The Instigator
LoudounConservative
Pro (for)
Winning
27 Points
The Contender
dalzuga
Con (against)
Losing
25 Points

Abortion is bad for women.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/22/2007 Category: Health
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,090 times Debate No: 838
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (8)
Votes (16)

 

LoudounConservative

Pro

Abortion is almost always bad for individual women and is overwhelmingly bad for women in general.

1) Abortion hurts individual women psychologically. Just as not every person reacts the same way to other traumatic events, not every woman experiences serious post-abortion stress, however, studies suggest that at least 10% of women who experience abortion will experience some symptoms of post-abortion stress. Although complete numbers of women who have had abortions are unavailable, it is likely that 50 million abortions have been performed in the US in the past 35 years, to as many as 40 million women. If such symptoms are serious for even 5% of those women, then millions of American women may be experiencing unnecessary abortion related psychological trauma.

2) Abortion hurts individual women relationally. More than half of all relationships end within a year following an abortion. The Alan Guttmacher Institute, research arm of Planned Parenthood, a leading abortion provider, has collected data from their patients showing that approximately 1/3 of their patients felt forced, coerced or manipulated into an unwanted abortion -- often by a partner, parent, boss, teacher or other influential person.

3) Abortion harms individual women physically. Like all surgeries, abortion has physical risks. In the majority of cases, these risks are not serious. However, depending on the stage of pregnancy or the type of procedure, complications may occur in as little as one in 1,000 or one in 100 cases. Even at the lower rate, that means approximately 4,000 physical complications from legal abortions. Most of these complications are relatively minor, but, as we all know, a surgical complication is never minor when it is happening to you.

4) Abortion hurts women by leaving them with the responsibility of preventing pregnancy. If she fails, she may well face the choice between going to get an abortion OR losing her partner. If a woman chooses abortion, she faces the emotional and physical consequences of the choice. The guy may pay half for the surgery and he's off the hook. If she chooses to have the child, she will almost certainly have both more financial and emotional responsibility than the baby's father.
dalzuga

Con

Hi LoudounConservative.

Not having an abortion also has potential consequences, which come with having a baby.

In response to your first point, I think that pregnancy can also inflict harm on women, because generally the women that have abortions are the ones that did not plan on having the baby. If they do not have an abortion, they will have a baby which can cause severe emotional distress, especially if the women are young, and/or come from low socioeconomic strata.

Regarding your second point, you say that "More than half of all relationships end within a year following an abortion." This does not necessarily mean that the relationship was hurt because of the abortion. It is conceivable that the abortion might have been the product of an already bad relationship. In other words, both the cessation of the relationship and the abortion may perfectly be effects of relationships that weren't meant to last long in the first place.

On to your third point. You focus on the physical complications that can arise regarding abortion, but you do not supply any evidence as to how they compare to complications that might be had by not having the abortion, i.e. delivery complications.

On your fourth point, I'm a bit unclear as to what you mean by "If she fails." Could you please rephrase/clarify?

You write "she may well face the choice between going to get an abortion OR losing her partner."
Wouldn't it be worse if she had no option at all?

"If a woman chooses abortion, she faces the emotional and physical consequences of the choice."
She would also face emotional, physical and economic consequences if she chose to have the child. How is abortion worse?

I see that this is your first debate. Good luck! I'm a newbie too, so I hope I wrote in a clear way.
Debate Round No. 1
LoudounConservative

Pro

Dalzuga, you make some good points. It seems like the bottom line of your argument is that having a baby is, or at least could be, worse than having an abortion for women. And, believing that idea is precisely why most women who get abortions do so. Unfortunately, for many women, it's just not true. That's why tens of thousands of women who thought it was a good idea at the time, now regret their abortions.

Before we go further, I do want to reiterate that my thesis today is that "abortion is bad for women" NOT that it should be outlawed.

1) It seems like you are arguing that women who have abortions are not prepared to be parents and if they had a baby, they would be worse off psychologically than if they had a baby. The facts do not seem to bear that thesis out. In fact, in a California study of women on Medicaid (i.e., lower income women), those who had an abortion experienced more psychological difficulties in the year following their abortion than the women who carried to term did in the year following childbirth (http://www.cmaj.ca...). Another study (Finland, I believe), showed that women who had abortions were more likely to attempt suicide in the following year than women without a pregnancy event and women who went through childbirth (even given well known issues such as post-partum depression) were less likely than both groups to commit suicide (http://www.bmj.com...). In addition, women who choose to have a baby often own the problem pregnancy in a healthy way. Having a baby motivates many women to do things professionally, in their education, and in their personal life that they didn't know they could do (finish a degree, ask for a well-deserved raise, dump an abusive boyfriend, etc). While tens of thousands of women have publicly testified that they regret their abortions, I don't know anyone who regrets having her baby.

2) Your point is conceivable. Just because one event follows another, doesn't necessarily mean they are related. In fact, it is likely that at least some of the relationships did not break up because of the abortion. A woman who was forced into the abortion may choose to break up b/c her b/f is a controlling idiot and the abortion was the last straw. He may have broken up w/ her b/c she was an alcoholic. She may have broken up w/ him b/c he cheated. He may have broken up w/ her b/c she stole his last thousand dollars. All of these things may well be true for some of these break ups. However, it is highly likely that the abortion and many of the break ups are related events when there is no other single factor with sufficient explanatory power (see one researcher who placed the break up rate at 80%: Linda Bird Franke, The Ambivalence of Abortion (New York: Random House Inc., 1978) p. 63).

3) Studies show different results as to whether abortion or childbirth is more physically dangerous for women. We do know that childbirth today has fewer complications than ever before and that childbirth is a natural process. However, the likelihood of experiencing immediate complication from early abortions is far less than later term abortions. It is difficult to obtain clear statistics on the overall difference in complication rates from abortion and childbirth. One reason is that national figures for maternal mortality include deaths from ectopic pregnancy. Also, several states don't report numbers of abortions to the CDC at all and some abortion related complications are not reported at all. For instance, an infection related to an abortion is often not reported as being related to the abortion, possibly to protect the privacy of the woman and possibly b/c the doctor performing that procedure is seldom the emergency room physician or the family practitioner who treats the resultant complication.

4) Basically, a failure to prevent pregnancy often leaves a woman in the position of having to choose between an abortion and the good opinion of those she loves (boyfriend, parent, others). I'm not trying to dump on all men at all. There are some really good guys out there but there are also guys who are jerks and guys who are just scared themselves -- guys who say things like: "you should have kept this (pregnancy) from happening. If you'd taken your pills, it wouldn't have happened. Now I'll pay for an abortion but I'm not being a father and you are not putting me on the hook for monthly child support. I love ya' but it's me or the kid, baby."

Finally, you respond that:

"Wouldn't it be worse if she had no option at all?" [than choosing between losing her partner or ending her pregnancy]

I'm not sure what you mean by that. My argument is that abortion is bad for women. Usually, when we talk about choice positively, we are talking about a choice between good options -- chocolate or vanilla. To say "at least she has a choice" illustrates WHY I'm contending that abortion is bad for women. Even if you are right that having the choice is a good, it doesn't mean that making the choice of abortion is good for women. As I contend, it is not.
dalzuga

Con

"Unfortunately, for many women, it's just not true. That's why tens of thousands of women who thought it was a good idea at the time, now regret their abortions."
Although what you say could be true, I am still not convinced that the number of women who have an abortion -- and that will later regret it -- is significantly high when compared to all abortions. In addition, it is conceivable that although they regret their decision, they did the best thing at hand.

"It seems like you are arguing that women who have abortions are not prepared to be parents and if they had a baby, they would be worse off psychologically than if they had a baby."
You are right, I did give that impression. However, I also include parents who already have children and their economic condition is simply not fit to support another child. I know a person that already had two children and when she got pregnant, she was under constant psychological suffering. She told me that when she was shopping at the supermarket she wouldn't stop panicking about the fact that she couldn't support the baby if she had it. Her psychological problem was accentuated by the fact that abortions were illegal at the time in Portugal, the country she resided in (they were, however, recently legalized). She also told me that she was finally able to get relief only when she went to Spain, where abortion was legal, and was able to get one at a clinic. I also know that now she & her family have become pretty affluent, which may not have happened if she did not have the abortion.

Another psychological issue with abortion is society's failure to fully embrace abortion as a legitimate practice. Religion and the issue of abortion not being "natural" are certainly driving forces of opposition to the practice. Thus, society causes uncertainty in the mind of the woman regarding her decision to not have her baby. If society fully embraced the decision of women who decided to have an abortion, the psychological problems associated with it would drop drastically. My point is that the people who say that abortion is bad for women are just making it psychologically worse for the women who have them. Of course, it is ironic how one can infer that this includes you, but the purpose of my point is not attack you personally in any way. (I just hope it is crystal clear that this merely coincides with my point.) :)

Now let us move on to your argument about dealing with pregnancy in a healthy way. Don't we both know that there are many appalling cases of irresponsible mothers? Examples of what I'm talking about include leaving kids selling contraband (forms of which I leave up to the reader's imagination) on the street, or a mother with 8 kids on a salary of 30k! I think that you conveniently overlooked this unfortunate side of pregnancy when you talk about the ones that turn out "healthy."
In addition, your argument can not only be used to advocate abortion. It can also be used to advocate that higher rates of pregnancy are good. Not that there's anything necessarily wrong with that, but if we want higher rates of pregnancy, why would we advocate for more unplanned pregnancies as opposed to advocating for more planned pregnancies?

You write "However, it is highly likely that the abortion and many of the break ups are related events when there is no other single factor with sufficient explanatory power"
Although I'm a bit confused with this statement, I'll just assume (from what I could understand) that what you mean is that the abortion may have been a direct cause for the break-up (please correct me if I misunderstood). Having said that, I do not see why this is "highly likely."

Franke's book does show that there is a high break-up rate and that, generally, whenever the boyfriend threatens to leave if she doesn't get an abortion, he leaves even if she does get it anyway. However, this still does not explain why abortion was a direct cause for the break-up as opposed to both abortion & break-up being the effect of an already bad relationship. You would actually think that if a boyfriend makes such a kind of threat instead of being supportive, the relationship was a bad one already. In case I personally got a woman pregnant, I realize that we are both responsible for that, not just her! If she chose to have the baby (which is, ultimately, her decision,) even though I would like her to get an abortion, I have no other choice than be supportive because I am partly responsible for the pregnancy. That is what makes a responsible boyfriend, and a good relationship. You can't possibly expect a relationship to last long if the boyfriend is the kind of guy that will not be supportive of his partner's decision, whichever that is.

This also explains why I do not see why abortion being a direct cause of break-ups is "highly likely." If a relationship is not very stable, some other problem would have caused the break-up anyway.

"While tens of thousands of women have publicly testified that they regret their abortions, I don't know anyone who regrets having her baby."
This, again, brings up society. Society, if anything, pushes women into regretting their decision to have an abortion. On the other hand, it is not very socially acceptable to say that you regret having a baby, added to the fact that their baby is alive. In addition, the opposite of regretting an abortion is not just regretting having a baby. It is regretting having a baby at some point in their life. Nevertheless, just because you haven't heard of any cases where the mother says that they regret having a baby, this does not mean that they do not exist. It did not take me long to find a direct source supporting my point: http://www.associatedcontent.com...

I see that there is a lack of tangible evidence to support your third point, and I understand the various possible reasons for why this could be. However, I am unable to concede your point since I do need evidence.

Let us move on to your fourth point and to the issue of having the option. Let me first say that I completely understand what you mean by why my question illustrates what you claim is "your point." Nevertheless, I think that there is more to the point you are making than what you say there is. You cannot expect me to assume that by "abortion is bad" you only mean that it has cons. It is reasonably assumed that by "abortion is bad" you mean that abortion is bad in relation to some alternative, because the position a woman considering abortion is in is by default already unfavorable. This turns the dilemma into an issue of picking "the lesser of two evils".
In the scope of the decision, picking the lesser of two evils is something that is good (picking the worse of two evils being bad). Since having the option for abortion allows for picking the lesser of two evils, abortion is therefore good. You do say that "Usually, when we talk about choice positively, we are talking about a choice between good options." But sometimes we have to make a choice between bad options.
Debate Round No. 2
LoudounConservative

Pro

I began this discussion with the premise that "abortion is bad for women." I stated four supporting points: (1) Abortion is psychologically traumatic for many women, (2) Abortion hurts women relationally, (3) Abortion harms women physically, and (4) Abortion leaves women in the position of being finally responsible for preventing pregnancy, or, if not, facing the choice between abortion and what may seem like even more dire consequences.

In the second round of this debate, I offered supporting evidence, including (wherever possible) peer reviewed studies, in support of my premises.

Dalzuga has kindly engaged these points with me and offered the counter-perspective that abortion may be less bad for some women than premature parenthood. He has offered anecdotal evidence of this. He has offered the reminder that many women feel psychological relief after an abortion. This is surely true, although whether that relief will persist for any given woman is uncertain. Many women who later regret their abortions initially felt relief. He has reminded us that at least some women who carry to term wonder what life would have been like had they chosen abortion -- would they have been further ahead economically, less stressed, happier?

Surely we cannot offer alternative futures with certainty. Some women certainly believe that abortion was the "less bad" alternative for them. Keeping in mind that social scientists will tell us that most people have a powerful psychological inclination to reinforce any decision that they have made and that admitting that one was mistaken or made a poor choice requires considerable courage, we can certainly understand why many women avoid considering the impact of abortion on their life.

We do not know precisely how many women regret their abortions. We do know that the women who feel harmed by abortion and who have been willing to say so publicly are black, white, hispanic and asian; they are pro-choice and pro-life; they are young and not so young; they are wealthy, middle-class and poor; and they are speaking from personal experience.

Ms. Magazine has collected over 5000 signatures of women who said that they have had abortions. One of them stated in an interview: "It's emotionally devastating... I don't regret my decision — but I regret having been put in the position to have to make that choice. It's something I'll live with for the rest of my life." (http://www.foxnews.com...).

Individual women submitted more than 2000 affadavits to the US Supreme Court. In her own words, each of these women said, "I regret my abortion." See: http://www.sptimes.com...; the comments below the story are particularly illustrative.

In the words of some, abortion is the "unchoice" - the choice that isn't one at all. If a woman were given a choice between being raped and being murdered, no civilized person would say, "well, at least she has a choice." No, a civilized society seeks to help people who are stuck between a rock and a hard place. And that's what we should do -- we should help women avoid forced, coerced and unwanted abortions. As a society, we do not do that adequately.

Dalzuga postulates, essentially, that even if I am correct that abortion is bad for women and that women regret that decision, that essentially, such regret - the hidden horror of abortion - is the fault of religion in society. Research does seem to show that religion is one among many factors (including age at the time of the decision, whether coercion was involved in the decision and subsequent life changes) that may affect whether a woman experiences psychological trauma related to an abortion. But women who regret their abortion deserve to be taken as seriously as women who are not religious and as seriously as women who never experience regret related to their abortion. Studies also show that women from various cultural and religious backgrounds experience abortion related grief, regret and trauma (http://query.nytimes.com...; it is interesting to note that Buddhism is a non-theistic religion). Given that religion of some type is held to by approximately 95% of the world today and even more in earlier times, Dalzuga's explanation for why women may regret abortion seems irrelevant, even if true. What is his answer for these women - forget about your religion and you'll be free from regret? Human psychology doesn't work that way.

Victoria Woodhull, the first female presidential candidate said: "Every woman knows that if she were free, she would never bear an unwished-for child, nor think of murdering one before its birth."
Wheeling, West Virginia Evening Standard, November 17, 1875

Current presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, has also acknowledged the devastating impact of abortion on women. In a 1/24/05 speech, Senator Clinton essentially suggested that abortion should be safe, legal and NEVER. She said that abortion is "a sad, even tragic choice to many, many women," ... "There is no reason why government cannot do more to educate and inform and provide assistance so that the choice guaranteed under our constitution either does not ever have to be exercised or only in very rare circumstances." (http://www.slate.com...)

Whatever your perspective on the legality of abortion, sufficient evidence exists that the experience of abortion is bad for individual women and bad for women in general. We ought to be able to agree that abortion is not a "good" choice and is, in fact, a poor one. An abortion represents a mark of pain, regret, embarrassment, shame or grief that continues to scar many women emotionally (and sometimes physically) long after their choice has been made. Many women in difficult pregnancy situations have chosen healthier alternatives, including parenting and adoption. To defeat this argument, one must show that abortion is itself a positive good, not merely an occasional "less bad" option for women. I appreciate Dalzuga's meaningful contributions on this important subject, but he has not done this.
dalzuga

Con

dalzuga forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
8 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Posted by johnwooding1 9 years ago
johnwooding1
Abortion is every woman's right and if you do not like abortion than simply don't get one. LoudounConse
rvativePro you have not the slightest Idea what you speak of. You do not know what others want you only know what you want. How do you know that abortion 'Hurts Women'.
Posted by Gato 9 years ago
Gato
"Abortion hurts women by leaving them with the responsibility of preventing pregnancy. If she fails, she may well face the choice between going to get an abortion OR losing her partner. If a woman chooses abortion, she faces the emotional and physical consequences of the choice. The guy may pay half for the surgery and he's off the hook. If she chooses to have the child, she will almost certainly have both more financial and emotional responsibility than the baby's father."

If... but... maybe..

Not a good argument. Very right wing, fear provoking hypothetical which only works on the stupid.
Posted by Gato 9 years ago
Gato
Pro's statistics in the opening round are not very good for his argument.

"Abortion hurts individual women psychologically. Just as not every person reacts the same way to other traumatic events, not every woman experiences serious post-abortion stress, however, studies suggest that at least 10% of women who experience abortion will experience some symptoms of post-abortion stress."

So... does that mean 90% of women turn out just fine afterwards? If you ask me that is a lot of women who are comfortable with their decision.

"Abortion hurts individual women relationally. More than half of all relationships end within a year following an abortion. The Alan Guttmacher Institute, research arm of Planned Parenthood, a leading abortion provider, has collected data from their patients showing that approximately 1/3 of their patients felt forced, coerced or manipulated into an unwanted abortion -- often by a partner, parent, boss, teacher or other influential person."

Is that a problem with abortion or society? That also meant 2/3 of women made the decision on their own no?

" Abortion harms individual women physically. Like all surgeries, abortion has physical risks. In the majority of cases, these risks are not serious. However, depending on the stage of pregnancy or the type of procedure, complications may occur in as little as one in 1,000 or one in 100 cases. Even at the lower rate, that means approximately 4,000 physical complications from legal abortions. Most of these complications are relatively minor, but, as we all know, a surgical complication is never minor when it is happening to you. "

It is the job of abortion clinics to explain the risks involved. Upon doing so it is on the woman to make a CHOICE.
Posted by TheMasterBrask 9 years ago
TheMasterBrask
I voted Con because I feel that the facts are void because they aren't "complete". Loudoun make sure you use 100% TRUE facts, and you will get my vote next time.
Posted by LoudounConservative 9 years ago
LoudounConservative
Dalzuga, thanks for engaging me in this debate and for your thoughtful contributions. I wish I had seen your last response. I'd also be interested in any thoughts you might have for me as to how I could improve in clearly stating my thoughts. From your comments and others, it appears that my fourth point wasn't clearly stated and I know I didn't state at least one sentence as clearly as I wanted to in my response to your point about the role of religion in abortion related regret. Given that some of the debates I've seen on this site have been of rather poor quality, I particularly appreciate the intelligent way you conducted your end of the debate. :-)
Posted by Mangani 9 years ago
Mangani
I voted "pro" because she stuck with the topic and not only made her point, but proved most of them. "Con" did not argue the point, rather argued that other options have the potential to be more harmful. In doing so he concedes that "abortion is bad for women". Though the argument can be made that abortion is also "good" for women in some cases, that was not the topic of debate.
Posted by Raisor 9 years ago
Raisor
This was by far the best debate Ive seen on this site. thankyouthankyou for the citations and appeals to hard evidence.

Too bad Con didn't get in his final speech...

MY decision:

Pro essentially says #3 cant be weighed in either side's favor in R2 ("Studies show different results as to whether abortion or childbirth is more physically dangerous for women")

#4 wasn't 'explained well by Pro, so I don't know how to weigh it.

#2 I went Con because of his arg. that relationships that break up because of abort. weren't strong anyways- Con should have pointed out that such a weak relationship wouldn't be good to raise a child in and might generate more stress for the mother

#1 Seemed to be the most interesting/best debated point. Both sides did well. I bought the Con argument about societal pressures- this means abortion isn't intrinsically bad for women, just bad in context of society. Pro sort of misses the mark in answering this point in R3. However, Pro stats from R1 are hard to ignore (emphasize them more in R3 so they aren't forgotten!), so I give this point to Pro, partially mitigated.

Con generates his own offense by saying that carrying out pregnancy can be bad for women. This is the only way for him to win (other args are defensive only), so he needs to focus on this more. Pro doesn't spend much time refuting this argument. I give this to Con.

Con's offense is difficult to quantify, so Pro's outweighs. If Con had had more offensive arguments, he probably could have won.

Con- don't just respond to arguments, generate your own attacks. You don't do this until R2.

I vote Pro (it was close though)
Posted by dalzuga 9 years ago
dalzuga
Wow I was pressed for time. I pressed 'Submit' when I had around a minute left, but the site logged me off... In addition to that, I lost the text since I did not save it and the browser kept giving me "page not found" when I pressed 'back'... grr. Frustrating.

Interesting debate nevertheless. I wished you did not leave many of my statements from Round 2 unresponded, but yeah. Good debate overall. Cya around!
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