The Instigator
Pro (for)
4 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
0 Points

Abortion should be federally illegal.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/30/2015 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 693 times Debate No: 72613
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (4)
Votes (1)




Abortion should be federally illegal. Before I defend this argument, I will provide definitions for the key terms in my case.

Abortion: The medical term which refers to the termination of an embryo or fetus while it is still in the womb (operationally defined very broadly, since this is a debate over a proposed definition for this word)
Kill: To end the life of (M-W)
Life: The property or quality that distinguishes living organisms from dead organisms and inanimate matter, manifested in functions such as metabolism, growth, reproduction, and response to stimuli or adaptation to the environment originating from within the organism. (The Free Dictionary)
Innocent: Not guilty of a crime or other wrong act (M-W)
Human: A member of the species Homo sapiens; a human being (The American Heritage Dictionary of Student Science)

Now that these are out of the way, I will set up the format for my Pro case. My case will use a single syllogism to prove that abortion should be federally illegal.

The killing of an innocent human should be federally illegal.
Abortion is the killing of an innocent human.
Therefore, abortion should be federally illegal.

Now, I don't expect anyone to have a problem with the first premise, but where I expect to see some debate is over the second premise, that abortion is the killing of an innocent human, so that will be what I defend in my first case. This premise assumes three things about abortion: First, that it is a killing, second, that the victim is innocent, and third, that the victim is human. So I will tackle these three claims:

1. Abortion is a killing. First, go back and read my definition of kill. To kill is to end a life. This means that in order for abortion to be a killing, a fetus must be alive, and this is where the biggest pro-choice argument lies. Most pro-choice arguments rest on the idea that life begins after birth, and not conception. So in order to decide whether a fetus really does qualify as "living," read my definition for life. Life is the quality that distinguishes living organisms from dead organisms (a pretty reasonable definition). I think we can agree that after an abortion, a fetus looses this quality, and no distinction can be made any longer between the fetus and a dead organism.
Now, I know that some people say that a fetus isn't alive because it cannot survive outside the womb, and yet, no one bothers to argue that parasites aren't alive. I'm not saying that a fetus has the worth of a parasite, I am only saying that they are equally alive. However, a fetus is worth more than a parasite because it is human (point #3).

2. The victim of an abortion is innocent. Now, I don't expect to have any debate over this point either, but just in case, go reread my definition for innocent. I don't think anyone will bother to argue that a fetus is guilty of a crime or other wrong act.

3. The victim of an abortion is human. By definition, a human is a member of the species Homo sapiens. Now, have you ever heard of a single creature (not a species that is evolving) changing from one species to another? No. No one claims that that can happen. So in order to ever become a human, a fetus must already be a human, because no creature can actually change its species.

In conclusion, because a fetus is an innocent, living, human, its life MUST be federally protected.


I accept, and wish the best of luck to my opponent. I would like to say that I am playing devil's advocate in this debate.

My case will be based off of a 4 contention basis, filled with statistics, quotes, and personal beliefs.
I will agree to all the definitions, minus that of abortion and life. Abortion will will be defined as: the deliberate termination of a human pregnancy, most often performed during the first 28 weeks of pregnancy. (Merriam Webster Dictionary) Life will be defined as: A person's age is calculated from birth date, not conception, and fetuses are not counted in the US Census. The majority opinion in Roe v. Wade states that "the word 'person,' as used in the Fourteenth Amendment [of the US Constitution], does not include the unborn." (Pro-Con) Therefore life will be defined as a persons ability to survive outside of the womb.

Now onto case-
Opening Quote "The landmark abortion case Roe v. Wade, decided on Jan. 22, 1973 in favor of abortion rights, remains the law of the land. The 7-2 decision stated that the Constitution gives "a guarantee of certain areas or zones of privacy," and that "This right of privacy... is broad enough to encompass a woman's decision whether or not to terminate her pregnancy.""

I stand in affirmation of today's resolution.

Contention 1 is: Abortions ARE NOT AGAINST RELIGION
Although the Catholic and Lutheran churches oppose abortion, more of their members believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases versus illegal in all or most cases (51% vs. 45%, Lutheran; 48% vs. 45%, Catholic). [1] Therefore the two major religions agaisnt the topic, actually are pro-choice. Therefore, we are not oppressing any religions, when we do this. The churches oppose, but not the people. The churches do not have vote, the people do. We should tailor to what the people wan't which is abortion.

Contention 2 is: Reproduction Choices, empower women, because it is their body.
The choice over when and whether to have children is central to a woman's independence and ability to determine her future. [2] Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor wrote in the 1992 decision in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, "The ability of women to participate equally in the economic and social life of the Nation has been facilitated by their ability to control their reproductive lives." [3] Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote in her dissenting opinion in Gonzales v. Carhart (2007) that undue restrictions on abortion infringe upon "a woman's autonomy to determine her life's course, and thus to enjoy equal citizenship stature." [4] CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin, JD, stated thatRoe v. Wade was "a landmark of what is, in the truest sense, women’s liberation." [5]

Contention 3 is: Fetuses are not alive.
The two definitions, one provided by Pro-Con and My own interpretation, are not alive. For a human to have rights, it must be alive. Therefore, a fetus is not alive, because it can not survive outside of the womb. A fetus has no abiltiy to to anything, and it therefore nto alive. This is simple knowledge. My oponents own definition does not support his claims. The mother, responds to stimuli and adaptation to the environment, something a fetus can not do. Also, fetuses can not reproduce or grow in a stable manner, without the support of the mother. If you mother drinks, while you're in the womb, you will most likely come out "Damaged." You can not fend for yourself while in the womb, which makes you not alive.

Contention 4: Rape and Incest Cases
In the case of rape or incest, forcing a woman made pregnant by this violent act would cause further psychological harm to the victim. No one wants to relive the tragedy that is rape and incest cases, and forcing women, to give birth to the baby is likely to put the baby in a bad situation. It's like the story of the Ugly Duckling. The mother and father did not want said duckling, and therefore subjected it to harm. It was bullied in "school." This same thing would happen to a real life baby, if he was born through rape and incest. Making abortions illegal would put these people throgh a tramatic exprience, which would only worsen their suffering.

Now onto my opponents case:
1. Already Proved this wrong with my counter definition which was froma supreme court case, and common knowledge.
2. Fetuses are not guilty, I agree. But, in cases of rape and incest the fetus is not wanted. The parents do not want the fetus, and they have a consitutional right to abort this baby. Under Rowe Vs Wade and other supreme court cases.
3. At the outset, let me say that from a pro-choice point of view, the status of the fetus is a peripheral issue. Regardless of whether a fetus is a human being or has rights, women will have abortions anyway, even if it means breaking the law or risking their lives. Even women who believe that abortion is murder have chosen to get abortions, and will continue to do so [6]. Not only does the view of a pro choice actavist say that the status of the fetus is not important, Rowe Vs Wade says that the fetus is not the human and women have the right.

[2] Our Bodies Ourselves (OBOS, aka Boston Women's Health Book Collective), "Reproductive Choices," (accessed Apr. 22, 2014)

Debate Round No. 1


Thank you for accepting! Good luck to you too ;D

First, I agree to the Con's definition of abortion, and I believe it basically says the same thing as my own.

I agree to the Con's first contention that abortion is not against religion. I don't think religion is a legitimate reason to make abortion illegal, and I don't believe the legalization of abortion oppresses religion. However, I want to respond to a statement he made under this contention: "We should tailor to what the people want which is abortion." Let me quickly point out that we cannot always tailor to what the people want. America did just that before the Civil Rights' Movement, and millions of Africans were enslaved and abused because of it. Sometimes the majority is wrong.

In response to his second contention, I say that yes, reproduction choices do empower women. So does the right to murder someone. I cannot claim that because I need to be "empowered," I have the right to kill an innocent person. How would that stand up in a court case? No judge would let you off of a murder charge just because you believe you should be "empowered." That isn't justice.

In response to his third contention that fetuses are not alive, I will point out that Con has not responded to my pre-rebuttal of this point. If a fetus is not alive, then neither is a parasite, germ, or even an organ. And yet, we commonly refer to all of these as "living." Why? Because we have nothing to fear from admitting that they have life. But the minute a human fetus enters the picture, admitting that it is alive would threaten a political position.
Roe v. Wade brought up a definition of life that literally makes no sense - it excludes each of these things that we all know to be living, and goes against what we know the word "life" to mean. On that note, how is using the ability to survive outside the womb as a definition for life any different than using the ability to survive outside of life support? Is someone who needs to be fed through a tube, or lives on a machine to breath for them, or pump their heart for them, not alive, simply because they cannot survive on their own? In fact, if this idea is carried all the way, one would even be forced to argue that children are not alive either, because they could not support themselves and would starve without their parents. Life is not determined by independence, it is determined by a distinction from death, and that is logical, intuitive, and makes sense.
Under this contention, Con said, "You can not fend for yourself while in the womb, which makes you not alive." When did helplessness come to define someone as non-living? Is a born baby non-living simply because s/he is helpless? What does this mean? If the helpless are not living, then can they just be taken advantage of? Do the helpless become doormats simply because they are helpless? No. The helpless need a voice; they need someone to stick up for them. When we see someone who is helpless being taken advantage of, we stick up for them; we don't just let it happen, and we certainly don't join in.

In response to his fourth contention of rape and incest cases, I will bring up the option of adoption. Any mother can be given a C-section and put her child up for adoption, and then she does not suffer the undue negative effects of the rape. This is not too much trouble to ask of someone in order to save an innocent human life.
In response to his analogy of the ugly duckling, I say, are we telling this baby that his life is not worth living, simply because he is likely to have some hardships? Who gets to tell another human being that they can't choose whether their life is worth living or not? We don't force people into suicide when they face hardships, we stick with them, encourage them, and try to carry their burdens with them, to the best of our abilities. How much moreso for the voiceless, helpless, unborn child?

In defense of my own case:
1. My first point was that abortion is killing, because fetuses are alive. Con attacked this point with his third contention, and I responded to it already. Life is not determined by independence, it is determined by a distinction from death.

2. My next point was that fetuses are innocent, and Con accepted this point. However, I will respond to his claim that "they have a constitutional right to abort this baby." Let's set this issue straight: They do not have a Constitutional right, they have a legal right, by a ruling of the Supreme Court. The Constitution never talks about giving mothers the right to murder the unborn, however, it does promote everyone's individual rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The Supreme Court made the wrong decision in Rowe V. Wade, and now we are seeing the consequences.

3. Finally, I said that fetuses are human. Con responded that whether a fetus is human or not, women will still abort it. My defense is that this doesn't matter to the resolution. The resolution states that abortion should be federally illegal, and enforcement is an issue for a separate debate. I will point out that since Con has neglected to argue the fact of this point, it still flows to Pro.

In conclusion, we cannot deny that something is alive, just for an excuse to kill it. Abortion would not even exist if fetuses were not alive. Because a fetus is undeniably living, undeniably human, and undeniably innocent, the federal government has no excuse for allowing it to be ruthlessly murdered.


chrisjachimiak forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2


As Con has forfeited the previous round, and this is my last chance to speak in this debate, I would like to point out that Con cannot bring up any new arguments this round, he can only respond to what I have said, and expand on his original thoughts, because I will have no chance to respond to any new arguments he brings up.


chrisjachimiak forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by Ab_M 1 year ago
@AlternativeDavid Yes, I wanted a morality argument. I was not looking for a political debate - those could not be more boring XD. That's why I set up the political tie as pretty undebatable, and shifted the debatable area to ethics.

@RXR I completely agree that a fetus is alive, but many dead things can develop and change. Are artificially intelligent machines alive? I think life has to be defined more specifically than that.
Posted by RXR 1 year ago
Because you know a fetus develops and changes so it must be alive
Posted by RXR 1 year ago
Actually a fetus is alive, or an abortion procedure wouldn't be neccarasy.
Posted by AlternativeDavid 1 year ago
Are you specifically looking for a morality argument?
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by dsjpk5 1 year ago
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: Ff