The Instigator
aredcard4u
Con (against)
Losing
12 Points
The Contender
HempforVictory
Pro (for)
Winning
29 Points

Abortion; is it a child?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/17/2008 Category: Society
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,238 times Debate No: 1918
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (5)
Votes (10)

 

aredcard4u

Con

Is it a child? That is really the only question that needs to be answered in this debate, if a child exists, that child has rights, to kill that child is murder because that child has done nothing wrong.
Rape? seriously think about it, what difference does it make? Punish the person that commited the crime, the RAPIST! Not an innocent human that happened to be conceived by a criminal, I'm sorry but you can't choose your parents.
Endangering the life of the mother? Is one life more valueble than another? Who decides? You're going to destroy one life because of the CHANCE that another might be destroyed?
good luck!
HempforVictory

Pro

"Is it a child?"

Assuming that by *it* you mean the aborted fetus or embryo, according to dictionary.com there are many different definitions for the word child. The two most appropriate for our purposes are:

1.a person between birth and full growth; a boy or girl

4.a human fetus.

If we accept the first definition, than the abortion is certainly not a child. If we go with the second definition, which I assume that you will argue for, than the abortion would technically be a child if it were late enough in its development to be considered a fetus and not an embryo. At the very least, using strict definitions, the abortion of a human embryo can not be construed as murder in any way. If you agree with this, we can move on. There are plenty of rounds for debate, so no need to address all stages of pregnancy right now.

"Rape? seriously think about it, what difference does it make? Punish the person that commited the crime, the RAPIST! Not an innocent human that happened to be conceived by a criminal, I'm sorry but you can't choose your parents."

By forcing a mother to give birth to the offspring of her rapist, you are not punishing the developing fetus, you are punishing the mother! If a traumatized victim of rape views her pregnancy as the embodiment of that pain, it would be wrong to force her to live through it. This is especially true when we consider that the developing embryo or early fetus feels no pain and has no consciousness. To say that we are punishing it by means of abortion is a fallacy, if anything it is being spared of a life of probable misery. Would you want to be born as the child of a mother that hates you?

"Endangering the life of the mother? Is one life more valueble than another?"

I would say that the life of a human is more valuable than the life of an insect, would you disagree? Is the life of a well-loved pain-feeling woman is more important than a non-sentient developing fetus or embryo that may not survive anyway and has yet to come into contact with anybody and is therefore not loved by anybody, except perhaps the mother who bears a prenatal bond. If the mother values her own life more than the life of her unborn child, she should have the right to make the decision to save herself.

"You're going to destroy one life because of the CHANCE that another might be destroyed?"

What about the chance that the fetus might not live through the pregnancy either? What about the chance that it might not live past it's first birthday? A motherless baby does not have much of a chance to survive and do well in life, so why deprive the mother, who has survived and done well, of her chance to continue her life and perhaps bring another child into this world that will not endanger her life, and will be loved and cherished?
Debate Round No. 1
aredcard4u

Con

Yes, I mean "fetus." Is it "alive?" That is the heart of my argument. Is it a human with it's own identity? Just 25 days after conception the embryo has fully developed lungs and a beating heart. I will not argue that an embryo is a human, I will be arguing from the second trimester onward. During the second trimester, a fetus has its own circulatory system, can think, hear, feel, and even dream.
"you are not punishing the developing fetus"
How does abortion not punish the developing fetus? Abortion destroys the fetus. The end of its life only because its father is a rapist.
"you are punishing the mother!"
Yes, but think, if the fetus is alive, its own separate person, isn't it more of an injustice to be killed before you have a chance to live outside the womb of your mother?
"if anything it is being spared a life of probable misery. Would you want to be born as the child of a mother that hates you?"
There is always adoption. I have four adopted siblings whose birth family didn't take care of them very well so they were taken away. You can ask them if they would rather have been aborted, and they are nice kids (most of the time, I am their brother, we all have our moments;-).

Yes, the life of a human is worth more than the life of an insect. But the life of a human is invaluable, if there is a way to save both then we should attempt to do so, through a C-section, or whatever means possible.
"What about the chance that the fetus might not live through pregnancy either?"
Here you make a very good point. I disagree with many in the pro-life movement here. If the child is likely to die with or without the abortion, than definitely perform the abortion since the child will die anyway. But my argument is when is it a child? When should it have rights? That is really where the debate should start because if you refuse to acknowledge the fetus as having rights, then we get nowhere.
There is always adoption. A great alternative to abortion.
HempforVictory

Pro

"I will not argue that an embryo is a human, I will be arguing from the second trimester onward."

So I guess than by this statement you would agree that abortion during the first trimester is acceptable and moral? Well, I'm glad to see that you are being reasonable.

"But my argument is when is it a child?"

First of all, that's not an argument, that's a question. Semantics aside, I will postulate that a fetus becomes a child deserving of rights when it is capable of living outside of the mother. Since this is not the case until the third trimester of pregnancy, only late-term abortions may be construed as being immoral. Unfortunately, this leaves us with only the second trimester left to debate.

"During the second trimester, a fetus has its own circulatory system, can think, hear, feel, and even dream."

Please, post your sources. To say that a fetus can "think" and "dream" in the second trimester is something that I have never heard nor read, and you'll require some kind of scientific backing to make such a claim.

"If the child is likely to die with or without the abortion, than definitely perform the abortion since the child will die anyway."

I think you misunderstood what I was saying. There is always a chance that the baby does not survive the birth. If the birth is almost 100% likely to kill the mother and the abortion likely to save her, but there is a good chance that the baby will live through the birth(it might not), how can you say that it is wrong to abort?

"if the fetus is alive, its own separate person"

Alive doesn't mean very much, insects and bacteria are alive. Sperm cells are alive and human, yet I kill them by the millions without remorse. The fetus is not it's own separate person, the key word here being "separate," as the fetus is very much attached to and a part of the mother. This is the core of my argument you see, for if the fetus is a part of and dependent on the mother's body, than she should maintain the right to alter her body at her own will.

You agree that forcing a mother to give birth to the child of her rapist is punishment for her, but than you say, "isn't it more of an injustice to be killed before you have a chance to live outside the womb of your mother?" If the fetus is killed before it can rationalize the concept of pain, than no, it is certainly more of an injustice to force pain onto a victim of rape than to end the life of something that has yet to truly experience it. Again, the fact that it is alive does not mean very much, what matters is if it is humanly conscious and aware, and the fetus is not.

"There is always adoption. A great alternative to abortion."

As long as it is performed in a timely manner, there is no logical reason why a mother should be refused the right to an abortion if that is her choice. Besides, there are enough kids in foster care in need of a home to more than satisfy the demand for adoptions. There are currently over one hundred thousand kids waiting to be adopted in America alone.
Debate Round No. 2
aredcard4u

Con

"Please, post your sources."
Sorry about that. I will do better in the future. Here is one of the site's I was looking at;
http://www.nrlc.org...

"you would agree that abortion during the first trimester is acceptable and moral?"
I will be arguing that as soon as the fetus can feel pain, then it should be illegal, with very rare exceptions, to kill/destroy the fetus, until more information is available, that is my stance.
From the same source http://www.nrlc.org...
"Week 12: The baby has all of the parts necessary to experience pain, including nerves, spinal cord, and thalamus.� Vocal cords are complete.� The baby can suck its thumb."

"that's not an argument that's a question."
What I mean is that until we answer that question, we really can't argue at all because we aren't arguing on the same terms, if it is a child, it should have rights, that is my argument, sorry for being unclear.
"a fetus becomes a child deserving of rights when it is capable of living outside of the mother."
So are you saying that if we get technology that allows us to develop children outside of their mothers womb from the start of around the second trimester, then abortion should be illegal? What if we become able to take care of it outside its mother's womb from the embryonic stage? What if we could create life in a lab without the mother? Would we then not allow abortions at all? Being able to live outside of its mother's womb is a difficult thing to use to judge because technology is constantly changing.
"There is always a chance that the baby does not survive the birth. If the birth is almost 100% likely to kill the mother and the abortion likely to save her, but there is a good chance that the baby will live through the birth(it might not), how can you say that it is wrong to abort?"
How about an analogy; if I were rock climbing, and the person I was with slipped, and without my help would die, would I help them? I most certainly would, I would put my life in danger for theirs, to a point, I would most likely not kill myself to try to save them, but if it was strictly between my life and theirs, I might, in fact, choose mine (highly unlikely, unless I was in a movie and then of course I'd save them ;-), but that instance is very rare, in fact according to http://www.nrlc.org... ;
"Women have cited 'social reasons' , not mother's health or rape/incest as their motivation in approximately 93% of all abortions."
"if the fetus is a part of and dependent on the mother's body, than she should maintain the right to alter her body at her own will."
If you were a doctor and you wouldn't be able to just kill one of your patients, regardless of how "dependent on" you they happened to be at that time.
"what matters is if it is humanly conscious and aware, and the fetus is not."
From http://www.nrlc.org... ; "Week 6:� Brain waves are detectable." I cited my source this time, where's yours?
"There are currently over one hundred thousand kids waiting to be adopted in America alone."
True, but most of those kids weren't available for adoption as babies, if you want to adopt a non-special needs baby in the United States it is very difficult to say the least. But it is much easier to adopt older children because, I'll be blunt, most parents don't want to deal with the problems that older kids have if they've been taken away from their parents.
HempforVictory

Pro

"Sorry about that. I will do better in the future. Here is one of the site's I was looking at;
http://www.nrlc.org...;

Perhaps you should have posted a different source, rather than one that is so obviously biased. I doubt that the National Right to Life (Campaign?) can be relied on for objective scientific information. You can find any website to back your POV, but I asked you to find some scientific backing for your claims.

"I will be arguing that as soon as the fetus can feel pain, then it should be illegal, with very rare exceptions, to kill/destroy the fetus, until more information is available, that is my stance."

Well I'm glad you have finally answered your own question of "When is it a child?". After doing a bit of research, I found an article entitled "Fetal Pain" published in the Journal of the American Medical Association and is most appropriate to our discussion.

http://jama.ama-assn.org...

It concludes that, "Pain is an emotional and psychological experience that requires conscious recognition of a noxious stimulus. Consequently, the capacity for conscious perception of pain can arise only after thalamocortical pathways begin to function, which may occur in the third trimester around 29 to 30 weeks' gestational age"

Based on this evidence, as well as your own opinion of when a child is deserving of rights, only 3rd trimester abortions may be construed as being immoral. This is congruent with my earlier postulation.

"So are you saying that if we get technology that allows us to develop children outside of their mothers womb from the start of around the second trimester, then abortion should be illegal?"

Don't be foolish, the point of my statement was to imply that the fetus does not have rights until it is capable of living independently of its mother. If in the future, machines become capable of replacing the role of a mother during gestation, than I would maintain virtually the same argument that the fetus becomes deserving of rights when it is capable of living outside of its mother *or* a machine.

"How about an analogy..."

It would be wise for you to better relate your analogy to the point your trying to make. In my view, your analogy supports a womans right to opt for an abortion in the case that giving birth would threaten her life. You said that "I would most likely not kill myself to try to save them," so why should a mother be forced to kill herself to save her unborn child? Your logic makes no sense, or at least it needs to be better explained.

"Women have cited 'social reasons' , not mother's health or rape/incest as their motivation in approximately 93% of all abortions."

And it should be those 93% that we are debating. Quite frankly, I was appalled by your first argument to see that you don't agree with the right to an abortion in the case of rape or worse, when the mother's life is in danger. That is a very extreme position to take, and it is a very difficult one to debate for.

"If you were a doctor and you wouldn't be able to just kill one of your patients, regardless of how "dependent on" you they happened to be at that time."

Way to take what I said out of context. The patients are not "a part of" the doctor's body in any way, so of course he has no right to kill one of them. Furthermore, the patients are most definitely humanly conscious and aware, unless if they are brain-dead, in which case it is legal, with the consent of the family, to pull the plug on them and nobody is charged with murder.

"Week 6: Brain waves are detectable."

The detection of brain waves is a far cry from being humanly conscious and aware. Every animal with a brain has detectable brain waves, but that does not make them humanly conscious. Regardless, I have already stated that the source you are using should not be acceptable for this debate because it is quite clearly a biased website, and so the accuracy of the information presented within it cannot be trusted.

A demand for adopting babies should not be seen as a reason to outlaw abortions. If a mother or couple does not like the idea of having their offspring raised by another family, but is not ready to raise their own, that is their choice and to deny it is un-American. If another couple really wants to adopt a baby for whatever reason, but is having difficulty finding an American born baby that is up for adoption, than they can follow in the footsteps of celebrities like Angelina Jolie and adopt a baby from a 3rd world nation.
Debate Round No. 3
aredcard4u

Con

aredcard4u forfeited this round.
HempforVictory

Pro

Well, I don't know what else there is for me to say. My opponent forfeited the round and has yet to post an argument in the comments section like I suggested. Thus, I will maintain my position that a woman should have the right to an abortion if she so chooses and that it may not be construed as unethical to abort as long as it is done before the third trimester.
Debate Round No. 4
aredcard4u

Con

First off, I'm sorry about missing the deadline. You do have the last word after this though, it's not like I was trying to save my arguments for the end or something like that.
"Perhaps you should have posted a different source, rather than one that is so obviously biased."
Ok here are a few others, all of which put the latest date as being 20 weeks, with the Fetus beginning to feel pain at 14 weeks or earlier.

http://www.gargaro.com...
"The fetus can feel pain at 20 weeks. This is probably a conservatively late estimate, but it is scientifically solid. Elements of the pain-conveying system (spino-thalamic system) begin to be assembled at 7 weeks; enough development has occurred by 12-14 weeks that some pain perception is likely, and continues to build through the second trimester."
http://www.wpclinic.org...
"Weeks 13-16 The brain is fully developed and the fetus can suck, swallow, and make irregular breathing sounds. Fetus can feel pain"
http://www.abortionfacts.com... -WHY CAN'T WE LOVE THEM BOTH- by Dr. and Mrs. J.C. Willke "By this age the neuro-anatomic structures are present. What is needed is (1) a sensory nerve to feel the pain and send a message to (2) the thalamus, a part of the base of the brain, and (3) motor nerves that send a message to that area. These are present at 8 weeks. The pain impulse goes to the thalamus. It sends a signal down the motor nerves to pull away from the hurt."
"the fetus becomes deserving of rights when it is capable of living outside of its mother *or* a machine."
So are you saying that anyone who lives only because of a machine is no longer human and doesn't deserve rights? A friend of mine was unconscious for two and a half weeks after a gas fire at his house, are you saying that because he needed the help of several different machines that allowed him to breathe, receive nutrition, and fluid, he ceased to be deserving of his rights? You can say that he was likely to recover, but then again, a fetus is likely to make it as well, if you only give it the chance.
"In my view, your analogy supports a womans right to opt for an abortion in the case that giving birth would threaten her life."
Yes it does, and that is because I am arguing a point that is similar to yours, that if the woman is 100% going to die without the abortion, and 100% going to live with it, then have the abortion. But that is not the norm, normally, it only "endangers" the life OR health of the mother, and in the case of her health getting worse, not in the case of her going into depression or anything of that matter.
"unless if they are brain-dead, in which case it is legal, with the consent of the family, to pull the plug on them and nobody is charged with murder."
But what if the person is only recovering from an injury and they are likely to regain conciousness very soon, then it would be unethical and immoral to pull the plug on them.
"A demand for adopting babies should not be seen as a reason to outlaw abortions."
I was not putting it forward as such, I was only stating that the mother has an option if she doesn't want to keep the child.

Good job, you did very well, I enjoyed arguing with someone who is well versed about the issues.
HempforVictory

Pro

Well, hopefully the voters sympathize with your position and vote based only on the four arguments that were posted.

I guess I will start by refuting those websites you posted...

1) 20 weeks? That is about 5 months, pretty close to the third trimester. However, this Dr. Ranalli, Vice President of the Canadian Physicians for Life, does not seem very convincing.

2) While the link you provided does not actually give any scientific data, it does provide a link to the New England Journal of Medicine for the piece that you quoted. It begins:

"THE evaluation of pain in the human fetus and neonate is difficult because pain is generally defined as a subjective phenomenon.1 Early studies of neurologic development concluded that neonatal responses to painful stimuli were decorticate in nature and that perception or localization of pain was not present.2 Furthermore, because neonates may not have memories of painful experiences, they were not thought capable of interpreting pain in a manner similar to that of adults.3-5 On a theoretical basis, it was also argued that a high threshold of painful stimuli may be adaptive in protecting infants from pain during birth.6 These traditional views have led to a widespread belief in the medical community that the human neonate or fetus may not be capable of perceiving pain.7,8

Strictly speaking, nociceptive activity, rather than pain,should be discussed with regard to the neonate, because pain is a sensation with strong emotional associations."

I would not define pain as nociceptive activity, for nociceptive activity is not at all exclusive to humans, it's not even exclusive to vertebrates. From Wikipedia:
"Pain in animals, including humans, is frequently the result of nociception;[1] activity in the nervous system that results from the stimulation of nociceptors. This activity is carried to the brain, usually via the spinal cord, and conveys information, without conscious awareness, about damage or near-damage in body tissues. Pain is the conscious experience of sensorial information and a feeling of unpleasantness that can manifest as a result of nociception. "

Reaction to stimuli is not enough to be considered pain, not for an argument dealing with the morality of an abortion. Nociception may cause pain, but it is not pain. Therefore, this statement that the fetus can feel pain between weeks 13-16 is incorrect.

Also from your link's source:
"Recent studies using electron microscopy and immunocytochemical methods show that the development of various types of cells in the dorsal horn (along with their laminar arrangement, synaptic interconnections, and specific neurotransmitter vesicles) begins before 13 to 14 weeks of gestation and is completed by 30 weeks."
and
"Pain pathways to the brain stem and thalamus are completely myelinated by 30 weeks; whereas the thalamocortical pain fibers in the posterior limb of the internal capsule and corona radiata are myelinated by 37 weeks."

The structures may be present, but they are not fully formed and actively transmitting signals to the cortex. Hence, there can be no *true* pain.

3) I already addressed this issue responding to website #2. What you copied and pasted was referring to nociception, not pain.

"So are you saying that anyone who lives only because of a machine is no longer human and doesn't deserve rights?"

No, I'm saying that a fetus that has never been independent of someone or something else for its life should not be deserving of life. And quite frankly, the person on life support is only kept alive if he has insurance or somebody else covering his medical expenses. If the fetus is not wanted by the mother, anybody else for that matter, it should be the mother's choice to terminate it because she is the won carrying the expense of keeping the baby.

""In my view, your analogy supports a womans right to opt for an abortion in the case that giving birth would threaten her life."

Yes it does, and that is because I am arguing a point that is similar to yours, that if the woman is 100% going to die without the abortion, and 100% going to live with it, then have the abortion. But that is not the norm, normally, it only "endangers" the life OR health of the mother, and in the case of her health getting worse, not in the case of her going into depression or anything of that matter."

Well that seems to be very different than your initial assertion.

""A demand for adopting babies should not be seen as a reason to outlaw abortions."
I was not putting it forward as such, I was only stating that the mother has an option if she doesn't want to keep the child. "

Why shouldn't an abortion be an option? That is, after all, the crux of this debate.

Thank you, it was fun.
Debate Round No. 5
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by Rawlsfulcopter 8 years ago
Rawlsfulcopter
I think it can be constituted as a living being at conception, but even after this debate I'm not sure when it becomes a human child. Yes, it being a fetus. It seemed as though you two were arguing that it becomes a child when it can feel pain, but do we need to be able to feel pain to be humans deserving of rights? It sometimes also seemed as if to be human we had to be able to survive without help, and of course that poses the question of what to do with those on life support, which was addressed. I personally would be disgusted if I had a rapist fetus inside of me or rather my significant other and I agree that a lot of children who are aborted are missing out on terrible childhoods that they would have otherwise. It really is a shame that we have to worry about playing god like this. I guess for now I'm still for it as long as its not partial-birth abortion because that is definitely a human in my mind and there is no doubt that a half-born baby should have rights.
Posted by Defenestrator 9 years ago
Defenestrator
I think that Pro argued the points more fluidly through the entire debate, and although the final round was very solid by Con, I think that overall Pro gets my vote because it was a more consistent debate.

In the beginning I was confused as to Con's position as it appeared that Con was against the question "Is it a child?" which is confusing as it seems tough to be against a question. I would suggest a statement in the topic of the debate next time it would make your initial arguments stronger, which is where you lost the debate in my opinion.

Overall, well done on both sides.
Posted by HempforVictory 9 years ago
HempforVictory
Well, you could make a short argument in the comments section for me to respond to. Otherwise, I don't think there is anything else for me to say.
Posted by aredcard4u 9 years ago
aredcard4u
I really am sorry that I missed the time to post. I've just got so much homework... sry bout that. I won't forget the next one.
Posted by goldspurs 9 years ago
goldspurs
"I will postulate that a fetus becomes a child deserving of rights when it is capable of living outside of the mother."

It is only capable of living outside its mother if it has an adult to tend to its needs. It is still very dependent upon its mother, yet you wouldn't kill it then. I think that is very hypocritical.
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