Abortion should be illegal.
Official Resolution - "Abortion should be illegal in the United States of America (or a similar Western state) in all cases except from cases where it is performed in order to save the life of the mother from death or serious physical injury."
"Cases where it is performed in order to save the life of the mother from death or serious physical injury" refers to cases where keeping the fetus would cause death or serious physical injury, and only such cases.
Representing the Pro side
Representing the Con side
Abortion- intentional termination of a pregnancy resulting in the death of an embryo or fetus
Illegal- prohibited by law
First round is acceptance.
No unfair semantics.
The burden of proof is shared.
First of all, I would like to mention that Mr Vindication has joined our team.
For the sake of the debate, I will be basing my moral arguments on utilitarianism. This means that I will weigh the benefits of abortion against the harms, and if I can prove the harms to be greater than the benefits, I win the debate.
Argument: Abortion is objectively immoral.
Murder is "the crime of unlawfully killing a person especially with malice aforethought".  According to utilitarianism, murder is immoral for three main reasons:
1. Every human being desires happiness, and murder prevents a person from achieving happiness, so murder is harmful to the victim.
2. In some cases, people might be dependent on another person, so if that person dies, anyone who is dependent on that person is harmed.
3. Death causes emotional harm to many people, especially the friends and family of the victim.
Now let"s see if abortion meets any of these criteria:
1. At the beginning of the embryonic period of pregnancy (week 5), a newly formed embryo is already developing a nervous system, which means it starts to feel pleasure and pain.  Humans don"t experience a wide range of emotions until they are a few years old, but embryos* can still feel happiness in the form of pleasure. Pain, of course, denies them that pleasure. An abortion causes pain to an embryo, so an abortion, like murder, causes harm to the victim.
2. No one is dependent on an embryo, so this doesn"t apply.
3. Abortions often cause emotional harm to the woman receiving the abortion as well as the woman"s partner. "A 2002 peer-reviewed study published by the Southern Medical Journal of more than 173,000 American women found that women who aborted were 154% more likely to commit suicide than women who carried to term."  "An Apr. 1998 Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology study of men whose partners had abortions found that 51.6% of the men reported regret, 45.2% felt sadness, and 25.8% experienced depression." 
Contention #1: A fetus is alive and a human being.
A human being is any organism of the species homo sapiens.  A species is distinguished from another by its DNA sequence,  and human embryos have DNA sequences that match those of adult humans, so embryos are human beings. Since all human beings are alive until they die, embryos are alive. Killing a human being is illegal, so abortion should be illegal.
Contention #2: The Hippocratic oath bans abortion.
"I will give no deadly medicine to anyone if asked, nor suggest any such counsel; and in like manner I will not give to a woman a pessary to produce abortion."  Doctors should abide by this oath, so they should not perform abortions.
Abortion is objectively immoral for many of the same reasons that murder is immoral, so it should be made illegal to protect those who are harmed. In addition, it violates the oath that every doctor takes and it is no different than murder, which is illegal.
This round was written by Tejretics, approved/advised by Solon and Uniferous; delegations for future rounds will differ.
The topic is normative, so the burdens are equal. Pro's burden is to show that abortion should be illegal, while ours is to show that abortion should be legal. The word "should" implies net benefits, so we will be discussing the net benefits and harms of our cases.
We agree on a framework of utilitarianism - the role of the state is to maximize benefit and minimize harm to the people. The power of a government to exercise control over an individual can only be applied in order to prevent harm or maximize benefit to society, or to acknowledge a value of society - without such reason the government lacks legitimacy itself, since the state of nature is one where people are free to do whatever they want. Infringing on this state of nature serves a purpose: to prevent harm to non-consensual others.
Pro might talk about how harm can be done to an individual by the same individual, but individual choices ought not be restricted because measures of utility when it comes to choices that an individual makes that doesn't harm anyone else are inherently subjective, so the individual themselves are the best ones to perform cost-benefit analysis. Thus, we offer the following criterion: the only purpose for which power can be exercised over an unwilling person is to maximize benefit or minimize/prevent harm to non-consensual others.
Abortion doesn't harm anyone significantly, so, per the framework given above, women should have the liberty of abortions.
1. Harm to the fetus
The fetus cannot feel/perceive subjectively. A "harm" is defined as "physical or mental damage or injury." (Merriam-Webster) Under utilitarianism, pleasure and/or pain are requirements for moral consideration. Lacking perception, they can't feel such injury/damage. Pro says fetuses have neurological development at week 5, so can feel pleasure/pain then. First, in that case, abortion can be legal for the first four weeks - that itself negates Pro's case to this extent. Second, fetuses don't feel pleasure/pain just because of initial neurological development. There's more than basic nervous systems to experiencing pain. Pro's source #2 doesn't talk about pain/pleasure, only on neurological development. The vast majority of research agrees that fetuses begin to experience such basic emotions only sometime between 24 and 37 weeks.  The lowest estimate of all is 20 weeks, which itself has been refuted. 
2. Psychological damage
Pro's argument that abortions cause psychological damage fails for two reasons. One, from the harm principle, we can see that even the psychological damage caused is to the individual that chooses to have an abortion, so it remains a self-regarding act. The government shouldn't legislate to prevent purely self-regarding acts. Two, this claim is nonsense anyway. If a woman is denied a safe abortion, research suggests that she might face psychological harms (e.g. anxiety or depression). Rocca and Kimport, et al. explain that "[c]ompared with women who obtained a near-limit abortion, those denied the abortion felt more regret and anger . . . and less relief and happiness." 
3. Hippocratic Oath
Pro doesn't prove that the Hippocratic Oath ought to be followed as it is, and that it shouldn't be modified at all.
4. Back-alley abortions
Pro's arguments assume that banning abortion will reduce the amount of abortions - because otherwise two of the key arguments fail. This assumption is wrong. Dr. Paul Van Look of the World Health Organization led a study that suggested that "abortion rates are similar in countries where it is legal and those where it is not, suggesting that outlawing the procedure does little to deter women seeking it."  Women are going to have abortions anyway. So whatever right to life the fetus has isn't going to be respected at all. But there's a problem as to *why* that is the case: back-alley abortions. Back-alley abortions are abortions taken place in unsafe, illegal and non-medical conditions. When abortion is illegal, it's very tough to afford appropriate medical conditions and regulations expected in hospitals. So women go to places with poor medical facilities to get abortions, or attempt to self-abort. Such unsafe abortions lead to around 68,000 deaths annually (mostly in countries where abortion is illegal), along with *millions* of painful injuries.  The harm is huge. Banning abortion would have a significant impact on deaths.
The resolution requires Pro to defend an abortion ban in cases of rape- since when a person is raped being denied an abortion doesn't cause death or serious physical harm. In cases of rape, the mother is deprived of the choice to possess a fetus - which means they are forced to experience pain for nine months and then intense pain during delivery under Pro's case. Apply Thompson's violinist analogy. The analogy is as follows: you wake up one morning and find yourself back in bed with an unconscious violinist who has been found to have a usually-fatal kidney ailment- a certain society the violinist is part of has forcibly strapped you to the violinist for nine months, which causes you frequent intense pain. You remove the strap, the violinist dies.  The purpose of this analogy is to elicit the intuition that it's morally permissible to remove the strap in this scenario - because of the suffering you're going through without consent, and have already undergone suffering through the rape.
Harm to the fetus
“Pro says fetuses have neurological development at week 5, so can feel pleasure/pain then. First, in that case, abortion can be legal for the first four weeks - that itself negates Pro's case to this extent.”
The definition established in the first round states that an abortion results in the death of an embryo or fetus; prior to week 5, the embryonic hasn’t begun,  so getting an abortion during the first four weeks would technically not be an abortion by the definition used in the debate.
“Pro's source #2 doesn't talk about pain/pleasure, only on neurological development. The vast majority of research agrees that fetuses begin to experience such basic emotions only sometime between 24 and 37 weeks.”
My source discusses nervous system development. If a nervous system is developed, it can detect certain things that may include pain and pleasure. There are many things that have been made illegal because their safety hasn’t been confirmed, and abortion should be one of them.
“One, from the harm principle, we can see that even the psychological damage caused is to the individual that chooses to have an abortion, so it remains a self-regarding act. The government shouldn't legislate to prevent purely self-regarding acts.”
As I explained in my argument, there is also psychological damage caused to the partners of women who have had abortions, so it is not a self-regarding act. In addition, the source I quoted mentioned that women who had abortions were 154% more likely to commit suicide, and as I explained earlier, death harms more than just the victim.
“Rocca and Kimport, et al. explain that ‘[c]ompared with women who obtained a near-limit abortion, those denied the abortion felt more regret and anger . . . and less relief and happiness.’”
“Those denied the abortion” refers to women who seek an abortion and are denied one. Women who don’t want an abortion wouldn’t feel a lot of regret and anger.
Our team has decided to drop this argument.
“Dr. Paul Van Look of the World Health Organization led a study that suggested that ‘abortion rates are similar in countries where it is legal and those where it is not, suggesting that outlawing the procedure does little to deter women seeking it.’”
Most countries that have outlawed abortion are underdeveloped countries in Africa and Latin America; however, I am arguing that abortion should be outlawed (with exceptions) in the United States or a similar Western state. Take a look at this spreadsheet: https://docs.google.com...
It shows abortion rates per 1,000 women  and the legal status of abortion  in 61 developed nations. None of those nations had a rate above 20 except for nations with abortion legal (including the United States). Nations where abortion is outlawed or restricted had much lower rates, and three of them brought their rates down to zero.
“When abortion is illegal, it's very tough to afford appropriate medical conditions and regulations expected in hospitals. So women go to places with poor medical facilities to get abortions, or attempt to self-abort. Such unsafe abortions lead to around 68,000 deaths annually (mostly in countries where abortion is illegal), along with *millions* of painful injuries.”
You’re saying that 68,000 women die every year trying to get an abortion illegally. But clearly, this is better than the 40-50 million deaths  caused by abortions, so the overall death toll goes down when abortion is illegal. Now I know what you’re probably thinking right now: What about the embryos/fetuses killed in back-alley abortions? You said yourself that “Some women... attempt to self-abort.” Unless you can provide a source that proves that these abortions are successful, I will dismiss this as a baseless argument.
This argument is irrelevant. When I explained why abortion is immoral in round two, I didn’t mention anything about the situation being the woman’s fault. Abortion is immoral regardless of whether the pregnancy was the woman’s fault. As for your analogy, it is not the violinist’s fault that the woman is being harmed. Killing him would just make the situation worse.
== Are there advantages to the plan? ==
There are no significant harms to abortion, that outweigh any of the benefits that lie in keeping abortion illegal, and through this debate, we've shown you that.
Pain. Pro's source merely discusses nervous system development. Pro doesn't prove that the existence of a nervous system means pain/pleasure can be experienced. Insects have nervous systems, but don't feel pain. Kate Connors of the American College of Gynecologists and Obstetricians explains, "The science shows that based on gestational age, the fetus is not able to feel pain until the third trimester."  The nerves aren't wired up to the cortex, so information can't be transferred to the cortex for a pain experience.  Extend sources #1 and #2, which prove that fetuses don't feel pain until the third trimester.
Psychological damage. One, these impacts don't compare at all to the impact from deaths as a result of illegal abortions. Two, there won't be a significant reduction in the number of abortions anyway (as I will show below), so this doesn't really have a significant impact. Three, counseling sessions -- for both men and women -- have been demonstrably effective in reducing/eliminating depression and anxiety resulting from abortions.  Finally, and most importantly, the links between psychological harms and abortion are very dubious, and are probably correlations (not caused by abortion). Researcher Susan A. Cohen shows that all studies that indicate this have poor methodology, conflate correlation and causation, and just take random samples that aren't reliable at all.  Also, none of the research applies to rape.
Solvency. Pro doesn't prove (and it's their burden to prove this, since all their offensive arguments rely on this) that banning abortion will reduce the abortion rate or number of fetuses killed. Pro brings up abortion rates in various countries, but doesn't show that the ban actually influenced the correlation, or that the same would apply in the United States. I also have alternate numbers of my own. Let's look to Pro's numbers anyway. In the United States, there's an abortion rate of 20.8 per 1,000 women (Pro's own spreadsheet). Susheela Singh, et al. find that the abortion rate in Uganda, where abortion is illegal, has a rate of 54 per 1,000 women. 
== Disadvantages ==
First, the argument isn't "irrelevant." I argued that, in Pro's world, rape victims face nine months of immense pain without any choice to relieve the pain, when it's possible to do so. That pain is avoided by abortion. Pro doesn't address that rape victims are non-consensually stripped of the ability to choose to avoid pain. We have an option to change their conditions, and no reason not to change their conditions, so we ought to allow abortion in cases of rape. Pro says it isn't the violinist's fault that the woman is being harmed. But it doesn't matter whose "fault" it is. Killing the violinist will remove the pain. It's that simple.
Second, not allowing abortions in cases of rape is dangerous to the people who've been raped and to the children as a result. For a mother who raises a rape-conceived child or even carries it to birth, it's a constant reminder of the trauma faced during the oppressive act of rape. Rape is inherently an act of oppressive power and of ruthless dominance. It exists to terrorize and to humiliate, to infringe on a fundamental right of a person, and to make them feel like they don't have a choice. The mother relives that oppression while raising that child. Both mother and child face ostracism in such societies.  Pro might say "adoption is always an option," but many parents don't choose that option in that moment of weakness, and they're forced to undergo the consequences. Furthermore, there are psychological harms from merely *giving birth* to a child from rape.  Mothers shouldn't be forced to carry children they don't want to carry when they didn't choose to carry the child.
(2) Back-alley abortions
Pro only addresses the aspect of the disadvantage that was defensive, and dealt with the solvency of Pro's plan. Pro drops the number of deaths from illegal abortions. Pro says 40-50 million fetuses that die from abortions outweigh this, but I've already proven that fetuses don't have moral consideration. Irrespective of that, fetuses *do* die from back-alley abortions, because the *mothers* die. When a mother dies during pregnancy (and when the fetus isn't due to be delivered), the unborn child dies within minutes, at least if 24 weeks or so haven't passed.  That's called "fetal viability." Also, Pro doesn't prove solvency anyway, so our impact outweighs.
Since there are two major disadvantages to banning abortion, and no advantages to banning abortion at all, vote Con.
 Keith More and T. Persaud, "The Developing Human," p. 109
This is the concluding round. Con should not post any new arguments in this round because our team will not be able to respond.
Are there advantages to the plan?
There are many harms of abortion that outweigh the benefits of keeping it legal, and that has been shown through this debate.
As Con’s source #8 states, “there’s no evidence that the subcortex can provide for the pain experience”, but that does not mean you can safely assume that the subcortex can’t provide for the pain experience. To protect the embryo from any possible harm, a woman should get an abortion during the first four weeks of pregnancy, when the embryonic period hasn’t begun and it wouldn’t be considered an abortion by the terms of this debate. A later abortion would be risking harm to the embryo.
Women who get abortions are 154% more likely to commit suicide than women who don’t. Since over a million people commit suicide every year,  this outweighs the 68,000 deaths from illegal abortions. Con objected to my statistics and provided an irrelevant link that doesn’t respond to any of my arguments, so it can be ignored. He also asserts that my evidence doesn’t apply to rape, but does not have any evidence to support that claim. My arguments regarding psychological harm to the partners of women who have had abortion were completely ignored. In conclusion, there is significant psychological harm caused by abortion.
Con has argued that there are disadvantages to making abortion illegal, but I have proven throughout the debate that they are all either nonexistent or outweighed by the benefits.
Con claims that rape victims face nine months of immense pain and should be allowed an abortion to avoid the pain. This is false. Pregnant women experience little to no pain until the later part of pregnancy. If they aren’t ready to give birth, they should terminate their pregnancy during the first four weeks (which is not an abortion). Otherwise, they are causing harm to the embryo that could have been easily avoided. Any harm done to the woman here is self-caused and the violinist analogy is completely inaccurate.
Con claims that the 68,000 deaths caused by unsafe abortions outweigh the 40-50 million embryos and fetuses killed in usually legal abortions, which is obviously not true, because 40,000,000 > 68,000.
I proved earlier that in developed countries, those with abortion illegal or heavily restricted have lower abortion rates than other countries. Con had two objections, both baseless:
1. He claimed that abortion laws caused the correlation seen in the data, or that the same would apply to the United States. However, it can be reasonably concluded that based on the United States’ high abortion rate and the low abortion rates of countries with abortion illegal, banning abortion in the United States would most likely cause a significant decrease in abortions.
2. He pointed out that Uganda, which is a third world country,  has a very high abortion rate. However, the resolution states that abortion should be illegal in the United States or a similar Western state, and Uganda is most certainly not a similar Western state.
There are significant harms caused by abortion, and they greatly outweigh the few benefits of keeping it legal.
== Rebuttal ==
There are no unique advantages to the plan, and I will proceed to show that while offering an overview of the debate.
Pro's argument is that the uncertainty here is sufficient to ban abortion. But there's no uncertainty. All scientists agree that it is impossible to feel pain without the pain receptors actually detecting the pain. There is "no evidence" that the subcortex can account for pain because there's no mechanism for it to do so. Even the mere possibility doesn't exist. [Rd. 2, Source 8] Pro drops all my sources here which demonstrate entirely that the subcortex has no reception of pain whatsoever, that the nerves aren't wired up to the cortex to cause pain, and that the fetus lacks any such mechanism before 24 weeks.
(2) Psychological harms
Pro doesn't respond to the study I cited from Susan A. Cohen that clearly demonstrates how the methodology of every study that suggests a link between having an abortion and receiving psychological damage is wrong. Pro also doesn't rebut that women who want abortions but don't receive them due to laws preventing them, etc., actually feel great regret and stress, or perhaps even depression. Pro also doesn't address that raped women don't feel any psychological harm from receiving abortions, so insofar as abortion is permissible in cases of rape, you can vote them down anyway. Extend that counseling sessions are demonstrably effective in reducing the suicide rate, or rate of any form of psychological harm, significantly. Pro then mistakenly asserts that we "ignored" the point about partners, but we proved that counseling sessions work on both men and women, and that there isn't significant harm from abortion at all, as my source #10 proves, which Pro drops.
Pro tries to do an impact analysis by saying that there are more than a million people committing suicide each year, which outweighs any of my impact. The dishonesty hear is hilarious, because Pro's source #1 just talks about all people who commit suicide, not people who commit suicide *because* of abortions. Banning abortion won't save millions of people. Also, suicide is a self-regarding act, which means there's no harm to a non-consensual other caused by this. People should be made aware of the harms of abortion. This isn't an argument against abortion itself, merely about the context in which the abortion happens. Restrictions (e.g. mandatory counseling before and after the abortion) can stop this.
Pro drops all the impacts. The mother and child both face ostracism from society. The child -- even giving birth -- is a constant reminder to the mother of the oppression and domination faced during the intensely painful rape. Source #12 proves that there are actual, severe psychological harms from giving birth out of rape. If a mother chooses to have an abortion during this time, there's nothing to stop her, because there's no evidence of any psychological harm from rape victims, and the harm principle allows the mother to do that. These severe psychological harms outweigh the uncertainty associated with fetal pain (but there's no evidence of pain whatsoever, as proved above).
Pro then makes the utterly outrageous claim that any harm caused here is self-caused. That's extremely offensive and outrageous, and has no basis whatsoever in truth. The pain and oppression rape victims face is beyond what Pro seems to be able to fathom, and source #12 has already demonstrated with evidence that Pro dropped that severe psychological harm results from being denied an abortion which is needed if raped. Rape is the ultimate act of dominance, a painful, oppressive, and torturous force with vestiges of pain. The government further allows those vestiges of oppression to remain by preventing rape victims from having abortions, for no reason except non-existent "uncertainty" that fetuses feel pain (which is solved by anesthesia). That's not to mention the ostracism rape victims and children face from society because of that, which, tellingly, Pro drops.
(4) Back-alley abortions
Pro says the number of fetal deaths caused by legal abortion outweighs the deaths of sentient humans from back-alley abortions (which, as Pro concedes, will increase if abortion is banned). But utilitarianism -- a framework which Pro agrees with -- isn't just about numbers. It's about mental states. We've shown over and over again that the fetus is not due *any* consideration in a utilitarian calculus, while these women, driven by extreme realities to back-alley abortion (because such a risky procedure is taken for a reason: fear of damage and ostracism), face uncertainty and death. And if we're counting fetuses, I've proven that fetuses die from back-alley abortion too, which Pro drops.
Conclusion: The fetus doesn't feel pain and there's no uncertainty there, because there's no mechanism by which the fetus's subcortex could possibly cause pain. The harms from banning abortion (e.g. the deaths of multiple women, and psychological harms) far outweigh. Not to mention, rape victims face severe and serious harms from being forced to carry the fetus borne of rape, which Pro completely dismisses while dropping all associated evidence. For all those reasons, vote Con.