Debate Rounds (3)
Abortion has been a controversial subject in many societies through history because of the moral, ethical, practical, and political power issues that surround it. It has been banned frequently and otherwise limited by law while it has been legalized in most parts of the world.
Abortion should be legalized if the subject in hand has an honest and logical reason, which means that the woman should not take advantage of this procedure to frequently kill the embryo resulting from planned sexual intercourse. If the fetus is found to have the Down syndrome for example, the baby is anticipated to live in constant agony he and his family where his health will be an obstacle that will affect the normal life of surroundings that is in the terms of economical, moral and social burdens. Divine religions tell us not to kill but it is not the fact of killing that matters in this case; it is the thought of wanting to help an ensemble of cells to not live a life of misery and psychological problems majorly. If the childbirth threatens the woman"s health, it is necessary to protect her by preventing any kind of danger or difficult hard changes.
Therefore, abortion should be legal in specific cases that are to be studied completely by professionals before coming to the conclusion of taking action.
I accept the challenge offered me by Pro, even though I by and large agree with Pro's argument that abortion-on-demand is not defensible, but that abortion is defensible in rare cases such as rape or the mother's life being in danger, and I never argue against that with which I agree of course (which would make no sense). I agree with the conclusion that abortion should be legal only in specific cases as well, leaving me only one thing I can disagree with here, and that less stringently, that a child should not be killed for the sake of physical abnormality.
I presume this was the point Pro wished to debate with me on, since my user page makes clear that I support abortion in the case of rare circumstances such as rape and life of the mother, and possibly even as late as 12 weeks. For the sake of clarity, I will first elucidate my reasoning on abortion in general, and then explain my reasoning on the sole point of disagreement.
My Views on Abortion in General
My reasoning, as aditionally stated here, is as follows:
Ultimately, right to privacy is no justification for killing another human being, whether in the privacy of one's own home or own body. Right to choice does not justify choosing to harm another person, and right to one's body cannot justify using that body to harm another person. As such, rights, choices, and privacy are no excuse for harming another person if they are indeed a person, erego, this question revolves necessarily around the issue of personhood. While potential exceptions naturally exist such as rape and life of the mother, since in the case she did not make a sexual decision to be held accountable for, and when her life is endangered by the pregnancy, her life is also at stake, and she should have a choice to save her life (obviously), abortion on demand is ultimately not justifiable when a child is apparently human.
Thus, this revolves around the issue of personhood and fetal viability, when a child becomes human, for if it is human, no buzzword argument is sufficient to justify its murder save in such rare circumstances. Furthermore, that such rare circumstances should be raised by those who seek to justify abortion-on-demand evidences that they themselves realize abortion can only be justified in such rare cases, and fallaciously use said cases in an attempt to justify abortion more broadly.
When it comes to fetal viability, completed brain cells appear within the first 2 weeks of pregnancy. The heart beats at 3 weeks. Blood flows in the baby's veins separate from the mother's blood at 4 weeks. Brain wave activity occurs at 6 weeks. Based on nervous system development, perception of pain likely begins at 8 weeks. Thumb sucking occurs at 9 weeks. The entire body is sensitive to touch at 10 weeks. Breathing of amniotic fluid and all facial expressions visible (e.g. smiling) at 11 weeks. Crying at 12 weeks, as well as the ability to practice breathing. All senses present including vocal chords at 13 weeks. The earliest recorded successful pregnancy is at 21 weeks even though abortion is allowed in all 9 months of pregnancy. As such, it is logical that a minimum of 18,150 abortions, 1.5% of the 1.21 million annual abortion according to Planned Parenthood's own statistics arm, the Guttmacher Institute, are murder each year, since they occur after the 21st week of pregnancy.
So what does public polling show the American people believe? According to Gallup while 62% of Americans support abortion during the first trimester (12 week period of pregnancy), only 24% support abortion in the second trimester, and only 10% for the third trimester. 83% of Americans support abortion when the mother's life is endangered, 82% when the woman's physical health is endangered, 75% when the pregnancy was caused by rape/incest, 61% when the woman's mental health is endangered, 51% when there is evidence the baby may be mentally impaired, 50% when the baby may be physically impaired, and only 36% when the woman or family cannot afford to raise the child. Ultimately, 20% of Americans believe abortion should always be illegal, 39% that it should be legal only in a few circumstances, 13% that it should be legal in most circumstances, 25% that it should always be legal, and 4% hold no opinion.
As such, the majority of Americans, over 75%, disagree with abortion after the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, and can recognize that abortion beyond this point is clearly murder. Only 36% believe abortion justifiable when the woman or family can't afford to raise the child. There is nonetheless overwhelming recognition that abortion should be legal in rare cases such as rape or life of the mother. However, it should be pointed out that rape and life of the mother account for less than1% of all abortions, at least 13 states had laws allowing abortion before Roe v. Wade in such cases and the number was rapidly growing, and virtually all legislation put out in the last two decades by the Pro-Life movement has included exceptions for abortion in said cases.
Given this, I believe the courts have incorrectly decided the issue and that the American people should have their voices heard instead as the original judge, Henry Friendly, said in the first major abortion rights case, Hall v. Lefkowitz. As Friendly concluded, "But the decision what to do about abortion is for the elected representatives of the people, not for three, or even nine, appointed judges." I believe the correct way forward is to put this issue to a vote and let the American people determine by ballot referendum what the correct viability limit on abortion should be, and in what circumstances is allowed. I have no doubt that they will agree with me, as shown by Gallup polling, and restrict abortion to roughly the 12th week of pregnancy, perhaps a bit earlier, perhaps a bit later, and allow abortion in cases such as rape and life of the mother.
Point of Disagreement
Ultimately, I argue that abortion should be slightly more restrictive than Con believes, and not allow abortion simply because Down's Syndrome is evident in a pregnant child, or other illnesses for that matter. I believe we should err on the side of caution when potentially taking another human life, and that human life is precious. This is a very controversial issue according to Gallup polling and I recognize that it is a 50% split here, unlike the broader abortion issue where there is broad consensus when human life begins, around 12 weeks, and that abortion-on-demand is immoral.
We simply cannot ask unborn children whether they would like to be born, and I question whether we should infer they do not wish to be born because of a disability. I think the reasoning that one should not be born because they are disabled is a dangerous precedent that devalues those with disabilities, whether born or unborn. Furthermore, it allows us to set an arbitrary definition of who is worthy of being born. Does that set precedent for us to expand this to anyone who shows signs of depressin, for example? What if they show signs of dwarfism, a height disability? At what point do we draw the line in deciding the disability is so great they should not be born because of it?
Ultimately, I would urge my opponent to reconsider whether such reasoning is preferable to adoption.
In countries with well-established health services, structural birth defects can be corrected with pediatric surgery and early treatment can be administered to children with functional problems. In case they cannot be treated, congenital anomalies may result in long-term disability, which may have significant impacts on individuals, families, health-care systems and societies.
Normative tools should be developed, including guidelines and a global plan of action, to strengthen medical care and rehabilitation services to support the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. It is crucial that countries integrate medical care and rehabilitation services into overall primary health care, support the development of community-based rehabilitation programs and facilitate the strengthening of specialized rehabilitation centers and their links with community-based rehabilitation.
Moreover, NGOs have to work hand in hand with the government to focus on ways to help the families who have one or more of their member with disabilities, hence the economical burdens. Treatment of birth defects depends on the level of health care available. collectively, congenital anomalies represent an important public health issue in terms of impact on: fetal and infant mortality and associated emotional costs to the family, quality of life of affected children, adults and their families, financial cost of prenatal screening in the population and its psychological cost to pregnant women, financial cost and quality of medical, social and educational services to improve social participation of affected individuals. With appropriate training, primary health-care practitioners can offer basic care for children with birth defects. They are able to recognize birth defects, diagnose common problems and identify associated disabilities, which in turn enables them to offer basic treatment and counseling, taking into account family and community circumstances and available medical services. Referral to specialist advice is considered when diagnosis is not possible at the primary health-care level. These major steps don"t come for free; not free of payment nor free of troubles and worries. Basic components of a national program for the prevention and care of birth defects, which definitely is in need of significant funds, include: a core network of appropriate specialist clinical and laboratory services that can be expanded in response to demand; education and training for health-care providers, particularly those in primary health care; organization of health-education programs for the general population and recognized high-risk groups; establishment of appropriate surveillance systems for birth defects. Let"s not forget the state of mind of the parents who are continuously thinking about the reasons their child is suffering and how to help him.
In order to prevent all these burdens, abortion should be allowed in the case of congenital anomalies. The question in hand is how to determine if the disability is worth the decision of the abortion or not. Doctors can detect whether the anomaly is going to engender constant suffering and illness with the help of countless experiences. In case it does, abortion is needed. Would you rather see your child live a life of agony and unbearable pain or would you rather take the decision to liberate him from predicted soreness? Only a heartless person would choose misery for his infant.
However, I disagree with applying this logic to all congenital abnormalities. Con asks "Would you rather see your child live a life of agony and unbearable pain or would you rather take the decision to liberate him from predicted soreness? Only a heartless person would choose misery for his infant." However, I question whether we should make such a decision for children. Again, we cannot ask them if they wish to live or die, and given that, am not sure we should assume what their desire is. I question whether anyone should have the right to decide whether others live or die, so again, I feel this comes down to personhood and viability, and that defects alone are not enough to warrant abortion unless very likely to result in inevitable death.
I think it would be a hasty decision to make in assuming the disabled do not want to live. I am unaware of any poll taken of the disabled as to their opinions on the matter, and lacking that, do not believe they should be killed before or after birth. The heart of the presumption is that the disabled would not want to live with mental defects, but again, I think that should be up to them, rather than blindly assumed. If we are to follow such reasoning, it should be only after conducting a poll of those with specific disabilities to see whether they are happy they were born or not. If those with a specific disability overwhelmingly state they would prefer not to have been born, that would be a strong evidence for allowing abortion in cases of said disability, but otherwise I do not feel we should jump to conclusions about what they want.
Part of Con's argument is also that the financial burden on society and individuals from the disabled is too strenuous, but I do not believe finances are a good justification for ending another's life. Again, per Gallup, only 36% of Americans consider abortion justified when the mother or family cannot afford to raise the child, and recognize that finances alone are not justification for taking a life. I support increased birth control and proper sex education courses (though I think current ones too explicit) to allow responsible creation of life by parents, so that those without sufficient finances do not need to have children if they do not want to. I also support increased funding for adoption if such cases arise.
Again, I believe it sets dangerous precedent to allow the taking of human life for the cause of physical or mental defects, as the tendency of courts is to expand such a scope exponentially. Once abortion was legalized, it was simply legalized wholesale, and expanded to include even the killing of children after birth, which was why the Born Alive Infant Protection Act was required and consequently passed into law in 2003. Likewise, I do not think it unreasonable that if abortion were allowed in the case of genetic defects, this reasoning would be expanded indefinitely as an excuse for abortion in all types of defects, potentially including depression, dwarfism, diabetes, etc. Those who want abortions would inevitably use such a loophole to try and claim they can abort for whatever defect their child has so that the law would be expanded.
For that reason, I do not think we should assume those of specific defects would not want to live, and should allow abortion only in cases where the child is virtually guaranteed of death after birth.
There is also some question as to whether or not a ban on abortions would actually prevent abortions. Laws criminalizing the procedure generally apply to doctors, not to women, which means that even under state laws banning abortion as a medical procedure, women would be free to terminate their pregnancies through other means--usually by taking drugs that terminate pregnancies but are intended for other purposes.
"If a specific congenital anomaly has a very high percentage chance of death, where the infant once born is almost certain to die soon after, I would support abortion in such a case", Con says. Why support abortion in this case? If the baby is going to die on his own at an early age, why kill him on purpose before he is born? Con notes in the second paragraph that humans are not to make the decision of killing the fetus/baby; you"re contradicting yourself. You"re accepting abortion if the baby only lives for a very small while you"re refusing it if the baby grows while suffering from a particular painful anomaly. Shouldn't"t it be the other way around? Shouldn't"t you let life take its course in the first case (that is if you are not with abortion) while apply abortion on the baby who is going to live a long painful life? Babies do not remember that they have been killed, they do not understand what it means; the intention is pure and justifiable. Can you remember any experience up to ages 1 or 2? But a teenager or an adult will definitely remember every single minute he suffered.
Pro wishes to clarify that she supports abortion in the case of extreme anomalies which does not include dwarfism, diabetes, or a minor handicap for example. It should be only used when the subject in hand is clearly diagnosed with a malformation that condemns him to a hard life as described in previous rounds.
Pro questions why I would support abortion when there is a very high percentage chance of death for the infant. My reasoning is that in such a case, Pro's earlier reasoning applies that to have the pregnancy will almost certainly result in suffering, illness, misery and ultimately death for the child; having a pregnancy only to watch the child die. In such a case allowing the child to be born causes additional suffering not only for the child, but for the family who must undergo what will almost certainly be death for the child. Furthermore, it removes the risk of pregnancy for a woman whose child is virtually guaranteed of death, should she so choose. For all of these reasons, I support allowing abortion in cases where a congenital anomaly is very likely to result in death.
Pro argues that "Con wishes to clarify that she [sic] supports abortion in the case of extreme anomalies which does not include dwarfism, diabetes, or a minor handicap for example. It should be only used when the subject in hand is clearly diagnosed with a malformation that condemns him to a hard life as described in previous rounds."
However, what defines a "hard life"? How do you decide what disabilities constitute a hard life, where do you draw the boundary? How do you guarantee such a definition won't be expanded indefinitely to encompass all disabilities, as I've suggested? After all, anyone wishing to have an abortion will certainly argue before the courts that abortion should be allowed in their specific case, whether of depression, dwarfism, or whatever else.
I believe the correct way to determine this is by polling the disabled to see whether they think their lives are too hard and wish they hadn't been born. Because such polling does not currently exist to my knowledge, we simply cannot presume which disabilities are so great that those thus inflicted do not wish to be born. Rather than assuming what they think to determine whether or not they live or die, I feel we should ask them instead. Only if a majority of a specific disabled group says they wish they hadn't been born should we consider that disability a reasonable justification for abortion.
No votes have been placed for this debate.
You are not eligible to vote on this debate
This debate has been configured to only allow voters who meet the requirements set by the debaters. This debate either has an Elo score requirement or is to be voted on by a select panel of judges.