that eight was replace by 8 billion. Do the amount of people involved and influenced by the decisions effect the moral value? Pro argues it doesn't. I, on the other hand, would with great despondency, end one life to save 8 billion. I will concede that fully adopting a utilitarian society may open up life to what an individual may consider "unspeakable horrors". That being said, life as it currently is is also subject to unspeakable horrors. That fact doesn't change. The difference is, utilitarian may commit unspeakable horrors in the name of progress, and betterment for future people, whereas today, unspeakable horrors are committed in a chaotic manner with no promise of betterment or positive change.
Debate Round No. 3
coffeyk87

Pro

coffeyk87 forfeited this round.
szexiv

Con

Unfortunately, my opponent, Coffeyk87 was forced to concede this debate due to time constraints within his person life. I take no pleasure winning this debate for the aforementioned reason. The debate itself was highly entertaining, and I would like to thank Pro for their efforts, and hope that they become less inundated with whatever other affairs are keeping them from debating.
Debate Round No. 4
coffeyk87

Pro

coffeyk87 forfeited this round.
szexiv

Con

as stated above
Debate Round No. 5
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by szexiv 9 months ago
szexiv
I'm sorry to hear that you're so inundated at the moment, coffeyk87, and would like to thank you for your participation in the debate. I had a lot of fun. I hope your schedule clears up a bit so that we might banter and debate again at some point.
Posted by coffeyk87 9 months ago
coffeyk87
Sorry szexiv, I just have been too busy to respond, I accept defeat humbly. I much enjoyed our debate and hope you did too. peace!
Posted by crepuscularkid 10 months ago
crepuscularkid
One challenge that I think is pretty easy to make is that sometimes not having an abortion can kill a person. Not allowing a person to get an abortion when they need it to survive is intentionally killing them.
Posted by tejretics 10 months ago
tejretics
I'd be willing to take this.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by U.n 9 months ago
U.n
coffeyk87szexivTied
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Total points awarded:01 
Reasons for voting decision: Forfeiture.