The Instigator
MikeGarcia
Pro (for)
Losing
21 Points
The Contender
nicolettesue
Con (against)
Winning
37 Points

Abortion should be outlawed, and being "pro-choice" is equivalent to being "pro-abortion."

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/11/2007 Category: Politics
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,266 times Debate No: 214
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (8)
Votes (20)

 

MikeGarcia

Pro

This is a very hard subject to debate, simply because the two opposing sides operate on two very different premises. On my side, I acknowledge a human embryo, at any stage of development, a living human being. The other side chooses to arbitrarily choose a point at which life "begins." Or sometimes, the other side may even go as far to say that the mother chooses, herself, when her baby's life begins. But I am not here to present the other side.

Before we start, though, let us PLEASE agree on the fact that being "pro-choice" is equivalent to being "pro-abortion." There IS a dichotomy in this debate, and if you are "pro-choice," you essentially condone the act of abortion, since you don't condemn it. It's like if I said I was "pro-choice" when it came to murdering someone in cold blood, and I said "well, I'm not for killing people at all, but it's someone's choice whether they want to kill someone or not." We're all (hopefully) against cold blooded murder, so let's realize that if you're "pro-choice," you're pro-abortion.

Let me propose my pro-life argument in the form of a question: If you pro-abortionists could be convinced, beyond any reasonable doubt whatsoever, that an embryo was a human life, would you recant your abortion stance? I understand the argument that an embryo has no feelings, etc., but is that a justifiable reason to end its life? Ask yourself, do you remember anything from the first year of your life? I would argue that you probably do not. How, then, do you justify killing something that has no awareness of itself on the sole basis that it doesn't have awareness of itself? A newborn baby has no awareness of itself. It has no previous knowledge of existence on which to base all the information flowing inside into the brain and nervous systems. In short, it has (at that stage) about as much "consciousness" and sentience of an animal. Using this argument, is it ethical to kill a newborn, solely based on the fact that it isn't "conscious" by our standards?

A human being is a human being. Just as the liberal creed goes, "we should not judge" a human life by how far along down the road of life he is on, and we should not judge a human by whether he is conscious or not. We should judge a human life based on the fact that it is a human life. Conception is, scientifically, the point at which the human life begins. Are you going to argue with science?
nicolettesue

Con

MikeGarcia, you have brought up some interesting questions about the definition of life and its context within the abortion debate. Let us first look to the arguments of Judith Jarvis Thompson, professor of philosophy at MIT, to further flesh out this debate.

For all intents and purposes, I am assuming that "life" in the purely scientific context exists at the moment of conception. There are other ways to define life, which I will address later if given enough space.

Thompson sets up an analogy to explain her pro-choice argument, which I shall paraphrase: imagine that you went to bed one night, and woke up in a hospital with your body hooked up to the body of a violinist. Say the violinist is famous, but the fact of the matter is that you are keeping this person alive--if he is unplugged, he will die. The doctors say that you only have to give up nine months of your life and then the violinist would be okay. Do you then forfeit your rights to do with your body what you will to protect the right to life of this violinist? He is, after all, a person, and all persons deserve a right to life. What if it were nine years, questions Thompson? What if it were your whole life? Would you elect to leave the violinist hooked up to you for the rest of your natural life? The important thing to remember is that you were kidnapped and erroneously chosen for this task of keeping the violinist alive (you woke up attached to him, after all--this is meant to be analogous to rape, as Thompson specifically supports abortion in that instance. She goes on to explain how abortion could be ethically warranted in other instances, but I will focus on rape for this round). Would you yield your right to do with your body as you wished for nine months to save this person who is a stranger to you? If you maintain that the right to life is more important than the right to one's body, then perhaps you would allow the violinist to use your body.

Of course, life would have to have value in order to be perceived as more important than the right to one's body. What gives the life of a fetus value? What gives life in general value? One generally defines the value of life by the experiences of the being. What experience does a fetus have? This is where the debate tends to get muddy, as defining "life" is much more complex than simply defining the activities of cells. This, of course, brings to mind the question of the value of a mother's life. Does her life have more value than the life of a fetus? Is it equal?

Imagine a scenario wherein carrying a pregnancy to term would endanger the mother's life. Either she can abort the fetus and stay alive, or carry the pregnancy to term and die in the process. Should the mother have a choice? Does the life of her fetus have more value than her own life? We can liken this to the violinist situation--the stress of supporting two bodies is placing strain on your kidneys and immune system, and you will be dead within a month, but you must continue to provide support. You have no choice. Thompson's point here is that the right to life argument is not without it's issues--i.e., it is not a black and white ordeal. Having the right to life does not necessarily mean that you have the right to use someone else's body to promote and protect said right to life. The right to life is, as she puts it, a right to not be killed unjustly. You would not be unjust in unplugging the violinist, but you'd be terribly nice if you did not. (Since you placed the burden on me as the pro-choice advocate to also be pro-abortion, if you support abortion in this instance as an option, you must also label yourself as pro-choice, as you are not condemning abortion.)

You may find it trivial that I used Thompson's analogy of a violinist being plugged into one's body to sum up the issues surrounding the right to life in the abortion debate, but it is perhaps the easiest way to understand the right to choice side. Being pro-choice does not necessarily mean that I advocate all forms of abortion, which is why I have chosen to focus on abortion in the case of rape or medical necessity (as Thompson did). Your case was to outlaw ALL forms of abortion in all instances (in other words, your burden of proof, by your own phrasing, is much larger than mine. I simply have to prove that at least one form of abortion is just, whereas you have to prove that all forms of abortion are unjust). This does not allow for thoughtful consideration of the other side, which is the side of the mother. It isn't about arguing with science, because in order to claim that abortion is wrong because a fetus is a living thing, you would have to give life some value, pushing this debate into the realm of ethics. Certainly you can use science to define the terms of debate, but the debate you proposed was entirely ethical, therefore we must debate on ethical grounds. I fully understand that abortions due to rape account for a very small percentage of abortions, but shouldn't these women have access to a safe procedure that allows them to protect their rights? If you argue that they should not, then you must give reasoning as to why the mother's right to her body (and, ultimately, right to life) is of less value than the fetus' right to life.

Should we hold a woman responsible to carry a baby to term if it is the offspring of a violent sexual act, or if it will endanger her life? What about the time, lost wages, and emotional issues that are tied in with carrying an unwarranted pregnancy to term? Are these less valuable than the right to life of the unborn? The cost of pregnancy is great to the mother, and there is very little that she can do to recoup the cost, especially in the case of rape. Suing for monetary damages will not fix the emotional damage that has occurred, and it is not simply and easy fix to give the unwanted child to an adoption agency. Will the value of this child's life be enough to make up for the way in which the mother's life was devalued? That is not easy to calculate.

Ultimately, the right to life of a fetus does not trump the right to life/right to one's body of a mother, especially in the case of rape or pregnancy wherein the mother's life is in danger. In BOTH instances, the mother has a CHOICE--to carry the pregnancy to term, or to seek an abortion. I do not applaud or condemn the mother for the choice she makes one way or the other, I simply applaud the system that enables her to make the choice.
Debate Round No. 1
MikeGarcia

Pro

MikeGarcia forfeited this round.
nicolettesue

Con

MikeGarcia, I was disappointed to see that you didn't post an argument this round. I look forward to your rebuttals in round three.

There is not a lot I can say given that my opponent chose to not post a second argument (or was not available). I would like to reiterate that the burden of proof still stands: I must prove that abortion is just in just one case, whereas my opponent must prove that it is unjust in every case. Thus far, he has presented the idea that life scientifically begins at conception (a claim I did not dispute, but I did argue that simply having life does not imply that the life has value), and because life exists, it is unjust to end it. Throughout the use of analogies initially presented by Judith Jarvis Thompson, professor of philosophy at MIT, I showed that, in the case of rape or medical need, abortion is not unjust.

I will continue to focus on abortion in the case of rape or medical need, as it is often the most cut-and-dry of the various reasons for seeking a termination of pregnancy. These women deserve access safe and legal procedure that will protect both the right to their bodies, but also their right to life. As president Bill Clinton once said, abortion should be safe, legal, and rare.

Giving up the baby for adoption is not always a viable means of dealing with the situation for these women, especially in the case of those wherein carrying the pregnancy to full term would likely kill the woman. A recent issue of Newsweek ran a story detailing the difficulties adopted children and adoptive parents can sometimes face, including kids so scarred by their biological mother's advice that they have severe emotional issues. Granted, this does not represent every adoptive experience, but it may more thoroughly highlight why other options are necessary.

Without a rebuttal, it is difficult to further respond. I look forward to your argument in round 3, MikeGarcia. Best of luck to you.
Debate Round No. 2
MikeGarcia

Pro

MikeGarcia forfeited this round.
nicolettesue

Con

It is very difficult to continue this debate, as my opponent has not responded to any of my arguments.

Therefore, I uphold my claims that he must prove that all forms of abortion are unjust, whereas I must only prove that one form of abortion is just. Because my opponent has not refuted the claims I made in my initial argument regarding abortion in cases of rape or medical necessity, I have satisfied my burden. In not responding to those claims (let alone refuting them), my opponent has implicitly agreed, thus violating the terms of his own burden. I was even able to stay within the constraints of his burden (i.e. that life begins at conception), but still showed the need to transcend the scientific debate and look at things from an ethical standpoint.

Whether you agree with my position or not, my opponent has not spent any time refuting the opposite side. The only vote, therefore, is a negative vote.
Debate Round No. 3
8 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Posted by gack1224 8 years ago
gack1224
I'm not necessarily against MikeGarcia but the fact that he stopped debating makes me wonder why anyone would consider voting for him.

Secondly, your "potential" argument is just that, potential. Potentially every person could die tomorrow, but of course they won't (unless they do). In any case, basing your belief on potential or probability is just plain wrong. Things can be very probably and never happen but it should not stop us from handling what has already happened (people handling potential).
Posted by Locke 8 years ago
Locke
For those against MarkGarcia:
I believe you should realize that the question should in fact, not be 'where does life begin', but rather 'will it begin at all'. Because whether or not you believe it is alive, you know for a fact that it will be at one point or another. Thus, even if you think that the embryo is not a living being, by destroying it, you destroy a life from ever happening. A life has been stopped, because it at one time would have developed into a full human being. To me it is obvious to conclude that all abortion is murder, and should be outlawed before it spreads any further.
Posted by TeaandScarves 8 years ago
TeaandScarves
That's what I was going to ask gack. I love the analogies you used nicolette. They represent a very rational approach to the opponent.
Posted by gack1224 8 years ago
gack1224
Why did anyone vote for him?
Posted by Karoz 8 years ago
Karoz
MikeGarcia had a very nice opening statement. It's a shame he didn't continue the debate, I'm sure it would of been a nice debate if he stayed around.
Posted by noah.teller 8 years ago
noah.teller
This is a response to bluedogjames.
I have to agree with your final argument, that we need abortion, but I find your initial comment almost insulting. You claim that: "Abortion is a horrible and emoral act..." Under what morality are you claiming that this is true? Obviously, you have never been exposed to the idea of cultural relativism. While you may feel that abortion is horrible and IMMORAL (not emoral), it is not logically feasible for you to justify your entire argument off of the idea "abortion is bad." You give absolutely no logical or factual background for this idea. The point is, there is no such thing as a single, overarching morality that can be applied to everyone. There is no such thing as good and evil, right and wrong, or moral and immoral. Morality does not exist. I would urge you not to back up your arguments with morality claims if you want to be taken seriously. Morality is an ethnocentric framework through which to view life, and I certainly hop that ethnocentricity is something you like to demonstrate.

Unrelated, I think the pro-choicers are pretty much dominating this debate.
Posted by BlueDogJames 8 years ago
BlueDogJames
I want to be short and too the point..Abortion is a horrible and emoral act that i personaly would never engage in. But with that said, I also think that my tax dollars also go to other such emoral actions such as making bombs that drop on other human beings. so this argument about :my tax money shouldint go to that because i dont beleive in it" is crap. Im sorry but it is. lets all be hounest, we need abortion. economicly, socially, and in terms of running a country it is needed. when making this decision you cant go by your morals or what YOU would do, bc it isint just you. if you banned abortion then we would have a rappid increase in the poor and welfare and im sure you republicans wouldint want that. if you ban it then you HAVE to allocate funding for a mega scale birth control program. trust me, its cheeper, safer , and in the long run may be just as moral...
Posted by la_bella_vita 9 years ago
la_bella_vita
NicoletteSue - your whole argument is very well constructed and well stated, and i think the last line (of the first round) sums things up very nicely.

MikeGarcia - while you clearly disagree, being "pro" choice is NOT the same as "pro" abortion. "pro" stands for being in favor of something. no "pro-choicers" that i know are in FAVOR of abortion, only in FAVOR of the woman being given the right to make a choice for herself (hence the reason it is called pro-choice....). being "for" a choice doesn't mean that someone is not "for" life, it just means that they elect to give each person the right to make a decision on abortion for themselves.

you are arguing that the two sides are essentially "pro-life" and "pro-abortion".

however, why could i not re-phrase these as well and turn it into "pro-choice" and "anti-choice"?
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