The Instigator
JacobAnderson
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
UtherPenguin
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

Abortion should remain legal.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/20/2013 Category: People
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 849 times Debate No: 42708
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (9)
Votes (0)

 

JacobAnderson

Pro

Round 1- Acceptance, Rules, and Definition of Terms
Round 2- Opening Arguments
Round 3- Cross Examination
Round 4- Cross Examination (for Pro) Rebuttals
Round 5- Conclusion

Rules for Cross Examination.
In Round 3, I, the Pro, will ask my opponent, the Con, 5 questions that they will answer in Round 3. In Round 3, they will also ask me 5 questions that I will answer in Round 4 before I begin my rebuttals.

Definition of Terms. These are to be accepted throughout the debate unchanged and unargued.

Abortion- The deliberate termination of a human pregnancy, most often performed during the first 28 weeks of pregnancy [1].

Coming from Latin word abioriri, aborior, abortus meaning miscarry, be aborted, pass away [2].

Human Being/Person- A man, woman, or child of the species Homo sapiens, distinguished from other animals by superior mental development, power of articulate speech, and upright stance [3].

Murder- The crime of deliberately killing a person [4a]. The unlawful premeditated killing of one human being by another [4b].

Involuntary Manslaughter- The act of unlawfully killing another human being unintentionally [5].

Miscarriage- Loss of an embryo or fetus before the 20th week of pregnancy [6a].

Stillborn- When a baby dies after the 20th week of pregnancy [6b].

Life- The condition that distinguishes animals and plants from inorganic matter, including the capacity of growth, reproduction, functional activity, and continual change preceding death [7].

Rape- The crime, typically committed by a man, of forcing another person to have sexual intercourse with the offender against their will [8].

Sources

1. http://www.oxforddictionaries.com...

2. http://www.latin-dictionary.net...

3. http://www.oxforddictionaries.com...

4a. http://www.merriam-webster.com...

4b. http://www.oxforddictionaries.com...

5. http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com...

6a. http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com...

6b. http://www.babycenter.com...

7. http://www.oxforddictionaries.com...

8. http://www.oxforddictionaries.com...
UtherPenguin

Con

I am a little new to this site. This is my first debate on this site so forgive me if my arguments are not as well structured.
Debate Round No. 1
JacobAnderson

Pro

We all start some time, right? Just use sources so this doesn't become an opinion based debate.

Arguments:

Now, I have debated this topic a few times, and there always seems to be the argument that "Abortion is murder."

However, Abortion is NOT murder.

Basing this argument on the definition of murder I have supplied, one must kill a person, a living, breathing human being. I say living and breathing because you must be alive in order to be murdered. Now, we ask the grand question, What is life? How can we define when something is alive? We can use the definition I have given above or we can use the general idea of life: when something is alive and breathing, when something has the ability to move and grow. Now, life is a combination of all of these things, you cannot live only being able to grow or only being able to breath, you must follow all conditions in order to be fully alive. Under these definitions, it is proven that a fetus is not alive and therefore cannot be murdered. As stated earlier, fetus does not breath, it is given its oxygen through its mother’s umbilical cord and takes its first breath after it has been born [1] [2]. Now I realize that a baby can be qualified as dead if the heart stops beating, as can everyone else, but they are also qualified as dead when they stop breathing. (I do not want to sound repetitive or make irrelevant points, but you cannot stop what you have not started, meaning that the baby cannot stop breathing in fetus because the fetus does not breath.) Cases in which someone is choking, it is essential to perform the Heimlich maneuver in order to ensure that all airways are open so the victim does not black out or die.

In the case of a miscarriage, do we hold the mother accountable for involuntary manslaughter? This is defined above as an unintentional action and can still be punishable by time in prison. Though it appears not to be the mother’s fault, if abortion is murder, then how can we neglect to realize that miscarriages are involuntary manslaughter?

Now, I would like to state that science has not found the exact moment in which the fetus is alive, so if Con decides that I cannot state that abortion is not murder, then I ask and assume that Con will not say that abortion is murder unless refuting my argument with reliable sources.

Consensual Sex, Rape and Unplanned Pregnancies

On the topic of abortion, many people bring up consensual sex and rape, rape most commonly used as the special circumstance many Pro-Life advocates allow for abortions. Now, I am no one to interfere on their continuity, but I do not believe rape is a special case, I believe it is an extreme case that should follow under any allowances given to any other woman- to get an abortion. According to Guttmacher Institute, about half of the estimated 6.7 million pregnancies in the US are unplanned [3]. Also, about half of the female population will experience an unplanned pregnancy by the age of 45 and about three in ten of these women will end up terminating their pregnancy [3]. Do we have the right to force the mother to keep the baby solely because she consented to participate in these sexual activities? Do we have the right to take away another’s right as we continue to fight for other rights? Why do we take away the rights of a woman because she has the potential to have a baby?

In the case of rape, I believe that both sides have come to a blurry agreement that rape may be the exception to the “No Abortion” preaches of Pro-Life advocates. If some do not believe that rape is not an exception, an occurrence undeserving of abortion, why do we not allow the mother to get rid of a pregnancy that is a reminder of what someone forcefully had done to her? More of a thought-provoking question, If we do not force the woman to keep an unwanted baby from rape, why do we not allow her the same opportunities to get rid of an unwanted baby? Keep in mind, the sex was consensual, not the baby.

When it comes to unplanned pregnancies, we cannot overlook the boom in teenage pregnancies that are glorified by shows like Teen Mom or 16 and Pregnant. Dosomething.org shows that 3 in 10 teenage girls get pregnant before the age of 20 and that less than 2% of these teen mothers get college degrees before the age of 30 [4]. Do we force these teens to give birth to their babies, even if they do not want the babies for reasons unknown? If we expect them to give birth to the baby, do we then expect the mother to keep the baby? If we do not expect them to keep the baby, what do we suggest is done with the baby? If we expect the baby to go to an adoption center, do we neglect the consequences that the parents may have to face emotionally? The questions are endless and often unanswered. But with statistics like these, we cannot neglect this topic.

Additional Fact: Guttmacher Institute states that 99.9% of women use contraceptives at least once in their sexual life and about 62% of the women currently use contraception [5]. It is clear that a majority of the population uses contraceptives to prevent any unwanted pregnancies, and although we all know we run the risk of pregnancy even with contraceptives, we cannot hold women accountable for a condom breaking or a pill not functioning properly. (I realize these are incomparable, but a condom breaking has the same, although extremely less severe, consequence as rape- unwanted pregnancies.)

Unalienable Rights

As Americans, we are constantly reminded of the unalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness [6]. We are born with these rights as set by the Constitution, so therefore, the fetus does not get these rights until it is born. Without these rights, we cannot obligate the woman to keep the baby alive. You may think that this argument is illogical, but we have come to know that you are born with these rights. Although I have only asked 10 people, 9 of them responded that you are born with these rights while the other was confused about what unalienable rights were.


Bodily Autonomy

Bodily autonomy is defined as the right for a person to control what they do to their bodies without the interruption or force of someone else. It is a right that is given to everyone and is one of the reasons why it is illegal to take organs from the deceased that have not signed off permission. If we continue this right after life, why do we strip it from a pregnant woman? We cannot morally, or legally (in my opinion), strip away the rights that we grant to the deceased, and to go against this argument would be irrational. Why would you grant a dead person a right that you wouldn’t give to someone that is alive.

I’ve read something that rings true, that if someone needs something donated that you have, you are not legally obligated to donate anything. This parallels to pregnancies because a fetus does need these resources, but the mother is not legally obligated to keep giving this baby her resources. Denying to give someone a body part is not illegal, so terminating a pregnancy should not be illegal.


SOURCES:
1. http://www.livestrong.com...

2. http://www.askdrsears.com...

UtherPenguin

Con

My belief on this isn't that abortion should be a hundred percent illegal rather such laws should have more restrictions to them.

Now I am not American but judging by your argument I am assuming that the abortion laws your talking about are in the U.S.

And bear with me on this one please as unlike my usual arguments this will be more reasoning then a sourced argument. (though sources shall be present)

My opening statement to the whole "Pro Choice" Belief.

Now I did some research on Pro Choice Arguments and here are a few arguments to what I found.

1. The embryo isn't actually a human yet so its not murder.

However they are still living. That is like taking a new born infant and killing them, There brains aren't fully developed, there bodies aren't fully developed so they could barely feel pain right?
That previous statement sounded cruel didn't it? Well that's how this first argument feels to me.

2. The Women would die in labour

This is the part in which I would understand. This is my one exception to an abortion. They women's body cant handle labour so that would give the chance that the baby would die as well. At this situation, I see what you would mean.

3. Women has a right to their bodies.

This statement also ties into my first counter argument. The embryo, despite not being able to speak or breath through its mouth is still living. The embryo is dependent on you. And you would just kill it because you have the right to?

Over all. My stance on this is that abortion shouldn't exactly be illegal, rather it should be used as only a last resort.

Sources to the Pro Choice arguments I found are here:

1. http://amplifyyourvoice.org...

2. http://www.prochoiceactionnetwork-canada.org...

3. http://womensissues.about.com...
Debate Round No. 2
JacobAnderson

Pro

Okay, that round was for opening arguments, but you refuted some arguments that were not all mine. This round, I will refute those points and ask 5 questions that you are required to answer this round. Then you can refute me.

Rebuttals:
My opponent argued that killing a baby when born is equivalent to killing a fetus.
However, this proves untrue because when the baby is born, it breathes on its own and is no longer dependant on the mother for oxygen. When a baby is born, we know that the fetus has survived, but there is no guarantee that a fetus will survive to birth.

My opponent has agreed on condition, so there is no need to refute that.

Finally, my opponent states that because the fetus is dependent on the mother, it should not be terminated.
Now, you keep referring to the fetus as "living," and I'll let you use it for this debate because you are new, but scientists have not proven when the fetus is alive. This has been a major dispute in the topic of abortion, and if scientists defined when the fetus is alive, then there would not be much to debate.
But, I would like to parallel this to the topic of euthanasia- assisted suicide. This is when the plug is pulled on someone that is dependent on some type of life support, thus killing them. They are still alive, possibly like/unlike the fetus, but they are dependent on machinery and cannot do anything on their own. You may argue that a baby cannot do anything on their own, but they can actually breathe, something the fetus cannot do until born.

Cross Examination Questions:
1. If we qualify abortion as murder, who do we call the murderer?
2. If abortion is murder, is everyone involved in the choice and operation guilty by association? If no, why not?
3. Under the definition of terms set in Round 1, would miscarriage be qualified as involuntary manslaughter, a punishable crime? If no, why not?
4. What gives the fetus rights over the woman?
5. Why do you refer to the fetus as alive before it is born? (Studies have shown that the baby makes breathing motions, as stated previously, but they are not breathing. And they may show brain activity, but in this state, brain activity does not qualify as consciousness.)

Don't forget to ask me 5 questions!
UtherPenguin

Con

Now I guess its time to answer your questions

1. If we qualify abortion as murder, who do we call the murderer?
Really I only consider abortion murder if the abortion is unnecessary. For example Teen pregnancy. If the female aborts the baby simply because she doesn't want the baby then I would consider that murder. And it would be the females fault for deciding the kill the fetus just because she doesn't want a baby. The doctor is just doing his job.

2. If abortion is murder, is everyone involved in the choice and operation guilty by association? If no, why not?

That is a good question. If it was by choice of the women to commit abortion then she would technically be guilty. Because she had the choice to do so and if the abortion was not absolutely necessary then she would be guilty unless no other choice was given to her.

3. Under the definition of terms set in Round 1, would miscarriage be qualified as involuntary manslaughter, a punishable crime? If no, why not?

Yes and no. Miscarriage would be technically involuntary manslaughter yet note that it is not a crime and is not punishable because it was not intentional and it was not preventable.

4. What gives the fetus rights over the woman?

Just because the fetus isn't a baby yet doesn't mean it isn't living. Take a fertilized chicken egg for example (not the ones you see in the super market yet ones you see in an incubator). Just because the egg hasn't hatched yet doesn't give you the right to just kill it without good reason. Just because the egg isn't hatched doesn't mean its not living. After all proof a fetus is living is the fact that it develops into a baby, if it wasn't living then it wouldn't develop in anyway.

5. Why do you refer to the fetus as alive before it is born? (Studies have shown that the baby makes breathing motions, as stated previously, but they are not breathing. And they may show brain activity, but in this state, brain activity does not qualify as consciousness.)

Like I said in my previous answer just because its not breathing does not mean it is not alive. Proof of that is the fact that you can kill it through abortion. After all breathing motions is a slightly lame definition of living.
Debate Round No. 3
JacobAnderson

Pro

"Really I only consider abortion murder if the abortion is unnecessary."
Murder is defined as the killing of another person, and considering you consider the fetus to be alive, then all "murders" should be considered "murder." Also, who defines when an abortion is necessary or unecessary? We would have to look at every individual case in order to see if an abortion can qualify as "necessary."

My opponent argues that the woman is guilty for murder because she chose to "murder" the fetus.
Now, let me give you a scenario onto why this dos not make sense. Women pay for abortions more than not, and the doctor is the one operating the abortion, we all know that much. So, if I hired an assassin to kill someone, under your answer, I would be guilty, not the assassin. Bear in mind that in both scenarios, the assassin and the doctor are only doing their jobs, so what makes them safe from the law?

Argues that miscarriage is involuntary manslaughter but is not punishable by the law.
However, according to [1], involuntary manslaughter is punishable by 10-16 months behind bars plus fines and probation. Miscarriages, we know, are natural or can be self-induced by drug use or stress. "Miscarriages are very common. Approximately 20% of pregnancies (one in five) end in miscarriage. The most common cause is a genetic abnormality of the fetus." says medical-dictionary.com [2]. With 1 in 5 pregnancies ending in a miscarriage, how can we morally throw this many women in jail for something they cannot control?

My opponent comes up with a scenario about a fertilized chicken egg.
I see how this makes sense, but then again it doesn't. The egg is no longer in a body and does not use resources, besides heat, from the mother hen or incubator. A fetus, however, is in the woman's body and uses all of her resources. So why do we give the fetus rights over the woman when it is the fetus using the woman's resources, not the other way around.

"After all, breathing motions is a slightly lame definition for living."
You said that you believed that the fetus was leaving, but I have proven that the baby only has breathing motions and brain activity that does not prove consciousness. I realize that breathing motions is a lame definition for life, which is why I do not consider the fetus alive. With ths quote, you contradicted the belief of life in the uterus because that is one of the only things that show "life" in a fetus- breathing motion.

Sources:
1. http://criminal.findlaw.com...;
2. http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com...;
UtherPenguin

Con

if I hired an assassin to kill someone, under your answer, I would be guilty, not the assassin"

Touch" on that one yet your next statement very much provides fuel to this argument: "Bear in mind that in both scenarios, the assassin and the doctor are only doing their jobs, so what makes them safe from the law?"

No it does not make them safe from the law yet note that abortion is already legal in parts of the U.S. Also not forgetting to mention the fact that the abortion/assassination would have never happened without the persons request/consent. That is why the person who hired the doctor/assassin would be given likely a worst punishment in that situation.

"With 1 in 5 pregnancies ending in a miscarriage, how can we morally throw this many women in jail for something they cannot control?"

I never said that they should be sent to jail. I only said that "technically" it would be involuntary manslaughter I never said they should be punish actually the contrary when I said: "Miscarriage would be technically involuntary manslaughter yet note that it is not a crime and is not punishable because it was not intentional and it was not preventable."

Regarding the fetus's rights over a women.

" A fetus, however, is in the woman's body and uses all of her resources. So why do we give the fetus rights over the woman when it is the fetus using the woman's resources, not the other way around."

That is a good argument you have there yet note this. I shown my arguments from before to prove that the fetus is alive. Because of that in the situation of pregnancy the fetus technically is dependent on the mother. Because of that it doesn't give the mother the right to kill the fetus just because it is in her body. For example. Say someone were to enter my room without permission. Sure I have the right to ask them to leave or state why they are there yet I don't have the right to attack them. I will admit that was a strange comparison but I hope you get my point.

"With this quote, you contradicted the belief of life in the uterus because that is one of the only things that show "life" in a fetus- breathing motion."

Note that my previous arguments stated that breathing wasn't the only indicator of life. The fact that the fetus develops into a living person is proof of that. If the fetus was inanimate how would you except it to grow into a baby?
Debate Round No. 4
JacobAnderson

Pro

"That is why the person who hired the doctor/assassin would be given the worst punishment in that situation."
But that would be giving exceptions to the definition of murder. I see that if the mother got a coat hanger and got the fetus out, yes she would be a "murderer." But, even though it is his job, under the definition I set, the doctor would be the "murderer." We can say that a police shot and killed someone because it was a last resort, but we will still say that it is murder, so why is a doctor any different? If the doctor is not the "murderer" than they are at least guilty by association.

My opponent argued that miscarriage is "technically" involuntary manslaughter, but is undeserving of punishment.
It isn't "technically" involuntary manslaughter, it is involuntary manslaughter. You stated that it shouldn't be punished because "it was not intentional and it was not preventable." That is exactly what you call involuntary manslughter- the unintentional killing of another human being.

My opponent gives another scenario where it would not be acceptable to attack someone who enters your room.
To this, I would like to show that there are laws aginst trespassing and that people do what the right to shoot trespassers if that is a last resort. If we want to parallel these, we can think of the fetus as a burglar because you don't expect when it comes most of the time and it takes all of your resources. So if we want to parallel this to someone trespassing, then how is it unacceptable to get rid of the fetus?

My opponent stated that because the baby has the potential to grow, it is alive.
A final scenario before I end my arguments. Pool floaties. Yes, an odd parallel. However, in order to get the floaty to grow, you must supply your oxygen and breath. This is what happens with a fetus- the mother gives is the resource that allows it to grow. I know it may not make sense to parallel a fetus to a floatie, but they are both able to grow when given someone's resources, so would it be safe to say, under your circumstance, that a floaty is alive? It can grow with other resources? No, that would be insane.

Before I leave, I thought I added this earlier, but I did not. Euthanasia. When we pull the plug on someone who needs the support of a machine to live. Why do we find it moral to "relieve" someone from this after a period of time where there is no independent breathing, where there is no conscious mind? This is exactly what a fetus is.

To conclude this debate, I used many sources whereas my opponent used morals over logic and science. My opponent, I believe through my readings, contrdicted their miscarriage argument as they called it involuntary manslaughter but should not be punished because it was "not intentional and could not be prevented."

Thanks for the debate!
UtherPenguin

Con

I am not sure if this is the part where I close my arguments but here anyway.

Their are usually topics in which I do a lot of research and use a lot of sources. An example to that is an argument I posted in this section: http://www.debate.org...

Yet their are some topics in which I usually just use reasoning and less sourced information. This debate is an example of that. I wont deny that I should have done a little more research or use a little more sources.

Yet because I don't know how to end this debate here is a completely irrelevant quote:

"We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid." -Benjamin Franklin
Debate Round No. 5
9 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 9 records.
Posted by UtherPenguin 3 years ago
UtherPenguin
Well that was quite the debate. Good day sir!
Posted by JacobAnderson 3 years ago
JacobAnderson
That's what I was thinking. If you want to create one make sure we has Cross Exam. If we do, I'll probably use my same opening argument because this debate isnt getting anywhere.
Posted by OtakuJordan 3 years ago
OtakuJordan
Perhaps we can have a debate on this topic when this one is over?
Posted by JacobAnderson 3 years ago
JacobAnderson
Assuming the fetus is alive, it is not entitled to bodily autonomy because it is inside of the woman's body, essentially, some say, "invading" the woman's body. Now, I wouldn't go as far to say that, but I do not believe it is entitled to bodily autonomy because it has not been born yet. Because we are in the situation in which there is an unborn fetus as compared to a matured woman, there is no logical reason to give the fetus bodily autonomy over the woman. And to give bodily autonomy to both would be sheer insanity, in my opinion. How would we give these rights to an unborn fetus, not sure that they are going to survive even to birth, over these rights of the mother?
Posted by OtakuJordan 3 years ago
OtakuJordan
Assuming that the fetus is alive, then, why is it not entitled to bodily autonomy just as the woman is?
Posted by JacobAnderson 3 years ago
JacobAnderson
As you may say and may be able to refute. But I also stated that whether or not it is alive, it does not have the right to live. The woman does not have the obligation to keep the baby "alive."
Posted by OtakuJordan 3 years ago
OtakuJordan
"Breathing" is a pretty lame definition for life. Please show me a definition from a dictionary or scientist that supports your belief that something must be breathing to be alive.
Posted by JacobAnderson 3 years ago
JacobAnderson
Well either depending on what the Con decides, then. I know about some states' limits, but I didn't really take that into consideration when I said legal. But I would say legal throughout the pregnancy.
Posted by TN05 3 years ago
TN05
Does this debate mean that US abortion laws as they currently exist should remain legal, or that abortion should be legal at all points in a pregnancy?
No votes have been placed for this debate.