The Instigator
Philocat
Con (against)
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The Contender
awr700
Pro (for)
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Abortion is morally acceptable

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/19/2014 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,234 times Debate No: 65483
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (4)
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Philocat

Con

I know there's been about a million of these debates but I haven't often debated the issue and would like some practice :)

First round is for acceptance and for anything you would like to say before the debate.

To clarify on what I am arguing, I am arguing that, if the mother's life is not in danger, abortion is morally wrong.
awr700

Pro

Just to clarify, abortions that occur in the third trimester (i.e. when the baby could survive outside the mother's womb) are indeed murder and I think are morally unacceptable--unless, of course, something happens and the woman's life is in danger. When I say abortion is morally acceptable, I only mean within the first six months of pregnancy.
Debate Round No. 1
Philocat

Con

Right, I'll start off by voicing my argument.

Premise 1: A human foetus is human
Premise 2: Life is a human right
Premise 3: Life has intrinsic value
Premise 4: It is immoral to destroy that which has intrinsic value and to negate human rights
Premise 5: Abortion is the removal of the foetus's life
Conclusion: Abortion is immoral.

Premise 1 is analytically correct by virtue of it being a human foetus. I justify calling them human as they have a unique set of human DNA. Also, one cannot change species, so if a foetus will grow into an adult human, it must therefore be a human foetus, a human baby and a human child along the way.

Premise 2 is Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (http://www.un.org...).

Premise 3 is an ethical statement and so must look to ethical theories for verification. A rule utilitarian would state that a rule of 'hold human life to be intrinsically valuable' would lead to more happiness and less unhappiness than the lack of such a rule. A Kantian deontologist would also uphold the intrinsic valuing of human life as a categorical imperative. This is because if we held human life to only hold instrumental value then society would collapse. Therefore it is moral to value human life intrinsically. According to J.S Mill"s Harm Principle, one only has freedom up to the point that their actions harm others. As abortion harms foetuses, one does not have the freedom to have an abortion. Finally, the Golden Rule of "do onto others as you would have them do onto you" would forbid abortion to anyone who values their current life and therefore grateful that their parents did not abort them.

Premise 4 is another ethical statement. To consider whether it is immoral to destroy that which has intrinsic value I could return to rule utilitarianism, Kantian deontology, the Harm Principle and the Golden Rule to verify that it is indeed immoral to destroy things that have intrinsic value. If it was not immoral, such things would cease to have intrinsic value. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights explains that it is immoral to negate human rights by saying: "[D]isregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind".

Premise 5 is obvious, as any medical practitioner will inform you that a foetus is killed in the abortion procedure, for more information on this, see http://www.nhs.uk...

The conclusion then follows the verification of the premises, that abortion is immoral.
awr700

Pro

Wow, you're an excellent debater! I reckon I'm a bit out of my league here, so bear with me on this.

"Premise 1: A human foetus is human."
This is true--after all, it is the offspring of two humans, and has human DNA.

"Premise 2: Life is a human right."
I agree, life is a human right--the right of a viable human. Should we give the right to life to something that has no interest in living, or indeed any idea what life itself is? As soon as the baby's brain is developed enough to be able to process simple things, like the want of comfort and the want to survive, then that baby should be given the right to life, but prior to that, it has no more concern for living than a plant.

"Premise 3: Life has intrinsic value."
Life does have intrinsic value, but sometimes the extent of that value can be negotiable. For example, we value cattle enough to raise them and give them the essentials to live a content existence, but ultimately that cow is to be sent to the slaughterhouse and sold as food so other people can enjoy it. Life is an important and cherished thing, but there are circumstances in which in order to preserve the quality of life for people, compromises need to be made about other creatures. But I am guessing that this statement was only meant to apply to humans, which is a different matter altogether. Human life and the taking thereof is not a matter that should be taken lightly, which is what you inferred would happen if abortion was legalized with your statement, "...if we held human life to only hold instrumental value then society would collapse." I disagree with the whole idea that legalizing abortion would make human life "instrumental," but just because something is regarded as instrumental does not mean it is unimportant or something to just be thrown away. Cows are regarded as instrumental for humans to get food, but this does not make it okay for people to just go around killing every cow they see just because cows are not necessary in a society. The very definition of the word instrumental states, "Very important in helping or causing something to happen or be done." It doesn't mean that something is valueless or pointless--quite the opposite, actually. Although I will acquiesce, human life is not something that should be merely instrumental.

"Premise 4: It is immoral to destroy that which has intrinsic value and to negate human rights."
I want to focus on the second portion of that statement: "It is immoral...to negate human rights." It says, in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, that all people have the right to liberty, privacy and security of person. Forcing a woman to carry a child--and what's more, an unwanted child she is usually unable to care for--is a violation of her rights. It is violating her privacy, as the state should not be involved with the bodies of any citizen; it is violating her liberty, as it is restricting her from her ability to carry on with her life unhindered (and generally pregnancy/a child is a very big hindrance in a person's life if she is not prepared, especially if that person is economically unstable or just beginning a prospering career); and it is violating her security of person, as it is forcing her to carry through with an uncomfortable, physically stressing pregnancy, and could even possibly damage her mentally if the child was a product of rape. Now, I agree it is immoral to negate human rights, but forcing a woman to carry an unwanted child directly goes against said rights. As for my response to the matter of the immorality of "destroy[ing] that which has intrinsic value," I will reiterate: human life does indeed have intrinsic value. However, an adult, an adolescent, a child, and even a baby are significantly different from a fetus in the fact that they have the want to survive, whereas a fetus is not yet developed enough to have any interest in surviving. Human rights should not apply to those who cannot even process the notion of life.

"Premise 5: Abortion is the removal of the foetus's life."
This is a pretty invariable fact.

In conclusion, though a fetus is a human, it is not a viable human. It isn't developed enough to understand life, much less understand whether or not it wants to stay alive. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and any philosophies that may be related to the preservation of life should only apply to viable humans (i.e., humans that have the ability to think intelligently), and a fetus does not qualify. Restricting abortion also violates the human rights of the woman carrying the fetus, making the restriction of abortion an immoral act.

I look forward to your counter-argument!

Sources:
http://www.merriam-webster.com...
http://www.un.org...
Debate Round No. 2
Philocat

Con

"Wow, you're an excellent debater! I reckon I'm a bit out of my league here, so bear with me on this."
Why thank you :)

"I agree, life is a human right--the right of a viable human. Should we give the right to life to something that has no interest in living, or indeed any idea what life itself is? As soon as the baby's brain is developed enough to be able to process simple things, like the want of comfort and the want to survive, then that baby should be given the right to life, but prior to that, it has no more concern for living than a plant."

An important fundamental of human rights is that one does not need to be aware of them to be entitled to them. For example a slave born into slavery probably would not know that they have the human right to freedom, but that does not justify their owner continuing to enslave them. I would also argue that a born baby also is not consciously aware of life; I certainly didn"t when I was that age.
In short, personal ignorance of one"s rights does not remove one"s rights

"Life does have intrinsic value, but sometimes the extent of that value can be negotiable. For example, we value cattle enough to raise them and give them the essentials to live a content existence, but ultimately that cow is to be sent to the slaughterhouse and sold as food so other people can enjoy it. Life is an important and cherished thing, but there are circumstances in which in order to preserve the quality of life for people, compromises need to be made about other creatures. But I am guessing that this statement was only meant to apply to humans, which is a different matter altogether. Human life and the taking thereof is not a matter that should be taken lightly, which is what you inferred would happen if abortion was legalized with your statement, "...if we held human life to only hold instrumental value then society would collapse." I disagree with the whole idea that legalizing abortion would make human life "instrumental," but just because something is regarded as instrumental does not mean it is unimportant or something to just be thrown away. Cows are regarded as instrumental for humans to get food, but this does not make it okay for people to just go around killing every cow they see just because cows are not necessary in a society. The very definition of the word instrumental states, "Very important in helping or causing something to happen or be done." It doesn't mean that something is valueless or pointless--quite the opposite, actually. Although I will acquiesce, human life is not something that should be merely instrumental."

I apologise, that was an oversight in my argument. I meant to say that "human life has intrinsic value".
However, when explaining my premise, I wasn"t saying that abortion would cause human life to be held instrumentally, but simply that it is immoral to hold human life instrumentally in general. Having established that, it then follows that abortion is holding human life instrumentally and therefore wrong.

"I want to focus on the second portion of that statement: "It is immoral...to negate human rights." It says, in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, that all people have the right to liberty, privacy and security of person. Forcing a woman to carry a child--and what's more, an unwanted child she is usually unable to care for--is a violation of her rights. It is violating her privacy, as the state should not be involved with the bodies of any citizen; it is violating her liberty, as it is restricting her from her ability to carry on with her life unhindered (and generally pregnancy/a child is a very big hindrance in a person's life if she is not prepared, especially if that person is economically unstable or just beginning a prospering career); and it is violating her security of person, as it is forcing her to carry through with an uncomfortable, physically stressing pregnancy, and could even possibly damage her mentally if the child was a product of rape. Now, I agree it is immoral to negate human rights, but forcing a woman to carry an unwanted child directly goes against said rights."

Abortion can be seen as a "conflict of rights" insofar as it asks the question: "which human right is more fundamental; freedom and security, or life?" I would argue that the right to life is more important than the right to freedom and security, I could analyse such a dilemma under deontology and utilitarianism and I would probably conclude that it is more moral to value the right to life over the right to freedom and not the other way round. On a social level, every single country in the world punishes murder more severely than the negation of freedom and security, this would suggest that the right to life is more important than the right to freedom and security.

"The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and any philosophies that may be related to the preservation of life should only apply to viable humans (i.e., humans that have the ability to think intelligently)."

Wait a second, you"re now saying that only humans who can think intelligently have a right to life? That would imply that I would be justified to kill babies, dementia patients and mentally retarded people. You admitted earlier that it is moral to hold human life intrinsically, and so therefore it is moral to value human life regardless of its ability to think intelligently.
awr700

Pro

Sorry this is so late! But here you go:

"An important fundamental of human rights is that one does not need to be aware of them to be entitled to them. For example a slave born into slavery probably would not know that they have the human right to freedom, but that does not justify their owner continuing to enslave them."

A person born into slavery might not know that he has the right to freedom. But he does know what freedom is, and he knows that he wants to be free. If this was not the case, slavery would have never been abolished, and the right to freedom would have never been established.

A fetus doesn't know that humans have the right to life, but the distinction is, it has no interest in being alive. While you can tell a slave about freedom, you can't tell a fetus about life.

"I would also argue that a born baby also is not consciously aware of life; I certainly didn't when I was that age."

A baby might not know what to call it, but I would say a baby is definitely aware of life. A baby cries when it is hungry or in distress because it wants to stay alive; it wants the presence of its mother because it knows she will keep it safe and give it the necessities to carry on. It is an instinct of all sentient animals to survive.

"Abortion can be seen as a 'conflict of rights' insofar as it asks the question: 'which human right is more fundamental; freedom and security, or life?' I would argue that the right to life is more important than the right to freedom and security, I could analyse such a dilemma under deontology and utilitarianism and I would probably conclude that it is more moral to value the right to life over the right to freedom and not the other way round. On a social level, every single country in the world punishes murder more severely than the negation of freedom and security, this would suggest that the right to life is more important than the right to freedom and security."

The right to life is a very important thing, and I would agree, it is one of the most important human rights, but I would argue that in the case of abortion, the right to liberty is more important than the right to life. Let me explain: you say that in order to preserve a life, the liberty of another life (in this case, the mother's) is compromised to uphold the right to life. Now, let's say I agree that a fetus is a viable person entitled to all human rights (though, as I have said, I do not). The mother of that fetus is forced, by law, to carry the baby to term, completely giving up her bodily autonomy and liberty to uphold the most important right, the right to life.

Now, let's say that there is a girl in desperate need of a liver transplant. A boy shares the same blood type as her, and doctors say he can save her. For whatever reason, the boy says no, he does not want to give up a part of his body to save her. It might be because the surgery is painful and expensive, or the boy didn't like the girl, or he can't afford to take any time off of work/school, but regardless, he cannot be forced into giving up his liver.

You say that the right to life is more important than the right to liberty. That means that in this situation, you think that the boy should be forced to go through the procedure and have part of his liver removed to save the girl even though he doesn't want to. He will be forced to have an invasive surgery to remove one of his vital organs because if he doesn't, he'll be severely punished.

Is it right for him to not have a choice in the matter? It is his body, after all, and having a vital organ removed would drastically affect his health and his life. It might have been a heartless thing to refuse to save the girl, but it is ultimately his choice as to what he chooses to do with his body. Utilitarian philosophy might say that saving the girl would benefit the greatest number of people, but the law doesn't follow utilitarianism for a reason--after all, utilitarianism can go directly against human rights in some circumstances. Negating certain human rights in order to uphold others is counter-productive and personally, I don't agree with it.

"Wait a second, you're now saying that only humans who can think intelligently have a right to life? That would imply that I would be justified to kill babies, dementia patients and mentally retarded people. You admitted earlier that it is moral to hold human life intrinsically, and so therefore it is moral to value human life regardless of its ability to think intelligently."

The concept of intelligence is highly disputed. It is defined as "the ability to learn or understand things or to deal with new or difficult situations" (http://www.merriam-webster.com...). I apologize, I should have been more explicit in defining what I mean by intelligence, my mistake. Babies, dementia patients, and mentally retarded people technically have human intelligence. Fetuses don't. Besides, you can't compare fetuses and people with dementia and mental retardation; all people were once fetuses, but not everyone is mentally disabled.
Debate Round No. 3
Philocat

Con

Good response!

Your point that a slave desires freedom and can comprehend the concept is pertinent. But it does not justify the violation of a foetus's life just because it cannot comprehend or express a preference to live. This is because one does not need to be able to comprehend their rights to be entitled to them. To illustrate this, let us look at paedophilic sexual intercourse. A young child cannot comprehend sexuality, sexual intercourse or sexual consent, yet that does not mean that the child does not have the right not to be statutory raped. I reassert my earlier point, that human rights are possessed by all humans by virtue of definition; there is no reason to suggest that they are only possessed by those who can comprehend them. You may argue that a foetus has no interest in life or living, but neither does a severely depressed person and we would not be morally justified to kill them. Moreover, a foetus only lacks interest in life because it does not have the cognitive ability to know what life is, if it had the intelligence to do so, it would undoubtedly choose to hold their right to life. Human rights are granted to humans as default and they can only be removed (if ever) if someone chooses to forfeit them. It is fallacious to equate a foetus"s lack of ability to be interested in their rights to an active forfeit of them.

"The right to life is a very important thing, and I would agree, it is one of the most important human rights, but I would argue that in the case of abortion, the right to liberty is more important than the right to life. Let me explain: you say that in order to preserve a life, the liberty of another life (in this case, the mother's) is compromised to uphold the right to life. Now, let's say I agree that a fetus is a viable person entitled to all human rights (though, as I have said, I do not). The mother of that fetus is forced, by law, to carry the baby to term, completely giving up her bodily autonomy and liberty to uphold the most important right, the right to life."
That would only be in the case where a mother"s life is in danger, which I am not arguing against anyway. As long as she isn"t in danger then she has the liberty to uphold her right to life. She is also not giving up her bodily autonomy because she didn"t have the bodily autonomy to harm anyone in the first place. She cannot use her bodily autonomy to hurt anybody when she is not pregnant, so she is not giving up any bodily autonomy when she becomes pregnant and cannot abort. For example, I have the bodily autonomy to go to the toilet, run a marathon or brush my teeth because these things do not harm anyone. However, I do not have the bodily autonomy to strike someone, throttle them or harm then in any way using my body. As abortion is harming others (the foetus) one cannot cite bodily autonomy as the justification for killing it.

"Now, let's say that there is a girl in desperate need of a liver transplant. A boy shares the same blood type as her, and doctors say he can save her. For whatever reason, the boy says no, he does not want to give up a part of his body to save her. It might be because the surgery is painful and expensive, or the boy didn't like the girl, or he can't afford to take any time off of work/school, but regardless, he cannot be forced into giving up his liver.
You say that the right to life is more important than the right to liberty. That means that in this situation, you think that the boy should be forced to go through the procedure and have part of his liver removed to save the girl even though he doesn't want to. He will be forced to have an invasive surgery to remove one of his vital organs because if he doesn't, he'll be severely punished."

This is one of the classic pro-choice thought experiments. I"ll explain where it fails.
In the example, the boy is not responsible for the girl being in a needy state and so has no obligation to help her. However, this is not analogous to pregnancy as the pregnant women caused the foetus to be in a needy state by engaging in sexual intercourse (an act intrinsically ordered towards procreation) and so is responsible for helping the foetus; for she is responsible for the foetus"s needy state. Returning to your thought-experiment, if the boy had spiked the girls drink with 100% alcohol and so caused her to be in need of a liver transplant, it would not be immoral to expect the boy to then donate blood to her.
You might argue that this does not apply in the case of rape, but the analogy would still then only apply to 0.54% (1) of abortions, which is hardly morally justifying abortion. Nonetheless, the analogy is still not analogous to abortion in cases of rape because in the analogy the boy would be suffering only if he did choose to donate blood, and would not be suffering if he chose not to help the girl. However, in rape cases the mother"s suffering is not removed by abortion; the abortion does not make the woman forget the rape or "undo" it in any way, and having an abortion is just another act of violence that could further harm her mental health. In fact, 80% of women regretted aborting the child of their rapist(2), which would suggest that abortion does not help the victim of rape and so cannot be justified in cases of it.

"The concept of intelligence is highly disputed. It is defined as "the ability to learn or understand things or to deal with new or difficult situations". I apologize, I should have been more explicit in defining what I mean by intelligence, my mistake. Babies, dementia patients, and mentally retarded people technically have human intelligence."

Well, according to your definition of intelligence, dementia patients, babies and severely retarded people are not intelligent, because they cannot understand things or deal with new situations.

"Besides, you can't compare fetuses and people with dementia and mental retardation; all people were once fetuses, but not everyone is mentally disabled."

I can compare them because I was not comparing them in the respect to whether all people once were them; I was comparing them in respect to their lack of intelligence. I was making allowance for your highly dubious premise that right to life is qualifiable on intelligence.

(1)http://www.johnstonsarchive.net...
(2) http://afterabortion.org...
awr700

Pro

"Good response!"
So was yours :)

Let's list off a few facts before getting into the specifics:

Approximately 90% of abortions occur within the first trimester, with 38% of those occurring before and at six weeks' gestation, or four weeks after conception (1). At six weeks gestation, the embryo's heart has only just began pumping blood, and arms and legs are just beginning to develop. It is about the size of the tip of a pen (2). By the end of the third trimester, the offspring, only just having met the qualifications to be described as a fetus, is around 60 millimeters long (about the length of two paperclips) and weighs only 14 grams (3). So when we are talking about a "fetus," you should envision a tiny lump of flesh rather than a baby.

Now, in 2010, 85% of all aborted pregnancies were from unmarried women--women who probably weren't financially stable enough to have a child. In fact, the reason given for 75% of all abortions is that having a baby would interfere with work or school and/or they couldn't afford a child. 12% of abortions are from women who have health problems and couldn't handle giving birth to a baby. For less than 1% of abortions was rape given as a reason for the procedure (1).

"..One does not need to be able to comprehend their rights to be entitled to them. To illustrate this, let us look at paedophilic sexual intercourse. A young child cannot comprehend sexuality, sexual intercourse or sexual consent, yet that does not mean that the child does not have the right not to be statutory raped."

The fact of the matter is, human rights exist to try to prevent human suffering. That's why things like torture, murder, thievery, etc., are banned. If a young child is assaulted, they are very much aware that they do not like what is happening to them. They might not know that there are laws specifically prohibiting pedophilia, but they are aware that their assault is uncomfortable and painful and they don't like it, and they can definitely comprehend, given the information, that they have a right for that to not happen to them.

"Moreover, a foetus only lacks interest in life because it does not have the cognitive ability to know what life is, if it had the intelligence to do so, it would undoubtedly choose to hold their right to life. Human rights are granted to humans as default and they can only be removed (if ever) if someone chooses to forfeit them."

Normally, I would agree with you that yes, human rights are granted to humans by default. Except I don't think it's right to be able to cherry-pick what rights certain people are able to have. If one reads The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (http://www.un.org...) all the way through, it makes it very clear that these rights are only pertinent to viable human beings. A fetus would not need worry about its right to leave its home country, or whether or not it can have a nationality, or its right to education. Now, like I said, around 90% of abortions are performed in the first trimester, so within the first twelve or so weeks of conception. Fetuses haven't even acquired the brain connections necessary to feel pain until twenty-four weeks (4), at which point they can survive outside the womb and abortion is illegal and immoral.

Basically what I'm saying is, human rights are null and void until all of them are applicable to a person--so, infancy.

"That would only be in the case where a mother's life is in danger, which I am not arguing against anyway. As long as she isn't in danger then she has the liberty to uphold her right to life. She is also not giving up her bodily autonomy because she didn't have the bodily autonomy to harm anyone in the first place. She cannot use her bodily autonomy to hurt anybody when she is not pregnant, so she is not giving up any bodily autonomy when she becomes pregnant and cannot abort....As abortion is harming others (the foetus) one cannot cite bodily autonomy as the justification for killing it."

A woman can't justifiably hurt a person unless it's in self defense, that's true. But the difference between a person and a fetus is that the person isn't wholly and completely reliant on the woman and the sustenance she gives them for survival. A fetus only exists because the woman exists, whereas for another person that isn't the case. Because of this, the ability to abort the fetus would technically be the bodily autonomy of the woman until viability.

"In the example, the boy is not responsible for the girl being in a needy state and so has no obligation to help her. However, this is not analogous to pregnancy as the pregnant women caused the foetus to be in a needy state by engaging in sexual intercourse (an act intrinsically ordered towards procreation) and so is responsible for helping the foetus; for she is responsible for the foetus's needy state."

I acquiesce, the liver transplant analogy was rather faulty. But I just want to point out that consent to sex does not mean consent to pregnancy if contraceptive measures are used. And contraceptive measures aren't exactly foolproof (5). Condoms have an 18% fail rate (meaning out of every 100 sexual encounters a condom is used with, 18 result in pregnancy) and birth control pills have a 9% fail rate. If a woman consents to protected sex and gets pregnant, that could be extremely damaging to her work (less likely to be hired and maternal leave) and/or her school (harsh treatment, bullying, and perceived to be less responsible in the eyes of authorities and peers). The life and career of a person should not be compromised because of such uncertain circumstances.

"However, in rape cases the mother's suffering is not removed by abortion; the abortion does not make the woman forget the rape or 'undo' it in any way, and having an abortion is just another act of violence that could further harm her mental health. In fact, 80% of women regretted aborting the child of their rapist(2), which would suggest that abortion does not help the victim of rape and so cannot be justified in cases of it."

I have a feeling that those statistics were rather biased, since it was a study done for a book. Besides, only 200 women, and not all of them having even experienced abortion, is a much too small survey to accurately determine the mentality of rape survivors who have an abortion, although your reasoning is solid. And as you said, rape only accounts for a minuscule percent of abortions, so it shouldn't be the deciding factor on its legalization.

Sources:
(1) http://www.abort73.com...
(2) http://www.mayoclinic.org...
(3) http://www.mayoclinic.org...
(4) http://www.motherjones.com...
(5) http://www.cdc.gov...
Debate Round No. 4
Philocat

Con

So when we are talking about a "fetus," you should envision a tiny lump of flesh rather than a baby."

This is an odd concept, that killing becomes more morally acceptable if the victim is much smaller than the killer. If you are saying this, then you must admit that it would be justified for someone much larger than you, let's say that giants exist, to kill you. Would it be a valid justification for a giant to kill you because you are a tiny lump of flesh? Surely not.
To summarise, highlighting the size of foetuses is irrelevant to this debate.

"The fact of the matter is, human rights exist to try to prevent human suffering. That's why things like torture, murder, thievery, etc., are banned. If a young child is assaulted, they are very much aware that they do not like what is happening to them. They might not know that there are laws specifically prohibiting pedophilia, but they are aware that their assault is uncomfortable and painful and they don't like it, and they can definitely comprehend, given the information, that they have a right for that to not happen to them."

You are partially correct in asserting that human rights exist to reduce human suffering, but this isn't the whole story. They also exists to ensure the basic happiness of humans' lives. Indeed, it says in the preamble that the UDHR is 'determined to promote ...better standards of life'. To expand on this, article 27 states that:

'Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits.' (1)

This is not a right that reduces suffering (few people would actively suffer from not being involved in arts and science) but it is a right that defends one's basic happiness.
Abortion removes all the happiness from a foetuses life, and thus is immoral even if no suffering is involved.
You may question why deprivation of happiness is immoral, but let me illustrate this analogy:

A child is going to be given a surprise birthday present; but a stranger, knowing that destroying the present will deprive the child of happiness, goes ahead and destroys the present.
Is this not immoral? The child will not suffer (it was a surprise), he will just be deprived of basic happiness. This suggests that deprivation of happiness is immoral even if the one being deprived does not suffer.

Also, if violation of human rights is justified if the victim does not suffer, then this would allow the sexual abuse of children whilst they are asleep, or the rape of someone in a coma. Nobody suffers in these examples, but does this make them morally acceptable?

"Basically what I'm saying is, human rights are null and void until all of them are applicable to a person--so, infancy."

But an infant does not care about a right to leave the country, have an education, or be free to assemble. These rights are not applicable to infants (or most children, for that matter). Does this mean that human rights are null and void to children? If this was correct, children would not have a right to liberty, life and all the other basic human rights. This is surely not the case.

"A woman can't justifiably hurt a person unless it's in self defense, that's true. But the difference between a person and a fetus is that the person isn't wholly and completely reliant on the woman and the sustenance she gives them for survival. A fetus only exists because the woman exists, whereas for another person that isn't the case. Because of this, the ability to abort the fetus would technically be the bodily autonomy of the woman until viability."

The very fact that the woman is responsible for the foetus's existence gives her moral obligations to care for it. You have not explained why dependency is equivalent to forfeiture of human rights. I would also argue that a newborn infant is dependent on
the hospital for its survival, but this does not give the hospital the right to kill the baby.

You argue that consent to sex is not consent to pregnancy when contraceptives are used. Yet in reality sexual intercourse is intrinsically ordered to cause pregnancy, and so participating in an act that is fundamentally intended to give a certain consequence is effectively consent for that consequence to occur.
If a blind man fires a gun in a shopping mall, knowing that there is a 10% chance of killing someone, it would be unreasonable for him to say that he only consented to pulling the trigger, not killing someone.

"The life and career of a person should not be compromised because of such uncertain circumstances"

I agree, the life of the mother should not be compromised, however, it is barbaric to suggest that murder can be justified to improve one's career.

(1)http://www.un.org...
awr700

Pro

Last argument, it looks like.

"This is an odd concept, that killing becomes more morally acceptable if the victim is much smaller than the killer. If you are saying this, then you must admit that it would be justified for someone much larger than you, let's say that giants exist, to kill you. Would it be a valid justification for a giant to kill you because you are a tiny lump of flesh? Surely not.
To summarise, highlighting the size of foetuses is irrelevant to this debate."

Highlighting the size of the fetus is extremely relevant to this debate, as size generally has a causal relationship with development. When you have a fetus that is the size of the tip of a pen, it really highlights how underdeveloped it is. I was not suggesting that it was okay to kill someone just on the basis that they were smaller than you, and to say I was is merely grasping for straws. When I brought to light the size of the fetus when the predominant amount of abortions were performed, it was to show the sharp distinction between an embryo and an infant. A fault in a lot of people's thinking is that when they envision a fetus they imagine some six-pound baby, when really fetuses don't get that big until the third trimester of pregnancy--which, at that point, is only classified as a fetus because it exists in the mother's womb.

"You are partially correct in asserting that human rights exist to reduce human suffering, but this isn't the whole story. They also exists to ensure the basic happiness of humans' lives. Indeed, it says in the preamble that the UDHR is 'determined to promote ...better standards of life'."

You are picking at the wording of the statement and skirting over the point I was trying to make. With the reduction of human suffering comes basic happiness, so the two phrases are arguably synonymous. When you have a society with no crime (i.e., no technical human suffering), then it is a happy society.

"To expand on this, article 27 states that:

'Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits.' (1)

This is not a right that reduces suffering (few people would actively suffer from not being involved in arts and science) but it is a right that defends one's basic happiness."

Well, as I said before, the reduction of human suffering comes with additional benefit of increased human happiness. I would take a gander at saying a person completely isolated from their culture, a person who is not allowed to experience the beauty of art and the wonder of science, would live a miserably ignorant life and, with the mindset that suffering is caused by a lack of happiness, would indeed suffer quite a bit.

"Abortion removes all the happiness from a foetuses life, and thus is immoral even if no suffering is involved."

Pardon, but I was under the impression that a fetus literally had no conception of human emotion? Abortion would remove nothing except that little spark of life that is present in all living things, from an oak tree to a human cell. Saying that an action is immoral simply on the basis that it removes the possibility of happiness is a rather ridiculous notion. You could say that menstruation is immoral because the egg that is killed could have possibly been fertilized to make a zygote but it wasn't, thus eliminating all possibility of that zygote having happiness.

And aside from that fact, what if the fetus would have been unhappy in its life? The abstract for a study done by the NCBI (1) says that, "The empirical evidence finds that states with the most antiabortion policies are also the same states that have significantly lower indicators of infant/child well-being." Their claim can be supported with simple logic--if a child is born unwanted into an under-prepared family, the child will not live a life that is as happy as that of a child born into a prepared family. Even if they are put in foster care, it has been proven that children in foster care are more likely to be homeless and/or abused (2), and adolescents who experienced time in foster care were two to four times more likely to seriously consider or attempt suicide (3).

"You may question why deprivation of happiness is immoral, but let me illustrate this analogy:

A child is going to be given a surprise birthday present; but a stranger, knowing that destroying the present will deprive the child of happiness, goes ahead and destroys the present.
Is this not immoral? The child will not suffer (it was a surprise), he will just be deprived of basic happiness. This suggests that deprivation of happiness is immoral even if the one being deprived does not suffer."

That analogy was not provided with enough information to be sound. If the stranger had been the one to get the present for the kid and then had second thoughts and destroyed it, the stranger retains the right to do so. But if the stranger had sneaked into the kid's house and destroyed the present, that is destruction of private property and is not only immoral but also illegal.

"Also, if violation of human rights is justified if the victim does not suffer, then this would allow the sexual abuse of children whilst they are asleep, or the rape of someone in a coma. Nobody suffers in these examples, but does this make them morally acceptable?"

Goodness gracious, you have quite the imagination. I didn't think this needed saying, but sexual assault is in and of itself immoral. Even if you, uh, raped a comatose person and they didn't suffer, the mere act of knowingly coercing or forcing, knowingly or not, someone into sexual contact is inherently immoral.

"But an infant does not care about a right to leave the country, have an education, or be free to assemble. These rights are not applicable to infants (or most children, for that matter). Does this mean that human rights are null and void to children? If this was correct, children would not have a right to liberty, life and all the other basic human rights. This is surely not the case."

You are confusing applicability with desire. For example, an infant child could be purposefully harmed (though such a thought makes me cringe) and therefore is applicable under the human right to not be have pain inflicted on them, though they might not care that such a right exists. However, embryos and fetuses, until viability, cannot be subjected to such harm, seeing as soon as they leave the mother's womb they die instantly and on top of that can't even process pain until their viability. Infants can both process pain and exist outside the mother's womb, making them an applicable subject to human rights.

"The very fact that the woman is responsible for the foetus's existence gives her moral obligations to care for it."

But see, the woman is not wholly responsible. That fetus has 46 chromosomes, 23 from the biological mother and 23 from the biological father. It is equally both of their moral responsibilities, and if the father is not present to care for it, then the mother should have no obligation on her end of the bargain.

"You argue that consent to sex is not consent to pregnancy when contraceptives are used. Yet in reality sexual intercourse is intrinsically ordered to cause pregnancy, and so participating in an act that is fundamentally intended to give a certain consequence is effectively consent for that consequence to occur."

If sexual intercourse was only meant for offspring, it would not be pleasurable. Sex might be the way humans reproduce, but saying reproduction is the only use of sex is a vast oversimplification.

Sources cited:
(1) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...
(2) https://www.fosterclub.com...
(3) https://chronicleofsocialchange.org...
Debate Round No. 5
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by Philocat 2 years ago
Philocat
Hi DudeHouse,

Thanks for the compliment :)

In response to your criticism though, I believe far too many people on here make moral assertions with no backup from ethical theory. I also reference Kantian Deontology as it is one of the most successful theories; many people live their lives by it and most justice systems operate on a deontological framework. Therefore I believed that it was apt to address it in context. I accept that you may want to know my point first, but I thought it went without saying that I believe abortion is wrong and so all my argument was in round 1 was supporting that view, not stating it.
Posted by DudeHouse 2 years ago
DudeHouse
Hey Con,

I'm going to give you one compliment and one insult.

-----------

"A Kantian deontologist would also uphold the intrinsic valuing of human life as a categorical imperative."

Why the f** do I care what a Kantian deontologist thinks? It's great that you know what a "Kantian deontologist" is, but when I read something I want to know what your point is right away.

---------

""I agree, life is a human right--the right of a viable human. Should we give the right to life to something that has no interest in living, or indeed any idea what life itself is? As soon as the baby's brain is developed enough to be able to process simple things, like the want of comfort and the want to survive, then that baby should be given the right to life, but prior to that, it has no more concern for living than a plant."

An important fundamental of human rights is that one does not need to be aware of them to be entitled to them. For example a slave born into slavery probably would not know that they have the human right to freedom, but that does not justify their owner continuing to enslave them. I would also argue that a born baby also is not consciously aware of life; I certainly didn"t when I was that age.
In short, personal ignorance of one"s rights does not remove one"s rights"

Great response. You get the advantage here.
Posted by Pro-Creation-Pro-Life 2 years ago
Pro-Creation-Pro-Life
I would agree Abortion is morally wrong. Life starts at conception. Killing a unborn baby is murder, and if the mom thinks she has the right because its her body, she is wrong. Your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost, which we have of God, and is not our own. To murder a baby is deserving of death imo. IDK where people went with not accepting an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth because life for life seems 100% find by me. If im ever president.......
Posted by 802ogc24 2 years ago
802ogc24
For something to be considered living it must have a heartbeat and babies get that after about 2 weeks. Even before that they are in the process of eventually living and to abort them is to kill a living premature person which is murder.
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