Abortion should be legal up through the second trimester, regardless of circumstance
Debate Rounds (4)
2. Opening statements (No refutations)
3. Counter arguments
4. Counter arguments + closing statement
This will be a policy debate about abortion in the United States. My goal is to support the conclusion that pregnancy termination procedures should be made legal to all women, so long as the procedure takes place during either the first or second trimester (approx 26 weeks after conception), regardless of a women's reasoning for seeking this procedure. My opponent should either be arguing that a woman should only be able to receive an abortion under special circumstances (ex. rape, threatening the health of the mother) or for the abolishment of the practice all together.
This debate WILL NOT be concerned with government policies that would either support or inhibit the accessibility (recent controversies over the closing of abortion clinics on technicalities) or affordability of abortions (whether or not a business would need to provide an insurance plan covering abortion). This is simply concerned with the practice itself.
Accepted. Good luck.
Why is it that we, as a society, will accept the slaughter of a pig for food? Or the hunting of a deer for sport? Or the extermination of pests infesting a home? While there could be multiple reasonings, one of the more pervading ideas is that humans are "special". Many pro-life supporters will argue that humans differ from other animals in that we have souls; a supernatural life force. While I do believe that humans are fundamentally different from other animals, giving us more rights, I do not believe this is because of a soul. Simply put, there is no scientific backing for the presence of a soul. What, then, makes us "more important" than other animals? I believe it is our consciousness; an individual's awareness of unique thoughts, memories, and sensations. The consciousness of a human is higher than that of a pig. The pig does have thoughts, memories, and sensations but not on the same level of a human. We have higher intellects, emotional expressivity, and society cooperation (altruism). This is the reason we should not slaughter humans for sport.
When does consciousness arise? We know for a fact that the cluster of cells one week into the development doesn't have any thoughts. We have scientifically discovered that consciousness in humans begins, in a primitive state, between the 24th and 28th week of pregnancy . Considering that consciousness is not present in 1-2 trimester old fetuses, they are just that: fetuses. They lack what other humans, with rights, have.
I await my opponent's response.
One must ask themselves if a fetus is a life. They must also ask themselves if they hae any instrinsic value or rights. However, as we look throughout our society, we see constant examples of beings that are not human that have rights. I stand by the stance that a fetus does not have to be conscious in order to have value. If something has value, it would be illogical to kill it for no reason. A healthy fetus will develop into a healthy human. Therefore, it has imense value; as that fetus will develop into a fully functional human being. This human being will be independent; and will likely have the ability to reproduce on his/her own. There is not a logical reason to deny that fetus a chance to live.
My opponent argues that the fetus has no more worth than cells in the human body. What my opponent fails to see is that that fetus has value; as it will become a human life.
My opponent believes that consciousness is something that can be measured it can not. For example, we could say that the baby being able to awake, sleep, and hear sounds at week twenty is consciousness; which would make his claim invalid. (1)
Case 1: Women's Health
Roe V. Wade did nothing for women's health.
As you can see, all of these were already on a steady decline BEFORE Roe V. Wade.
" A 2007 paper in the Journal of Reproductive Medicine cites 59 studies that exhibit a statistically significant association between abortion and the risk of premature births in subsequent pregnancies. In five of the largest and more recent of these studies, all found increases in premature births before 32 weeks gestation in women who had an abortion. All of these studies also found that this risk escalated when more than one abortion was performed. Children born before 32 weeks gestation are at increased risks for early death, cerebral palsy, blindness, deafness and other health complications."
The country of Finland has socialized medicine and keeps detailed health records of its citizens. A search of these records over the years 1987-1994 found that 1,347 women of reproductive age (15-49 years old) committed suicide. A 1996 study of this data found that women who had an abortion were about 5.9 times more likely to commit suicide in the year following this event than women who delivered a child:
The State of California pays the costs of childbirths and abortions for low income women. A study of 173,279 California women who had a state funded childbirth or abortion in 1989 found that 53 of them committed suicide within eight years of their childbirth or abortion. A 2002 study of this data found that women who had an abortion were about 2.5 times more likely to commit suicide in the eight years following this event than women who delivered a child:
The California study cited above controlled for mental disorders by eliminating those women who had been treated for a psychiatric problem in the year prior to their childbirth or abortion. When this was done, it was found that women who had an abortion were about 3.3 times more likely to commit suicide in the eight years following this event than women who delivered a child" (1)
I look forward to your rebuttals.
My opponent has asserted that abortion has had no positive effect on women's health. I will treat this as two separate arguments: physical and mental health.
1. Physical health
1A. In regards to my opponent's abortion/pregnancy statement and accompanying infographs, the entire point is irrelevant. Whether or not the legalization of abortion was responsible for the downward fatality rates in pregnant mothers, it has little to do with this debate. If Roe V Wade led to an increase in fatalities, then the information would be relevant. Either way, it is reasonable to assume that the abortion/child birth fatality rate are decreasing because medicine is constantly progressing and improving. If this assumption is true, then my opponent's assertion actually works against him; abortion is becoming safer because practices are getting better, which is only possible because of the legalization of abortion.
1B. My opponent also asserts that many studies show an increase in preterm (premature) births, as well as other malfunctions, in women who have previously undergone at least one abortion. While this may have been true in the past, it does not reflect modern abortion practice. My first source summarizes a longitudinal study that observes trends in preterm birth rates:
"The study looked at 732,719 first births by women in Scotland between 1980 and 2008 and found that during the early 1980s, women who'd had one abortion or more had a higher rate of preterm births during later pregnancies. But the researchers documented a steady drop in that risk over the next 15 to 20 years, and concluded that by the year 2000, Scottish women with a history of abortion were no longer more likely to give birth before 37 weeks' gestation, the widely accepted definition of prematurity." 
Also, a study (2007) conducted by the New England Journal of Medicine, one of the most prestigious medical journals on Earth, found no statistically notable increase in various common birth defects:
"After adjustment for maternal age, interval between pregnancies, gestational age at abortion, parity, cohabitation status, and urban or nonurban residence, medical abortion was not associated with a significantly increased risk of ectopic pregnancy, spontaneous abortion, preterm birth, or low birth weight." 
1C. My opponent used this quote:
"A 2007 paper in the Journal of Reproductive Medicine cites 59 studies that exhibit a statistically significant association between abortion and the risk of premature births in subsequent pregnancies. In five of the largest and more recent of these studies, all found increases in premature births before 32 weeks gestation in women who had an abortion. All of these studies also found that this risk escalated when more than one abortion was performed. Children born before 32 weeks gestation are at increased risks for early death, cerebral palsy, blindness, deafness and other health complications."
This is the summary from JustFacts.com (which has a noted conservative bias). A quick look in the foot notes will give you direct quotes from the actual study. One such quote is this:
"Five large, recent, international studies have shown an association of prior abortions to preterm delivery and 50 studies over the last 50 years have shown a statistically significant association (Appendix B). All of the studies found a statistically significant increase in preterm births before 32 weeks for women undergoing at least 1 first-trimester abortion, with the ORs [odds ratios] ranging from 1.3 to 2.5. Women undergoing [two or more] abortions had an even larger risk of preterm birth, with ORs ranging from 1.8 to 5.2." 
Notice that the study mentioned that 50 of the studies took place over the past 50 years. Statistics relating to correlation of abortion and preterm births from the 70's, 80's, and 90's are irrelevant when discussing the safety of abortion in 2016. As for the more current studies cited by the paper, I cannot identify them as I cannot access the original paper. Either way, the negative effects of abortion on future pregnancies is decreasing, if not vanishing.
1D. Since my opponent brought up fatality rates for both abortion and child birth, allow me to show that getting an abortion is indeed safer than pregnancy.
"The risk of death associated with a full-term pregnancy and delivery is 8.8 deaths per 100,000, while the risk of death linked to legal abortion is 0.6 deaths per 100,000 women, according to the study. That means a woman carrying a baby to term is 14 times more likely to die than a woman who chooses to have a legal abortion, the study finds." 
If a mother is concerned about the possible health effects the procedure can have on her, she should remember that child birth is much more likely to end in tragedy.
2. Mental health
While Post Abortion Stress Syndrome (PAS) is a possible result of terminating a pregnancy, recent studies show that it is much lower than it was in the past. The two studies cited by JustFacts.com (and by extension, my opponent) are dated. The study from Finland took place between 1987-1994 and the study from California took place in 1989. These studies are more than two decades old, and times have changed. A more recent study (2015) reported that of the 667 participants interviewed, 95% did not regret their abortions. This was a longitudinal survey, with each participant being interviewed three times over a three year period . A possible reason for this is the fact that social stigmas surrounding abortion are decreasing.
At the end of the day, PAS is a possible consequence of abortion that a prospective mother must consider. However, taking away her right to choose to terminate her pregnancy based on the slight possibility she may regret it later is foolish. Just consider how many women that would not be able to undertake the procedure, just because the government decided that they shouldn't, that would have not suffered from PAS when they had an abortion.
 http://www.justfacts.com... (see footnote #169)
This case was more of a defense; just in case you claimed that death by abortion was lesened by Roe V. Wade.
My opponent tries to debunk my statsitcal evidence by quoting from his ownn source. He claims they are "one of the most pretigious medical journals on Earth". However, this study does not reflect his claim. Let me give you information about a woman's eligibility for the study from his own source excludes many women.
In a study regarding egtopic pregnancy and early birth, they exclude women who had an egtopic pregnancy that originally was in their study. They excluded women who had more than one abortion. They exclude large groups of women to where only 1.1% remain. This allows for the study's data to be easily manipulated. They excluded women, as I have shown, that would contradict their study. I would like voters to disregard this source; as it is obviously manipulated.
My source is a compilation of over 59 studies; while his study is faulty and only has one. I urge voters to hold this point in my favor.
The site itself is not the problem. If the study itself is credible, there is no need to deny it. The study itself is from the Journel of Reproductive Medicine. This study is a compliation of 59 studies. This proves its validity. He ignores the 2007 study as he claims that other studies I quoted were irrelevant since some of them were in the past. The studies covered the times from the 70's to recent years. that is what makes that study so reliable. Thank you for that.
My opponent quote a study that seems to be flawed. As my other study explains:
Obviously, Pro's sources are not correct.
Mental Health Rebuttal:
I will let my source do the talking:
It is clear my case has a better logical, ethical, and moral basis than Pro's. Vote Con.
1B. My opponent's interpretation of the NEJM study is completely false. It seems that he elected to write his own summary of the eligibility requirements because a quotation would show that his rebuttal is grossly misleading:
"Women who had undergone an induced abortion for nonmedical reasons and had subsequently become pregnant were eligible for the study. We excluded women who had had an abortion within 30 days after the diagnosis of an ectopic pregnancy (on the assumption that the abortion was performed to treat the ectopic pregnancy) and women for whom the interval between the abortion and the subsequent pregnancy was less than 30 days. If a woman had had more than one abortion before the subsequent pregnancy, the abortion that was closest in time to the subsequent pregnancy was used for classifying the type of abortion (medical or surgical) and determining the interpregnancy interval. Women could enter the cohort more than once during the study period if they had more than one abortion followed by a pregnancy; this situation accounted for only 1.1% of eligible women."
Firstly, the study had a good reason for excluding certain cases of ectopic pregnancies; in those cases, it was entirely possible the abortion was the result of the ectopic pregnancy, or vise versa. The records didn't provide enough information to adequately deduce what was true for each of these special cases. While this may seem like a short fall, I will explain why it is not in my next point.
Secondly, my opponent states, "They exclude large groups of women to where only 1.1% remain. This allows for the study's data to be easily manipulated." If you've read the above quote from the study, you'll see the exact opposite. Only 1.1% were excluded. I'm willing to chalk this up to a simple mistake on my opponent's part, don't let it fool you. Only a small number of cases were excluded for the reason above.
Lastly, my opponent states, "They excluded women who had more than one abortion." This is just simply false. The study's eligibility requirements even state their approach to categorizing women with multiple abortions. My opponent is mistakenly misinterpreting the study at best, and being intellectually dishonest at worst.
In response to: "My source is a compilation of over 59 studies; while his study is faulty and only has one. I urge voters to hold this point in my favor."
I will discuss this in 1C.
I had brought up the website's political bias (they state this in their "About Us" page; I also don't see how including images and footage of fetuses to trigger an emotional response is objective, which they claim to be) because the quote used by my opponent was cherry picked on a clear anti-abortion basis. They fail to mention that some of the 59 studies are as old as 50 years, which hurts the credibility of those claims. "59" is a big number that they threw out to mislead readers; many of those studies are too old to be relevant, considering that abortion procedures have become safer.
Now, my opponent states that his source is reliable and I ignored its validity. His study is not readily available to view, unlike the sources I used. Whereas my opponent can easily see my studies and attempt to disprove them, I cannot do the same. I don't know whether or not to believe this source. All we have is a scant summary of a study making broad assertions, all penned by a biased source.
In terms of the quality of my evidence, I went for quality over quantity.
If my two were not enough to support my point, here is some additional reading:
By the Australia Department of Health: https://www.health.wa.gov.au... (Go to Section #6: Risks of induced abortion>Effect on future reproduction)
1D. The source cited by my opponent is confident that abortion leads to higher rates of breast cancer. They claim this, despite only 23 of 37 (61%, slightly more than half) world wide studies support the conclusion. The fact is, there very well may be a correlation between breast cancer and abortion. However, my opponent's biased source would lead you to believe it is an indisputable fact. This is not the case. In fact, here are two studies going against the claim:
The entire passage my opponent posted is devoid of any statistics. It is all speculation by a previously established biased source. This information should not be trusted, as it lacks any evidence. I was able to find a recent longitudinal study that proved the opposite of justfacts.com's unsupported assessment.
My opponent failed to adequately prove that abortion presents a clear danger to women, which was the grand majority of his arguement. I will concede that there is still much that is unknown, presenting a possible risk to a woman's health. However, the evidence seems to support the conclusion that modern abortion procedures are indeed safe, posing only minimal risk if any at all. Whether or not a women wants to take that slight risk, I'd say that's up to the women getting the abortion.
I'd like to thank my opponent for accepting this debate! This was a good one!
I would like to start out by saying my opponent has dropped the moral argument. Award this argument to me.
I will let the voters see for themselves. Here is the direct quote from his source.
"We excluded women who had had an abortion within 30 days after the diagnosis of an ectopic pregnancy (on the assumption that the abortion was performed to treat the ectopic pregnancy) and women for whom the interval between the abortion and the subsequent pregnancy was less than 30 days. If a woman had had more than one abortion before the subsequent pregnancy, the abortion that was closest in time to the subsequent pregnancy was used for classifying the type of abortion (medical or surgical) and determining the interpregnancy interval. Women could enter the cohort more than once during the study period if they had more than one abortion followed by a pregnancy; this situation accounted for only 1.1% of eligible women."
They choose the most recent abortions; and some egtopic pregnancies were weeded out. I did mis-read the study. I am sorry for that. However, the ability to mis-represent the data still stands. However, my sources below support my view that the study may be flawwed. Look at Rebuttal 1C.
Look at my opponent's wording. Some of the studies are old. Some are recent. This adds to the study's validity. Unless he can disprove all 59 studies, my source still stands. One can check the citations of my sources quite easily. I just gave the "key points" they posted from their findings. Pro neglected to check any further.
Just as my opponent gives you a new source, I will give you two for every source he posts to try to debunk my arguments.
"Just ONE abortion or miscarriage 'increases the risk of complications with future pregnancies'
This source is from Oxford.
"Induced abortion by vacuum aspiration is associated with an increased risk of first-trimester miscarriage in the subsequent pregnancy." (2)
Pro kinda dooms himself here. He admits the majority of studies agree with me.
Here are is an article containing twelve different studies that support my position. (3)
Again, these are the key findings. This means they were basic summations. A basic scroll on the webpage or google search would've been enough to find the whole study. Maybe Pro didn't have the time; just as I messed up with his source since I did not have the time. Here is a link to the full statistics if you would like to view them. (4)
My opponent has failed to fulfill his BoP. He has dropped many other arguments I have made. He has totally dropped the moral argument; which can be assumed that he agrees/ concedes the arguement. I have given valid reasoning as to why my side is the right side; while he has failed to do so. Vote Con.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by sengejuri 6 months ago
|Agreed with before the debate:||-||-||0 points|
|Agreed with after the debate:||-||-||0 points|
|Who had better conduct:||-||-||1 point|
|Had better spelling and grammar:||-||-||1 point|
|Made more convincing arguments:||-||-||3 points|
|Used the most reliable sources:||-||-||2 points|
|Total points awarded:||1||3|
Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments
You are not eligible to vote on this debate
This debate has been configured to only allow voters who meet the requirements set by the debaters. This debate either has an Elo score requirement or is to be voted on by a select panel of judges.