The Instigator
kingkd
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Fkkize
Con (against)
Winning
9 Points

Abortion should be banned.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
Fkkize
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/27/2015 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 934 times Debate No: 74144
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (2)
Votes (2)

 

kingkd

Pro

Thank you to the Con again

Contention 1: Fetus is a person
http://www.abort73.com......
"Faye Wattleton, the longest reigning president of the largest abortion provider in the United States"Planned Parenthood"argued as far back as 1997 that everyone already knows that abortion kills. She proclaims the following in an interview with Ms. Magazine:

I think we have deluded ourselves into believing that people don't know that abortion is killing. So any pretense that abortion is not killing is a signal of our ambivalence, a signal that we cannot say yes, it kills a fetus.1

On the other side of the pond, Ann Furedi, the chief executive of the largest independent abortion provider in the UK, said this in a 2008 debate:

We can accept that the embryo is a living thing in the fact that it has a beating heart, that it has its own genetic system within it. It"s clearly human in the sense that it"s not a gerbil, and we can recognize that it is human life.2"

""It is incorrect to say that biological data cannot be decisive...It is scientifically correct to say that an individual human life begins at conception."

"The official Senate report reached this conclusion:

Physicians, biologists, and other scientists agree that conception marks the beginning of the life of a human being - a being that is alive and is a member of the human species. There is overwhelming agreement on this point in countless medical, biological, and scientific writings.11

The American Medical Association (AMA) declared as far back as 1857 (referenced in the Roe. vs. Wade opinion) that "the independent and actual existence of the child before birth, as a living being" is a matter of objective science. They deplored the "popular ignorance...that the foetus is not alive till after the period of quickening.""

So you can see, even the extreme "pro-choice" supporters concede that the fetus is a human. The fetus is a human simply because it is biologivally conceived by two humans and the fetus has its own unique DNA.
http://www.abort73.com......
"A month after fertilization, brain development rapidly speeds up. In just two days time (between day 31 and 33), the brain's size increases by 25 percent. It is estimated that during the course of prenatal development an average of one million neurons (impulse-conducting cells that make up the nervous system) are produced every minute. "
"By the sixth week, the brain emits measurable brain impulses. Primitive brain waves have been recorded as early as six weeks and 2 days. Small bodily movements can be observed at this time, initially affecting the entire body but gradually becoming more specific."
"Pro choice" people may claim that the fetus isn't human as it is not developed completely. However, a baby isn't completely developed compared to a middle aged person, is it not a human? Size and development don't matter, the fetus is a human. THe fetus is an individual, not part of the mother because the fetus has its own DNA and can have different blood type than the mom, no human can function with two different blood types. Mothers don't have 4 arms and 4 legs when they are pregnant.

Contention Two: FLO

http://www.abort73.com......
"Don Marquis, a philosophy professor from Kansas University, wrote an article entitled "Why Abortion is Immoral," published in The Journal of Philosophy, proposing a way to avoid the above difficulties. Instead of basing the morality of abortion on either of the above categories, he suggested that we address abortion within the larger discussion of the ethics of killing. That is, before we make any moral decisions about abortion, we should ask: what makes killing wrong in the first place? According to Marquis, killing is not wrong because it shows the killer to be barbaric nor because it leaves friends and relatives left behind saddened. Rather, killing is wrong primarily because of the effect it has on the victim. Killing deprives the victim of life. The loss of one"s life is the greatest possible loss anyone can suffer. It "deprives one of all the experiences, activities, projects, and enjoyments that would otherwise have constituted one"s future." It is not merely changing the biological state of a victim from alive to dead that it is wrong, but the effect of that change on the victim"s future, which forever is taken away. In Marquis" own words: "When I am killed, I am deprived both of what I now value which would have been part of my future personal life, but also what I would come to value." His conclusion: what makes killing any adult human being wrong is "the loss of his or her future."

Marquis adds that this explanation for the wrongness of killing should be preferred if it fits with our natural intuitions about killing and if there is no other better explanation. In addition, he finds his explanation to be supported by several considerations: (1) it explains why many regard killing as one of the worst crimes (i.e., killing is regarded as so horrible because of the great loss it causes); (2) it is incompatible with the view that it is only wrong to kill beings that are biologically human (i.e., it would be wrong to kill any being with a valuable future, like aliens and some animals); (3) it does not necessarily entail that euthanasia is wrong (since those who face an incurable future of pain would not lose a future of value); and (4) it accounts for the wrongness of killing newborns and infants (since they indeed have futures of value like adults).

Thus, if the primary reason for the wrongness of killing is that it deprives one of his or her future, then this has obvious implications for abortion. Every normal fetus, just like you or me, has "a set of experiences, projects, activities, and such which are identical with the futures of adult human beings and are identical with the futures of young children." Since fetuses have a "future like ours," then it follows that abortion is a serious moral wrong. Thus, it is not the category of "being human" or "being a person" that ultimately makes the moral difference in abortion, but the category of having "future like ours." Just as it would be wrong to arbitrarily kill someone like you or me, since we have valuable futures full of a variety of experiences and enjoyments, it is equally wrong to kill fetuses, because they also have valuable futures. Lastly, under this theory abortion could only be justified if another life (e.g., the life of the mother) was threatened by not aborting."

Basically, killing is wrong because it deprives someone of a Future Like Ours (FLO). If someone is to have a full life with experiences and you kill them. it is wrong because they will never experience a life like we are.
http://www.abort73.com......
"The reason that some people take such offense at comparing abortion to past crimes against humanity is the same reason that the white establishment of America was scandalized when Dr. Martin Luther King compared the abuse of black Americans to the Holocaust. It is easy to condemn crimes that are far away (either by distance or time), it is much harder to condemn them when they sit right in your back yard. Abortion supporters are infuriated at the notion that abortion is comparable to the Holocaust because they incessantly argue that the unborn aren't people. This is exactly the same argument that is always made to justify crimes against humanity. They're not really people. This is what Hitler said. This is what America said when it counted enslaved African-Americans as 3/5 of a person.1 If we can't compare atrocities past to atrocities present, then the term "never again" loses all its meaning."
Conclusion
Banning abortion is not forcing women to give birth, as they chose to have intercourse. It is not choosing a fetus over a mother, as it is the fetuses right to live vs. the right to choose (to kill), and the right to life triumphs as without life you have no freedom to make decisions. Banning abortion is saving lives.

Back to Con!

"I've noticed that everyone who is for abortion has already been born."
Ronald Reagan
"A person's a person no matter how small"
Dr. Seuss
Fkkize

Con

Introduction
Welcome people of DDO! I thank kingkd for giving me an opportunity to debate this important issue. In the following I will argue that Abortion should not be banned. To do so I will first of all offer a negative case in which I am going to respond to my opponents opening statement, secondly I will offer a positive case in which I am going to present several arguments in favor of abortion by the Australian philosophers John Leslie Mackie and Peter Singer and the American philosopher David Boonin.


Negative Case: Responding To My Opponent

1. Personhood and Killing
In his first contention Pro argues that even abortion proponents concede that a fetus is a human being, a person even, which seems to imply that we should therefore refrain from aborting pregnancies.
I am inclined to agree with the first part, but this is no concession at all. Many liberals argue about some point in time when a fetus becomes a human being, but I think this is arbitrary. As such none of my arguments will revolve around this.
However I disagree with the latter part, because my opponent did not define a person at all. John Locke for example defined a person as "a thinking intelligent being that can know itself as the same thinking thing in different times and places"(1). By this definition no fetus would ever be a person.
Since I my arguments will have the above outlined focus I want to take a brief moment and clarify what it is I am exactly arguing for: the question to me is not whether a fetus is a human being or not or living or not, but rather the more general question of whether (or when) it is permissible to end the live of something or someone. This question is not to be answered by simply pointing to race, sex, age, intelligence or species.


2. Don Marquis 'FLO' Argument and Singers Totipotent Cell Objection

Premise 1: Having a future of value is the basis for the right not to be killed.

Premise 2: Fetuses have a future of value.

Conclusion: Fetuses have the right not to be killed. (2)

This is Don Marquis Future-Like-Ours argument against abortion in premise-conclusion form. Accepting it leads to unacceptable consequences, which I will show with Peter Singers' Totipotent-Cell Objection (3). I put it in premise-conclusion form in a recent debate (4):

P1. A fertilized ovum has a FLO.
P2. If one single cell that can develop into a person (fertilized ovum) has a FLO, any single cell that can develop into a person has a FLO.
P3. Denying such a cell a FLO is immoral.
P4. Abortion denies FLO's
C1. Abortion is immoral.
P5. A fetus consist at some point of totipotent cells (TC).
P6. All TC's can develop into persons if separated.
C2. All TC's have a FLO.
C3. Not separating TC's is denying them a FLO.
C4. Not separating TC's is immoral.


Accepting Don Marquis argument commits us to the view that not extracting every embryo from its mother womb to split it up and implant all totipotent cells into several surrogate mothers is immoral.
This is of course absurd since it is virtually impracticable on a large scale and most importantly even if we could do that the human race would go extinct since we cannot allow any embryo to develop into an adult human being.


Positive Case: Arguments In Favor Of Abortion

1. J.L. Mackie: A Universal Approach (5)
In his book Ethics: Inventing Right and Wrong Mackie argues that the arguments against abortion generally conclude or presuppose that a fetus (as a human being) is already a legal subject and as such are at their core arguments from continuity: if newborns have a right to life, claiming that children shortly before birth do not is arbitrary, if this point in time is arbitrary so is the point before that and so on until we arrive at conception.
Speaking of rights for germ cells is of course ridiculous since nature is way to wasteful for that, hence the continuity ends at conception. However Mackie thinks that this discontinuity is a rather inappropriate line for deciding what is permissible and what is murder, one of the worst crimes someone can commit, just because it is a 'notable' occasion. Other than that there is no big difference between a sperm cell and an egg cell and a sperm cell inside an egg cell. A gradual acquisition seems more reasonable.
Therefore Mackie concludes that:
1. a mother's right over her own body outweighs the right to life of the fetus at least for the early part of her pregnancy,
2. if a mother's health is in danger due to the pregnancy, the fetus' right to life is overridden for the full duration of the pregnancy,
3. if a mother does not want the child (because she was raped), the fetus' right to life is overridden, too.



2. P. Singer: A Preference Utilitarian Approach
(6)
Preference utilitarianism (hereafter PU) is a modern version of the classical hedonistic utilitarianism (hereafter HU) of Bentham and Mill. Whilst the HU decides what is right and what is wrong on the basis of whether it increases or decreases welfare, the PU decides what is right and what is wrong on the basis of whether it satisfies or frustrates desires.
Pro points out that the brain development begins rather early in pregnancy and that "By the sixth week, the brain emits measurable brain impulses", but I would like to remind everyone that "measurable brain impulse" is a rather vague account of embryonic neural activity. In the sixth week the entire embryo is smaller than the size of a dime (7). This should give an impression of the mental capabilities of an embryo at this age and concluding that it feels just as we do is erroneous.

"It is concluded that the basic neuronal substrate required to transmit somatosensory information develops by mid-gestation (18 to 25 weeks), however, the functional capacity of the neural circuitry is limited by the immaturity of the system."(8)

This suggests that a fetus cannot have any preferences up to this point and as such Singer concludes that we have no moral obligations towards fetuses.


3. D. Boonin: A Desire Based Approach (9)


Boonin's Organized Cortical Brain Activity argument basically goes as follows:

P1) Organized cortical brain activity must be present in order for a being to be capable of conscious experience.
P2) Prior to having a conscious experience, a being has no desires.
P3) Desires are necessary in order for a being to have a right to life.
P4) The fetus acquires organized cortical brain activity between 25 and 32 weeks gestation.

C) Therefore, the fetus has no right to life prior to organized cortical brain activity.

Boonin's desire based account is fairly similar to Singers' PU with slightly different implications for other issues, so my justification of Singer's account is fitting for this argument, too.


Conclusion

In this first round I gave a strong account in favor of abortion. Next round I will defend it against objections from my opponent.


Sources
(1) http://plato.stanford.edu...
(2) http://jme.bmj.com...
(3) Peter Singer, Practical Ethics P143
(4) http://www.debate.org...
(5) J.L. Mackie, Ethics: Inventing Right and Wrong, Chapter 8.9 A Right to Life
(6) Peter Singer, Practical Ethics Chapter 6
(7) http://www.hhmi.org...
(8) http://informahealthcare.com...
(9) David Boonin, A Defence of
Abortion




Debate Round No. 1
kingkd

Pro

Thank you.

Refutations
"Locke for example defined a person as "a thinking intelligent being that can know itself as the same thinking thing in different times and places"(1). By this definition no fetus would ever be a person."

Google defines person as "a human being regarded as an individual." Based on this definition and the fact that Pro admitted that a fetus is a person, a fetus is a person. The fetus is an individual inside another; this does not make it any less human. Dependency does not reduce someone's status to nonhuman.

" In the sixth week the entire embryo is smaller than the size of a dime (7). This should give an impression of the mental capabilities of an embryo at this age and concluding that it feels just as we do is erroneous."

Remember that I proved that the fetus has brainwaves at this point. So what if the embryo is small? Does size make you more or less human?

" Desires are necessary in order for a being to have a right to life. The fetus acquires organized cortical brain activity between 25 and 32 weeks gestation."

The fetus does have brainwaves, so it does have thoughts and feelings to live, as stated previously last round. The problem with the desire view is that they may not see themselves as distinct unique persons . Also, many people do not desire to live such as suicidal people or brainwashed people who believe their life has no meaning. Does it make it any more justifiable to kill them?

Constitutive Being Argument
Premise 1: You are the same being as you were when you were a fetus
Premise 2 You are a person (hopefully:) )
Conclusion: The fetus is a person

Defense of Premise 1: You are the same being as you were as when you were a fetus, as the fetus was an organism that developed and became what you are today. The fetus is simply the earliest stage of being a human.
Defense of Premise 2: I hope you're a person. Robots are not allowed to debate on this site, sorry.

"P1. A fertilized ovum has a FLO.
P2. If one single cell that can develop into a person (fertilized ovum) has a FLO, any single cell that can develop into a person has a FLO.
P3. Denying such a cell a FLO is immoral.
P4. Abortion denies FLO's
C1. Abortion is immoral.
P5. A fetus consist at some point of totipotent cells (TC).
P6. All TC's can develop into persons if separated.
C2. All TC's have a FLO.
C3. Not separating TC's is denying them a FLO.
C4. Not separating TC's is immoral."

The problem with this is that the fetus is a person that will have a Future Like Ours, if nature takes it course normally without interference in the term of abortion. The totipotent cells will only be human through unnatural separation, which is not the same because the fetus is already a human as Con conceded. A human with potential is completely different from a cell.

Conclusion

Pro's main arguments have to do with the fetus not being a person, as that is the crux of the debate. However, I have refuted Pro claims that fetus isn't a person. Pro states that a person is "a thinking intelligent being that can know itself as the same thinking thing in different times and places". This is inherently flawed as by that definition intelligent aliens would be considered people. By the SAME definition, infants would not be considered persons nor would the mentally disabled. Pro would then have to defend the morality of killing infants and mentally disabled or handicapped. It is morally wrong to kill humans because their future of value.
The fetus is a human, refer to Constitutive Being.

Back to Con!
Fkkize

Con

Introduction
This round I will again present a negative case for Marquis' FLO argument and Kaczor's constitutive property argument. After that a positive case in favor of my arguments will follow.


Clarification

1. Humanhood
In the first round, section 1. Personhood and Killing I stated that I agree with Pro when he says that a fetus is a human being, but I explicitly made clear that this is no concession, since my arguments do not revolve around the starting point of human life, yet he pretends that it is. This completely misses the point of my arguments. Moreover he insists that being dependent on someone else (fetus on the mother) does not someone nonhuman, however I never claimed that it does.

2. Personhood
In my opening statement I pointed out that my opponent did not define what he means by "person". Hence I presented one possible definition by John Locke which my opponent rejects on the basis that Google uses a different one. It is completely fine to stipulate one particular definition of a word as long as it is clarified at the beginning. However he then says that I admitted that a fetus is a person, which is simply not true, I quote: "Pro argues that [...] a fetus is [...] a person. [...] However I disagree"
I can easily agree that a fetus is a "a human being regarded as an individual", but then deny that killing such an individual on the basis of some label like "person" is wrong. This is again no concession.


Negative Case: My Opponents Arguments

1. Chris Kaczor's Constitutive Property Argument (1)

Premise 1: You are the same being as you were when you were a fetus
Premise 2 You are a person (hopefully:) )
Conclusion: The fetus is a person


I suppose that by "person" my opponent is referring to "a human being regarded as an individual", since this is apparently the definition established for this debate.
One might wonder what is meant by "constitutive property", because it was not explained by my opponent. In his book The Ethics of Abortion, Kaczor argues that only a property that you have at every point in your existence is a constitutive property:

p is a constitutive property iff an individual has p at every point in its existence

With that out of the way, Pro implicitly made clear by using this argument that personhood is constitutive, i.e., humans are individuals constitutively. "Person" usually has strong descriptive connotations of moral status, however this is merely a linguistic label and Singer's and Boonin's accounts can safely accept this without loosing any force. (This is no concession, in case it will be alleged that it is)

2. Don Marquis' 'FLO' Argument
My opponent points out that an abortion is the intentional killing of a being, whilst not splitting totipotent cells is letting nature take its natural course. He believes that this makes a difference in moral evaluation, so what I will argue for is that murder and omitted aid do not make an evaluative difference that would justify calling the first a horrible crime and the latter a permissible course of action.
A reconstruction of Pro's argument:

1) Intentionally killing someone is morally reprehensible.
2) Omitting aid to someone is morally permissible.

3) Abortion intentionally ends the life of a fetus.
3.1) Abortion is morally reprehensible.
4) Not splitting totipotent cells is merely omitted aid.
4.1) Not splitting totipotent cells is morally permissible.

But this is an ad hoc justification. Imagine an adult human being, John, clinging to a ledge:

5) Kicking John of the ledge is intentionally ending his life.
5.1) Kicking John of the ledge is morally reprehensible.
6) Not pulling up John and letting him fall to his death is merely omitted aid.
6.1) Letting John fall to his death is morally permissible.

I'm sure nobody would agree to this, therefore we should reject not only my opponents defence, but also Marquis' argument in general.


Positive Case: Defending My Arguments

1. Mackie's Universal Approach
This argument was not covered in Pro's rebuttal, because of that I extend all points made by Mackie.

2. PU and the Desire Approach
I replaced section 2. and 3. to maintain the flow of this rebuttal.
The thing that my opponents whole argument hinges on is that he "proved" that a human embryo has brain waves. First all I would not call citing a pro-life website a medical "proof" that "measurable brain waves" constitute what gives an embryo the moral status of an adult. I searched the cited website and found that the passage Pro refers to is in turn relying on the following quote from the BBC documentary Biology of Prenatal Development:
"By six weeks, the cerebral hemispheres are growing disproportionately faster than other sections of the brain. The embryo begins to make spontaneous and reflexive movements. Such movement is necessary to promote normal neuromuscular development. A touch to the mouth area causes the embryo to reflexively withdraw its head." (2)
A reflex action is a "involuntary and nearly instantaneous movement in response to a stimulus" (3) They are not conscious actions and the fetus is not in any way shape or form sentient at this point, it cannot feel pain, has no personality, cannot see itself as a distinct individual over time and it has no preferences and no desires which would be required for PU and the desire view. As such my arguments stand.

To settle this issue I will quote The Journal of Maternal-Fetal & Neonatal Medicine again:
"It is concluded that the basic neuronal substrate required to transmit somatosensory information develops by mid-gestation (18 to 25 weeks), however, the functional capacity of the neural circuitry is limited by the immaturity of the system. Thus, 18 to 25 weeks is considered the earliest stage at which the lower boundary of sentience could be placed. At this stage of development, however, there is little evidence for the central processing of somatosensory information. Before 30 weeks gestational age, EEG activity is extremely limited and somatosensory evoked potentials are immature, lacking components which correlate with information processing within the cerebral cortex. Thus, 30 weeks is considered a more plausible stage of fetal development at which the lower boundary for sentience could be placed."(4)

3. General Objections

Suicidal people
Suicide prevention ethics is not an easy topic and it is beyond the scope of this debate to give a definitive answer but none the less I will present possible responses from a preference utilitarian and someone who holds to Boonin's desire view.

Preference Utilitarianism:
As with every consequentialist theory there is no general rule that could be issued to every case, hence I will list some factors that need to be taken into consideration.
Usually before anyone wants to seriously end her life, she will have a long way of suffering leading up to this final decision. A preference utilitarian would answer that it is morally reprehensible to make someone endure the suffering and that it is obligatory to help the person way before she actually looses all interest in living.
As for someone with an actual interest in dying (assuming this it is possible), physician assisted euthanasia would spare her unnecessary suffering and is therefore a permissible course of action.

Desire View:
Boonin differentiates between multiple kinds of desires, the important ones for this objection are actual and ideal desires:

"Imagine that a hiker is at a fork in the road and must choose to go right or left. In this situation, the hiker ends up choosing to go left because the left path is more scenic. But little does the hiker know there is a landmine on the left trail which will kill the hiker if he takes that path. The hiker's "actual" desire was to go left, but his "ideal" desire was to go right and not hit the landmine. If this particular hiker knew about the landmine, he would certainly have gone right. Likewise, the suicidal person might have an "actual" desire to not go on living, but if this person was in a situation with better circumstances, his "ideal" desire would be to live."(5)

Brainwashed people
This objection is fairly similar to the last one and therefore my responses will be fairly similar as well.

Preference Utilitarianism:
It might very well be that it is possible to brainwash someone to a degree that she would not care to live on. However if we think of brainwashing, we think of torture, pain and suffering, none of which would be permissible to a preference utilitarian. It is therefore morally reprehensible to brainwash people in this fashion.

Desire View:
Boonin's differentiation between actual and ideal desires fits here as well. It might be that a brainwashed person does not have an actual desire to live on, but she was better informed about her situation she would not want to die.


Conclusion
My opponent presents a new argument and raises a number of interesting objections, but ultimately they miss their mark. He keeps mentioning that a fetus is a human, however I pointed out on multiple occasions that this is not what I am arguing against.


Sources
(1) Chris Kaczor, The Ethics of Abortion
(2) http://www.abort73.com...
(3) http://en.wikipedia.org...
(4) http://informahealthcare.com...
(5) David Boonin, A Defence of Abortion
Debate Round No. 2
kingkd

Pro

kingkd forfeited this round.
Fkkize

Con

I extend all my arguments.
Debate Round No. 3
kingkd

Pro

Apologies for my egregious lack of conduct, give conduct to Con. However I will conclude why I win the debate.

" He keeps mentioning that a fetus is a human, however I pointed out on multiple occasions that this is not what I am arguing against."

This seems to be the most important thing Con does not address. We both agree the fetus is a human;that's a biological fact. That is the only important thing in this debate: Abortion should be banned because it deprives someone of a human life. Life is an inalienable right, the one you cannot live without, the prerequisite to all. To take it away from innocents is morally wrong.
THIS IS THE ONLY IMPORTANT PART ABOUT THE DEBATE. All innocent humans deserve the right to live. Convenience or "choice" does not excuse this.

"Imagine that a hiker is at a fork in the road and must choose to go right or left. In this situation, the hiker ends up choosing to go left because the left path is more scenic. But little does the hiker know there is a landmine on the left trail which will kill the hiker if he takes that path. The hiker's "actual" desire was to go left, but his "ideal" desire was to go right and not hit the landmine. If this particular hiker knew about the landmine, he would certainly have gone right. Likewise, the suicidal person might have an "actual" desire to not go on living, but if this person was in a situation with better circumstances, his "ideal" desire would be to live."

Con attempts to excuse killing by bringing up the Desire View of life, that life is only important if you desire to keep living, and since the fetus has no brain waves up to a certain point it desires nothing and therefore shouldn't live if the mother chooses. However, he brings up "actual desire" and "ideal desire". This is self-refuting, as the fetus's actual desire is to keep living. All beings desire to live on. The ideal desire of the fetus is to keep living, which refutes Con's entire argument, as it may not have an actual desire but ideally it would want to live. Just because something is incapable of thinking, does not make it okay to kill it.

"My opponent points out that an abortion is the intentional killing of a being, whilst not splitting totipotent cells is letting nature take its natural course. He believes that this makes a difference in moral evaluation, so what I will argue for is that murder and omitted aid do not make an evaluative difference that would justify calling the first a horrible crime and the latter a permissible course of action."

Con argues against FLO by saying that the future of some cells is equal to the future of WHAT IS ALREADY A HUMAN, as conceded by Con. The future of something not yet human should not be weighed in the round. If a murderer kills a women, the prosecution will not charge the killer for 10 charges of murder if the women could have POTENTIALLY had ten kids. Notice the difference here: future of something not yet human and a human are completely different.

Con doesn't refute that comatose humans have no desires at the time. Although he may claim "ideal desire", remember that a fetus's ideal desire would be to live also even if they have no thoughts

Conclusion

Con's list of reasons excusing killing humans falls short. Give conduct point to Con because my FF.

But remember, a human is a human.
Fkkize

Con

Introduction
I thank kingkd for his reasonable apology.

A Few Remarks
In the beginning of this final round my opponent makes a vast number of unsubstantiated assertions which I will briefly list.
He points out that I am not addressing something, however it remains vague what it is exactly I am not addressing. Right before that he quoted a passage where I said abortion is not wrong simply because something is human, but that makes no sense: neither do I dispute that a fetus is a human nor do I ignore it in my arguments, they revolve around what it is that makes a human morally significant.
He insists that the resolution is "Abortion should be banned because it deprives someone of a human life" but this does not change any of my arguments in the slightest. Not to mention the fact that "...because it deprives someone of a human life" was added by Pro only in this round and never mentioned before.
Now we come to the assertions:
Pro simply states that "Life is an inalienable right" and taking it away is morally wrong. He does not in any way shape or form justify this utmost important claim which is a disaster for his side since this is basically what we are arguing about: do fetuses have a right to life?
However just asserting that they do gets you nowhere.
So he is right when he says "THIS IS THE ONLY IMPORTANT PART ABOUT THE DEBATE", but he completely fails to make a reasonable argument for why they have a "right to life".


Mackie's Continuity Approach
Never was this argument addressed by Pro. I assume that he cannot object to it and that therefore abortion should not be banned.


The Desire View
Here Pro completely misses the point.
He correctly summarizes Boonin's argument, being that because a fetus has no neuronal basis for anything that would resemble a person, like desires, it therefore neither desires to live (it simply cannot desire anything) nor should be given a right to life.
Then my opponent completely talks past the argument when he says that the fetus has an actual and an ideal desire to live on. This is utter nonsense since the conclusion of the argument is precisely that because a fetus does not have the capacity to desire it does not have a right to life. This includes all desires, actual and ideal.
If you want to grant ideal desires to things that cannot desire anything then well, you should be careful when walking around since the grass you might be stepping on will inevitably one day be part of a human being and has therefore an ideal desire to continue to live on.
Good luck defending such a position.


Marquis' FLO Argument
Pro again counts my agreement on the humanhood of fetuses as a concession, but I have pointed out several times that this is not the case.
He starts out by saing this:
"Con argues against FLO by saying that the future of some cells is equal to the future of WHAT IS ALREADY A HUMAN."
By "some cells" he means the totipotent cells that constitute the embryo at one point, which supposedly is not a human according to my opponent and by "what is already a human" he means apparently something else than just "some cells". However even after the cells are not totipotent anymore they are still literally just "some cells". If 1, 2, 4, 8 and 16 cells are not a human then why are 32? The line drawn here is completely arbitrary.
The murderer analogy is nothing but a red herring.


Coma Patients
Pro has the audacity to claim that I did not respond to one of his objections to the desire view, but this is a lie. I quote: "many people do not desire to live such as suicidal people or brainwashed people who believe their life has no meaning"
He never talked about coma patients and yet claims that I ignored his argument.
For the sake of it I will respond to the nonexistent objection anyway.

"When I wake up in the morning I do not have to learn everything that I believed the day before. I seem to have almost all the same beliefs, concepts and desires I had yesterday. This suggest that these mental items were retained in some form or other while I was asleep."(2)

Likewise, when someone wakes up from a coma their self was retained as well.


Intelligent Aliens And The Mentally Disabled
In round two my opponent claims that Locke's definition is inherently flawed because it would count intelligent aliens as persons, but I do not see the flaw here. If we were to meet an intelligent, humanoid alien species we could potentially communicate with, then I don't see why they should not be regarded as persons.
Afterwards he mentions that this definition would exclude the mentally disabled. However two things should be noted here:
1) This is not the definition of "person" I personally would use, it was merely a reaction to the fact that my opponent did not define "person". Therefore I listed one that works against him.
2) This suggest a false picture of disabled people. I actually work with disabled kids and to claim that none of them would be considered "a thinking intelligent being that can know itself as the same thinking thing in different times and places" is ableism.

Ableism: "a form of discrimination or social prejudice against people with disabilities"(1)

Moreover this definition excludes only humans with really, really rare conditions such as encephalopathy, a condition that prevents huge parts of the brain from developing.


Conclusion
My opponent neither gives a compelling argument for is position nor a compelling objection to my arguments. His very loaded language is but a desperate attempt to get some approval. All his objections to my arguments and the constitutive property argument can be found in my last debate on abortion as well...I wonder why... http://www.debate.org...

Sources
(1) http://en.wikipedia.org...
(2) David Boonin, A Defence of Abortion
Debate Round No. 4
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by Dookieman 1 year ago
Dookieman
Pro argued that abortion is morally wrong because the fetus is a human being and has a future-like-ours. Con argued that abortion is morally permissible because a fetus has no desires or preferences.

Con objected to Pro's arguments by claiming that being a biological human being was not morally significant and that the future-like-ours argument leads to absurd conclusions. This is because it would mean that we ought to divide up all embryos so that each totipotent cell can live out its future of value.

Pro objected to Con's arguments by claiming that the desire view of moral status leads to absurd conclusions, because it would mean that suicidal or brainwashed people don't have a right to life.

Con responded to this criticism and claimed that the desire view of moral status does not lead to these conclusions, because suicidal or brainwashed people have an ideal desire to live.

Pro responded to Con's objections to the future-like-ours argument by claiming that totipotent cells are not human and don't have a future-like-ours.

But Pro is mistaken here. A totipotent cell is actually capable of developing into a complete organism and so it does have a future-like-ours. For that reason, the future-like-ours argument does lead to the absurd conclusions that Con talked about.

Pro also ignored Con's argument put forth by J.L. Mackie, and didn't provide a reason why conception should mark the moral dividing line. In summary, Pro's arguments lead to unacceptable consequences and Con's arguments are better defended. Con won this debate because he prevented Pro from meeting his burden of proof.
Posted by Dookieman 1 year ago
Dookieman
Opponents of abortion really need to stop comparing abortion to the Holocaust. It blows my mind how people can think aborting fetuses is like Hitler killing Jews. Fetuses have less consciousness than spiders and cockroaches. People might get mad at me for saying that, but that's because it's true.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by usernamesareannoying 1 year ago
usernamesareannoying
kingkdFkkizeTied
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro's entire argument was constructed upon the future-like-ours argument. Con defined human first, hence his definition assumes precedence - per debating rules. Con's positive case is dropped by Pro. Con uses the logic behind the future-like-ours argument in the totipotent cell argument to prove that it boils down to absurd conclusions. Sources goes to Con, since Fkkize used more. This was a short RFD, so if one would like me to further justify this vote, please say so. Good debate guys.
Vote Placed by Dookieman 1 year ago
Dookieman
kingkdFkkizeTied
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments.