The Instigator
Ngipe33
Con (against)
Losing
4 Points
The Contender
awr700
Pro (for)
Winning
16 Points

Abortion

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
awr700
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/14/2014 Category: Health
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 457 times Debate No: 67035
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (0)
Votes (3)

 

Ngipe33

Con

I believe that abortion is wrong in all circumstances, and that it should be outlawed in all states. I think that abortion is never the best solution for an unwanted pregnancy. Adoption is always an option if the fetus is allowed to grow to full term and be born. A person is a person from the moment of conception to natural death, so abortion is wrong.
awr700

Pro

I accept :)

Just as clarification, I will be arguing up to a fetus' viability that abortion should be available. Around third trimester or so (i.e., when it can survive outside of the womb) abortion should not be permitted.
Debate Round No. 1
Ngipe33

Con

I believe that human life begins at the moment of conception, and so abortion at any time in a pregnancy is immoral. The right to life is the most important right for all people, and it must be protected at all stages of human life. Without the right to life all other rights become unnecessary, so allowing abortion opens the door to the violation of many rights. Human life has inherent and intrinsic value. In cases of rape or incest it is awful that the innocent woman must deal with the consequences of the actions of the guilty party, but to negate the consequences by killing the baby is wrong. Abortions can be dangerous for women and many women who have abortions end up with psychological health issues as a result. If an unwanted pregnancy is allowed, adoption can be a healthy alternative to abortion.
awr700

Pro

It looks as if your main claim is the fact that life starts at conception. While "life" is a very vague term (technically, the sperm that fertilized the egg cell was also alive) I am guessing by this that you mean that from the moment of conception, a zygote, blastocyst, embryo, and/or fetus is a person and therefore qualifies to be protected under the law.

Ultimately, the status of a fetus is a subjective opinion, and will differ from person to person. Some people think that it's not a person until it's born, or it's not a person until the first trimester ends, or it's a person from the moment of conception. Regardless of all of these opinions, keeping abortion safe and legal is paramount. Criminalizing abortion will not stop women from getting them just the same as making thievery illegal has not prevented that, and would actually come with extremely negative consequences. As of right now, abortion is one of the safest medical procedures available, with a death rate of 0.6 deaths per 100,000 abortion (1), significantly less than the childbirth death rate. If such a dangerous procedure was criminalized, all abortions would have to be covert and back-alley. We're talking dirty hangers and vacuum cleaners instead of sterilized surgical equipment. Women who still received these illegal abortions would risk death or diseases.

Now, the only reason people want to ban abortion is because they consider the fetus to be a person, therefore it has the right to life. While I understand this rhetoric, historically fetuses have rarely been considered human. Even the Catholic Church permitted abortion until around 1869 (2). It was usually the case that before the "quickening" (i.e., the first detectable fetal movements) babies were not people and could be aborted.

Since the claim that fetuses are people is the motivation of the pro-life movement, it should be examined thoroughly. The start of personhood is not a scientifically concluded phenomena, but looking at the information given, it can be easy to form a conclusion.

What is a person, first of all? It is defined as "a human being, whether an adult or child" (3). There are other definitions to this as well, but the basic underlying theme of all of them is that a human is distinguished from other animals in its rationality and self-awareness. A fetus is neither rational nor self-aware; indeed, fetuses can't even feel pain until around 24 weeks (4). It is not even an individual, since it lives inside and attached to a woman, completely reliant on her for survival.

Is a person a person simply for the fact that they have human DNA, then? That is a potentially incorrect statement; human gametes (sex cells) also have human DNA. Sperm can even survive outside of the testis if in the correct conditions. Does this mean that each individual sperm and egg cell in a human is technically a person? Or even skin, bone, and tissue cells? Now, it could be argued that because none of these things is a separate organism with a unique set of chromosomes it isn't human, but it would only take one skin cell's genetic information to make a new organism through cloning. Is the cloned skin cell a human being entitled to legal rights just for the mere fact that it has human DNA? No; it's a little bit ludicrous to suggest this cloned cell OR a zygote is a person--though both are capable of developing into babies, they are quite literally a single cell.

Just to serve as a bit of background information, approximately 90% of abortions occur within the first trimester, with 38% of those occurring before and at six weeks' gestation (four weeks after conception) (5). At six weeks gestation, the embryo is about the size of the tip of a pen (6). By the end of the third trimester, the offspring is about the length of two paperclips and weighs only 14 grams.

Why is an embryo that is the size of a pen tip entitled to more rights than an adult woman? Article Three of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (7) states, "Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person." Carrying a fetus to term is a significant disturbance in a woman's life, even if she wanted the child. But forcing someone to take time off work or school and pay for extra medical expenses to ensure the survival of an organism that disputably isn't even a person is a violation of her human rights. Also, the UDHR doesn't even consider a fetus a person. It says explicitly in Article One, "All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood." This specifically references to born persons because they are capable of reason and conscience. Because fetuses are neither born nor capable of either of those things, it can be argued that they are therefore not entitled to the rights set forth because of this.

Sources:
(1) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...
(2) http://www.religioustolerance.org...
(3) http://dictionary.reference.com...
(4) http://www.nytimes.com...
(5) http://www.abort73.com...
(6) http://www.mayoclinic.org...
(7) http://www.un.org...
Debate Round No. 2
Ngipe33

Con

Ngipe33 forfeited this round.
awr700

Pro

It seems my opponent has forfeited. If this was just a mistake, (s)he can message me and we can redo the debate.

Just as a conclusion to my arguments, I stand by my belief that a fetus is not yet a person until viability, and its rights should not come before the woman's rights. I say it's not a person because in order to be a person it must fit these two qualifications:

1) It must be an individual, which a fetus is not since it is attached to its mother. An individual is biologically defined as "a single organism capable of independent existence" (1). A fetus isn't capable of independent existence until the third trimester, which is why I am against late-term abortion except in cases where the mother's life is threatened.

2) It must have a certain degree of mental acuity. While there are disabilities that might hinder this, a normally-functioning human being will have the unique ability to think critically and have sentience. A fetus has neither of these things, and has no provable consciousness at all, so therefore it completely lacks one of humankind's most identifying qualities.

Possessing human DNA is not enough justification for personhood.

But as I said, whether or not a fetus is a person is a subjective opinion. Not everyone will think the same about it. That's why it's important that abortion stays safe and legal, so those that wish to have an abortion can do so, and those that regard it as murder can abstain.

And the claim that abortion is categorically wrong is rather hasty. What if a woman could potentially lose her life if she brings the fetus to term? In that case abortion is practically self-defense, so it is a procedure that could prevent unnecessary deaths. Or in cases of rape, when it's not the mother's fault, or incest, when the baby could have a whole host of genetic deformities? A pregnancy disrupts a woman's life dramatically, and it's important that if she isn't ready for such a disturbance she have the ability to terminate the pregnancy.

Sources:
(1) http://dictionary.reference.com...
Debate Round No. 3
No comments have been posted on this debate.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by Eli01 1 year ago
Eli01
Ngipe33awr700Tied
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Total points awarded:43 
Reasons for voting decision: Conduct for ff.
Vote Placed by gomergcc 1 year ago
gomergcc
Ngipe33awr700Tied
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Total points awarded:07 
Reasons for voting decision: forfeit
Vote Placed by lannan13 1 year ago
lannan13
Ngipe33awr700Tied
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Total points awarded:06 
Reasons for voting decision: Forfeiture