The Instigator
Pro (for)
3 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
0 Points


Do you like this debate?NoYes+1
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/26/2015 Category: Science
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 490 times Debate No: 80176
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (3)
Votes (1)




R1 - Acceptance


i accept.
Debate Round No. 1


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?" [1]

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

(a) Rape

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." [6] 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. [7] 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." [8] Churning out sexual abusers is obviously bad for society.

5. Overpopulation

There are 42 million abortions performed worldwide per year. [1] 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.
Debate Round No. 2


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.


  1. Abortion is murder. The killing of an innocent human being is wrong, even if that human being has yet to be born. Unborn babies are considered human beings by the US government. The federal Unborn Victims of Violence Act, which was enacted "to protect unborn children from assault and murder," states that under federal law, anybody intentionally killing or attempting to kill an unborn child should "be punished... for intentionally killing or attempting to kill a human being." The act also states that an unborn child is a "member of the species homo sapiens." [126] At least 38 states have passed similar fetal homicide laws. [127]

  2. Life begins at conception, so unborn babies are human beings with a right to life. Upon fertilization, a human individual is created with a unique genetic identity that remains unchanged throughout his or her life. This individual has a fundamental right to life, which must be protected. Jerome Lejeune, the French geneticist who discovered the chromosome abnormality that causes Down syndrome, stated that "To accept the fact that after fertilization has taken place a new human has come into being is no longer a matter of taste or opinion... The human nature of the human being from conception to old age is not a metaphysical contention, it is plain experimental evidence." [15] [16]

  3. Fetuses feel pain during the abortion procedure. Maureen Condic, PhD, Associate Professor of Neurobiology and Anatomy and Adjunct Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Utah School of Medicine, explains that the "most primitive response to pain, the spinal reflex," is developed by eight weeks gestation, and adds that "There is universal agreement that pain is detected by the fetus in the first trimester." [18]According to Kanwaljeet J. S. Anand, MBBS, DPhil, Professor of Pediatrics, Anesthesiology and Neurobiology at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, "If the fetus is beyond 20 weeks of gestation, I would assume that there will be pain caused to the fetus. And I believe it will be severe and excruciating pain." [24] Bernard N. Nathanson, MD, the late abortion doctor who renounced his earlier work and became a pro-life activist, stated that when an abortion is performed on a 12-week-old fetus, "We see [in an ultrasound image] the child’s mouth open in a silent scream... This is the silent scream of a child threatened imminently with extinction." [145]
  4. Abortion is the killing of a human being, which defies the word of God. The Bible does not draw a distinction between fetuses and babies: the Greek word brephos is used in the Bible to refer to both an unborn child and an infant. [30] By the time a baby is conceived, he or she is recognized by God, as demonstrated in Jeremiah 1:5: "Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee..." [133] The Sixth Commandment of the Bible's Old Testament, "Thou shalt not kill" (Exodus 20:13), applies to all human beings, including unborn babies. [23] In the Hindu religion, the holy text Kaushitaki Upanishad states that abortion is an equivalent misdeed to killing one’s own parents. [148] The BBC states that "Traditional Buddhism rejects abortion because it involves the deliberate destroying of a life." [149]

Thank you. Please vote for Con.
Debate Round No. 3
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by whiteflame 1 year ago
>Reported vote: donald.keller// Mod action: NOT Removed<

3 points to Pro (Arguments). Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments.

[*Reason for non-removal*] The voter provides a clearly sufficient vote, and, contrary to the person who reported this, a debater who is no longer on the site can still receive votes.
Posted by donald.keller 1 year ago
RFD: Cont:

Con ff's the round, but comes back...Last minute. I am tempted to vote neutral, because Pro had bad timing. It's not Pro's fault, but I can't fault Con either. But than how can Pro refute Con's claims? I don't vote on 1 round long debates....

But I need not worry. Con's sourcing was off. Source 127? That's... curious. Everything was. It felt scripted, and the sourcing didn't match up... It was plagiarized from this page:

Therefore, Pro wins by default. And after all that wasted time writing and reading...
Posted by donald.keller 1 year ago

As of R2, Pro placed out several arguments. One being the CI v Utilitarianism case. I don't feel this carried much impact, as the analogy used seemed a bit off topic. Maybe in that situation, Utilitarianism may have been right, but it doesn't really capture THIS situation. Especially since he brings up the violinist... The first part was to prove that we shouldn't judge Situation A by Situation B, and then does just that with the Violinist.

In fact, this whole set up negates itself. He aimed to prove that Situation A (murder) can't be compared to Situation B (abortion) by using a third Situation C (the ship)... If anything, Situation A and B are closer than those two are to Situation C... And then compares Situation B to a separate situation altogether (violinist). Since he has established that one situation doesn't necessarily compare to another, I expected him to better explain why the his are comparable... Instead, he expects me to accept his comparisons while not accepting cons.

The next two are Rape and Medical needs. This debate is on Abortion, generally. So those rare moments aren't really an end-all justification for every other case of abortion. They hold little impact because the resolution is far broader than those two.

His strongest impacts are the last two. Unwanted children are bad for the US, and Abortions aren't reduced by making them illegal. The latter isn't as strong because it's not realistic... 1.1 million women would get a illegal abortion? That's a huge claim, but only backed with 1 source. However, I will wait to see if con addresses this. I have read enough abortion debates to know both are false, but I need to see Con prove so for that to matter... Let's see how Con does.

R1: Abortions won't decrease and Unwanted children are bad. Those are the only strong impacts that relate well enough to the resolution.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by donald.keller 1 year ago
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments.