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The Contender
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Abortion opponents should be sued

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/4/2012 Category: Society
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,196 times Debate No: 24085
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (5)
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This Debate will focus on the claim, made by abortion opponents, that an unborn human can be called a "baby" or a "child". I will endeavor to show that that claim is propaganda at best, and an outright lie at worst, and causes severe emotional suffering whenever a natural miscarriage occurs. That is, people who swallow the propaganda/lie do suffer emotionally when a miscarriage occurs. But since that suffering could be significantly reduced, and possibly even prevented, if only the Truth had not been covered up by lying/propagandizing abortion opponents, it logically follows that abortion opponents should be sued, for causing that emotional suffering, when a miscarriage occurs.

My opponent, who will be "Con" in this Debate, must show (1) that it is not a lie or propaganda to claim that an unborn human is a "baby" or a "child"; (2) and that those claims do not lead to emotional suffering when a miscarriage occurs.

To Begin:

Propaganda is a distortion and/or mis-use of the language. To call an unborn human a "baby" or a "child" is to distort the truth. In actual fact a baby or a child is able to survive without an umbilical connection to another human body. In the womb, the Truth of the matter is that the unborn human is a "baby under construction" or a "child under construction". It is not the finished product, and will not be the finished product until a successful birth occurs.

Meanwhile, the construction process is very complex, and is subject to Murphy's Law, "Anything that can go wrong will go wrong." Therefore, about 1/6 of the time, this leads to a miscarriage, premature natural termination of a pregnancy. This first link (replace some dots with ordinary web-address characters) includes "late menstruations" as miscarriages, so the percentage is rather higher:
The typical miscarriage rate relates to obviously-established pregnancies.

Now consider two women who become pregnant about the same time. One of them is told by abortion opponents that she has a baby, and to rejoice. The other is told by pro-choicers that she has a baby-under-construction, and she is told that the construction process might fail, so she should mentally prepare herself to deal with that possibility (as in "Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.").

If both women experience miscarriages at about the same time, what will each woman think? Will the woman who was told to be prepared for the possibility experience as much emotional suffering as the one who was told to rejoice? So far as I know, no studies have been done about this particular scenario. Logically, however, because it is generally known that being mentally prepared for something is better than being unprepared for it, the prepared woman should suffer less, in this scenario.

The difference in emotional suffering, the excess suffering experienced by the woman who was not told the Truth, is what was caused by the abortion opponents who failed to tell her the truth.

Litigation-happy as lawyers in the U.S.A. are, these days, it seems like an open-and-shut-case, that abortion opponents (as a "class", generically including many religious figures, politicians, opinion columnists, etc.; by their records do they identify themselves as members of that class) could/should be sued for causing unnecessary emotional suffering by spouting lies and propaganda, with the plaintiffs being the class of millions of women who had miscarriages and unnecessary emotional suffering --and sued successfully, too!


= Introduction =
Thanks for instigating this debate, I look forward to a good round!

= Framework =
> Definitions
My opponent provides a loose definition for "propaganda" and as of this point in the debate, the term is (while not the most ideal) acceptable. I do however reserve the right to protest this definition if at any later point it becomes abusive.

I will offer the following definitions for further clarity
Baby: [1] "an unborn child; a human fetus"
Child: [2] "a human offspring (son or daughter) of any age"
Should [3] "Used to indicate obligation, duty, or correctness, typically when criticizing someone's actions"
Sued [4] "institute legal proceedings against; file a suit against"

> Burden of Proof
Based on the resolution, as well as my opponent's opening arguments there are four burdens in this debate, three fall onto the Pro and one falls onto the Con.
Pro's burdens-
+ Prove all opponent's of abortion should be sued
+ Prove that a fetus is neither a child nor a baby
+ Prove that telling others that a fetus is a baby is propaganda

Con's burden-
+ Disprove any of these burdens

> Observations
1. The standard by which we determine humanity, no matter what stage of life or development a human may be at, is DNA. Whether a person is 1 day old, or 100 years old, each person has a unique strand of DNA which can be identified as human[5]

= Arguments =
> There is no duty to sue people of differing belief systems-
In the judicial system, we have at our disposal the ability to take legal action against those who have wronged us, particularly the ability to sue another person in order to gain financial or other compensation for a wrong committed.
However, when such a wrong has in fact been committed, we are still not under any obligation to sue said wrongdoer, we are however permitted to sue the wrongdoer.

It is exceedingly important first and foremost that we draw a distinction between the "should" obligation, and "ability" permission. This first denotes a necessity to right a wrong, or some kind of motivation based in ethical or pragmatic reasons.

That said, there exists neither an obligation not a permission to sue some-one of a differing belief system then your own. This is closed-minded and counter-intuitive to progress of any kind

> Child/Baby status-
Before any part of this argument comes to fruition we must ask and answer the question; what qualifies something as being human? Is it their ability to survive on their own? The the disabled, the diabetic and those on medication are not human. Is it a certain level of mental prowess? Is it a humanoid body shape? Then amputees and the malformed are not human.

In the end, no proposed standard qualifies something as a human except 1; a creature possessing human DNA coming from two human parents. The commonality that unites humanity is ultimately our DNA.

And the fact of the matter is that unborn fetuses possess their own unique Human DNA independent from either that of their mother or father[6]. Ability to survive outside the mother's womb is irrelevant, just a vegetable's ability to survive independent of a machine or a diabetic's ability to survive without insulin shots disqualify them from being human.

> Telling people a fetus is a baby or a child is not Propaganda-
My opponent claims that a baby or a child can survive outside of the womb without an umbilical cord. Yet both of the definitions I offer[1][2] don't mention anything about being able to survive outside the womb without the assistance of an umbilical cord.

I don't mean to be a semantic argument, but I do mean to point out my opponent's lack of warrant. We realize that a fetus qualifies as a "baby" and that a "child" is just offspring. To make the claim that they can't be called a baby or a child despite their possessing human DNA is just as bad as denying a diabetic their status as a human because they can't survive without insulin.

I am more than willing to counter and argue against an opposing standard to qualify something as a human, when and if my opponent decides to offer one, but the fact still remains as of now that we don't really have much else to go by aside from DNA.

> Emotional preparation-
My opponent makes a logical argument claim that women who are told that a fetus is not a baby or a child will be able to deal with having a miscarriage better, however this is not logical whatsoever. Suffering a miscarriage is a tragic situation no matter who you are, and most(if not all) experts agree that the best way to handle one is not to pretend like the woman was never pregnant, but to aknowledge the loss and allow a period of grievance[7].

= Conclusion =
I look forward to my opponent's refutations, and hope this will be a good debate!
If my opponent has any objection to the integrity of my argument, framework or definitions, I ask that they voice their concern so that the issue is open for debate.
I will assume that my opponent find the validity of my arguments, definitions and framework acceptable if they raise no objection in the following round.

I will also extend on my arguments as needed in the following rounds, and I will make more direct refutations in the following round. However as of now I see these arguments as sufficient to advocate a Con vote.

Back to you Pro!

= Sources =
[3] Google definitions
Debate Round No. 1


Thank you, buckIPDA, for participating in this Debate.

Regarding the definitions that Con chose:

1. The link supplied for "baby" includes all of these nouns:
a. baby, babe, infant (a very young child (birth to 1 year) who has not yet begun to walk or talk) "the baby began to cry again"; "she held the baby in her arms"; "it sounds simple, but when you have your own baby it is all so different"
b. baby (the youngest member of a group (not necessarily young)) "the baby of the family"; "the baby of the Supreme Court"
c. child, baby (an immature childish person) "he remained a child in practical matters as long as he lived"; "stop being a baby!"
d. baby (an unborn child; a human fetus) "I felt healthy and very feminine carrying the baby"; "it was great to feel my baby moving about inside"
e. baby (a very young mammal) "baby rabbits"
f. baby (a project of personal concern to someone) "this project is his baby"

Note that the one that Con picked is fourth on that list. Now please see this link:
For most dictionaries, all it takes for a word to be added is "widespread use". The use does not have to be "correct" or "proper":'t
(Interestingly, "ain't" is not in the dictionary that Con chose.)

If you put this into a Google search box (where the brackets represent the boundaries of the box): [ "ain't" "is not a word" ] ,
you will see "About 1,690,000 million results", the second of which, on that search-results page, states "I tend to think that 'ain't' is not a word because it's not the proper thing to say." I personally experienced English teachers in school agreeing with that statement; I will assume that many if not most readers of this Debate will have experienced something similar.

Now, if "ain't" is not a word, but still is in various dictionaries because it is widely used, then the inclusion of Con's definition of "baby" makes perfect sense; it is widely used that way --especially by abortion opponents-- regardless of whether or not it is proper to use it that way.

Meanwhile, for unborn mammals of every species, not just humans, the most-proper word is "fetus" --see any of a long long list of scientific papers, the authors of which are required to use the English language properly, not improperly.

I therefore submit that Con's use of the dictionary, to support the mis-use of the word "baby" when talking about unborn humans, is worthless. It simply proves how widespread is this bit of improper language, much like "ain't".

2. The link supplied for "child" merely specifies "at any age", and does not mention unborn humans. Also, it is normal for the "age" of a child to be computed from the time of birth, not the time of conception. We never talk about "negative ages" for children!

Meanwhile, we do talk about the age of a fetus, from the time of conception. So, even if Con had provided a better dictionary link between "child" and unborn humans, I can still argue that it is only in the dictionary because of widespread use, not because it is proper to use "child" that way.

Try this Google search: [ "propaganda terms" "in the dictionary" ]. "Baby" and "child" and "ain't" are far from the only mis-used words that have been added to dictionaries over the years.

Con expressed willingness to accept my "loose" definition of "propaganda" as "a distortion and/or mis-use of the language". Well, as shown by all those scientific papers, for most of a pregnancy the proper word for an unborn mammal, including a human, is "fetus" (in the very early stages some other words apply for short time-periods, such as "zygote", "blastocyst", and "embryo"). Thus it logically follows that to not use the proper word, and call an unborn human a "baby" or "child", is a mis-use of the language, or "propaganda".

3. and 4. I don't have any issues with the other definitions that Con provided.

Regarding the "Burden of Proof" list provided by Con:
1. I need not prove that all abortion opponents deserve to be sued, in "class-action" fashion, for causing unnecessary emotional suffering. It is generically true that most of them mis-use the words "baby" and "child" as previously described, as evidenced by many many anti-abortion statements made across the decades. Those are my specific targets in this Debate. It is possible (and possibly even probable) that all abortion opponents will qualify as members of the set who mis-use the words "baby" and "child". But if some few don't, that's perfectly fine with me.

2. I need not prove or disprove that a fetus is anything other than what it is. This Debate is about the mis-use of the language, and the consequences thereof.

3. See above, for the evidence of propaganda.

4. Disproving any of the above does not release Con from the fifth and most important BOP item, which Con conveniently didn't specify:

5. Con needs to show that calling an unborn human a "baby" or "child" does not lead to unnecessary emotional suffering when a miscarriage occurs.

Meanwhile, the evidence clearly shows that it does --even it is was truly proper to call an unborn human a "baby". The rationale is quite simple: The phrase, "I am going to have a baby" has, built into it, the implication that there is a 100 percent chance of success. And all reinforcements of the notion, that the unborn human is a "baby", similarly imply a 100 percent chance of success.

Yet it remains true that about 15 percent of established pregnancies naturally miscarry --the Truth is that each is a "baby under construction", with Murphy's Law applicable. In various other social interactions, to imply that something is guaranteed, when actually it isn't, is to act a bit like a "con artist".

Con artists generally go to jail when caught, but then their crime of building false hopes and expectations is generally associated with a vastly higher investment-failure rate than 15%. So, I think a lawsuit is more appropriate, for abortion opponents, to, if nothing else, get them to stop raising false hopes and expectations, to right that wrong.


buckIPDA forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2


Con wrote in Round 1: "The standard by which we determine humanity, no matter what stage of life or development a human may be at, is DNA. Whether a person is 1 day old, or 100 years old, each person has a unique strand of DNA which can be identified as human."

That is partly true and partly ridiculous. A human white blood cell, for example, is fully alive and has a full complement of human DNA --but it is most certainly not a "person". It is an almost routine ridiculous mistake that abortion opponents make, to equate "human-ness" with "personhood". About the only difference between a white blood cell and a just-formed zygote is that the zygote has what we might call "fully activated DNA", while the blood cell only has partially active DNA, relevant to its specialization as a white blood cell.

Meanwhile, "stem cell research" has almost reached the point were any ordinary cell that is completely equipped with human DNA can be fully activated. Which logically means that the average white blood cell has exactly the same "potential" to grow into a complete human being as a zygote. (The key phrase in that web page is "induced totipotency".)

Another reason why it is ridiculous to equate human-ness with personhood relates to the probability that Somewhere Out There in the Universe are Other Beings fully equivalent to human persons, but who are entirely non-human. Some of them might be more-than-equivalent to human persons, such as God --yet God is claimed to have no physical body at all, at least prior to Creating the physical universe. It is truly ridiculous how believers in God so readily equate human-ness with personhood, when God, by definition, is non-human!

Therefore "personhood" requires a definition different from simple human-ness. We must ask, "What characteristics does this non-human have, that qualifies it as a person, while that other non-human over there merely qualifies as an ordinary animal?" It is that definition which will preclude all unborn humans from qualifying as persons. Only animal-level characteristics do they possess, at every development stage in the womb!

And here is the best reason I know why it is ridiculous to equate Thing A that merely has "potential" to become Thing B, with the actual Thing B. Consider that in the distant-enough future an average individual human will experience death. At that time, then, the human will exhibit the traits of a corpse. Well, if we can claim an unborn human should be treated as a person now because in the future it will exhibit the traits of a person, then why shouldn't all abortion opponents be treated as corpses right now, because in the far-enough future they will all exhibit the traits of corpses? Since there's so many of them, the simplest thing to do is just round them up and -- only because their own logic declares them to be equivalent of dead -- bury them in mass graves just as they are! Well, let us first kindly give them a chance to recant their ridiculous "logic", before any such burials occur...

Next, Con wrote: "... there exists neither an obligation not a permission to sue some-one of a differing belief system then your own." I agree. But the proposed lawsuit here is not about "belief". It is about the fact of detrimental actions. As an analogy, consider classic (stereotyped?) "Gypsy" culture, which has been claimed to lead to a lot of theft, when the Gypsies interacted with members of other cultures. Regardless of what they believed, Gypsy actions were not acceptable to members of other cultures.

In this case, the action is to claim something that is not the proper Truth about unborn humans. They are in fact "babies under construction", and are as subject to Murphy's Law as any other very complex process. To obscure that Truth, however it is obscured, raises false hopes and expectations about the success of those construction projects --which in turn leads to unnecessary emotional suffering whenever the construction projects fail and miscarriages naturally occur. And that, the raising of false hopes and expectations, is simply wrong, unethical and immoral.

Next, Con wrote: "To make the claim that they can't be called a baby or a child despite their possessing human DNA ..." This has nothing to do with why an unborn human doesn't deserve to be called a baby or a child. Consider an automobile assembly line. At what point does the thing under construction truly qualify for the label "automobile", and not the description "automobile under construction"? We have proper words such as "embryo" and "fetus" to describe an unborn mammal under construction. To refuse to use those proper words, and to insist on calling an unborn human a "baby" or "child" (as in "propaganda"), is exactly equivalent to ignoring the facts of the present and invoking the future, such as we would be doing by calling an abortion opponent a "corpse", as previously described.

What I have done, by indicating that abortion opponents deserve-to-be/should-be sued, is to show that there is an additional reason why it is improper to call an unborn human a "baby" or "child" --a reason they never previously considered, but now cannot be ignored.

Next, Con wrote: "My opponent makes a logical argument claim that women who are told that a fetus is not a baby or a child ..." --and this is not what I originally wrote: "... is told ... that she has a baby-under-construction, and she is told that the construction process might fail ..." There are significant differences between "baby", "not a baby" and "baby under construction"! You won't find the phrase "not a baby" in either of my previous postings to this Debate.

Next, Con wrote: "Suffering a miscarriage is a tragic situation no matter who you are, and most(if not all) experts agree that the best way to handle one is not to pretend like the woman was never pregnant ..." That has nothing to do with what I was talking about. It is most certainly not a denial of pregnancy to tell a woman to be mindful of the possibility that the process naturally fails to be completed 15% of the time, and her pregnancy might become one of those statistics. It is a before the fact preparation that I was talking about, while Con is describing the after the fact problem, which as I've shown in this Debate, gets exacerbated by abortion opponents who create unrealistic expectations during the pregnancy!


buckIPDA forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by AlwaysMoreThanYou 5 years ago
I agree with The_Chaos_Heart

If the first point is untrue, the second is irrelevant.
Posted by The_Chaos_Heart 5 years ago
Technically your second point is entirely unnecessary for the resolution to be supported or opposed either.

Please don't make useless requirements simply to damper the opposing side to make things easier for yourself. Whether or not you are right, it's kind of scummy to do so.
Posted by The_Chaos_Heart 5 years ago
You're going to have a hell of a time finding someone to argue you about this, because of the "requirement" you made Con have in having to "disprove" your little points about propaganda. Technically speaking, proving or disproving the truth behind sides f abortion is not required to confirming or denying the resolution. Making it a requirement is absolutely worthless and is an unnecessary addition simply to bolster the strength of Pro, by making Con adhere to unneeded requirements. Con does not need to play your propaganda game to logically argue the resolution
Posted by bennourse 5 years ago
You say we must prove something that doesn't adhere to the provocative title. I'll debate the "they should be sued" thing but if you're going to put a title like that then you need to follow through with it.
Posted by KeytarHero 5 years ago
I really don't think this warrants an entire debate. I can prove that it's not propaganda in one or two sentences.
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