The Instigator
A341
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Geogeer
Con (against)
Winning
6 Points

Abortion

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
Geogeer
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/19/2014 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 511 times Debate No: 46229
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (4)
Votes (1)

 

A341

Pro

First round is for acceptance.
Geogeer

Con

I accept.
Debate Round No. 1
A341

Pro

I thank you for accepting this debate.

I'm going to lay out all the arguments I have here, I am not going to argue from a moral perspective really at all, I do not think that aborting a child (the pro choice community now wants to kill me but yes child) is a moral action in really any circumstance (and now the pro choice community really wants to kill me).

First I am going to try and give a definition of abortion we can both agree on, does "artificially ending a pregnancy, specifically excluding C-section" work for you? I will base my current argument on that definition.

First lets see the (relevant) rights a fetus has:
Right to life,
Right to not be subjected to cruel and unusual punishment,
Right to recognition before the law,
Right to not be discriminated against.

Now you may think that I have granted you a lot and in a way I have but now for my argument. Despite the rights a fetus has a fetus does not have the right to live at the expense of another person, a comparison I have heard is: A two year old child is dying, they require a kidney transplant, the only person who can provide the kidney is the babies mother, the babies mother doesn't want to give up her kidney. If that woman can choose to not donate a kidney then why can't a pregnant woman choose to no longer provide her body for the fetus to grow inside of?

Now for your position to be logically consistent you need to force the mother of the two year old to give her kidney to her child. Obviously it would be a moral action for the mother to give her child her kidney but that is not the question, the question is whether or not she should be forced to give away her kidney.

While a fetus has the right to live it doesn't have the right to live at the expense of another person. A person should have the right to ownership of their own body.

And now for very early term abortion, the argument that a early term (0-10 week) fetus is human has to rest on the genetic makeup of the fetus which begs the question: Should a placenta have rights? It has no nervous system but neither does an early term fetus. An early term fetus should be considered no more human than a placenta and if you want to argue otherwise you will have to find a trait an early term fetus possesses which a placenta lacks.

I look forward to your arguments (yes I have no problem with rebuttal in round 2).
Geogeer

Con

I thank my opponent for a clear concise argument. While I could attempt to obfuscate the argument by introducing multiple different arguments, I will attempt to limit myself to the arguments that he has set forth. So without further ado I will present my counter arguments.


Rebuttal

Definition of abortion. My opponent defines it as: "artificially ending a pregnancy, specifically excluding C-section".

While I think that while we are going to agree with what is meant, this could be misused in conditions where the woman is receiving treatment for something else which has the unintended side effect resulting in the death of the child. Additionally, it could include drugs that induce delivery of the child when it is safe to the child to do so. And I will also include drugs or devices that would prevent an embryo from implanting. With these general exceptions I think we can agree upon the definition.

Next my opponent essentially concedes personhood to the unborn child (more on that later).

Abortion argument #1:

"A two year old child is dying, they require a kidney transplant, the only person who can provide the kidney is the babies mother, the babies mother doesn't want to give up her kidney. If that woman can choose to not donate a kidney then why can't a pregnant woman choose to no longer provide her body for the fetus to grow inside of?"

and

"Now for your position to be logically consistent you need to force the mother of the two year old to give her kidney to her child. Obviously it would be a moral action for the mother to give her child her kidney but that is not the question, the question is whether or not she should be forced to give away her kidney."

While my opponent claimed he wasn't arguing morality he ends up arguing morality! (I jest). :-)

This is resolved by a little bit of philosophy and reasoning.

The purpose of the mother's kidney is to filter and reprocess blood [1] in the mother's body. That we can repurpose it to do the same in the child's body is truly a marvel of modern medicine. However, as this is an extra-natural (i.e. outside of nature) act there is no onus on the parents to do so. As such it is up to the parent to decide the best course of action. She may decide that this is her only child and that she'll make the sacrifice, or she may decide that that she has another 7 children at home and that the toll will be too great on her resulting in much suffering for her and her other children.

Now we can look at the child within the womb. The purpose of the womb is there explicitly to give life to the mother's young children. In fact, the woman can live safely without the womb, the unborn child cannot. Additionally, the mother's body naturally desires the child to be there since every month it intentionally prepares itself to provide nourishment to the child. As procreation is the natural purpose of every living being, and this is the only means by which our species can naturally reproduce, it is intuitive that the child has a natural right to use the mother's womb for the purpose that it exists while being in conformity with the natural desire of the woman's body.

Additionally, we recognize that parents have a natural duty to provide for the basic needs of their children. While this is generally an obvious issue of natural or common law, nations are generally enshrining this into law. Let's take Canadian Law as an example:

Failure to Provide the Necessities of Life: Everyone is under a legal duty as a parent, foster parent, guardian or head of a family, to provide necessaries of life for a child under the age of sixteen years. [2]

The parents are the legal guardians of the child until the age of majority and as such have the rights to make legal decisions on behalf of the child, but also have the corresponding duty to provide for the needs of the child. However, they do not own the child.

Finally we agreed that the child has a right to life. If (s)he is alive (s)he has a body. An abortion "artificially ends a pregnancy" in either a direct or indirect attack by the mother on the child thus denying him/her of his/her right to life. Whereas choosing not to give the child her kidney merely lets nature take its course.


Abortion Argument #2:

And now for very early term abortion, the argument that a early term (0-10 week) fetus is human has to rest on the genetic makeup of the fetus which begs the question: Should a placenta have rights? It has no nervous system but neither does an early term fetus. An early term fetus should be considered no more human than a placenta and if you want to argue otherwise you will have to find a trait an early term fetus possesses which a placenta lacks.

First let's analyze your life. Your profile says that you're 14 (and probably quite mature for your age to be making these kind of arguments). If we go back second by second we'll find that you are the same organism now as a teenager as you were as a youth, as a toddler, as a baby, as a fetus, as an embryo, as a zygote, however there was no "you" before that. The egg and the sperm did not have to result in you, any other sperm could have combined with that egg and you'd not have been you. If that sperm combined with a different egg, once again you'd not be you. A new homo sapiens organism begins at fertilization, it is a scientific fact.

Additionally, you will note that in that phase of development you were never a placenta. In fact, there is no natural process that results in a placenta developing into a human being. At no time has a placenta ever spontaneously become any of the other stages of life that I described. A placenta does not become a teenager, baby, fetus, embryo or zygote. It is a tissue of a human organism, and not an organism itself.

Thus other human tissues are objectively different than an actual human being. A placenta is just a placenta, whereas an embryo is a human being at the youngest stages of life. In reality this is just another form of discrimination based on appearance. It doesn't look like us, in fact it looks more like a pimple than a person. And yet, it is a member of the human species, just like you and me.

Finally you noted in your opening arguments you agreed that a fetus has a right to life. Life is the most fundamental human right that anyone has because if you do not have the right to life you cannot actually have any other right. If it is a fundamental human right that means that neither the government nor any other person the the authority to give it or take it from you - otherwise it would not be a right, but would instead be a privilege granted to you. Additionally, if it is fundamental right then you must always possess it. If you are the same organism from fertilization to natural death, how could you have varying fundamental human rights? That is logically inconsistent.


Counter Argument

There is no single criteria other than simply being a member of humanity that you can apply to a zygote that doesn't also apply to a newborn baby in terms of granting rights.

Brain - well other animals also have brains and we kill and eat many of them.
Intelligence - well one can objectively show that the adult cow you ate for dinner was more intelligent than a newborn.
Ability to feel pain - Other animals also feel pain.
Ability to communicate - A baby can only cry. Dogs can bark, whine, growl, pant and wag their tail, paw at you, bring you their leash, etc...
Is sapient - well neither of them are yet sapient.

Logically, you have to permit infanticide if you are going to determine humanity on any single attribute other than merely being a member of the species. If you want to argue that there are 2 attributes that have to be met then you are applying a truly subjective criteria and have to justify why 2 criteria are needed. You are implicitly accepting that there is something special about being a member of the species rather than the secondary attribute. The secondary criteria is a means of discrimination of the powerful over the powerless. Humanity has a history of this:

You are only a person if you are human and male, human and white, human and non-Jewish, human and a citizen of a particular nation, etc...


I look forward to my opponent's reply.

[1] http://www.ahwatukee.com...
[2] http://en.wikibooks.org...
Debate Round No. 2
A341

Pro

I thank my opponent for his argument.

"The purpose of the mother's kidney is to filter and reprocess blood [1] in the mother's body. That we can repurpose it to do the same in the child's body is truly a marvel of modern medicine. However, as this is an extra-natural (i.e. outside of nature) act there is no onus on the parents to do so. As such it is up to the parent to decide the best course of action. She may decide that this is her only child and that she'll make the sacrifice, or she may decide that that she has another 7 children at home and that the toll will be too great on her resulting in much suffering for her and her other children.

Now we can look at the child within the womb. The purpose of the womb is there explicitly to give life to the mother's young children. In fact, the woman can live safely without the womb, the unborn child cannot. Additionally, the mother's body naturally desires the child to be there since every month it intentionally prepares itself to provide nourishment to the child. As procreation is the natural purpose of every living being, and this is the only means by which our species can naturally reproduce, it is intuitive that the child has a natural right to use the mother's womb for the purpose that it exists while being in conformity with the natural desire of the woman's body."

This same parallel could be applied to abortion but much more so. Lets say a mother has seven children and is pregnant with an eighth there are circumstances where "toll will be too great on her resulting in much suffering for her and her other children.".

I don't see why you make the distinction between natural and extra-natural. This appears to me to be arbitrary, you say "However, as this is an extra-natural (i.e. outside of nature) act there is no onus on the parents to do so." I see no justification for this and ask for you to provide one.

"Finally we agreed that the child has a right to life. If (s)he is alive (s)he has a body. An abortion "artificially ends a pregnancy" in either a direct or indirect attack by the mother on the child thus denying him/her of his/her right to life. Whereas choosing not to give the child her kidney merely lets nature take its course."

This is a distinction between passive and active and I will attempt to argue that this doesn't matter. Actively ending a life feels worse than passively ending one though they have the same outcome for the person in question, the difference between passively and actively ending a life is purely emotional. In this case the passive action of the mother not giving the child her kidney is action, her inaction is action.

"Additionally, you will note that in that phase of development you were never a placenta. In fact, there is no natural process that results in a placenta developing into a human being. At no time has a placenta ever spontaneously become any of the other stages of life that I described. A placenta does not become a teenager, baby, fetus, embryo or zygote. It is a tissue of a human organism, and not an organism itself."

The point I was attempting to make was that it is that there is a point where fetus and placenta are indistinguishable, while both are "human" if you want to go from a genetics standpoint both the fetus and the placenta are both human, in fact they are identical. Even earlier there is a point where the cells which will make up the placenta and the cells that will make up the fetus are indistinguishable. I am perfectly willing to accept most of the second part of your argument and I feel that the first part of mine is the important section and I don't see it as being fully refuted yet (though the voters will decide that).

I look forward to your response.
Geogeer

Con

This has been a short, but pointed debate. I thank my opponent for the straight-forward debate.

"I don't see why you make the distinction between natural and extra-natural."

The purpose of an object is of fundamental importance. It is a philosophical argument. Something is what it is and it has certain properties. Now while there is no direct comparison to pregnancy due to its uniqueness. As such I will provide an imperfect analogy.

Let's say you have a chair. A chair has a purpose which is for someone to sit upon. Now, if you sit upon the chair and it breaks and you injure yourself you could sue the manufacuturer. Now, let's say you stand on the chair to chang a lightbulb and it breaks. In court, the chair manufacturer would ask how you were using the chair. As you were using it improperly they have a defense against your claim. A chair is not to stand on, but it is to sit on, that you choose to use it for a purpose that it is not intended for is not necessary for the manufacturer to support, however you can choose to use it in such a way.

In the same way the mother's kidney is meant to be used to perform its function in its own body. If she chooses to use it in a different manner is her choice, but not an obligation on her. This is the differentiation between natural and extra-natural.

Another of your arguments:

This same parallel could be applied to abortion but much more so. Lets say a mother has seven children and is pregnant with an eighth there are circumstances where "toll will be too great on her resulting in much suffering for her and her other children.

We have previously established that the fetus is a person (Right to life, right not to be subjected to cruel and unusual punishment, right to recognition before the law, right not to be discriminated against). Thus it should have the same rights as any other person.

So lets say the mother had eight children. Would she be justified in killing one of the children to alleviate the financial difficulties on the other 7? Would she be justified in killing her widowed mother to get her inheritance to help take care of the children? Both of those would be classified as murder, yet you agree that the fetus has a right not to be discriminated against.

"This is a distinction between passive and active and I will attempt to argue that this doesn't matter. Actively ending a life feels worse than passively ending one though they have the same outcome for the person in question, the difference between passively and actively ending a life is purely emotional. In this case the passive action of the mother not giving the child her kidney is action, her inaction is action."

If you saw a person at the edge of a cliff, you are arguing that you would have the same culpability under the following circumstance:

1) You see someone slipping off the cliff, yet out of fear for your own safety you fail to intervene to save them;

2) You pushed them off.

In one case you killed the person, in the other the gravity accelerated his body to terminal (in more the one way) velocity. There is a distinct difference between intending to cause the death of another person and accepting that nature takes its course with all of us eventually.

"The point I was attempting to make was that it is that there is a point where fetus and placenta are indistinguishable, while both are "human" if you want to go from a genetics standpoint both the fetus and the placenta are both human, in fact they are identical. Even earlier there is a point where the cells which will make up the placenta and the cells that will make up the fetus are indistinguishable. I am perfectly willing to accept most of the second part of your argument and I feel that the first part of mine is the important section and I don't see it as being fully refuted yet (though the voters will decide that)."

Placenta: the vascular organ formed in the uterus during pregnancy, consisting of both maternal and embryonic tissues and providing oxygen and nutrients for the fetus and transfer of waste products from the fetal to the maternal blood circulation. [1]

Embryo: An organism in its early stages of development, especially before it has reached a distinctively recognizable form. [2]

As you can see, the placenta and embryo are not the same. The placenta is an organ formed by the embryo. Yes they both have the same DNA, like every cell in the host body. In fact every cell in the body comes from a single cell - the zygote (a totipotent cell). The fact that future cells differentiate into the various parts of the child does not mean that the zygote is not an entire organism or that individual cells in an organism are equivalent to an individual organism. An organ is not the same as the organism.

Concluding Argument

I believe that I have completely nullified my opponents arguments:

1) That the fetus has no more right to the mother's uterus than her 2 year old child does to the mother's kidney.

I have shown that the nature and purpose of the kidney is for use in the mother. Whereas the nature and purpose of the uterus is for the good of the child. Not only that we can see that the woman's body prepares itself every month for this express purpose. Thus the Child has a natural right to the mother's womb, but does not to her kidney.

2) Early abortion:

There is no single criteria other than simply being a member of humanity that you can apply to a zygote that doesn't also apply to a newborn baby in terms of granting rights. My opponent took no exception to this and has not endorsed infanticide. Since he has already agreed that the fetus has rights he has implicitly agreed that personhood should logically be extended back to fertilization.

3) Placenta argument:

It has been clearly shown that the placenta is distinctly different and is not an organism in and of itself, but is an organ produced by the organism. Thus there is no reason that a placenta should have rights because it is not an organism, though may be visually indistinguishable at a certain stage of development.

[1] http://www.thefreedictionary.com...

[2] http://www.thefreedictionary.com...

I thank my opponent for a spirited debate and look forward to how it is judged.
Debate Round No. 3
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by Geogeer 2 years ago
Geogeer
@A341 are you really 14?

If so, congratulations on being able to formulate a well thought out argument in a clear, concise manner. I doubt I would have laid out an argument nearly so well at such an age.

I will try to get you a rebuttal tonight.
Posted by A341 2 years ago
A341
@sengejuri Yes I normally have a long voting period.

@shedevil Just let me debate it.
Posted by shedevil 2 years ago
shedevil
Why do you think that abortion should be allowed. Because your opinions just don't matter if you don't have facts on the topic!
Posted by sengejuri 2 years ago
sengejuri
6 month voting period?!
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Defro 2 years ago
Defro
A341GeogeerTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:06 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro loses points in conduct because he discussed about morality when he specifically pointed out he would not. Pro also had no sources, whereas Con had a few. Con's arguments refuted Pro's well, and Pro conceded to Con's side a few times and weakened is arguments by stating a fetus' "rights". Pro could have done better if he argued morality more, but he clearly stated that he wouldn't.