Debate Rounds (3)
R1 - Acceptance
Spelling and grammar goes to Pro due to failure to capitalize 'I'.
I would like to begin by pointing out that we must subdivide murder before we can have a moral discussion because not all types of murder are equal. Suicide is murder. Killing an enemy soldier is murder. And my opponent asserts that abortion is murder. Yet most of the moral arguments of pro-life advocates take all of the arguments against HOMICIDE (one type of murder) and apply them to abortion. This would be analogous to taking all the arguments against coal power plants and trying to apply those arguments to solar power using the slogan "Solar power is POWER and all power is DIRTY."
Without appealing to homicide, I ask my opponent to prove why other types of murder (suicide, killing enemy soldiers, (allegedly) abortion) are immoral.
Throughout this debate I will be appealing to the ethical system called utilitarianism, whereas pro-lifers usually appeal to the Categorical Imperative. The Categorical Imperative asserts that there are certain actions we can NEVER take. It is very rigid ethical system.
Here is my proof that Utilitarianism is preferable to the Categorical Imperative (henceforth "CI"):
== Utilitarianism is preferable to CI ==
Joseph Nye of Harvard University cites the following hypothetical to show the ridiculousness of the categorical imperative: you pass through a conflict area and a rebel captain has captured 30 innocent villagers. The captain is going to execute the innocent villagers for being from a rival tribe. You pass by and the captain, for his amusement, hands you a gun and says: shoot one villager and I will let the rest go free. If you refuse, the captain will order his men to shoot all of the villagers. Nye asks, "Will you shoot one person with the consequences of saving [the rest], or will you allow [all] to die but preserve your moral integrity by refusing to play his dirty game?" 
Judging the morality of an action a priori, without looking at consequences, leads to rigid ethical systems that prefer 30 people to die rather than one, merely because "murder is "on face" wrong and is never morally permissible."
Next I offer a brief thought experiment:
You wake up one morning and find yourself attached to a famous Violinist by means of a long tube. You are told by the doctors that if you remove this tube, the Violinist will die. During this time period, you must take time off work because you cannot walk around with an invalid attached to you. If you are poor, you cannot afford to take this time off work. The Violinist requires that you eat twice as much food as normal. Again, this is quite difficult if you are poor. Do you have the right to pull the tube out of your body?
If you answered yes, then you acknowledge that if a life is contingent on our own, severing that contingency is not immoral. By this logic, an abortion that merely severs the placenta is not morally wrong.
Now moving on to a few reasons why abortion should be allowed:
1) Clear cases where abortion should be allowed
The woman does not choose to become pregnant. This fits perfectly with the Violinist analogy, since you are forced to be attached to the Violinist and should not be held morally culpable for refusing to accede to this situation.
(b) Medical need
In cases, like ectopic pregnancy (where the fetus is growing in the fallopian tube), the mother has a substantial chance of dying if the fetus is not aborted, in which case abortion is a life-saving medical procedure. If abortion is defined as murder, then medical need would not matter; the mother would be forced to carry any life to term, regardless of danger (even with 100% certainty she would die).
If conjoined twins shared a heart and had a condition where the heart could only keep one of them alive, should we force them both to die, or separate the conjoined twins and give the heart to one of them, even though this technically kills the other twin.
The choice is either one death or two, in both cases.
2) Abortions don't decrease when we ban them
The New York Times reports that "A comprehensive global study of abortion has concluded that abortion rates are similar in countries where it is legal and those where it is not, suggesting that outlawing the procedure does little to deter women seeking it. Moreover, the researchers found that abortion was safe in countries where it was legal, but dangerous in countries where it was outlawed and performed clandestinely. Globally, abortion accounts for 13 percent of women's deaths during pregnancy and childbirth."  This study empirically proves that women don't stop seeking abortions when they are illegal; they are merely forced to seek more dangerous abortions. Utilitarianism thus sees no benefit to banning abortion since it saves no fetuses but does harm many women.
To give a US example: According to Associated Content, in 1932, 15,000 women died each year due to illegally and improperly performed abortions.
3) Unwanted children are bad for society
The CDC reports that 60% of women seeking an abortion already had one child, and often their method of birth control has failed. According to studies by the Guttmacher Institute. "a majority of women who report their reasons for seeking abortion say they can't afford a child or are unready to raise one. Women living below the federal poverty level are more than four times more likely to terminate a pregnancy than women earning above 300 percent of the poverty level."
A study by Steven Levitt found that the 40% decline in the homicide rate can be directly attributed to Roe v. Wade and the decline in unwanted children.  The 5 states that legalized abortion prior to Roe saw declines in crime earlier than other states and the crime declines lagged abortion's legalization by about 18 years in all states.
This means that banning abortion is bad, on utilitarian grounds, because it leads to more deaths from illegally performed abortions and leads to more crime (through more unwanted children).
My opponent may argue foster care, but that just churns out sexual abuse victims, who are likely to become abusers themselves. A study by Orlow (2009) found that "As many as 75 percent of all children in foster care, upon leaving the system, will have experienced sexual abuse."  Churning out sexual abusers is obviously bad for society.
There are 42 million abortions performed worldwide per year.  If we COULD stop these, that would quickly lead to overpopulation (approximately 1 billion additional people every 20 years). That's an awful lot of "unwanted" mouths to feed.
debate-master1 forfeited this round.
Sorry for forfeiting. Pro had made a bad time limit because he post his arguments at night and I go to school so I couldn' t possibly debate that round. However now it is Saturday so I can post this round. Please do not count the 2nd round as a forfeit.
Thank you. Please vote for Con.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by donald.keller 1 year ago
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Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments.
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