The Instigator
Con (against)
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The Contender
Pro (for)
7 Points

Abortion within the United States

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/4/2015 Category: Politics
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 783 times Debate No: 83450
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (5)
Votes (2)




The first round is acceptance. No argument shall take place during this period, only opening statements.
This debate will be between wether or not the United States should allow abortion. I know abortion is in place today, I am stating wether it should stay legal or not.

I am taking the side of the United States should not allow abortion to be a practice. It is immoral and it is murder to the baby in the womb.

1. No trolling
2. No forfeit
3. Must have reliable information (citations)

United States- An independent nation in which is consisted of 50 states
Abortion- The deliberate termination of a human pregnancy.


I accept. Best of luck to you.
Debate Round No. 1


Sniper_Man_4567 forfeited this round.


Thank you Con for letting me take part in this debate.

Today I will argue that abortion should generally be legal because it is morally permissible. My argument in defense of abortion will not rest on claims about the metaphysical or moral status of the fetus. I will grant, for the sake of argument, that the fetus has the same right to life you and I have. But deny that accepting this claim demonstrates that abortion is impermissible. With that said, let me begin.

Prenatal Moral Status
Most arguments against abortion concern the rights or moral value of the fetus inside the woman’s body. Pro-Lifers claim that the fetus is a valuable human being with a right to life, and that abortion unjustly kills them. Thus, the central argument against abortion can be formulated as follows:

P1) An innocent person has a right to life.
P2) A human fetus is an innocent person.
C1) Therefore, the human fetus has a right to life.
P3) Abortion ends the life of the human fetus.
C2) Abortion is morally impermissible.

If the fetus does in fact have a right to life, it would seem that abortion would clearly be very wrong indeed. However, I want to suggest that this belief is mistaken.

The Good Samaritan Argument
The argument I will present today comes from a philosopher by the name of Judith Thomson in her 1971 article entitled, “A Defense of Abortion.” In that article she puts forth an analogy in order to demonstrate how even if the fetus has a right to life, it doesn’t follow that this entitles the prenatal human to whatever is necessary to keep it alive. The analogy runs as follows:

“You wake up in the morning and find yourself back to back in bed with an unconscious violinist. A famous unconscious violinist. He has been found to have a fatal kidney ailment, and the Society of Music Lovers has canvassed all the available medical records and found that you alone have the right blood type to help. They have therefore kidnapped you, and last night the violinist's circulatory system was plugged into yours, so that your kidneys can be used to extract poisons from his blood as well as your own.

The director of the hospital now tells you, "Look, we're sorry the Society of Music Lovers did this to you--we would never have permitted it if we had known. But still, they did it, and the violinist is now plugged into you. To unplug you would be to kill him. But never mind, it's only for nine months. By then he will have recovered from his ailment, and can safely be unplugged from you.” Is it morally incumbent on you to accede to this situation?" [1]

The point of the analogy is to elicit the intuition that, even though the violinist has a right to life, this doesn’t mean you must go through a substantial burden in order to preserve his life. Other things being equal, Thomson claims we are not morally required to be Good Samaritans or to make large sacrifices of our bodily integrity in order to benefit others. This judgment seems perfectly reasonable given the strong intuition most people have when exposed to this thought-experiment. After presenting the analogy Thomson concludes that, just like it would be permissible to unplug oneself from the violinist, so it would also be permissible for a pregnant woman to remove the fetus from her body.

Some Possible Objections

Since the publication of this article in 1971, there have been many objections put forth against Thomson’s argument. Most objections try to point out a morally relevant disanalogy between the pregnancy case, on the one hand, and the violinist case, on the other. Here I will present what I believe are the three best objections to Thomson’s thought-experiment and respond briefly to each.

The Responsibility Objection
In the violinist scenario you did no voluntary act that caused the violinist to be dependent on you. But in the typical case of an unwanted pregnancy, the woman did a voluntary act that caused the fetus to need her body. This, the objection claims, is morally significant. For example, suppose the reason the violinist got sick was because you put some toxic waste in his house. If this is how he developed his needy condition, most people will have the intuition that you ought to assist the violinist by letting him use your body.

However, there is a fundamental difference between your act of putting toxic waste in the violinist’s house and a woman’s act of conceiving. This is because your act of putting toxic waste in the violinist’s house made him worse off than he was before. You caused him harm, which is why it makes sense to think you have an obligation to restore him to the well-being he had before. But this reason for why you ought to let the violinist use your body in the modified example is completely absent in the unwanted pregnancy case. The woman’s act of causing the fetus to exist did not make it worse off than it was before, since this human organism did not exist before the act of intercourse took place. Therefore, the responsibility objection fails to provide a good reason for why the woman is obligated to provide continued aid to the fetus.

The Killing versus Letting Die Objection
In Thomson’s illustration of you being hooked up to the violinist, your act of disconnecting yourself simply allows him to die. But in typical abortion procedures the fetus is violently killed. As Pro-Choice philosopher Jeff McMahan notes:

“The standard methods for performing abortions clearly involve killing the fetus: the fetus dies by being mangled or poisoned in the process of being removed from the uterus.” [2]

Suppose the only way you could free yourself from supporting the violinist was by sucking him into a powerful vacuum (as in the case with suction curettage abortion) or by dismembering him (as in the case with D&E abortion.) I’d imagine most people’s intuitions would no longer support the conclusion that you may withdraw aid to the violinist. If that’s right, the critic argues, than Thomson’s argument must fail to justify abortion choice.

There are many responses one could give to this objection, but it will suffice for now to point out that this is not an objection against abortion per se, but rather the type of method that is used. For example, hysterotomy and RU-486 are methods of abortion that do not involve killing the fetus, but simply allow it to die. While most abortions do involve killing the fetus, this could simply be changed by opting for abortions that merely let the fetus die.

The Stranger versus Offspring Objection

In Thomson’s thought-experiment you’re connected to a complete stranger. But in the case of an unwanted pregnancy, a woman is pregnant with her own biological offspring. Most people have the intuition that we have special responsibilities to our own children, which is something we don’t have towards strangers. For example, the state would never punish you for failing to provide food to a child that was not your own, but it could if you failed to do so for your own child.

Out of the given objections I’ve presented, this one is probably the least persuasive. This is because it entails that sperm donors would have responsibilities and duties to the children that might result from them. But very few people would actually accept that implication. It would also entail the puzzling view that a woman pregnant with an unrelated embryo may abort, but a woman pregnant with a related embryo may not. I don’t think most opponents of abortion would accept that conclusion. Moreover, I think it’s more plausible to believe our responsibilities to our children come from us consenting to be their guardian or having shared experiences with them, since this would avoid the difficulties associated with accepting the genetic criterion.


In my opening statements I have presented and defended Judith Thomson’s Good Samaritan argument. I await my opponent’s response for the next round.

[2] Jeff McMahan. The Ethics of Killing: Problems at the Margins of Life (Oxford Ethics Series) Page 378.
Debate Round No. 2


Sniper_Man_4567 forfeited this round.


Extending arguments.
Debate Round No. 3


Sniper_Man_4567 forfeited this round.


Extending arguments.
Debate Round No. 4
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by dsjpk5 1 year ago
I see. Thanks for the gentle correction.
Posted by Dookieman 1 year ago

I know, which is why I defended abortion with the good samaritan argument.
Posted by dsjpk5 1 year ago
Dookie, you're supposed to be Pro abortion.
Posted by Dookieman 1 year ago

I explain why in this debate.
Posted by Glitter2998 1 year ago
Abortion is so wrong. Why would you think its right?
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Vote Placed by kingkd 1 year ago
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