Abortion is immoral
Debate Rounds (4)
I will use similar arguments as freeman uses in his debate. (http://www.debate.org...)
1. Pro life argument is [morally] untenable
Basically the argument is it is wrong to kill a human, a fetus is a human, therefore it is immoral to kill a human.
If this is true, there are many faults to it, making it illogical. Now, if a dependent being, brain dead and incapable is alive, it would be then immoral to kill him. Or anencephalic fetuses, pretty much sure death, are now human beings worth life. The anencephalic fetus abortion is considered immoral under the argument, yet will die anyway. The argument is logically flawed.
Most people do not think these beings, ones that are brain dead, are humans worth living, but under similar logic it would be immoral to put him out of his misery. Further, many pro life advocates say abortions are ok during certain circumstances, and that aborting anencephalic is totally moral, in all of those cases. So even pro life advocates claim the pro life argument here is actually highly flawed.
Now, killing brain dead people is moral, why? Because they are incapable of thought, have no desire, hence we are not ending anything. A fetus is similar, they have no desires, and abortion has therefore no immoral effect, even if the fetus is human (which it isn't)! So it does not deprive them their future, as a future never existed to them.
Also the argument claims the human has to be valuable, a non valuable human is ok to kill as it has no value. So the argument claims a human has intrinsic value. To be valuable, a human must be valuable in all worlds, everywhere. humans may or may not be of any value anywhere else. If humans where like insects, we would have no value, not enough to be fully cared for nurtured etc. Hence humans are NOT valuable in all forms. Also to have value, one must have a valuer. Without a valuer, you have no value. Now, a fetus has no value, as if the mother is aborting it she likely sees no need for it, therefore it has no value in which the fetus resides. The fetus in that case is like a worn out couch in a house, the owners feel no need for the couch, they throw it away, it had no value. Same scenario, a fetus has no value if the woman chooses an abortion, as she likely does not value it.
2. A fetus is not a person
1 - Only a person has a right to life
2 - People must be able too 1) consciousness, 2) the capacity to reason, 3) self-motivated activity, 4) the capacity to communicate messages, and 5) the presence of self-concepts.
2 - A fetus cannot to these things listed in 2
3 - Therefore a fetus is not a person
C: Abortion is moral
The only real part where we disagree will be part 2, as the others just modify 2. Let me argue 2.
These abilities are much more viable to being a human, as without them you have no desires, and it would be morally permissible to kill someone with no knowledge of anything. Giving rights to any entity, thing etc first assumes the entity can be harmed. So things without desires can be killed as they would not get harmed, a fetus has no desires.
All things, brain dead people, fetuses that are going to die, all lack a right to life. Merely being alive and having human DNA does not guarantee a right to life, if that was so then it is absurd! To have these rights, you must, however, have experience of the world to know why the world exists, if it exists, and have a feeling of if it is important or not.
Also, one needs to be conscious to have personal identity, I am X or Y. I am an X and a Y, she is an XX etc. I am this I am that. Without consciousness, you are not a human deserving of life. This is why we call conjoined twins as two people, not one. Having human DNA and being human are worthless, being conscious is needed. The two twins know they are different because they know they are different, if they thought they where one then they might as well be one. A fetus cannot tell what it is, therefore we cant even count it as one human.
In singular, a being is being a person.  The nature or essence of a person. A fetus, does NOT have the essence of a person, as they are pretty much unconscious. Essence is having the quality of.  As a human that has a right to life needs to be ) consciousness, 2) the capacity to reason, 3) self-motivated activity, 4) the capacity to communicate messages, and 5) the presence of self-concepts, and a fetus does not have these qualities, then a fetus is no longer a human being, hence CON wins.
A fetus is a human genetically, but is not a human being with rights as they lack the needed and foundational skills needed to have rights. With this information, CON earns the vote today. As a fetus does not qualify as a person, it thus does not have any rights, so it is ok to kill it. For these arguments, it is morally permissible to abort a fetus as it lacks the 5 main things needed to acquire the status it needs to be immoral to kill it, person hood. VOTE CON
1. Pro life arguments are morally sound
The argument that a fetus is brain dead is, in my opinion, quite wrong. Definition of brain dead  "Having irreversible loss of brain function as indicated by a persistent flat electroencephalogram." The key phrase here, is "having irreversible loss of brain function". In the case of a fetus, it is the exact opposite. They are in fact developing functionality of the brain, by as early as the  6th week of gestation, a heart beat can be detected, and by the  20th week of gestation, they can feel pain. My point is that a brain dead individual has completely lost the use of his brain, while the brain of a fetus is developing, and it is shown that the fetus has human emotions (such as pain) inside the womb.
It is also wrong to say that, just because a fetus doesn't place a value on it's life, it is morally permissible to kill it. By that logic, humans can be killed at any point in childhood, because there is no age at which a human really appreciates the value of life. Some may see it before others. I really didn't start to "value" life until I was 12-13. Does that mean it would have been ok for my Mother to have aborted me, at say, 10 years of age, because I really didn't know the value of my life? Of course not. There are even some adults who don't see the value of life. Fetuses don't have desires because they haven't developed enough yet. But as soon as they are born, they have the desire to be warm, fed, and taken care of. Which leads me to my next point:
2. When does a fetus become a baby?
Simply stating that a fetus is human when it is born is not enough. Fetuses can be born and survive outside the womb before 40 weeks gestation. So when a fetus becomes a baby needs to be established. One such case of a premature birth, is the case of Amillia Taylor, who was born at just under 22 weeks gestation . She is still alive and doing well . In her case, it is proven possible for a baby to survive at just 22 weeks gestation, when they can be aborted up until week 21. So, that being said, we can assume that at 22 weeks, a fetus has the capabilities to possibly survive outside of the womb, and can be considered human. It has the capabilities to think, and to feel, and to live. However, nature intended for it to stay in the womb for 40 weeks. This doesn't make it any less human.
3. What makes a human, human?
Paraphrasing part of your argument, you say that, to be human, one must have:
2) the capacity to reason,
3) self-motivated activity,
4) the capacity to communicate messages, and
5) the presence of self-concepts.
For starters, humans don't all develop a consciousness at the same age. Some may get it older than others, however, it is safe to say that a 2-3 year old, doesn't have a conscience. Even at 4-5, they may not have developed it. So to say that a human must have a conscience to be human, is wrong. Otherwise, by that logic, it would be morally permissible to kill anyone under the age of 5.
2nd, the capacity to reason. Once again, most children cannot reason well before the age of 4-5. It doesn't make them any less human than you or I. Just less developed than us.
3rd, self motivated activity. What this means exactly, is debatable. You can say that a self motivated activity would be crying, so your mother will feed you. Going back to Amillia Taylor, babies can possibly survive outside the womb at 21-22 weeks gestation. She had to let her Mother know in some way that she needed something, such as food, or a dry diaper. So you can say that a 21 week gestation fetus that is being aborted, can possibly survive outside the womb, and is human, because it has the capability to act in a self motivating way.
4th, the capacity to communicate. That one is similar to our 3rd point.
And finally, 5th, the presence of self concepts. As before, a young child lacks this, like many things, such as reason and logic. That doesn't make it any less human. Paraphrasing wikipedia's definition  Self concept "is a multi-dimensional construct that refers to an individual's perception of "self" in relation to any number of characteristics, such as academics (and non academics), gender roles and sexuality, racial identity, and many others." Again, to say that a 4-5 year old, and even a child older than that, has the presence of self concepts would be wrong, and by your logic, it would be morally permissible to kill it.
Fetuses are not unconscious blobs of cells. After 6 weeks or so, they have developed very much, and by around 20-22 weeks, they show almost all signs of a human baby. To say that it is morally permissible to kill it, because of it's mental underdevelopment is very wrong, and very immoral. It would permit the killings of little children, and even those deemed "mentally unfit" to live.
1. Pro life argument is not morally sound
My opponent is using a straw man to avoid answering the real question. He states that a fetus is not brain dead, this si correct. I stated a fetus does not have the capabilities to be a person. But I did however state anencephalic fetuses are brain dead, which is true, they are born without half of their head. There is no cure for this, and they are sentenced to death once they find the fetus with this sickness. So you have to prove that aborting a dead fetus essentially is immoral, as under the pro life argument it is.
My opponent then cites fetal development, which is all true. A fetus does have human physical qualities, but we must ask is that actually enough to give it the right to personhood, etc? Just because something has human physical similarities does not mean it gains the right to life. A fetus is fully dependent on its host (mother) to survive. A fetus has no right to life, as it is fully dependent on its mother. Also, a fetus resides inside the mother, by definition a person must be a separate entity.  Humans do not get the right to life when residing in anther's body.
My opponents main claim is another strawman on the value concept. The being never has to value his/her life, rather to have value others have to value it to an extent. For a fetus to have value, it must have a valuer. If the person is getting an abortion, they likely dont want the baby, and therefore the baby has no value. It would matter less that other people think, as the fetus is residing in her body, it hence her choice whether to value it. If she is aborting it is therefore has no value, and it would be morally sound to kill it.
1a. When does a fetus become a baby?
This is a strawman, again. Being born is not the reason a fetus becomes a human. As stated, the fetus must have these (5) qualities to be a human, so hence a fetus that becomes self aware is now a person. So there is no specific time frame to the abortion we are arguing, but if a fetus is self aware by 22 weeks (it is sometimes) then it gains a right to life. My argument is more logical, as no person would think that a fetus is a human with basic knowledge of the subject.
But my opponent has not set a date or a boundary to the right to life. Most pro life advocates say abortion is ok in rape or life threatening situations. You say by 22 weeks. Maximum. This shows the incoherency of the anti abortion crowd, they dont even agree on e main issue: when a fetus gains a right to death/life.
Now, my opponent has not proven anything in his rant about the 22 week child being born, even if, even if the impossibility of a fetus gaining a right to life, it is still trying to have the right to using the mothers body, this is not a right, so a privilege and a right go to war. Even if a fetus is a "person", the fetus has no right living in there for 9 months against her will. 
"Even if a fetus were a human being with a right to life, this right doesn't automatically overrule a woman's right to choose, which can be argued to have a higher moral value under the circumstances. The free exercise of one's moral conscience is a fundamental right in our society. And since pregnancy entails profound physical, psychological, and long-lasting consequences for a woman (it is not a mere "inconvenience"), her freedoms are significantly restricted if she is forced to carry to term. " 
But a fetus is not a human, but even if my opponent logically proves a fetus is a human, voters, remember a life of a fetus does not trump choice, property rights (its her body), or having a women he forced to carry the fetus for 9 months, a fetus does not trump a woman.
2. What makes a human, human?
Your claim is humans do not develop consciousness at the same age. This is false, as most babies that are not totally malformed when born have all of those things. They have senses, probably its f*cking cold right now, crying (self motivated activity), presence of self concepts (understands that the world exists outside the womb), messages (crying), and the capability to reason (I pooped myself, lets cry, thats reasoning). A fetus is already conscious when born, has these 5 things, and is no longer dependent on the woman to survive. My opponent then uses a straw man saying its moral to kill people under 5, that is FALSE, as they are now not fully dependent on one person nor residing on a woman's property (the womb), and they have the (5) things needed to have the philosophic and mental capabilities to fit under the provided definitions of human.
I refuted all of the (5) things you stated, as they all reason. I pooped, I cry. That's reasoning. I fell, I cry. That's reasoning. Kids have that.
Yes, abortions are restricted around 21 weeks. You must prove the one week difference has a difference, as other weeks there are HUGE changes, hence we can assume the reason the law has it as 21 is because a fetus woudl die otherwise. Also, any thing under my argument has a right to life, that is a human, hence the argument determines the date to an abortion, so if 22 weeks is when all (5) are in play then it is a human. My opponent has not however proven first trimester abortions, where most abortions take place, are immoral.
When most abortions occur (1st and second trimester), they do not have either of these points, you MIGHT have proven some abortions to be immoral, but as the resolution states you have to prove abortion is immoral in ALL cases, also meaning you have to prove the fetus is more important to the human, hence you have not even fully argued your case.
A child has these self concepts in basic ways, in which a fetus does not, a child knows what X and Y is, he knows he is ___ etc. A fetus does not have these capabilities, a child can.
My opponent has not proven legally or philosophically how my argument fails. So, to conclude the big argument, and refute his comments about #5 out of the 5 arguments:
"A big part of what makes us human beings is our ability to participate in society, or at least be recognized as a member of society. Fetuses are excluded both by necessity and custom. There can be no meaningful social participation for someone cocooned inside another's body. Fetuses do not even have a social identity, since names are not officially bestowed until after birth. In fact, a birth certificate marks the first legal recognition of a person's existence. And fetuses are generally not given ritualized burials when miscarried or aborted. It is quite telling that the death of a newborn infant is much more of a crushing blow to parents than an early miscarriage. People simply place a higher social value on infants than fetuses, and this convention is ingrained in our culture and history. " 
My opponent has not refuted the 5 concepts, not has been able to prove all abortions immoral, only late term ones. So my opponent this round has gotten no where, and a fetus does not fit into society and is helpless to the mother, hence it does not have a right to life. VOTE CON
*Note I understand this will get VB'd, so voters if you do not have legitimate reasons for your vote you will be countered*
What I proved in showing that a fetus is human at 22 weeks, is that, a fetus being aborted at lets say 20 weeks, is a human, only weeks away from having the ability of surviving outside of the womb, and is a life with a future outside the womb. Therefore, abortion is morally unsound.
1. Some abortion may be moral
I didn't address this in my first argument because I wanted to prove that fetuses are human, which I think I did. However, in cases of rape or incest, in cases where the Mother is sick, and needs treatment requiring an abortion (cancer treatment, for example), or in cases where, as my opponent stated, half the brain is missing (anencephalic fetuses), an abortion would be permissible.
However, I am against any other form of abortion, because it is killing life (it is alive, therefore it is life, not potential life, as some pro choicers will argue) Definition of life : "The quality that distinguishes a vital and functional being from a dead body." It does depend on the Mother in order to grow, however, it is a functional human being, that is alive.
2. Human characteristics
In my first argument, I refuted all 5 of your concepts of human characteristics. I mentioned that it is debatable as to when a human gains such concepts, and while some are gained by babies upon birth, not all of these concepts are gained. For example, presence of self concepts. By wikipedia's definition of it (listed in my previous argument) it is pretty obvious that they lack this concept very much.
And my argument of consciousness has to do with really understanding surroundings. A baby early on in life spends most of it's time sleeping, it is aware, but not completely so, of it's surroundings. It is still learning. It is ignorant. Yes, it understands things such as, it's cold, or I'm hungry, but it is not completely aware of it's surroundings.
Furthermore, I didn't necessarily insinuate that abortion before 22 weeks is fine. The fact is, there is no scientific fact telling us when a human is a human. It is, however, living as soon as it is conceived. Amillia Taylor's case shows that at 22 weeks it is possible to survive, but that doesn't mean that all will survive at 22 weeks, or that a baby could not survive even earlier than 22 weeks. This is just one case. My point is, in order to allow an abortion, we need to really show when a human becomes a human. This is why I'm pro life. Because this "fetus" being aborted is alive, and a human being. It is human because it has the characteristics of a human being. 
Referencing a quote from your most recent argument, "A big part of what makes us human beings is our ability to participate in society, or at least be recognized as a member of society." So, does the "ability to participate in society" mean that a retarded person, or a disabled person is not a human? What is the "ability to participate in society"? These concepts are too vague to say that the lack of such concepts justifies killing a human being.
My reason for being pro life is implied in the name, "pro life". I am against killing an innocent life, who's right to life is protected under our constitution. There is no real evidence proving that a fetus is not a human being, nor alive. It is very much alive and human. And in my opinion, the right to life of all human beings, one of the most basic human rights, trumps the right to choose.
Abortion is morally sound overall, as you still need to prove all abortion is immoral, not just one sect.
This may be his main argument, but this proves the pro life position faulty. Now, you concede abortions in many cases are in fact moral as they where forced to have the child etc. etc. But this nearly concedes the debate, as this means you think the right to life is negotiable, hence not absolute or paramount. They do this in attempt to be anti abortion, but let women have certain rights, this actually concedes that women's rights trump a fetuses rights. 
"Anti-choicers say that a fetus has an inherent "right to life." But many of them support exceptions to a ban on abortion in cases of rape, incest, or a threat to the woman's life, or even health. This clearly indicates that they believe the right to life of a fetus is negotiable, certainly not absolute or paramount. By compromising their "right to life" definition in order to accommodate a woman's rights, they inadvertently acknowledge that women's rights are more important than the "right to life" of fetuses. " 
My opponent then claims that a fetus is alive, but once again life is not enough to ensure any right to anything. A fetus is a human in biological sense, i.e. being a member of the human race, but it is not a member of society. The basic argument of (1) it is wrong to kill a human being, (2) a fetus is a human, (3) therefore abortion is immoral is a very faulty case. The word human comes with more then one definition. Biologically, a fetus is a human, but that is only one sense of the word. The other sense is being a member of society, which a fetus does not and cannot do. So as there are multiple senses to the word human, then the conclusion is flawed and does not follow. (1) is acceptable, but (2) is question begging as it only works in a genetic sense, not a societal sense, hence the argument you have been using fails philosophically. 
2. Human characteristics
You never refuted those concepts, as a fetus is incapable of doing any of those things, as you are not responding [fully] to by defense of the 5 you hence drop the argument which counts as a concision.
My opponent is still straw manning, as all BORN humans that integrate with society have these characteristics. A fetus does not, you have never refuted this argument.
My opponent, then shows there is no scientific evidence when a fetus is a human. Well a fetus is never a person until birth, as until then they are still residing in the woman's body and cannot fit all of the (5) principles. So he is relying solely on fetal development in his case. A fetus, is not a person in society therefore has no moral value, so a fetus is only a potential human. This is the only viable argument you can make when it comes to the fetal development argument, which fails still. We must ask does having a potential human warrent a moral case to abortion? Now, before talking about the only viable defense of the fetal development (potential human hood, its almost there), let me respond to the 22 week old born child.
Even in later abortions, it has many of the (5) precincts. It resembles a human, but does not have full consciousness nor self awareness. Marry Anne Warren writes:
"Thus it is clear that even though a seven- or eight-month fetus has features which make it apt to arouse in us almost the same powerful protective instinct as is commonly aroused by a small infant, nevertheless it is not significantly more personlike than is a very small embryo. It is somewhat more personlike; it can apparently feel and respond to pain, and it may even have a rudimentary form of consciousness, insofar as its brain is quite active. Nevertheless, it seems safe to say that it is not fully conscious, in the way that an infant of a few months is, and that it cannot reason, or communicate messages of indefinitely many sorts, does not engage in self-motivated activity, and has no self-awareness. Thus, in the relevant respects, a fetus, even a fully developed one, is considerably less personlike than is the average mature mammal, indeed the average fish. " 
So she claims once born you are fully developed enough like a grown mammal to warrant being called a person. You keep trying to say a 5 year old is orally safe to kill under this argument, this too is a straw man. As a born child is now fully aware, unlike a 8 month old fetus, and is also now part of the society and is not reliant on any one being (it is now reliant on many, and it part of the society, so comparing a fetus to a 5 year old fails). 
So back to the science thing. Science only proves a fetus is alive and is a human, but simply being alive does not warrant a right to life. The argument fails, and the only defense of this is it is a human, and is potentially a member of society. This too fails. But the woman, already a persons rights trump any fetuses potential rights. Thus:
"Consequently, a woman's right to protect her health, happiness, freedom, and even her life,' by terminating an unwanted pregnancy, will always override whatever right to life it may be appropriate to ascribe to a fetus, even a fully developed one." 
My opponent then states a fetus is relatable to a fetus because of society. The argument fails as mental retardation does not mean you are not with society, they actually live with it. And these mentaly retarded people have the (5) attributes of:
"Consciousness (of objects and events external and/or internal to the being), and in particular the capacity to feel pain;
Reasoning (the developed capacity to solve new and relatively complex problems);
Self-motivated activity (activity which is relatively independent of either genetic or direct external control);
The capacity to communicate, by whatever means, messages of an indefinite variety of types, that is, not just with an indefinite number of possible contents, but on indefinitely many possible topics;
The presence of self-concepts, and self-awareness, either individual or racial, or both" 
Comparing mental retardation with a fetus is faulty.
My opponent has failed to show all abortions are immoral, and his concession of abortion is ok in some situations means the right to life is not paramount and women's rights trump fetal life. A fetus philosophically is not a human, and an abortion is NOT murder. My opponent has not fulfilled his BOP. I am well aware conservatives will VB this, even though I am clearly the winner on most of the arguments, I still think I won this debate from a philosophical and moral standpoint. A fetus does not have the 5 attributes everyone of us have, nor is a fetus part of society. Merely being alive (my opponent only argues a fetus is alive) is not enough to be granted rights to life. So in closing:
"Despite the potential that a fetus has for becoming a human being, and its similarities to a human being, we cannot say that a fetus is a human being. A fetus resides in a legal and social no-man's land, where rights and personhood can have no force or meaning, unless women are kept thoroughly oppressed. Plus, there are many significant differences between a born human being and a fetus, which creates reasonable doubt as to its status. Because there can be no consensus on the matter, the value accorded to a fetus is a subjective, personal matter. Individuals, not society as a whole, must choose what the status of a fetus should be, based on their personal beliefs, morality, and circumstances. And ultimately, this choice belongs only to pregnant women."
Argunments - I refuted all of his argunments, his fail in philosophy (of abortion), and morality.
Sources - Tied, even though he had more mine where more accurate, for the most part
Conduct - I think tied, we where respectful
S/G - Your choice
The choice is clear, vote PRO. Also:
Yes, I do agree, in few circumstances, abortion can be permissible. If a woman has cancer, and needs to abort her child, it obviously makes sense for her to do it. The baby wouldn't survive if she died. Or if she's raped. I hate to say I see this as permissible, barely, only because she was forced into pregnancy. Otherwise, I am against it 100%.
2. Human Rights
It is agreed that the right to life is once of the most basic of human rights. Now, since science has proved that a fetus is, in fact, a human being, I see no reason why an abortion is permissible. Just because it cannot think properly, or that it can't reason properly, does not make it less human. And again, it has been scientifically proved that a fetus is both alive, and human. Does this not mean that is has a natural human right to life? In my opinion, it is more than enough.
A fetus cannot reason, because it is still developing. That doesn't mean that it is less human, or that it doesn't deserve a right to life. A fetus cannot be aware of it's surroundings, because it is both developing, and it never changes. It is in the womb, submerged in water. All it's needs are met in the womb, so it doesn't have a need to take notice of it's surroundings. And even though the younger fetuses cannot take notice of it's surrounds, even if it wanted to, it is still both alive, and human, meaning that it has a right to life.
There is no proving that a fetus is not human, because it very much is human. It is a living human being, and because of this, it should be guaranteed the most basic of human rights, the right to life. Abortion, except in very few cases, is morally wrong and selfish.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by miketheman1200 3 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: If scientists find organisms on a distant planet and would consider it life, then what does that make a fetus? I dont believe in convienence abortions, but con clearly made the better argument.
Vote Placed by XimenBao 3 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments
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