Abortion should remain legal
I will be taking the "con/against" position of this debate, I do not believe abortion should remain legal.
My opponent, Elias_is_the_llama, will be taking the pro position.
The first round is for acceptance only.
The second round will be for opening arguments from both sides.
The third round and onward will be used for rebuttals of the previous round.
Legal - permitted by law
Abortion - the deliberate termination of a human pregnancy
*definitions retrieved from a bing search
Good luck to my opponent! I look forward to debating him again!
I will be arguing for abortion remaining legal.
On a side note: I believe the final in our triple entente of debates, if that is what it comes to, should be that google is the vastly superior search engine.
Finally, good luck to my opponent, I'm eager to see your arguments!
Haha, I do it for the rewards man. Those $5 Papa John's gift cards get me every time... But on to the debate!
Firstly I'd like to thank my opponent for agreeing to debate on this topic. I have debated him in the past and have no doubt he will prove a worthy adversary.
Now for my opening arguments.
Abortion is a very controversial topic in our society today and has been heavily debated for decades. However, I believe the debate can be simplified to this: If what is being aborted is simply tissue, than abortion really isn't a big deal. It's nothing more than, let's say, a tonsillectomy. However, if what is being aborted is a human being, with the same basic human rights that you and I have, than abortion cannot be tolerated, as we do not tolerate the legal killing of innocents. Here are my arguments.
Let's take a look at each premise.
It is generally wrong to kill innocent human beings:
This is fairly obvious. I believe pro and I can both agree to this and concede premise 1.
Just as it is illegal to kill a 2 year old because they are unwanted, it should be likewise illegal to kill the unborn child for that same reason, if they are human beings. This leads us to premise 2.
We often we use the terms “fetus” or “embryo” to describe the unborn. These very words can only be defined as the stages of life of a living organism. And indeed, the unborn must be living, since they are developing. Embryologist Keith Moore states, “human development begins at conception...”. But what does this imply? Well, what develops? Does a stone develop? Plastic? Non-living materials like this do not develop. At least not in the same way as a living organism, or as Keith states, a human does.
To clarify, a fetus is a complete organism, and therefore differs from any tumor, sperm, ova, or skin cell. The fetus is entirely capable of becoming a full-sized adult, unless it is otherwise stopped by an outside force.
This leaves us with the question as to whether this living organism is considered human. I'd argue, and I imagine pro would agree, the nature of the offspring is dependent on the nature of the parents. For instance, if two dogs were to mate, they would create a dog. If two cats, we would have a cat. In the same way it logically follows that if two humans mate, they will create human offspring. This is further supported by medical research confirming that the fetus contains human DNA.
This all being said, there are people who agree that the fetus is living and has human DNA, but is not a person in the same way you and I are. I then ask, what is a person? Some would say that since the unborn are not persons because they cannot feel pain. However the problem with this is that there are many born, disabled people who cannot feel pain. And yet we still consider them persons. Another problem with using the ability to feel pain as a way to distinguish whether someone is a person, is that it would include animals. And animals are certainly not people in that you and I are. So the pain criteria cannot be used to distinguish personhood.
Others would say it is a matter of viability. The unborn cannot survive outside of the womb, and therefore are not persons. But again, this is a bad criteria for personhood. This would again include animals, who are not persons. Furthermore, how does the place I am able to live determine whether or not I am a person? For instance, if I didn't want to take care of my two month old, would it be right of me to throw him outside into the woods where he will surely die due to his helpless nature? It wouldn't be right. Likewise it is not right for us to take an unborn child outside of the place where he/she can live and put them in a place where they cannot.
In summary, I contend that personhood does not come from what we can do, but rather what we are. It comes from our human nature.
Abortion directly kills the unborn:
This, like premise 1, is fairly obvious. However whether or not it kills the unborn, rather than simply removes them, is dependent on premise 2.
It is therefore wrong to abort the unborn:
If the above premises are true, than it is indeed wrong to abort the unborn. I believe both pro and I can agree killing innocents is wrong. And if society says it's illegal to kill innocent human beings, than if the unborn are human beings, society ought to make it illegal as well.
This argument was slightly rushed, so I apologize for a lack of depth in some areas.
Over to you pro for your opening arguments!
Definition of embryo: http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com...
Definition of fetus: http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com...
Keith Moore, the fetus is a complete organism: http://www.npr.org...
Fetus and human DNA: https://www.technologyreview.com...
My first argument is a fairly common one, and is less of an argument and more of an additional discussion, when do we start considering potential offspring as human?
Is masturbation genocide? When a woman ovulates and does not procreate, is it murder for not doing all she could to protect the potential offspring? Surely we need to agree that there is a moment in which we should start declaring the potential offspring to be human.
My second argument is just a question: Do exceptions exist?
My questions hopes to envelope rape victims, people who are not able to take care of the potential child, ectopic pregnancies (see source 1 and 2) and potential offspring that are guaranteed to be born with disabilities and deformities that would significantly reduce their quality of life.
My third argument is that there is a black market for everything.
If i were to travel to the dark web, I would very easily be able to find drugs, guns, hackers for hire, illegal pornography and other content. I have been on the deep web and have found, but not purchased, the first three from the list. So while making it illegal would definitely reduce the number of abortions, those who do seek them out would find themselves undertaking those operations in much less safe circumstances which may increase their risk for a botched abortion and infections.
My fourth and final argument is whether or not it would be considered a sort of mercy killing if the potential offspring were to be born to under-prepared parents, or parents that do not want a child. You could argue that they could go through a fostering system, but my fifth source states that children in care were at a higher risk to mental health problems such as self-harm and eating disorders. In fact, about a third of the sample group had referred themselves for mental health problems.
Your argument was fine, con. You did well.
Over to you, con, I hope you enjoyed my points!
Thank you pro for your opening statement. Let's jump right into pro's arguments!
Pro and when Life Begins:
The Exceptions to an Abortion Ban:
An exception for rape:
People who are not Capable of Supporting the Child:
Children who have Disabilities:
The Black Market:
Pro and Mercy Killing:
Life begins at conception: https://www.princeton.edu...
Statistics of Abortion: http://www.religioustolerance.org...
Ectopic Pregnancies: https://www.nlm.nih.gov...
Children in Foster Care: http://www.thewhocarestrust.org.uk...
Firstly, that con states ' a fetus is a complete organism, and therefore differs from any tumor, sperm, ova, or skin cell. The fetus is entirely capable of becoming a full-sized adult, unless it is otherwise stopped by an outside force.' This is not entirely true, the fetus is not entirely capable of becoming an adult as it is entirely dependent upon the potential mother. You could say this about infants, however it is possible for an infant to survive without a mother.
Con does adress this, stating that 'this is a bad criteria for personhood. This would again include animals, who are not persons. Furthermore, how does the place I am able to live determine whether or not I am a person?' I would like to clarify that, from my perspective, this argument is about the fetus being completely and entirely dependent on the potential mother, making it essentially an extension of herself, such as a leg or arm. And in the same way, you could say a dismembered limb is your limb, but it is no longer a part of you and exists entirely separately.
The argument about it containing human DNA doesn't seem very convincing to me, one in every 50 hotdogs contain human DNA according to a study, that does not give me any more reason to support it's existence than I would any other collection of flesh.
I'd like to expand on my argument about rape, Con states that 'I live in a country where you cannot put even the rapist to death for the crime he has committed. Based on this, I cannot imagine a justification for putting the innocent child to death' I would argue that it is less about the fate of the potential offspring and more about the potential mother, who, after undergoing such a trauma, would be left to care for a child who may have no paternal support, may impact her career, may put her under financial stress and that she never wanted. In such a case, you have to ask yourself wether or not this would constitute the potential offspring as a child or a parasite.
'an organism which lives in or on another organism (its host) and benefits by deriving nutrients at the other's expense.' - google
next, I would like to state that while con believes that 'Those who perform the sexual act are responsible for its repercussions' I would argue that this mentality would not be used in circumstances such as broken bones from, for example, car accidents. Especially if the victim took all of the precautions necessary to prevent such circumstances, but either the other person involved failed them, or the precautions failed. We would still hospitalize and treat them as best as we can.
They go on to state that there are other life-affirming options, such as adoption. However, Childbirth and pregnancy can significantly impact on the physical and mental health of a woman. Con states that we, as a society, do not tolerate the killings of innocents to improve one's own life. Meaning that if we can confirm that fetuses are not living humans, then we can disregard this argument.
In response to my argument about potential offspring who will develop severe physical disabilities, I was presented with a situation in which I am asked what I would do if I were commanded to kill a large group of people who down syndrome or autism. I would.
Allow me to explain: Doing so would most likely be a mercy compared to not only living with their disabilities, but being subjected to however those who ordered me to kill them would treat them upon having care of someone they don't want who are severely impaired. Nobody wins in that situation.
On a side note: I simplified the analogy because if it were the Nazis who ordered me, I would be doing a service in undermining their authority.
In regards to my source on children in foster care, i'd like to instead offer two other, more valid, sources. https://www.nspcc.org.uk...
However, Con does state that not all, perhaps the majority, of people in the foster system do not have mental health problems. This does not change that it puts them at a higher risk of developing mental health problems.
Later in this paragraph, Con says that 'My point is, it is not for pro, nor is it for I, to decide whether or not these children should live.' I would say yes, that it is the potential mother's decision to terminate the potential offspring or not.
In fact, that is the basis of the next argument I would like to present.
Almost 90% of UK abortions are performed within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. During this time there is no scientific doubt that the developing fetus is incapable of any form of conscious awareness. I would argue that this means the potential offspring is not an independent human, if life ultimately ends when brain functions end (at least, in most countries) then why shouldn't it start when brain functions begin?
I believe that's a logical place to start considering the potential offspring to be living.
If we argue that, until then, the potential offspring is not alive then we must also accept that it is essentially an extension of
the potential mother, therefore making it's removal exactly what con describes it as in his opening paragraph.
This is not just my position. UK law states that you can carry out an abortion, provided it's in the first 24 weeks. If you can not agree with 24 weeks, can we meet at 12 weeks, in your opinion?
Once again, thank you con. I wish you luck in the next round.
On a side note about sources, I would like to outline that con's first source on his second submission does not contain a single reference past the millennium. I believe this may make a large portion of them outdated and replaced with other, more up to date research. Although I don't have the time to examine them all.
Thank you pro for your rebuttal. He made some interesting points and in this round I aim to address them all. Let's get right into it.
The Fetus and its Viability:
Pro states “This is not entirely true, the fetus is not entirely capable of becoming an adult as it is entirely dependent upon the potential mother” (in reference to my previous argument).
My original argument stated that the fetus was entirely capable of becoming an adult as long as an outside force did not prevent it (like the mother). This statement, therefore, does not render this untrue, but it brings up an interesting point on dependency.
Pro equates this dependency of the unborn on their mothers to born infants. He then makes a clarification and says that an infant, unlike the unborn, can survive without the mother. This is entirely true, however the key here is dependency. The infant, like the unborn, are still entirely dependent on others in order to survive. My 2 month old, for instance, is incapable of cleaning himself up after he poops, let alone being capable to get food and drink or other basic necessities for himself. But if we consider these infants who are completely dependent on whoever is taking care of them to be deserving of basic human rights, than we cannot deny the unborn basic human rights based on their dependency on the mother. Furthermore, this kind of ideology of ownership over the unborn giving women grounds to kill them is deemed a weak argument even by those who are pro-choice. As the pro-choice philosopher Mary Anne Warren writes, “The appeal to the right to control one's body, which is generally construed as a property right, is at best a rather feeble argument for the permissibility of abortion. Mere ownership does not give me the right to kill innocent people whom I find on my property.”
Pro and Human DNA:
In this section of Pro’s rebuttal he states that the DNA argument isn’t very convincing, and that even some hot dogs contain human DNA.
I’d completely agree with the position that simply containing human DNA does not make something a human being. Skin cells contain human DNA, but no one would claim a skin cell is a unique human individual. However, I proposed the fact that the fetus contains human DNA as supporting evidence for the fetus’ human nature. My main argument I will reiterate: Does not the nature of the parents determine the nature of the offspring? If two cats mate, they create more cats. If two humans mate, they would, likewise, create more humans. This argument was not brought up in my opponent’s rebuttal, and it should be determined that he has therefore conceded the point.
Pro and the Rape Argument:
Pro states here that giving birth to the child may result in the woman being subject to financial stress, trauma, and may impact her career.
These are all very real possibilities. However, it doesn’t really address the point. Certainly rape is a very traumatic event and every possible care should be given to the woman when she needs it. But it does not justify the killing of innocent life. I’m sure pro would agree, the woman should not be able to kill her born child if it was conceived in rape and is causing her difficulties. Likewise, if the fetus is indeed a human being, it should be protected by the law in a similar way. This argument comes down to the fundamental question of whether or not the fetus is a human being deserving of basic human rights.
Pro and the Parasite Comparison:
Here pro compares the fetus to a parasite.
An interesting angle by pro. But I believe his comparison falls short. We’ll start with his definition for a parasite. In biology a parasite is, “An organism that is intimately associated with and metabolically dependent on another living organism (the host) for completion of its life cycle, and which is typically detrimental to the host.” The fetus does not complete its lifecycle within the mother, but rather simply experiences the beginning of it. If it were a parasite, it would have implanted itself within the host for the ultimate purpose of reproduction, as we see in other parasites. Furthermore, many of you may remember from introductory biology classes that a parasitic relationship only exists when the host is being harmed. So, is the mother harmed by the pregnancy? In some cases, like with ectopic pregnancies, yes of course. But these cases are abnormalities. What needs to be asked is, what is the purpose of the uterus? Why do women have it if not to grow their unborn children? A parasite might implant itself in the host’s intestinal system or even their cardiovascular system. Is the heart or large intestine meant to be a house for worms? Of course not. But is the uterus meant to be the house for unborn children? Well, of course!
In summary, the uterus is literally built for the purpose of nourishing the child until his/her birth. How then could it ever be equated with parasitism?
Pro’s rebuttal of Sexual Responsibility:
Here pro gives an analogy comparing sexual responsibility to the responsibility of car wrecks.
What’s interesting in his analogy is that we actually do hold the party responsible for insurance and medical bills if he/she is the one who caused the accident (not entirely sure how this works in the UK where my opponent is from however). But I’d maintain that across our society people generally are held responsible for their actions. If they weren’t, there wouldn’t be any legal system.
Pro goes on to state that childbirth and pregnancy can significantly impact the emotional and physical health of the woman. Whether or not this is as prevalent and serious as pro says they are, abortion has been known to cause many emotional consequences.
In one study I found, women who had abortions were questioned on their emotional state 8 weeks after getting the abortion; 55% expressed guilt, 44% complained of nervous disorders, 36% had experienced sleep disorders, 31% had regrets about their decision, and 11% had been describe medication to help their emotional state. 33% felt the need to become pregnant again to “make up” for their abortion, with 18% succeeding in this within the next year. In a study on the effects abortion has on teens, researchers found common symptoms in: self-reproach, depression, social regression, withdrawal, obsession with need to become pregnant again, and hasty marriages. And finally, “A 5 year retrospective study in two Canadian provinces found that 25% of aborted women made visits to psychiatrists as compared to 3% of the control group.”
Pro and His Acceptance of the Nazi Analogy:
Aside from my initial shock that anyone would ever agree to do this, it is important to note that this debate is focused on the legal system. If pro had went around killing innocent disabled children calling it “mercy killing”, he would be a convicted felon, though he might be able to plead insanity (I'm kidding!). All jokes aside, if pro really wishes to push his point here, he would need to argue against the current law that prohibits parents from killing their own disabled children.
The analogy is meant to express the fact that these people can still find happiness in their lives, regardless of disease and disorder. In terms of personal experience, I personally know 2 people with one of these disorders, both of which are as happy as the next guy is. I myself have a disorder in alopecia universals, in which I cannot grow hair on any part of my body. After 6 years of dealing with this disorder, it doesn’t bother me in the slightest. If pro’s reasoning was valid, only people with perfect bodies could ever be truly happy. And I find the fact that pro believes he can determine whether or not someone is happy without even knowing them to be incredibly unnerving.
Pro and the Foster System:
In this section pro states that just because the majority of people in the foster system do not have psychological problems, this doesn’t mean it doesn’t increase the risk of it.
True, but if the fetus is human life than abortion has a 100% rate of death. It would be more moral of our society to give our children the 70% chance of being without mental disorders than to give our children a 0% chance at life.
Pro and the Mother’s Decision:
Pro agrees with me in that it is neither I nor his decision as to whether the unborn should live, but is the mother’s.
This, like so many other arguments we are discussing here, can only be understood once we have determined whether or not the fetus is a human life. If the fetus is a human life, than just as a mother cannot choose to kill her 2 year old without due process of law, so also she should not be able to kill her unborn child without due process of law.
Limitations on Abortion:
Pro’s argument can be summed up as this: A person is considered dead when their brain functions cease, therefore we should consider life to begin when brain function begins.
A big problem with using this as the determinate for human life is that we have born people who are currently in a state of coma, in which they are brain dead. However we still consider them to be people and the law still protects them. I again contend that personhood is not granted for what we can do, but rather what we are.
Pro asks shortly thereafter if I cannot accept 24 weeks (time after conception in which an abortion can be performed), can I accept 12 weeks?
No, again personhood is granted to us because of what we are, not what we can do.
Mary Anne Warren: http://www.amber-hinds.com...
Define Uterus: http://www.dictionary.com...
Define Parasite: http://www.sciencedictionary.org...
2% Adoption Rate: http://arcc-cdac.ca...
Effects of Abortion: http://www.abortionfacts.com...
Modern Points about Conception: http://www.lifenews.com...;
Also, I will admit that con's nature argument perplexes me. Yes, if two dogs mate, it will eventually produce a dog. What of it?
The next argument I'd like to adress is the rebuttal to my parasite argument.
I will concede that the human life cycle is not completed in the womb, but I do believe pregnancy can be detrimental to a potential mother. It can give her several biological side effects and may affect her life negatively in the long run, such as careers and budget, as I have discussed before.
Next is the rebuttal to my car accident argument, con states that "What"s interesting in his analogy is that we actually do hold the party responsible for insurance and medical bills if he/she is the one who caused the accident (not entirely sure how this works in the UK where my opponent is from however). But I"d maintain that across our society people generally are held responsible for their actions."
Of course people are responsible for their actions, but (at least in the UK) we still fix their broken bones, regardless of what they did during the incident.
Pro then lists several statistics about the mental effects on a woman's mental health after abortion. I would like to demonstrate the use of pro's logic on mercy killing in this situation.
If the woman were to get an abortion, she'd be at a higher chance of these problems, but if she were to not get an abortion, she'd have near 100 per cent chance of having an unwanted baby.
The point I had really been looking forward to addressing is pro's Nazi analogy. Pro states that if I were to push my point, I would have to argue against current laws that oppose killing disabled children. As per his requests I shall do so so;
These laws force a life to exist without the consent of the disabled persons who may be unable to comprehend or achieve much of life's joys, as a society, we have deemed it morally wrong to force someone into a situation without consent, and considering the child may be unable to give consent, then logically, the parent would have to make that decision on their behalf.
The second part of this section states that "The analogy is meant to express the fact that these people can still find happiness in their lives, regardless of disease and disorder. "
I agree completely, but putting happiness aside, they still cannot live life nearly as much as the average person, with the life they will actually live, and the time and investment you have to put into them, everyone's better off not birthing them in the first place.
On a side note, I would like to ask for my opponent to stop comparing my views to that of nazis, or in some way setting up questions that force me to accept the Nazi's actions. (See our last debate)
I skipped several paragraphs since they were all depending on wether potential offspring were considered living.
In the closing paragraph, con discusses my brain death argument, he states that people who are in a vegetative state are still granted protection by the law. I would argue that this should be changed, if the subject could not recover, because at that point they are practically dead anyway.
Thanks for the debate, con. I hope to hear from you again.