Abortion should be legal?
Round 1 : Acceptance
Round 2 : Opening Statements
Round 3 : Rebuttal
Round 4 : Rebut the opponents rebuttal
Round 5 : Closing statements
I accept the position of con in the debate abortion should be legal. I will argue that abortion is wrong in every way, shape, and form, and invite my opponent to debate my arguments in the latter rounds of this debate.
Embryologists and most major textbooks agree that fertilization marks the beginning of a new human individual. The reason is the following : From the moment the sperm makes even the slightest contact with the oocyte, under conditions that are understood and considered normal , all subsequent development to birth of a living newborn is a fait accompli. That is to say, after initial contact of sperm and oocyte there is no subsequent moment or stage which is held in arbitration or abeyance by the mother, or the embryo or fetus. Nor is a second contribution, signal or trigger needed from the male in order to continue or complete development to birth. Human development is a continuum in which so-called stages overlap and blend one into another. All of life is contained within a time continuum. Thus, the beginning of a new life is exacted by the beginning of fertilization, the reproductive event which is the essence of life. The fact that human development and developmental principals don't cease with birth and only ends with death, whether that be at 100 years old or in utero, further portrays the continuum of human life. Therefore, ending the continuum of human life is ending life itself. That is why life begins at conception.
Many contend that the fetus is a blob of tissue that has no human characteristics. This argument is logically and factually flawed. In fact, all DNA material is present at the time of conception. The traits of the individual baby are already in place and immediately there. This gives the fetus all of the scientific characteristics of a living organism that is otherwise known as a human being. This tiny embryo can only be a human being as its characteristics and traits are already present. This means that the baby's eye color, skin color, hair, gender, and other biological traits have already been determined and are in a state of development. Many will argue that because there is no full mental, physical, or emotional development, that the embryo or fetus can't be a human being. I argue that no one outside the womb is different. A child isn't considered to reach the age of reason until around the age of 7, nor is a teenager considered to be fully emotionally mature, and when the elderly suffer from physical or mental ailments such as dementia one does not deny that they are human. In the first 36 days in the womb the embryo is on pace to be 1.5 tons when they are born (1). By 40 days the rate of growth in the heart is 1 million cells a day. Some may say that until the heart beats it can't be a human, one of my friends actually contended this belief, but if my heart was pulled out this instance I could live and be conscious for another 30 seconds. Another point in my argument is two babies are the exact same age from conception, one is born two weeks early making it an official "baby," while the other is late. Because one is outside the womb two or three weeks earlier than another makes it immune to murder, even though they are the same age. For these reasons a human individual is a life inside the womb.
As I have established, abortion is killing a human being. The act of rape is a very heinous crime, however it shouldn't warrant murder. Society has never viewed murder of a human outside the womb acceptable, why should the view of murder inside the womb any different? Many will argue that the woman didn't want the child and shouldn't have to take responsibility for something she didn't plan for, but think of the unborn child who is innocent and hasn't committed any crime. The US justice system has 8 categories of rape. In four the punishment is life imprisonment, in 3 categories the maximum prison time is 15 years, and the in last category the maximum prison time is 10 years, yet while the rapist keeps his life, the innocent unborn baby is murdered. In cases during incest, while the baby may be prone to genetic disorders, it shouldn't allow for murder, modern medical technology would allow for the baby to get proper care, and with so many families looking to adopt, there is no point in having an abortion and the innocent baby should live. In fact there are 1.5 million American families wanting to adopt so there is no such thing as an "unwanted child," therefore giving options to those raped and a home for babies in cases of incest and rape (2). In cases where the mother's life is in danger, the fact of the matter is the hospital must do what they can to try to save both lives. If the mother dies in child birth, due to natural causes, while tragic, is a historic and inherent risk, while the option of aborting is murder. I would never go to one of my friends, rip his heart out, and give it to another friend to save him. It is completely nonsensical to kill one person to save another. These reasons explain why abortion continues to be a heinous act of abortion even in the worst-case scenarios.
The after effects of abortion hurt many parts of society and the mother herself. The mother is damaged immensely by abortions. The Elliot Institute for Social Science Research concludes statistics of women who had an abortion that show 90% suffer damage in their self-esteem, 50% begin or increase alcohol and drugs, 60% report suicidal idealization, 28% actually attempt suicide, 20% suffer full blown post traumatic stress disorder [PTSD], 50% report some symptoms of PTSD, 52% felt pressured by others to have the abortion. Women who have had an abortion are four times more likely to get breast cancer (3).
(3) The Times, May 17, 2001
The state is damaged by abortion in a number of ways. Because men and women are no longer necessarily obligated by the vow of the the marriage bond, women are often left by the father of her unborn child following an abortion. A great sense of guilt, remorse, and shame often follows with severe depression. Since minorities are disproportionately more likely to seek an abortion and be targeted for abortion services by Planned Parenthood, she often finds that the emotional results of the procedure lead to broken dreams or the perpetuation of behaviors that lead to further unplanned pregnancies and subsequent repeat abortions. Many such women are in need of state support, welfare benefits, and other government benefits As the woman suffers from these negative after effects, her goals and dreams are frequently negatively impacted and she becomes more likely to seek government subsidies. It is worth noting that the Great Society and the sexual revolution coincided in US history. One logically follows the other. The government sent the message that sexual promiscuity was morally neutral and that if pregnancy results, it would offer assistance, no questions asked. Since 1964 illegitimate births have zoomed 400 percent. The welfare state encourages this by financing it, which is why abortion rates continue to remain high.
My argument assumes the following: A person may do with any organisms that are in symbiosis with him/her in whatever manner he/she chooses, including removal.
Premise: An unborn human is in a symbiotic relationship with a woman,
Conclusion: therefore she may choose to do with it in whatever manner she chooses, including removal.
Defense of Premise:
An unborn human's relationship with the woman is fundamentally akin to symbiotic parasitism resulting from parasitic organisms such as tapeworms, guinea worms, fleas, ticks, etc. Both relationships involve the parasite draining nutrients from the woman's body, and both usually release toxic bio-waste.
Similarly, the unborn human is akin to cancer and Hydatidiform mole(1), as all three are human-celled growths, develop beyond the woman's control, drain resources from the woman's body, and release toxic bio-waste(2).
Defense of Conclusion:
In the cases of parasitic organisms, cancer, and Hydatidiform mole, the treatment is virtually always removal. As an unborn human is fundamentally similar to these cases, it is logical to assume that removal of the organism is equally justified.
At this point in the debate it has becomes a moral issue of life and death. Comparing a human being to a parasite is an abomination to the human race. A tapeworm certainly isn't considered at a human level for those who have been born, so why is it at an unborn humans level? The slipper-slope affects of that argument would be detrimental to society. What's next? Contraceptives led to widespread adultery, adultery led to abortion, abortion has led to infanticide and aborting due to down syndrome, putting human life at level of a tape worm or parasite will lead to who knows what. The fact of the matter is that abortion has become more than a scientific issue, it's become the question, "do you value human life?"
In this post I shall rebut Con's points.
1) Life starts at conception/fertilization:
Con asserts that life begins at conception. Well, I must concede this point because it is inarguable that biological life begins at fertiliazation. However, this renders Con's argument somewhat trivial; the question should not be, "is an unborn human alive?" But instead be, "is an unborn human a person?" Because lesser animals have limited rights, there is not doubt that full natural rights are derived from person-hood.
So, does an unborn human qualify as a "person"? In short, no. Under Common Law, "person-hood" begins from birth and ends at death(1). As an unborn human has yet to be born, it does not yet qualify as a person and is not protected under the law. Common Law also provides the basis for the inclusion of "entities that are sufficiently like human beings in their behavior to be indistinguishable for legal purposes, such as aliens, androids, or genetically enhanced animals, which have interests, an ability to reason, and an ability to communicate"(1). This suggests that the qualities that distinguish a person are traits such as having interests, an ability to reason, and an ability to communicate, all of which an unborn human lacks.
With person-hood sufficiently defined, one might still ask, "is an unborn human a person?" Lesser animals certainly are not, and unborn humans lack the defining qualities that lesser animals also lack. Thus, the unborn human is not a person.
Con states that, "all life is contained within a time continuum." This brings up an issue with potentiality. Con can assert that development of an unborn human is fait accompli, however, this is simply unbalanced because according to Lynn Wiley, professor of obstetrics and gynecology, "up to 50 percent of human conceptions fail to survive"(2). So while human conceptions will have the potential to form persons, they also have an equal potential to not. That said, potentiality is rather irrelevant because Con's argument is taking something that MAY be true and asserting it as something that IS true. One of the comments on this debate makes an excellent analogy, "Potentiality arguments fail because they want you to value a empty cookie jar as much as a full cookie jar which is quite laughable at best"(GEIxBattleRifle). It's also analogous to the following: I have the potential to commit a crime, yet you cannot call me a criminal until I do.
Therefore we must conclude that potentiality is irrelevant in this debate.
2) Inside the womb is a human individual with all of his/her unique attributes and genetic traits:
Con wants us to believe that inside the womb is a human individual with all of his/her unique attributes and genetic traits, and this is somewhat true. However, while the unborn human already has its DNA and genes, genetic mutations can occur in utero, during the development of the fetus(3).
3) Inside the womb is a human individual with all of his/her unique attributes and genetic traits; abortion continues to be heinous in cases of rape, incest, and when the mother's life is in danger:
Con states that he established that abortion is killing a human being. However, the term "being" is much too broad to accurately determine what exactly abortion is killing. "Being" can denote anything from something conceivable as existing, to something that is a person. Let us drop that word then. So, abortion is killing an unborn human. That much is true, but as the unborn human is not a person, than killing it is no different from killing a lesser animal such a tape worm or flea.
"Society has never viewed murder of a human outside the womb acceptable, why should the view of "murder" inside the womb any different?"
mur·der noun \G2;mər-dər\
1 : the crime of unlawfully killing a person especially with malice aforethought
An unborn human does not qualify as a person, therefore it is not murder. Con continues to use the word "murder" incorrectly throughout this argument and thus their use must be disregarded.
"Many will argue that the woman didn't want the child and shouldn't have to take responsibility for something she didn't plan for, but think of the unborn child who is innocent and hasn't committed any crime."
The rest of Con's argument suggests other options aside from abortion, and continues to assert that abortion is murder. As shown above, abortion is not murder, and no crimes are committed by the woman through aborting. So ultimately, it is the woman's body that is affected, and ultimately her choice.
4) The after effects of abortion hurt the mother, the state, and greater society:
Con provides statistics that show the after effects of abortion, which includes damage to self-esteem, increased use of alcohol and drugs, suicidal idealization, attempted suicide, and post traumatic stress disorder. However Con fails to mention that these are symptoms of Postpartum depression, which also can occur in women that have a natural birth or miscarriage(4).
Con's entire next argument asserts that abortion leads to an entire series of events that subsequently damages the state. He commits a slippery-slope fallacy by suggesting that if A happens, then by a gradual series of small steps through B, C,…, X, Y, eventually Z will happen, too. By providing no reason or argument for why these events inevitably lead to one another, it leaves his entire argument weak at best.
This also may be an example for a bare-assertion fallacy because he asserts this argument without providing any evidence for us to believe it's true.
"Comparing a human being to a parasite is an abomination to the human race"
Con then commits the slippery-slope fallacy again. He provides no evidence as to why contraception leads to adultery, and adultery leads to abortion. Ironically, he somewhat contradicts himself by saying contraception will eventually lead to abortion, but with contraception, the chances of pregnancy resulting from adultery would be significantly reduced.
In Con's rebuttal, he does not adequately refute my argument through fact and logic, but instead relies on subjective opinion.
RJ1998 forfeited this round.
RJ1998 forfeited this round.