The Instigator
Pro (for)
0 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
3 Points

Abortion is bad and should be largely illegal

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/22/2014 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 503 times Debate No: 63689
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (0)
Votes (1)




It is my position as the Pro side that abortion is wrong and (except in a few cases i will detail later) should be illegal:

this is true for several reasons, primary of which is that the lines drawn between who has the right to life and who doesn't are arbitrary. What makes a child in the womb not worthy of the right to life? Dependence on its mother? babies out of the womb are dependent as well. Does a person's size determine their right to life? if so, if lebron james more worthy of life than someone who is just five feet tall?

The reason that arbitrary lines are so dangerous is that the actions they justify as ok to do can often go on for infinity. For example, if the right to life is contingent upon independence, then are the mentally retarded unworthy of the right to life? Are the elderly? What about people in a coma or vegetative state? Or even people who have diabetes and are dependent on insulin? Much of the logic that tries to justify abortion justifies far more. This is why we must hold to hard and fast lines, rather than arbitrary ones (i assume my opponent will want discuss this, so i await their response)

The second reason why i believe that abortion is unjustifiable is that the underlying assumptions behind its defense are unproven and simply assumed. i cannot tell you how many times i have heard the word's "its a woman's right to choose." Well, the moment you say that, you have already assumed that the woman's "right to choose" overrides the developing baby's right to life, which is what the entire debate is about. Do women have that right? Is it a right at all? These are the questions that are asked in such a debate as this, and saying that it's a woman's right to choose is simply reiterating one's position, not actually engaging with the arguments.

Finally, and this is subject to more of a scientific dispute, there is some evidence that abortions pose some risks to the mother. A study conducted by Dr. Priscilla Coleman (professor of Human Development and Family Studies at Bowling Green State University in Ohio, holds a PhD from West Virginia University) and David Reardon (Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School) published a study of nearly 500,000 women experiencing their first pregnancy. It discovered that (depending on what stage of development the child was in) the mother has between 2 and 3 times the likelihood of dying if she gets an abortion.

For these reasons (and some others i hope will come up in the course of the debate), this is my thesis:
Abortion is bad and should be illegal. The only exceptions for the illegality of abortion ought to be in medical cases where both the unborn child and its mother would die were the mother attempt to give birth (there may be other valid exceptions i haven't thought of yet. Feel free to suggest them)

In conclusion, i hope for a respectful and profitable debate


Thanks for proposing this topic. Much of my opponent's case does not rely on evidence, but on ideology. For this I am grateful. If we can both agree to make this debate one based in the philosophy behind abortion then I believe it will be a much more interesting and productive debate. Statistics and data regarding abortion are approaching cliche. Now I believe it ultimately comes down to a case of philosophy and ethics.
I"d like to begin by dismissing some of my opponent"s claims before offering a small constructive argument.


1.My opponent incorrectly asserts that the "right to life" is distributed arbitrarily by those who support a liberal abortion policy. He begins by using emotionally charged phrases to engage the reader- "when the child is in the womb" for what must be scientifically acknowledged as the fetus. He continues to make a sort of straw man with his point regarding Lebron James. No advocate of abortion has claimed it is the physical size of the fetus that justifies abortion. The debate consists of at what point the fetus gains sentience and becomes human. He concludes his first point in what must be seen as a slippery slope fallacy. To claim that to advocate any policy that does not illegalize abortion in almost all circumstances will lead to the murder of the elderly and the mental disabled is absurd. Perhaps many of these previous arguments would be useful in a debate regarding infanticide (which can also be a legitimate topic), but it is not relevant to the discussion of abortion. I could even make the concession that once the fetus has the full potential to survive outside of the womb (which comes during the sixth month of pregnancy) that the mother must be forced to deliver the baby but also be allowed to hold no more responsibility for it. However, this leaves my opponent at a loss to explain what makes abortions during the first five months of pregnancy so "bad". These are the times when the mother must unarguably physically support the fetus, so why then would it not be solely in her power to make decisions regarding it?

2.My opponent takes the advocacy of the position of the woman"s right to choose as a simple reiteration of a liberal abortionist"s position. This is not the case. If the birth of a baby would result in the mother"s death, it is less debatable whether she should have the right to choose. If the birth of a baby would cause great physical suffering for the baby or if the mother cannot adequately provide for the baby, it is less debatable whether she should have the right to choose. Individuals who do not advocate the woman"s right of choice often make the false generalization that most abortions are recreational. This is the rare exception, not the instances of therapeutic or practical abortions. In any event that a woman chooses abortion, there is the common gain of avoiding suffering and financial crisis which is certainly something that one must consider before issuing a blanket statement that the vast majority of abortions are "bad".

3.This contention should bear the least impact of the three. The following article is available in its entirety at "Dr. Elizabeth Raymond from Gynuity Health Projects in New York City and Dr. David Grimes of the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, published the study in the February 2012 issue of the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology, examining estimated mortality rates associated with live births and induced abortions in the United States between 1998"2005. The data, taken from the Center for Disease Control and the Planned Parenthood-funded Guttmacher Institute, found 8.8 deaths per 100,000 live births, versus 0.6 deaths per 100,000 abortions." Until my opponent presents more persuasive and empirical evidence, then his third point is easily dismissed.

A Brief Case for Abortion

Because my opponent"s resolution is against abortion except in the event of a birth causing mother and infant death, I do not need to present a case that advocates the most liberal positions in the abortion debate. I need only take a moderate approach that addresses the great variety of justifications that one may have for ethical abortion to disprove my opponent's primary assertion. I'd like to challenge my opponent to defend his absolute case against abortion against a line of reasoning similar to that that Mary Anne Warren presents in her argumentative paper "On the Moral and Legal Status of Abortion". My opponent may have stated that he does not believe abortion is justifiable, but his only real logical justifications are fallacious. He has presented an explicit slippery slope fallacy and a factually incorrect claim concerning the medical risks of abortion. However, he has not actually attempted to answer why abortion is intrinsically evil. If my opponent claims that the fetus is a human being in the fullest sense from the moment of conception then his burden of proof becomes weighty and troublesome. I will take a less controversial position for the interest of brevity and clarity and merely state that abortion is justifiable at least until the point at which the fetus could survive outside of the womb at approximately the sixth month of pregnancy, because until then the fetus is little more than an organism directly dependent upon the mother"s physical support. Because this sufficiently negates my opponent"s resolution and is a more neutral position, I will rest my case here until the next round.
Debate Round No. 1


debatr1234 forfeited this round.


Extend all arguments from round 1.
Debate Round No. 2


I apologize for missing the deadline on the last round. I was a bit busy this weekend.

First off, I don't claim that any abortion advocate believes that size is a factor in determining possession of the right to life. I simply meant to emphasize a lack of valid reasoning for dividing up those who don't possess the right to life from those who do (which i will discuss more a little later on).

My opponent asserts that I am committing a slippery slope fallacy regarding the mentally retarded, or the elderly. I believe my opponent has misunderstood my original argument (perhaps i wasn't clear enough in presenting it). My point is not to say that if you agree with my opponent, then you might as well go around killing those who are dependent. My point is that the logic that justifies abortion also justifies far more.

For example, my opponent present a criterion of sentience. Since we don't yet have a definition of what it means to be sentient, I think the Merriam-Webster definition is accurate and simple: "able to feel, see, hear, smell, or taste." Under the criteria of sentience, then, those who are in a coma are not deserving of the right to life. The aren't able to take in their surrounding through their senses. However it is clear that, despite being incapable of sentience, those in a coma are still people. Personhood still exists in those in a coma.

Also, when presented with a criterion for life such as sentience, we must ask the question 'why'. For the profit of the debate, it would be great if my opponent explained why exactly he believes that sentience ought to determine whether or not an individual possesses the right to life.

The next main argument is that of the assertion of whether or not it is a woman's right to choose. My opponent gives a couple of examples of why women might want to have an abortion. For the first, the example that the mother would most likely die in the process of childbirth was one i believe could be included in my first post. My thesis (found at the very end of my initial post) included the possibility of the death of both the mother and the child, but perhaps the death of one person or the other is another exception to the illegality of abortion. The other examples given (the baby's suffering and the inability of the mother to provide) do not constitute a 'right' of a woman to abort her baby. As for the baby's suffering, i believe that the right to life is inherently valuable, and, while i can't know that this is true for every case, is reason enough to proceed with childbirth. As for the inability of the mother to provide, a mother can offer their child for adoption, or foster care, to give two examples of alternative solutions.

Finally, we come to the argument of safety and health of the mother. My opponent asserts that I haven't really validated my position, which is false. I cited a study of 500,000 women by two credible authors (one of whom is Professor of Medicine at the Harvard Medical School) which found that abortion is 2-3 times more dangerous for the mother. In addition, studies have consistently found that countries that legalize abortion have higher maternity mortality rates: the US has 11 times higher mortality rate than Ireland, which doesn't allow abortions. The US has an 8 times higher mortality rate than Poland, which doesn't allow abortions. In Chile, after the abortion was banned, mortality rates reduced by over 95 percent.

But this doesn't even cover the other damaging health effects of abortion: psychological effects. A study of nearly 57,000 medical patients in California found that women who got an abortion were 160% more likely to require hospitalizing psychiatric care within 90 days. A study in Finland discovered that 34.7 of 100,000 of women who got an abortion committed suicide, while, on average, only 11.3 in 100,000 women committed suicide, making suicide three times more likely for women who got an abortion. Hopefully this evidence helps to empirically substantiate my claims.

Now let's turn to the evidence provided by my opponent. The data for the study he cited came from both the CDC and an organization called the Guttmacher Institute. Unfortunately, the Guttmacher Institute (aka the Alan Guttmacher Institute) has been shown to have released false data based on sketchy methodology in the past. A study from West Virginia University, the Universidad Popular Aut"noma del Estado de Puebla (in M"xico), the Universidad de Chile and the Institute of Molecular Epidemiology of the Universidad Cat"lica de la Sant"sima Concepci"n, published in the International Journal of Women's Health concluded the following after examining some of the Guttmacher Institute's data:
(AGI stands for Alan Guttmacher Institute)

"Nonetheless, AGI uses these false calculations and intentionally-deceptive figures about illegal abortion deaths to push for decriminalization of abortion around the world. This new study authoritatively discredits the Alan Guttmacher Institute and its findings, as it has been caught red-handed publishing false information that they very well know to be false."

I hardly believe that after such an indictment, the Guttmacher Institute may be considered authoritative.

Hopefully all this evidence (and a refutation of my opponent's evidence) will help to substantiate my claims.


My opponent makes his first point of rebuttal by stating that "My point is not to say that if you agree with my opponent, then you might as well go around killing those who are dependent. My point is that the logic that justifies abortion also justifies far more" in regards to my claim that his original argument dangerously resembled a slippery slope fallacy. However, this is not the case. Some points of logic are similar but different. My opponent has chosen the example of individuals in a coma, but it is fallacious to make direct correlation assumptions regarding ethics applying to human beings (or at least previous human beings, as one might argue for those in a coma without the hope of recovery) and potential human beings (the fetus). This debate is not about whether euthanasia or physician-assisted suicides are morally permissible. Therefore, to dismiss my opponent"s claim of logical correlation between abortion and euthanasia we need make no further distinction than these two: [1] that individual"s facing euthanasia are/have been sentient while the fetus only holds potential and [2] that the fetus requires direct physical support from the mother while the patient in a euthanasia scenario solely relies on medical equipment. As Judith Jarvis Thomson points out in "A Defense of Abortion", if an individual in a coma had to be physically attached to a healthy individual constantly to maintain life than that individual would be morally able to unplug themselves from the individual in a coma.

As to why sentience is an important characteristic of something that determines an "individual"s" right to life, I think that I do not need to elaborate too greatly. This distinction is functional on every level. It is not a sole characteristic, but it is part of what allows us to treat individuals who cut down a tree or chop up a human with an axe separately. If sentience is not important, then almost all facets of current life are immoral.
I will save the second point of rebuttal for last and proceed to my opponent"s attack of the study I sited regarding the safety of abortion. I find it difficult to take seriously an attack on my source as biased when my opponent"s presented evidence comes from "", a website whose three primary options under the home menu are family, faith and abortion. For an indisputably moderate and accurate view, simply see the majority opinion from "Roe v. Wade". Even in 1973 it was acknowledged that abortions were (when done in sanctioned facilities) as safe as normal child delivery. My opponent"s contention holds no impact and is dismissed.

Finally, I will address my opponent"s position that the sole justification for abortion is to preserve the life of the mother. While this is an obvious acceptation, some lines of logic are already presented that may assist in justifying other abortions. When faced with the choice between the mother"s life and that of the fetus, my opponent has conceded that the mother"s may take precedence. If this is true, then we must ask why it is so. This sentiment is not commonly held when choosing between the preservation of a mother and her infant child. This view seems to unintentionally concede that the fetus does not have the same rights as a human until birth. If this is so, then we have at least taken a first step towards justifying more abortions. However, because my opponent has only presented this narrow class of justifications for abortions, to successfully defeat his premise I need only advocate a standard similar to that ruled in Roe v. Wade, regarding a total justification of abortions during the first trimester. My opponent has failed to address my contentions regarding age of viability altogether, and it is vital to this debate. This is a common tactic taken by the more conservative- to present only late term abortions when the fetus most closely resembles a human and to ignore the first trimester in which the embryo is little more than a clump of cells (especially prior to implantation). Because my opponent has not addressed this vital category, because my opponent has not shown the dangers of abortion to other areas of law, because my opponent has not shown the significant dangers of abortion to the health of a woman and most importantly because my opponent"s proposed allowances for abortions is unnecessarily restrictive, you must vote Con. Thanks for the debate, Pro.
Debate Round No. 3
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Vote Placed by gomergcc 1 year ago
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Both sides did very well for me it would have been a tie but for one thing. Pro states, "found that abortion is 2-3 times more dangerous for the mother." Pro does understand they stated that for every abortion done 2-3 mothers would die? I think you meant, "found that abortion is 2-3 times more dangerous for the mother THAN IN YOUR STUDY.