The Instigator
OtakuJordan
Pro (for)
Winning
10 Points
The Contender
queeng
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

Abortion should be illegal

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
OtakuJordan
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/26/2013 Category: Society
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 635 times Debate No: 42982
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (6)
Votes (2)

 

OtakuJordan

Pro

The first round will be for acceptance. Best of luck.
queeng

Con

I accept this challenge, however I must say that no dispespect will be implied from my views on this big argument and if a heated point is reached, I will forfeit.
Debate Round No. 1
OtakuJordan

Pro

Do not worry. I am very cool-headed.

My case
I will be making three contentions.

1. The zygote/embryo/fetus is a human life
2. There is a moral obligation to preserve innocent human life
3. This moral obligation is of the highest order

Throughout this debate round, "unborn" may be used to mean an unborn human at any of the three stages of zygote, embryo or fetus.

Contention #1 - The unborn is a human life
The standard, biology textbook definition of life is 1) the ability to grow and 2) the ability to reproduce.[1] In other words, if something grows and possesses the ability to reproduce at some point in its life cycle (barring some sort of defect), then it is considered by the scientific community to be alive.

By this standard, the unborn can be considered to be a life. But what if we use a more advanced definition such as the one below?


        1. Homeostasis: Regulation of the internal environment to maintain a constant state; for example, electrolyte concentration or sweating to reduce temperature.



        1. Organization: Being structurally composed of one or more cells â€" the basic units of life.



        1. Metabolism Transformation of energy by converting chemicals and energy into cellular components (anabolism) and decomposing organic matter (catabolism). Living things require energy to maintain internal organization (homeostasis) and to produce the other phenomena associated with life.



        1. Growth: Maintenance of a higher rate of anabolism than catabolism. A growing organism increases in size in all of its parts, rather than simply accumulating matter.



        1. Adaptation: The ability to change over time in response to the environment. This ability is fundamental to the process of evolution and is determined by the organism's heredity, diet, and external factors.



        1. Response to stimuli: A response can take many forms, from the contraction of a unicellular organism to external chemicals, to complex reactions involving all the senses of multicellular organisms. A response is often expressed by motion; for example, the leaves of a plant turning toward the sun (phototroism), and chemotaxis.



        1. Reproduction: The ability to produce new individual organisms, either asexually from a single parent organism, or sexually from two parent organisms.[1][2]


Once again, the unborn meets all the criteria for life.

However, this is somewhat irrelevant. After all, bacteria and blades of grass are also alive, and we feel no moral qualms about killing them. Why, then, is the zygote/embryo/fetus different? Put simply, because it is a human life. By definition, a product of reproduction is of the same kind as its 'parents.'[3] I offer this Merriam-Webster definition of fetus as further proof: "a human being or animal in the later stages of development before it is born."[4]

Contention #2 - There is a moral obligation to preserve innocent human life
Man is a moral agent, a being with free will whose actions have moral import. Because of our freedom we are bound by duty to act morally or, if you prefer, ethically. Morality may be derived from either philosophy or religion. I shall be making a philosophical case for the moral obligation to preserve human life using Kant's three Formulations of the Imperative.

The First Formulation of the Imperative

"Act only according to that maxim whereby you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law without contradiction." Immanuel Kant, Groundwork of Metaphysic of Morals[5]

Clearly we would not want the justified taking of innocent life to become a universal law without contradiction. This would result in chaos, bloodshed and (depending on your interpretation of this First Formulation) the extinction of the human race.

The Second Formulation of the Imperative

"Act in such a way that you treat humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of any other, never merely as a means to an end but always at the same time as an end." Immanuel Kant, Groundwork of Metaphysic of Morals[6]

The taking of innocent life violates this Formulation because it disregards and devalues the free will of the victim and sees them as an end in themselves.

The Third Formulation of the Imperative

"Therefore, every rational being must so act as if he were through his maxim always a legislating member in the universal kingdom of ends." Immanuel Kant, Groundwork of Metaphysic of Morals[7]

To explain this Formulation, I quote from an article on deontological ethics by the Seven Pillars Institute for Global Finance and Ethics:

Using reasoned judgment we can apply this formula to any maxim and discover whether it is morally permissible under deontological ethics. Let's take, for example, the act of picking flowers from the local park. The flowers are very pretty, and one may want to take some home. Essentially, this requires adopting a maxim that supports doing whatever one wants to do. Using the formula of the universal law (categorical imperative), there are a few irrationalities and contradictions that arise from the adoption of such a maxim as law. If everyone were to do this, there would be no flowers left in the park, and the act contradicts the original motive for picking the flowers. The better option is to go to a shop and order or plant one's own flowers.[8]

The taking of innocent life unarguably carries moral implication on far grander and more devastating scale than the picking of flowers.

Contention #3 - This moral obligation is of the highest order
As can be evidenced by the Formulations of the Imperative, ignoring this moral obligation results in greater devastation than the violation of any other moral obligation can (including such hypothetical consequences as the extinction of the human race).

Clearly, then, it supersedes any other demands upon our free will.

Sources
1. http://www2.una.edu...
2. http://phoenix.lpl.arizona.edu...
3. http://www.thefreedictionary.com...
4. http://www.merriam-webster.com...
5. http://sevenpillarsinstitute.org...
6. Ibid.
7. Ibid.
8. Ibid.


queeng

Con

For this first rebuttal, I will be using some information from a previous debate of mine.

1) 'The zygote/embryo/fetus is a human life.'

The debate on when life begins has been worldwide since before we even knew what it was. Many people have many different views on when this happens. What I'm saying is not that science has proved when human life begins, but it has proved some basic guidelines for an idea of it. For example:

At Or Near Birth: Which is measured by fetal viability outside the mother's body. Meaning around a month or few weeks before the due date of the pregnancy.

Neurological View: Which is measured by brainwave criteria. Meaning life begins when a distinct EEG pattern can be detected, about 24 to 27 weeks. There is a strong argument between scientists that the recognizable EEG patterns produced by a mature brain is a defining characteristic of humanity. Therefore, the moment that a developing fetus first exhibits a consistent EEG pattern is indicative of the beginning of human life. It is from this point and onward during development that the fetus is capable of the type of mental activity associated with humanity.

Embryologic View: Which is when the embryo undergoes gastrulation, and twinning is no longer possible. Gastrulation commences at the beginning of the third week of pregnancy, when the zygote, now known as an embryo is implanted into the uterus of the mother. this occurs about 12 days into development. The philosophers who support this position argue that there is a difference between a human individual and a human person. A zygote is both human and numerically single and thus a human individual. However, because individuality is not certain until implantation is complete, and because individuality is a necessary condition of personhood, the zygote is not yet a human person.

http://www.thesurvivaldoctor.com......
science.jburroughs.org/mbahe/BioEthics/.../Whendoeshumanlifebegin.pdf

I agree with your statement that the unborn does meet the criteria of organization and growth as of conception, but the rest are met later on in the development.

2) 'There is a moral obligation to preserve innocent human life.'

What defines innocent? Many people have different perspectives on this viewpoint. The overall flaw in this statement is that it is absolute. Above everything else we are obligated to preserve life no matter the circumstance. For example, you are driving on the road with the rest of your family in the passenger and backseats. A little girl runs out into the road. You can either hit the brakes and cause the vehicle to spin off the road, killing the people in the backseat but saving the little girl. Or you can hit the little girl and save the people in the vehicle. Which life do you take? In some circumstances this cannot be avoided and therefore your 'moral obligation to preserve innocent human life' is broken.

3) 'This moral obligation is of the highest order.'

The highest order should be utilitarianism, which is maximizing happiness and reducing suffering. Take Hitler for example. At the time, was our goal to preserve his life? No, it was to kill him and end the suffering of the millions of people he was killing.

My Case:

My argument is quite simple really: consider the circumstances. I do not believe that you should just have an abortion because you made a mistake and don't want to take responsibility for it. I believe that in cases of abusive relationships, rape, incest, and life-threatening circumstances then an abortion should be an option. Abortion being illegal wouldn't give these women the freedom of choice, a choice to keep their lives from going down the drain.
Debate Round No. 2
OtakuJordan

Pro

Thank you for your rebuttals, Con.

I shall respond to my opponent's arguments against my contentions before responding to her case.

Rebuttal #1 - The zygote/embryo/fetus is a human life
My opponent has confused the debate over when a human develops the right to life (or personhood) with the debate over when life begins, which has largely been settled. My opponent's first source points to a home page and not an article, but I assume that the article she was attempting to link to was http://www.thesurvivaldoctor.com.... This article, in fact, opens by saying,

Pro-lifers generally belief life begins at fertilization. So pro-choicers generally believe no, it doesn’t.

… Right?

Wrong.

[...]

In 2006, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Committee on Ethics published their opinion on “Using Preimplantation Embryos for Research.” In it, they say, “If the preimplantation embryo is left or maintained outside the uterus, it cannot develop into a human being.” Did you catch that: “… into a human being”?

The question for many doctors and scientists is not, “When does life begin?” but, “When does that life become a human being?”[1]

Moving on, there are quite a few problems with attempting to justify abortion with the ethics-based personhood arguments. For example, how is declaring that a living human being may be less than a person not a form of prejudice and ageism? Delineating between humans and sub-humans within the species is not something that any philosopher or ethicist, no matter how astute, is truly qualified to do.

Also, if the moment when the preborn becomes alive or a person is undetermined, how is abortion then justified? To illustrate my point I will present an analogy. If a demolition expert is charged with the task of demolishing a building and he is unaware of whether or not there are people inside, would he be morally justified in proceeding? Or would the moral option be to wait until he is certain that no one would be killed by his actions before proceeding? The latter, obviously, and the same principle can be applied to the abortion debate.

As for my opponent's claim that some of the criteria of life that I presented are not met at conception, this claim is false. All of the criteria listed are active at the cellular level and present in the DNA,[2] with the exception of reproduction. As I pointed out, this criteria need only be met at some point in the life cycle. If my opponent still claims that the preborn does not meet these criteria than I challenge her to present a modern and credible source that affirms her claim.

I will close this rebuttal by pointing out that the embryonic stage is reached at three weeks[3], whereas surgical abortion is performed during the eighth week at the earliest[4], therefore the embryonic view of personhood may actually be considered an argument for my side.

Rebuttal #2 - There is a moral obligation to preserve innocent human life
I will grant that, as my opponent says, the definition of innocence varies from person to person. Many people would regard self-defense as a morally innocent action, while I, as a pacifist, would not. However, I think that we can all safely agree, no matter what our philosophy, that a preborn is morally innocent. My opponent has certainly not presented any reason why we should not.

As for the example my opponent presented, every philosophical system has its moral quandaries. This does not mean that the system fails. Also, I doubt that my opponent truly disagrees with my claim that we have a moral obligation to preserve life for two reasons.

1. Within her own example, we have the option of taking one innocent life or another, a moral conundrum. However, I doubt that she would say that it is acceptable to take both innocent lives.

2. She makes her case for abortion rights by saying that it is important to the quality of life of women. (e.g., "Abortion being illegal wouldn't give these women the freedom of choice, a choice to keep their lives from going down the drain.") If quality of life is important and worth defending we can safely assume that life itself is also important and worth defending.

3. The same moral conundrum may be leveled against the utilitarianism she espouses.

Rebuttal #3 - This moral obligation is of the highest order
Saying that we were not concerned with killing Hitler is not an argument against my claim that preserving innocent human life is a moral obligation of the highest order. First of all, Hitler could not have been considered to be morally innocent, therefore he falls outside the bounds of the moral obligation. Secondly, the very reason the Allies sought to eliminate Hitler was to preserve innocent life.

Also, if utilitarianism is defined as "maximizing happiness and reducing suffering" then we may safely assume that preventing the death of innocents via abortion would qualify.

Rebuttal #4 - "My case"
As I have already stated, if quality of life is important than we may also assume that life itself is important. And because life is a prerequisite for quality of life, we may assume that it is more important than or supersedes the latter.

Sources
1. http://www.thesurvivaldoctor.com...
2. http://www.nlm.nih.gov...
3. http://www.mayoclinic.com...
4. http://www.netdoctor.co.uk...
queeng

Con

Thank you for your rebuttals. Although I still disagree, I cannot change your viewpoint on your morals so I will make my response to your arguments brief and present my case from a different approach.

1) 'The zygote/embryo/fetus is a human life.'

Truly, no one knows when the zygote/embryo/fetus becomes a human life. We could sit here all day and go back and forth but in the end there will be no right or wrong answer. Everyone has their own morals and beliefs that they will go by and I accept that. However, my moral viewpoint on this particular subject is not so different from yours. I do believe that the zygote/embryo/fetus is a human life, at some unknown point, and back to my previous statement, if you don't have a serious reason for an abortion I don't think you should have it.

2&3) 'There is a moral obligation to preserve innocent human life.' & 'This moral obligation is of the highest order.'

In response to my example, you stated "..I doubt that she would say that it is acceptable to take both innocent lives." In my example, there was not a choice to take both these lives. But in this circumstance, in your mind you wouldn't be going through your moral obligations to preserve innocent life or the importance of it's order. Your highest order in that moment would hopefully be to insure the safety of your family. In this, you would have taken the life of this innocent little girl, and that it no easy task, but your family would have been out of harms way, which is the highest order. In an abortion circumstance, women just don't decide with a snap of their fingers. It is a sorrow filled process.

My case:

1) Some woman have certain circumstances where abortion is needed.

According to rainn.org, there are 237,868 victims of sexual assault each year, and 44% of them are under the age of 18. Imagine being 12 years old and pregnant due to a rape. First and foremost, can your body even handle a pregnancy at that age? How could this affect her future? The younger a mother is below age 20, the greater the risk of her infant dying during the first year of life and infants born to teens are 2 - 6 times more likely to have low birth weight than those born to mothers age 20 or older. Even if a teen could later put the baby up for adoption, the baby would have already been exposed to dangerous conditions and adoption systems aren't always joyful situations to be in. Because you are a human being, male or female, picture this. Your baby girl, the one thing your life surrounds, is raped. She's only 8 years old. Are you going to make your child suffer through that pregnancy?

http://www.rainn.org...
http://www.nlm.nih.gov...

2) It is not the job of man or the government to decide.

This country prides itself on the freedom of choice, so why is the choice of women being taken away? Whether or not a woman decides to have an abortion, it is her decision and it will affect her life.Whatever circumstance a women is in, the government has no way of knowing. Even if abortion was made against the law unless subject to rape, incest, etc, how can the government enforce that rule? If a woman really wanted to get an abortion, she can easily lie to get it. Drugs like cocaine and heroine were made illegal too. Do people still find access to them? Of course. Making abortion illegal increases the number of women that seek unsafe abortions. Unsafe abortions occur when they are performed by individuals without adequate medical skills or in an unhygienic environment which result in about 68,000 maternal deaths per year. Besides the government, man (used to generalize both genders) aren't to say what rights a woman has to her own body. Abortion is no easy task, it is very emotional and personal. Man should not be able to weigh in on a decision that personal, let alone the government.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...
Debate Round No. 3
OtakuJordan

Pro

Again, I shall respond to my opponent's arguments against my contentions before responding to her case.

Rebuttal #1 - The zygote/embryo/fetus is a human life
I presented Con with an argument stating that the unborn is a human life. Her failure to respond means that this may now be considered a dropped argument and an established point in the debate. My opponent also dropped quite a few other points:

1. The debate within the scientific community over when life begins has been largely settled
2. Declaring the the unborn is a human life but not a person is a form of prejudice and ageism
3. No philosopher or ethicist is qualified to delineate between humans and sub-humans
4. If it is not known if life is present the moral option is to not proceed with an action that could possibly destroy it
5. The embryonic view of personhood may actually be considered an argument for my side

Also, Con failed to respond to my challenge to her to present a modern and reliable source for her claim that the unborn does not meet the criteria of life that I presented in R2.

Dropped point number four is especially damning when we consider Con's statement, "I do believe that the zygote/embryo/fetus is a human life, at some unknown point[...]"

Con's latest rebuttal of my first contention is, in fact, no rebuttal. The only statement of real substance within it is, "if you don't have a serious reason for an abortion I don't think you should have it" which can hary be thought of as damaging to my case.

Rebuttal #2 & 3 - There is a moral obligation to preseve innocent human life & This moral obligation is of the highest order

My opponent also dropped many arguments that I presented in my second and third rebuttals. These include:

1. A moral quandary does not mean the failure of the system of ethics that I presented
2. If women's quality of life is important than life itself is important, and the latter is to be valued above the former
3. The moral conundrum presented by Con may also be leveled against her system of ethics
4. The system of ethics Con presents (utilitarianism) affirms my arguments

I am unsure what Con's point is in her response to my critique of her driving scenario. If keeping one's relations safe from harm is a moral obligation of the highest order, then we may safely assume that the termination of one's unborn relations would be condemned by her own system of ethics.

Rebuttal #4 - "My case"
As I have already stated and as my opponent has failed to refute, the protection of innocent life is a moral obligation of the highest order.

That being said, abortion is properly defined by Merriam-Webster as "a medical procedure used to end a pregnancy and cause the death of the fetus."[1] Abortion is, therefore, a procedure in which the death of the fetus is the intended end result, not the simply the removal of the fetus from the womb. Removing the fetus from the body of a woman whose pregnancy is adversely affecting her health and then working to save the lives of both may not be qualified as an abortion. This ethical alternative is just as effective as abortion in saving the lives of those suffering from pregnancy complications.

"Even if a teen could later put the baby up for adoption, the baby would have already been exposed to dangerous conditions and adoption systems aren't always joyful situations to be in."

Whether or not the child would prefer to live in poor conditions or to have their life terminated is entirely their choice.

"This country prides itself on the freedom of choice, so why is the choice of women being taken away? Whether or not a woman decides to have an abortion, it is her decision and it will affect her life.Whatever circumstance a women is in, the government has no way of knowing. Even if abortion was made against the law unless subject to rape, incest, etc, how can the government enforce that rule? If a woman really wanted to get an abortion, she can easily lie to get it. Drugs like cocaine and heroine were made illegal too. Do people still find access to them? Of course. Making abortion illegal increases the number of women that seek unsafe abortions. Unsafe abortions occur when they are performed by individuals without adequate medical skills or in an unhygienic environment which result in about 68,000 maternal deaths per year."

The claim that abortion rates do not vary with legalization is patently false. To paraphrase my personal blog, the legality of a behavior has much to do with its cultural acceptance, and its cultural acceptance has much to do with how much it is practiced. I find it hard to believe that a lifestyle choice as heavily stigmatized and as highly controversial as abortion does not become more prevalent with legal sanction.

According to statistics from the Guttmacher Instiute and the BBC, both the United States and the United Kingdom saw a rise in the number of abortions from year to year following the legalization of the procedure.[2] This indicates that abortion slowly became more popular following its legalization.

Also, I would like to point out that only (and it is a great shame that I am forced by pro-choice claims of thousands of deaths in illegal abortions to use the word only in such a context) thirty-nine women died as a result of injury during abortion in 1972, the year before Roe v. Wade.[3]

"Besides the government, man (used to generalize both genders) aren't to say what rights a woman has to her own body. Abortion is no easy task, it is very emotional and personal. Man should not be able to weigh in on a decision that personal, let alone the government."

I would agree that the government has no right to tell a woman what to do with her own body. However, I also believe that a woman has no right to end the life of another person growing within her. We have already established that the preborn is a human life with its own DNA set, and therefore referring to is as part of the woman's body is a gross scientific error.

Abortion is not supported by the right to bodily autonomy. Just the opposite.

Conclusion
My opponent dropped a frightful number of points in the last round, many of which are strong enough to completely destroy her case independent of all the others. Combined, they utterly destroy my opponent's case.

I would like to close by thanking my opponent for the debate and reminding her that no new arguments may be raised in the final round.

Sources
1. http://www.merriam-webster.com...
2. http://bioethicstoday.wordpress.com...
3. Ibid.
queeng

Con

queeng forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by OtakuJordan 2 years ago
OtakuJordan
@queeng Thank you as well.
Posted by OtakuJordan 2 years ago
OtakuJordan
@Garret What part confuses you? What pacifism is or why I believe in it?
Posted by GarretKadeDupre 2 years ago
GarretKadeDupre
" First and foremost, can your body even handle a pregnancy at that age?"

Yes.
Posted by GarretKadeDupre 2 years ago
GarretKadeDupre
"Many people would regard self-defense as a morally innocent action, while I, as a pacifist, would not."

lolwut?
Posted by queeng 2 years ago
queeng
Unfortunately I am without wifi and will not be back within the rest of the period for round 4, meaning I will not be able to provide an efficient response. Thank you for this debate, Con.
Posted by erikejr 2 years ago
erikejr
I think that abortion should be legal because of the fact of the situations of when a female were to get rapped or impregnated without the assurance of the female. my mother was rapped by a 200 lb. black man when she was only 15 and had an abortion. if she would of had this kid she would of never of had the chance to fully live out here life and go to collage for nursing and she would of probably would of never of had me. I think that it should not fully be illegal but yet more followed up on. because in all honesty if a young female were to get rapped and they were forced to have the baby and their whole life that they could of possible had planned out had to be put aside or dropped all together than that is not morally right. But I also agree it should not be allowed if they simply do not want to have the child just out of choice.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Tophatdoc 2 years ago
Tophatdoc
OtakuJordanqueengTied
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: A very good debate. Valid arguments from both sides in the early rounds. Pro provided a stronger argument for why abortion should be illegal. Pro effectively defended his three points of contention. Con forfeited a round, so the conduct goes to Pro. Sources go to no one. Good luck to you both in future debates.
Vote Placed by dtaylor971 2 years ago
dtaylor971
OtakuJordanqueengTied
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Total points awarded:60 
Reasons for voting decision: The stance that otakujordan took was slightly to the opposition of my side, however, he convinced me to a tie. I am not for abortion, but I did not believe for it to be illegal. Conduct obviously to pro due to the forfeiture by con. S&G is tied, as no noticable mistakes were presented by either of the two sides. Con had a short and rather unconvincing case, while pro had a long, well organized and convincing case. Arguments to him. Lastly, the sources also go to pro because he was the only one to use them in a correct manner (plus con hept hers to a total minimal.)