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

Abortion should be legal.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/13/2015 Category: Society
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 653 times Debate No: 69966
Debate Rounds (3)
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Votes (2)




Outlawing abortion will not stop abortion, but make it less safe. As high as 1.2 million people died attempting unsafe and illegal abortions between 1880 and 1973, and thousands more were injured. Abortions are going to happen no matter what, so if anti-choicers really care about pregnant people, they had better simmer down and let abortion be. Even if you believe that abortion kills a baby " something that not all people believe " it is true that septic abortion kills both mother and fetus. Currently, septic abortion kills about 70,000 women a year, worldwide. That"s with abortion being legal in the United States! Can you imagine how high that number would climb if it were illegal? You can shout and yell all you want about protecting the unborn, but you will not stop abortion by making it illegal. Which is more important to you: shouting about ethics and ensuring that both mother and fetus will die, or facing reality and saving at least the life of the mother? If abortion is made illegal, wealthy women will continue to have safe abortions by traveling to other places where abortion is safe, or by bribing real doctors to perform the task. Only poor women will have septic abortions. Making abortion illegal will harm poor women more than it will harm rich ones. It basically will not harm rich people at all.
Given the fact that many rapes are unreported and/or unbelieved, the only way to make abortion available on demand consistently to rape survivors is to make it available on demand to everyone. (And if you honestly think that rape survivors should be forced to go through with a pregnancy, one that will physically change their bodies permanently, and cause lasting emotional and psychological scars, when they've already suffered an invasion of their body worse than anything that anyone should go through, then I"d like to force you to donate a kidney to the next person who asks. It probably won"t kill you" right? And the other person would die without it. Give the person your kidney, you murderer!)
Many women have already died by being denied medically necessary abortions, the only way to make abortion available to those women who will simply die without one, IN TIME TO SAVE THEIR LIVES, is to have no legal restrictions on what constitutes a "medically necessary" abortion. If you know the statistic that shows that countries in which abortions are illegal are often those ones with the highest abortion rates, then you know that making abortion illegal doesn't stop it.
Many anti-choicers claim that legal abortion in the First World is dangerous, which is not true. Not only is legal abortion safe, here are some things that are unsafe: inducing miscarriage with drugs without physician discretion, placing foreign objects up the vagina to induce miscarriage, douching with harsh chemicals, ingesting chemicals to induce miscarriage, and self-inflicted trauma to the abdomen caused by punching/falling/etc. (all methods of abortion pre-Roe). Many doctors agree that surgical abortion by the cut-off date is easier than wisdom teeth extraction, and very early abortions are more difficult to mess up than a tooth extraction. Pregnancy and childbirth are actually more dangerous than legal surgical abortion. Every minute in the US, at least one person dies from a complication related to pregnancy/childbirth, which is 287,000 a year. Even more get sick or injured from these complications, about 10 million per year.
Approximately 400 people have died from abortion since Roe v. Wade ruling, which means 400 people in 40 years dead from legal abortion compared to approximately 11,767,000 dead from pregnancy/childbirth. Pregnancy/childbirth has killed over 27,000 times more people than legal abortion.


My opponent's arguments almost invariably rely on the premise that abortion is not homicide - or that foetuses have no right to life. Obviously if this premise were true then all of Pro's arguments would be be perfectly correct. If we only consider the welfare of the mother then it is clear that we ought to allow her to abort safely and easily. However if the premise is false, and abortion is indeed homicide, then my opponent is guilty of making false syllogisms.

Note that I will be arguing that abortion should not be legal in all cases apart from cases where the mother would be under severe physical risk if she were to continue the pregnancy.

Why abortion is homicide

P1: Abortion is the deliberate killing of a human foetus by another,
P2: Homicide is the killing of one human being by another, (1)
P3: A human foetus is a human being,
C: Abortion is homicide

Homicide is illegal (apart from justified homicide, but abortion does not fall under this bracket), and so if abortion is homicide, then it logically follows that abortion should also be illegal.

I do not know which (if any) of my premises my opponent disputes, so I will wait until he/she voices her objections.

Response to Pro

My opponent's main argument is that 'Outlawing abortion will not stop abortion'. However, this is a nonsensical argument to use in opposition to outlawing abortion. We outlaw actions because they are immoral (in general), irrespective of whether outlawing the action would actually stop the action.

For example, outlawing theft does not stop theft, but it is non sequitur to suppose that this is any reason to legalise theft. The same applies to murder, slavery, torture and many other horrible things.

Pro also seems to have forgotten the fact that pregnant women choose to have an illegal abortion, it's not as if they are forced into it against their will (even in cases of this, the problem to be dealt with is to punish the person who forces the woman to abort, not to legalise abortion).
Therefore, as women choose to have an illegal abortion, knowing that it is a dangerous procedure, they are willingly putting themselves in danger and therefore they are partially culpable. The woman can simply choose to not have an abortion.
Ultimately, abortion is not a necessity.

My opponent raises the problem of pregnancies caused by rape, and goes on to liken it to a forced organ donation. Yet this is a poor analogy for two reasons:

1. There is an unique obligation in society for parents to protect their children, yet there is no obligation to protect other people. If we change the analogy to a scenario where a young child will die if his mother does not donate a kidney to him, it would be abhorrent for the mother to then refuse to do so.

2. Refusing to donate a kidney to someone who needs it in order to live is different to directly killing someone. The former is just letting someone die naturally, whereas the latter is the direct and deliberate murder of someone. Abortion is the direct killing of the foetus, whereas refusing to donate a kidney is letting someone die naturally.

Pro goes on to say that legal abortion is necessary to allow medically necessary abortions (which I take to mean cases where the abortion is to save the mother's life). Apart from the fact that it is perfectly possible to allow medically necessary abortions and not abortions in other circumstances, only 0.00014% (2) of abortions in the past ten years in the UK have been to save the mothers life. It is absurd to suggest that we should make the 99.99986% other abortions legal for such a negligible minority of cases, especially considering then in every single one of these cases a human life is destroyed unjustly.

The last argument presented is that legal abortion is a relatively safe procedure. Yet this only considers the safety of the mother, it is the most unsafe procedure possible for the foetus.
Furthermore, just because something is safe it does not mean that it should be legal. Tax avoidance is safe, but it does not follow that tax avoidance should be legal.

I will now pass the debate over to Pro.

Debate Round No. 1


Fetuses cannot feel and do not have a sense of mortal danger. There are no detectable brain waves that would translate to pain or fear until 28 weeks. An abortion after 28 weeks only happens under special circumstances, and the fetus is euthanized before a 3rd-trimester abortion, meaning it feels none of the abortion
A heartbeat does not make something alive. There is this thing called Electroencephalography (EEG), which records brain activity. If someone has no EEG activity, they are declared brain dead. Some say that fetuses don"t have brainwaves detectable by EEG until a certain point, while some say they don"t at all until birth.
Life does not equal personhood. The biological definition of life is something that is made of cells and has the ability to grow and reproduce. Animals are alive. Trees are alive. Bacteria are alive. Are they people? No.
Lets take a look at the definition of the word murder in the dictionary: "Murder is the unlawful killing, with malice aforethought, of another human. Generally this premeditated state of mind distinguishes murder from other forms of unlawful homicide (such as manslaughter)"
The thing that doesn't make abortion murder is lack of malice. People getting abortions are not getting them to punish the fetus or because they want to kill the fetus. Those are literally never the reasons for abortion. People get them because of poverty, work, school, their age, abusive situation, rape, medical reasons and fetal abnormalities. But not because they want to hurt or kill something. It"s not murder if it"s not an independent person. One might argue, then, that it"s not murder to end the life of any child before she reaches consciousness, but we don"t know how long after birth personhood arrives for each new child, so it"s completely logical to use their independence as the dividing line for when full rights are given to a new human being.Using independence also solves the problem of dealing with premature babies. Although a preemie is obviously still only a potential person, by virtue of its independence from the mother, we give it the full rights of a conscious person. This saves us from setting some other arbitrary date of when we consider a new human being a full person. Older cultures used to set it at two years of age, or even older. Modern religious cultures want to set it at conception, which is simply wishful thinking on their part. The genesis of a new human life begins when the egg with 23 chromosomes joins with a sperm with 23 chromosomes and creates a fertilized cell, called a zygote, with 46 chromosomes. The single-cell zygote contains all the DNA necessary to grow into an independent, conscious human being. It is a potential person.
But being alive does not give the zygote full human rights - including the right not to be aborted during its gestation.
A single-cell amoeba also coverts nutrients and oxygen into biological energy that causes its cells to divide, multiply and grow. It also contains a full set of its own DNA. It shares everything in common with a human zygote except that it is not a potential person. Left to grow, it will always be an amoeba - never a human person. It is just as alive as the zygote, but we would never defend its human rights based solely on that fact.
There is a legal excuse - the right to Bodily Autonomy. This is the right which allows us to decide who may use our bodies, what parts they may use, what they may be used for and for how long. This means if I do not consent to the use of my uterus by a fetus I have the right to remove said fetus. Bodily Autonomy is the most basic human right.
There you have it. Abortion fails to meet the requirements for murder at every stage. Yes, it"s gory and bloody when you use late term abortions (which only account for about 1.5% of abortions anyways and are dead fetuses that failed to be expelled naturally, fetuses that were actively dying and putting the pregnant person in immediate danger and fetal abnormalities.)

Yes, it"s unpleasant to look at -so is open heart surgery. Being unpleasant to look at doesn't equal murder though, it never has.


I doubt that my opponent has even read my arguments, as he has gone down the route of arguing:

1) A human foetus is not a person
2) Abortion is not murder

This is a straw-man fallacy (1) . Nowhere do I claim that a foetus is a person, and nowhere do I claim that abortion is murder. So arguing against these claims is a misrepresentation of my argument.
I have argued that abortion should be illegal based on the two facts that:

1) A human foetus is a human being
2) Abortion is homicide

If my opponent is to disprove my arguments, he must either prove that a human foetus is not a human being or that abortion is not homicide. Arguing that a foetus is not a person or that abortion is not murder does not address my arguments, and so they cannot therefore be valid rebuttals.

Because of this, because of the fact that the vast majority of my opponent's arguments are dedicated to claiming that abortion is not murder and that a foetus is not a person, I do not need to respond to them as they do not refute my argument in round 1 that abortion should not be legal.

One part that deserves response, however, is the part about bodily autonomy. Unlike the rest of the arguments, this can be considered to attack my position; it is not entirely a straw-man fallacy. Pro states that:

'There is a legal excuse - the right to Bodily Autonomy. This is the right which allows us to decide who may use our bodies, what parts they may use, what they may be used for and for how long. This means if I do not consent to the use of my uterus by a fetus I have the right to remove said fetus. Bodily Autonomy is the most basic human right.'

Yet there are many flaws in this argument. Firstly, the right to bodily autonomy is not the most basic human right, this title belongs to the right to life(2). This is because without this right, we cannot experience the fruits of all other human rights including the right to bodily autonomy (bodily autonomy is useless if we are not alive). Furthermore, the right to life is the first right listed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (3), this would imply that it is the most fundamental human right.
Therefore, as the right to life is more fundamental than the right to bodily autonomy, abortion is not permissible in respect to human rights because it is a direct contest of the foetus's right to life against the mother's right to bodily autonomy, and the former supersedes the latter when we consider the magnitude of the rights involved.

This is a bit off-point, but note that when we talk of rights, we talk of human rights, not person rights.

Nevertheless, bodily autonomy cannot be used to justify the vast majority of abortions because, by willingly engaging in vaginal sexual intercourse, one is tacitly consenting to the possibility of conception. This is because vaginal sexual intercourse (VSI) is intrinsically ordered towards procreation.
To illustrate this concept, I will use an analogy.
Let us suppose that I want to cycle from A to B. If I am in A, the act of cycling in the direction of B is intrinsically ordered to reaching B. Therefore, even if one does not expressly consent to reaching B by cycling towards B, they are tacitly consenting to the possibility of reaching B by cycling towards it.
This applies to VSI. Even if one does not expressly consent to conception by engaging in VSI, they are tacitly consenting to the possibility of conception because VSI is intrinsically ordered towards conception. The only reason VSI exists is to lead to conception.

Therefore, when Pro states:

'This means if I do not consent to the use of my uterus by a fetus I have the right to remove said fetus.'

This is no justification for the vast majority of abortions, because most abortions are sought even when the VSI was consented to, which entails tacit consent to the use of one's uterus by a foetus. The terms of the condition for abortion (that the foetus's use of one's uterus is unconsensual) are not met.

Debate Round No. 2


drarson forfeited this round.


Yet another pro-abortionist who appears unable to defend their position...

I extend all arguments.
Debate Round No. 3
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Vote Placed by lannan13 3 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Forfeiture
Vote Placed by dsjpk5 3 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro the last round, thereby leaving Con's last argument dropped. So conduct and arguments to Con.