The Instigator
kasmic
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Geogeer
Con (against)
Winning
14 Points

April Gauntlet Tower: Trial by Fire

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Post Voting Period
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after 2 votes the winner is...
Geogeer
Voting Style: Open with Elo Restrictions Point System: Select Winner
Started: 4/27/2015 Category: Politics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,649 times Debate No: 74146
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (32)
Votes (2)

 

kasmic

Pro

This is round one in the April Gauntlet Tower (1) that Mikal helped me set up in response to the trial by fire thread.(2)

Kasmic vs Geogeer

Resolved: Inspite of a fetus' right to life Abortion is morrally acceptable

Clarification: We are debating abortion from the assumption that a fetus does in fact have a right to life.

Abortion: "The deliberate termination of a human pregnancy." (3)

4 rounds/72hrs/10,000 Characters

Select Winner/2500 Elo voting restiction.


Typical rules......




(1) http://www.debate.org...

(2) http://www.debate.org...

(3) http://www.oxforddictionaries.com...;
Geogeer

Con

My thanks to Kasmic for the debate challenge which has drawn me out of my debating hiatus. I look forward to a vigorous debate and wish my opponent the best of luck.
Debate Round No. 1
kasmic

Pro

Thank you Geogeer for accepting this debate.

I recognize that this is a heavy topic and hope that none take offense to my opponent’s or my arguments. Often when the topic of abortion is debated the focus is on the rights of the fetus. Indeed the concept of a fetus having rights is a controversial issue. My opponent and I however, both accept the right to life being applicable to a fetus. Thus our debate hinges on another point. The question then becomes whether that right to life supersedes the moral right to one’s body.

To this I confidently answer no.

C1) “The Violinist”

“Judith Jarvis Thomson is an American moral philosopher and metaphysician…. She is most famous for her 1971 essay "A Defense of Abortion” (2) Within this essay is the following thought experiment.

“You wake up in the morning and find yourself back to back in bed with an unconscious violinist. A famous unconscious violinist. He has been found to have a fatal kidney ailment, and the Society of Music Lovers has canvassed all the available medical records and found that you alone have the right blood type to help. They have therefore kidnapped you, and last night the violinist's circulatory system was plugged into yours, so that your kidneys can be used to extract poisons from his blood as well as your own. [If he is unplugged from you now, he will die; but] in nine months he will have recovered from his ailment, and can safely be unplugged from you.” (3)

The right to life does not equal the right to use another person’s body. No such right exists morally or otherwise.

It would seem absurd that the famous violinist would have a right to my body. Likewise, with a fetus. While abortion may not be a desired action, the right of a fetus to life does not take away the right of a women to her own body.

Essentially my case is this. Does a woman have an absolute right to determine what happens in and to her body? Yes! She does. It is moral to retain the right to your own body. Though short, I believe this case to be convincing.

Due to the moral right to determine what happens to one’s own body, I affirm the resolution that In spite of a fetus' right to life, Abortion is morally acceptable.

(1) http://en.wikipedia.org...
(2) http://en.wikipedia.org...

Geogeer

Con

My thanks to Kasmic for the concise opening round that presents perhaps the best Pro-Choice argument in existence. Unfortunately, my reply will not employ such brevity.

Con has initiated this debate in order to improve his debating skills. As such, in this round, I will present two counter arguments to show why it is morally unacceptable for the mother to abort her child. One will be a more typical counter argument and the second is an argument of my own device. To my knowledge this argument has never been presented anywhere before now. This will hopefully provide a good challenge to his debating skills.


Argument 1 - Breasts

There is one major flaw to the violinist argument. The purpose of your kidneys is to filter your own blood. That using modern science we could have the amazing ability to re-purpose them is a medical marvel. However, this clearly explains why in this scenario there is no obligation on the person to offer the use of their kidneys - however noble it might otherwise be.

Conversely, the sole purpose of the woman's womb is for reproduction. The mother's womb exists solely to enable fertilization of the new child and to provide it with the necessary environment and nutrients that it will require to reach a sufficiently developed stage to exist outside of the womb. The unborn child is making use of the mother's body for precisely the purpose that it has been designed/evolved (depending on your theological viewpoint).

Now, if we consider a post birth scenario we can see the correlation. Let's assume that a new mother leaves her newborn with her husband (with ample formula of course) and then proceeds to drive out to a mountain cabin to meet her friend who also just gave birth. The first mother falls asleep on the couch, and while asleep, the friend decides to drive to town leaving her own newborn in the house with her sleeping friend. (I know they are probably the two worst mothers ever)

Now as fate would have it, while the friend is in town the blizzard of the century followed by an avalanche isolates the woman in the cabin along with her friend's child. The house is well stocked with food, drink and fuel. Now let's further assume that the woman had previously decided that she would not breast feed because she didn't want the possible side effects to her breasts that could result from breast feeding (sagging, flattening, misshapenness or even asymmetry). [1]

If the newborn baby starts to cry is there a moral obligation on her to go to the cupboard and make bottles of formula to feed the child?

Now what if, while there is much food in the cabin, there is no formula. Does the woman have a moral duty to use her currently lactating breasts to feed the child or is she morally justified in letting the child die of starvation? I think that it is obvious that the mother has a duty to nurture the child that has been left in her care. Especially considering that the primary reason that breasts exist is to provide nourishment to the infants of the species.

Furthermore, what if she was some form of breast model and any possible deformities to her breasts would affect her income. Would she be justified to assert her bodily rights in letting the child with her starve to death?

What if she suffered from early osteo-porosis? Since breast feeding can deplete bone mass [2], would it then be acceptable for her to let the child starve to death to possibly prevent some future illness?

I think that the moral intuition of the vast majority of people would conclude that the woman did indeed have a moral obligation to help the innocent child that had been left in her care.

The woman's breasts are designed/have evolved explicitly to provide nutrients to the young of the species. In the same way the mother's womb exists explicitly to provide environment and nutrients to the unborn child. In reality, I believe that the actual case is even stronger that what I've presented here. While in this example the child is not hers, in a pregnancy the child within her womb is her child. This makes her the natural guardian of the child until such time as she chooses, and is able, to safely pass this guardianship of the child off to another person.


Argument 2 - The Natural Contract

Part 1 - Your body is your natural agent.

Agent - One empowered to act for or represent another [2]

This is quite obvious. Your body completes the many tasks required of you to survive. You do not focus on breathing, fighting off viruses, digesting food, etc... These tasks are completed by your natural agent. A way of understanding this is that your mind is like the CEO of a hotel. The CEO does not work the front desk, serve the meals or clean the rooms. These every day tasks are carried out by the agents that work under the CEO.


Part 2 - Contract

Contract - an agreement between two or more parties for the doing or not doing of something specified. [4]

Pregnancy is a natural good to all 3 parties involved. The natural goals of every organism is to survive and to reproduce and continue the species. Thus reproduction is a natural good to each organism, in that it accomplishes that to which the organism is naturally ordered. And the act of living is also a natural good of the organism, as this too fulfills that to which it is naturally ordered.

The begetting of a child is a series of 3 contracts involving 2 or 3 parties each.

Contract 1 - Consensual Sex

As there is no other natural means of reproduction for humans, the primary purpose of sexual intercourse is for reproduction of the species. As sexual intercourse carries an inherent chance of pregnancy, a voluntary act of sexual intercourse is an implicit acceptance of the possible outcome of the act, namely a new human child.

While one could argue that this creates a two way contract between the parties for the sake of brevity (and relevancy to the debate) I will ignore the obligations of the father and simply focus on the mother. The mother has completed the first contract by engaging in sex - it is fundamentally an offer and acceptance to the possibility of pregnancy. Whether pregnancy occurs will depend on whether the agents of the parents complete their contracts.


Contract 2 - Fertilization

Fertilization is an offer and acceptance style contract between 3 parties. The woman's body (her natural agent) releases an ovum monthly. This is an offer on the part of the mother to create and sustain a child. The release of sperm from the male's body (his natural agent) in an attempt to accept the offer. If the sperm unites with the ovum the contract is completed and a third party that is wholly dependent on the offer of the mother's agent is also brought into the contract.

Returning to our hotel analogy. There is a vacancy sign on outside the hotel. A man from corporation B brings in a customer and asks for the room. The lady at the desk hands over the paperwork and the customer signs the paper.


Contract 3 - Implantation

The mother's fertility cycle releases the egg with the full anticipation that it will implant in her uterus. Likewise the newly formed zygote begins development and travels towards the uterus in order to implant. The preparation of the uterus to receive the embryo is a third offer and acceptance contract commenced by the mother or her agents.

Any one of these 3 contracts imposes a moral obligation on her to sustain the child within her.

If I were to invite you onto my land, I believe that we can all agree that I would have no moral justification to sue or shoot you for trespassing. You are here at my request. Likewise, if I invite you onto my land knowing that this action will make you dependent on me for a period of time, I have obligated myself to provide for you.

These contracts make the mother the natural guardian of the child. As guardian, she cannot intentionally act against the child. This too is something I believe that we can agree upon as a moral requirement for someone who is the guardian of a minor.

Scenarios

So let's consider a few scenarios and see if at least one contract holds up.

In-Vitro fertilization - There is no sex, assuming the egg comes from a different woman there is no direct offer and acceptance relating to the mother, however there is implantation so the contract is formed and the woman is morally obligated to carry the pregnancy to term.

Rape - This is always a difficult topic and I do not wish to belittle the act, but death is also a very serious and difficult topic. As such this may sound cold, but it isn't when understanding the rights of the child.

In a rape the first contract is violated and the mother should have full recourse against the father. However, the second and third contracts were validly completed. Thus the natural contracts between the child and the mother are in full effect and are a natural good to her. While she did not intend to enter into a contract with the father, she has entered into a contract with the child.

Conclusion

I have provided 2 separate arguments that clearly illustrate why the mother has a moral obligation to sustain the life of the unborn child within her womb regardless of her natural bodily rights. These obligations supersede the mother's bodily rights, thus making abortion a morally unacceptable decision for the mother.

Thank-you for your time, and I look forward to Pro's counter arguments.


References

[1] http://www.webmd.boots.com...
[2] http://www.niams.nih.gov...
[3] http://www.thefreedictionary.com...
[4] http://dictionary.reference.com...
Debate Round No. 2
kasmic

Pro

R: Argument 1 – Breasts/Defense of The Violinist

Con says “There is one major flaw to the violinist argument. The purpose of your kidneys is to filter your own blood. That using modern science we could have the amazing ability to re-purpose them is a medical marvel. However, this clearly explains why in this scenario there is no obligation on the person to offer the use of their kidneys - however noble it might otherwise be.”

“the sole purpose of the woman's womb is for reproduction”

Essentially Con is arguing that because the hypothetical of the violinist is unnatural and pregnancy is natural the moral implications are entirely different. I ask is there something about “Natural” that affects morals? Clearly many things that are natural are negative. Cancer is natural, does this make Cancer inherently moral and the surgery that could cure it immoral?
As con said “The unborn child is making use of the mother’s body.” Despite being natural or not the mother has ultimate rights to her body, not the child. To follow this same reasoning con endorses… is Rape justified so long as the man is intending pregnancy. Does he have a right to the natural use of the woman due to nature? Of course not! To justify the unauthorized use of a person’s body by another because the intended use is “nature” is an untenable moral position.

R2: Con’s Hypothetical

Con concludes “I think that it is obvious that the mother has a duty to nurture the child that has been left in her care. Especially considering that the primary reason that breasts exist is to provide nourishment to the infants of the species.”

Though I feel this has already been addressed I will address it again.

P1: Breast are for nourishment to infants
P2: Women have breasts
C: A hungry infant has a right to a Women’s Breasts

P1: “the sole purpose of the woman's womb is for reproduction”
P2: Species need to reproduce to survive
C: A male has a right to a female body to reproduce.

Natural function does not supersede a women’s right to her own body. To conclude as con has that an unborn child has a right because of natural function would be to endorse male rape of females for the purpose of natural reproduction. This is obviously morally false.

R: Argument 2 - The Natural Contract

Of this argument con say’s “To my knowledge this argument has never been presented anywhere before now.” As I understand the argument it boils down to “tacit Consent.” Essentially Con is arguing that a women tacitly agrees to the fetus using her body by engaging in sexual intercourse. I have several contentions to this line of thinking.

1st: In the event that contraception is used tacit consent is not implied, in fact it is being explicitly withheld.

2nd: Voluntarily deciding to go swimming is not a tacit agreement to the result of drowning. Tacit consent is not implied just because a certain result may be one of the result of an action taken.
3rd: Even if I agree that a woman has tacitly consented to the fetus use of her body, it does not imply that she has consented to such use for the entire nine months of pregnancy.

4th: The moral right to one’s body is widely accepted to be unalienable. Meaning such a right cannot be taken or given away legitimately.
No such contracts that con has presented have to be upheld due to the lack of consent.

Conclusion of rebuttals:

Natural does not imply moral. Tacit consent does not inherently exists and does not supersede the right to one’s own body.
Due to the moral right to determine what happens to one’s own body, I affirm the resolution that In spite of a fetus' right to life, Abortion is morally acceptable.
Geogeer

Con

My continued thanks to Kasmic for this debate.


Rebuttals

Argument 1 - Breast

"Essentially Con is arguing that because the hypothetical of the violinist is unnatural and pregnancy is natural the moral implications are entirely different. I ask is there something about “Natural” that affects morals?"

I believe that Pro is misunderstanding the meaning of nature in my argument. It is not:

3. all natural phenomena and plant and animal life, as distinct from manand his creations. [5]

but rather:

1. the fundamental qualities of a person or thing; identity or essential character. [5]

It is not just that something occurs in nature, it is an argument from philosophy and natural law.

Natural law, or the law of nature (Latin: lex naturalis; ius naturale), is a philosophy of law that is determined by nature, and so is universal. Classically, natural law refers to the use of reason to analyze human nature — both social and personal — and deduce binding rules of moral behavior from it. Natural law is often contrasted with the positive law of a given political community, society, or state. In legal theory, on the other hand, the interpretation of positive law requires some reference to natural law. On this understanding of natural law, natural law can be invoked to criticize judicial decisions about what the law says but not to criticize the best interpretation of the law itself. Some scholars use natural law synonymously with natural justice or natural right (Latin ius naturale), while others distinguish between natural law and natural right...Because of the intersection between natural law and natural rights, it has been cited as a component in the United States Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States, as well as in the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen. Declarationism states that the founding of the United States is based on Natural law. [6]

Con fails to appreciate that his bodily rights argument is based upon the very natural law argument that I laid out. This is why the government does not have the right to take your body and transplant your organs to save many others at the expense of your life. This would be an act against the Natural Law which uses philosophy to explain that the purpose of your organs is for your personal benefit. As stated before, that we now possess the ability to repurpose them is nearly miraculous when you think about it. However, this secondary use is always subservient to the primary purpose.

Now returning to my original argument. The unborn child is rightly using the mother's womb for the express purpose that it exists. The act of abortion is an act contrary to the natural order in the same way that an unprovoked attack on you or me is contrary to the natural order.

As a less esoteric example let's consider a chair. If I decide to stand on a chair to change a light bulb and it breaks and I hurt myself, I have very little chance of suing the chair manufacturer. Why? Because the purpose of a chair is not to stand on to change a light bulb. Now if I buy a chair and I go and sit down on it and it collapses, I have a very good chance in a lawsuit against the manufacturer. If I use the chair to prop up my car while I change the oil and the chair breaks killing me, I will be given a Darwin Award. [7] Why? Because that is not what a chair is for. The further away from the intrinsic purpose of an object, the less validity the action holds.

Con provided a couple of examples where he believes that "nature" would dictate against my natural law argument.

"Cancer is natural, does this make Cancer inherently moral and the surgery that could cure it immoral?"

To understand this we must look at cancer through the lens of natural law. First of all what is cancer?

"Cancer harms the body when damaged cells divide uncontrollably to form lumps or masses of tissue called tumors (except in the case of leukemia where cancer prohibits normal blood function by abnormal cell division in the blood stream). Tumors can grow and interfere with the digestive, nervous, and circulatory systems, and they can release hormones that alter body function. Tumors that stay in one spot and demonstrate limited growth are generally considered to be benign." [8]

So as we can see, cancerous cells are cells that are no longer operating according to their nature and purpose in the body, but rather have become damaged and divide uncontrollably. For this reason, it is acceptable to attempt to remove from the body that which not only is now acting against its intended purpose, but is furthermore threatening the body as a whole (especially in the case of malignant tumors).

Contrasting this to the case of abortion, both the unborn child and mother's womb are acting in accordance with their purpose and with their nature to the best of each's ability.


is Rape justified so long as the man is intending pregnancy. Does he have a right to the natural use of the woman due to nature? Of course not! To justify the unauthorized use of a person’s body by another because the intended use is “nature” is an untenable moral position.

Here Con is conflating several issue in order to promote an erroneous conclusion. Is sexual intercourse a natural good? Of course. Likewise with the desire to have children and children themselves. These are all good and consistent with natural law. Is the unprovoked attack on the woman in keeping with natural law? Not at all. Thus there is no justification for rape under natural law.

Now can something good come from an evil act? In some cases yes, because part of the act was in keeping with natural law even though the application was not. Thus is it possible for the natural good of a child to be realized through a morally reprehensible act.


Pro then throws in a syllogism on reproduction which is poorly formed as the conclusion does not flow from the premises. 'Nuff said.


Con concludes this section with:

Natural function does not supersede a women’s right to her own body.

What Con has failed to do is to provide any basis for this argument. His basis is that a woman has bodily rights - which is not in disagreement. He has however given no basis for this right. I on the other hand have given a clear basis for this right and the right of the unborn to the mother's body.


Argument 2 - Natural Contract

Con has once again oversimplified my argument by equating it to a tacit consent to pregnancy by engaging in sexual intercourse. This argument too is based on natural law, but essentially combined with the fundamentals of contract law. If an action has a purpose, one must logically accept the outcome of the action. To deny the outcome would be a denial of reality which is fundamentally irrational and illogical. Additionally, I pose this argument not as a single offer and acceptance, but as a set of up to 3 contracts.


Con has posed 4 scenarios that he believe invalidate this argument. I will address them one by one.

1. In the event that contraception is used tacit consent is not implied, in fact it is being explicitly withheld.

Let's analyze this by the 3 contracts I've laid out.

1) Sex has still occurred - Contract confirmed.
2) Ovulation occurred providing an offer by the woman to create and nurture the new child. - Contract confirmed
3) Implantation occurred - Contract confirmed.

If we go back to our hotel analogy if the CEO sends out a memo telling the employees not to rent out room 325, but the memo is missed and room 325 is rented out by the front desk manager, the contract is still binding on the hotel even though the ownership did not want to rent the room out. Contraception lessens your odds of getting pregnant it does not change the nature of the act. There are also moral implications to contraception that would hinder implantation, but that is not part of this debate.


2. Voluntarily deciding to go swimming is not a tacit agreement to the result of drowning. Tacit consent is not implied just because a certain result may be one of the result of an action taken.

This isn't a moral argument at all. Drowning is the natural result of an inability to maintain oneself above the surface of the water resulting in water instead of oxygen bearing air entering the lungs. It is cause and effect. Besides, returning to my original argument, pregnancy is a natural good to the woman. Drowning is a natural evil in that it kills the individual. Not comparable at all.


3. Even if I agree that a woman has tacitly consented to the fetus use of her body, it does not imply that she has consented to such use for the entire nine months of pregnancy.

This was already dealt with in my previous rounds arguments:

"Likewise, if I invite you onto my land knowing that this action will make you dependent on me for a period of time, I have obligated myself to provide for you."

If I make you dependent on me I have a duty of care to you. The greater the dependency the greater the duty of care.


4. The moral right to one’s body is widely accepted to be unalienable. Meaning such a right cannot be taken or given away legitimately.

Why are these rights widely accepted to be unalienable? How and why did they come to that conclusion?

This would of course mean that a father could not donate part of his liver or kidney to his daughter because that would be violating his unalienable bodily rights. A doctor could not cut off a gangrenous leg to save a life without violating these rights. If it cannot be given away, it cannot be given away. Additionally, the state could not conscript people into the army at times of war.


Conclusions

All of Pro's arguments have been shown to be insufficient in nature and both counter arguments stand in whole.


References

[5] http://www.collinsdictionary.com...
[6] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[7] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[8] http://www.medicalnewstoday.com...
Debate Round No. 3
kasmic

Pro

Geogeer; This debate has been challenging and interesting. You have been a wonderful opponent. Thank you for engaging in this debate.


Concluding this debate:

Summary of Cons Case:

Argument 1 - Breast

I have argued that a woman has inherent bodily rights. Con does not contest this saying such rights are “which is not in disagreement.” I have thus argued that Natural function does not supersede a women’s right to her own body. To concludes con has that an unborn child has a right because of natural function would be to endorse male rape of females for the purpose of natural reproduction. This is obviously morally false.

To this con responded “Here Con (I’m sure he meant pro) is conflating several issue in order to promote an erroneous conclusion. Is sexual intercourse a natural good? Of course. Likewise with the desire to have children and children themselves. These are all good and consistent with natural law. Is the unprovoked attack on the woman in keeping with natural law? Not at all. Thus there is no justification for rape under natural law.”

I provided the following:

P1: Breast are for nourishment to infants
P2: Women have breasts

C: A hungry infant has a right to a Women’s Breasts

P1: “the sole purpose of the woman's womb is for reproduction”
P2: Species need to reproduce to survive

C: A male has a right to a female body to reproduce.

To which Con said “Pro then throws in a syllogism on reproduction which is poorly formed as the conclusion does not flow from the premises. 'Nuff said.”

I agree with Con that both are poorly formed as the conclusions do not flow from the premise. This is why I included them. The first being a representation of Con’s line of thinking, the second being nearly identical. This shows the jump in logic. Of course a man does not have a right to a women’s body just because reproduction is a natural good. Likewise, a hungry infant does not have a right to a women’s body just because it is a natural good. This argument is negated.

Argument 2 - Natural Contract

Essentially Con is arguing that a women tacitly agrees to the fetus using her body by engaging in sexual intercourse. I argued that;

1. In the event that contraception is used tacit consent is not implied, in fact it is being explicitly withheld.

Con addresses this by saying “Contraception lessens your odds of getting pregnant it does not change the nature of the act.” Contraception does entirely changes the concept of a contract. By using contraception a women is expressly implying that a contract of pregnancy is to be null and void as it is now clearly without her consent. A contract cannot be entered into without consent.

2. Voluntarily deciding to go swimming is not a tacit agreement to the result of drowning. Tacit consent is not implied just because a certain result may be one of the result of an action taken.

Con says “This isn't a moral argument at all. Drowning is the natural result of an inability to maintain oneself above the surface of the water resulting in water instead of oxygen bearing air entering the lungs. It is cause and effect. Besides, returning to my original argument, pregnancy is a natural good to the woman. Drowning is a natural evil in that it kills
the individual. Not comparable at all.”

They are perfectly comparable. Both swimming and pregnancy can result in the loss of life. Yet no one assumes consent of drowning based on the consent to swim. Aside from this the core argument stands. Engaging in a voluntary action while knowing that certain results are possible does not imply that one has tacitly consented to that result.

3:
Even if I agree that a woman has tacitly consented to the fetus use of her body, it does not imply that she has consented to such use for the entire nine months of pregnancy.

4:
The moral right to one’s body is widely accepted to be unalienable. Meaning such a right cannot be taken or given away legitimately.

To this Con asks “Why are these rights widely accepted to be unalienable? How and why did they come to that conclusion?”

No contention whatsoever just a question. I have no need to go into detail as my opponent has already agreed that such is the case with rights concerning ones body. “which is not in disagreement.”

Con says “This would of course mean that a father could not donate part of his liver or kidney to his daughter because that would be violating his unalienable bodily rights. A doctor could not cut off a gangrenous leg to save a life without violating these rights. If it cannot be given away, it cannot be given away.

Not at all. The Unalienable right is self-sovereignty of one’s body… the right of autonomy. Giving of your body functions is within your right, not giving of your body is also within your right. Giving up your right to refuse such an arrangement is not.

Recap of my arguments:

The violinist argument stands

The right to life does not equal the right to use another person’s body. No such right exists morally or otherwise.

It would seem absurd that the famous violinist would have a right to my body. Likewise, with a fetus. While abortion may not be a desired action, the right of a fetus to life does not take away the right of a women to her own body.

Does a woman have an absolute right to determine what happens in and to her body? Yes! She does. Con has not contended the existence of this right. It is moral to retain the right to your own body. Though short, I believe this case to be convincing.

Due to the moral right to determine what happens to one’s own body, I affirm the resolution that In spite of a fetus' right to life, Abortion is morally acceptable.


Thanks for reading,


Vote Pro!

Geogeer

Con

I wish to begin this round with an apology for my previous round. I referred to Pro as Con repeatedly, but not every time. Additionally I wish to thank Pro for the very interesting and lively debate, it has truly been a pleasure.

Final Rebuttals

#1 - Breast Argument

Pro has essentially abandoned debating this point, and makes no attempt to refute the argument, the philosophy on which it is based, or even to promote an alternate philosophical underpinning. Pro doesn't even attempt to refute the proposed analogy, but is merely reduced to the creation of poorly formed syllogisms in an attempt to divert from the weakness of his argument.

So without further ado I will break down the final arguments.

"I have argued that a woman has inherent bodily rights. Con does not contest this saying such rights are “which is not in disagreement."

I do not disagree nor have I ever disagreed that everyone has natural inherent bodily rights. What is being discussed in this debate is whether those rights are absolute and whether they are applicable in the case of abortion.

"I have thus argued that Natural function does not supersede a women’s right to her own body."

Pro has argued this, but he has provided no actual proof of this.

"To concludes con has that an unborn child has a right because of natural function would be to endorse male rape of females for the purpose of natural reproduction. This is obviously morally false."

In the previous round I showed why according to Natural Law rape and abortion are unacceptable. Pro has refused to debate my contention, but instead believes that repeating the same argument over again is a sufficient argument.

Since Pro formed his syllogisms poorly I will reform them properly.

P1. Guardians must provide for the needs of young children in their care.
P2. Food is a need that young children cannot provide for themselves.
P3. The primary purpose of breasts is to produce food for young children.
P4. No other edible food for young children is present.
C. Guardians must provide their breast milk to young children (assuming they have lactating breasts obviously).

Whereas Pro's rape syllogism:


P1: “the sole purpose of the woman's womb is for reproduction”
P2: Species need to reproduce to survive
C: A male has a right to a female body to reproduce.

Pro has not proved the necessity for the species to survive. While it is a natural good for the species to survive, it is not a moral imperative that it do so. Additionally, Pro would have to show that no children (or at least a vastly insufficient number of children) are being born through consensual sexual relations to justify the conclusion.

In the previous round, I clearly showed that natural law denies the conclusion that Pro is presenting. As Pro has failed to attempt to refute the argument, I believe that the argument stands uncontested.


Argument 2 - Natural Contract

Pro has attempted to salvage his previous 4 counter arguments again.

1. Contraception

Contraception does entirely changes the concept of a contract. By using contraception a women is expressly implying that a contract of pregnancy is to be null and void as it is now clearly without her consent. A contract cannot be entered into without consent.

What Pro fails to understand is that sex is the contract. Contraception is merely an attempt to skew the odds that a certain clause of the contract is not enacted.

Actions have consequences. If an action has a predictable outcome, even if you tried to avoid that outcome, there is a responsibility incurred. Let's assume you and your buddy have gone out drinking and you decide to drive him home (NOTE TO READERS: DO NOT DRINK AND DRIVE). Now let's assume you get in an accident and he dies. Are you culpable of his death? Yup. Now, let's assume you didn't want him to die so you told him to put on his seat belt. If you got in an accident and he still died despite having his seat belt on would you still be culpable of his death? Even though you tried hard to make sure he didn't die? Yup you're still responsible.

Likewise with sex. The act of sexual intercourse has a natural purpose and possible outcome. The desire to avoid the possible outcome is merely an attempt to change the odds. An acceptance of sex is an implicit acceptance of the natural outcome.


2. Swimming

As I previously stated drowning while swimming isn't a moral argument nor is it a contractual argument as this is a single person activity and completely unrelated. Pro goes on to state:

"Aside from this the core argument stands. Engaging in a voluntary action while knowing that certain results are possible does not imply that one has tacitly consented to that result."

Once again Pro is equating examples that do not equate. The primary purpose of sex is procreation - Pro has never debated this point. The purpose of swimming is to not drown. So Pro's argument would be valid if the purpose of sex was to avoid getting pregnant, or the fundamental purpose of swimming was drowning - both of which are both obviously false.


3. Consent to Use the Body Does Not Mean Consent for Full 9 Months

Pro has merely restated this argument without adding further arguments or attempting to refute my counter argument. I have shown that it is clearly immoral to make someone dependent on you and then to take away that support without replacing it, thus endangering or even killing them.


4. Bodily Rights Are Unalienable

"No contention whatsoever just a question. I have no need to go into detail as my opponent has already agreed that such is the case with rights concerning ones body. “which is not in disagreement.”"

Pro is contending that I had no counter argument to the assertion that bodily rights are absolute when I stated: "Why are these rights widely accepted to be unalienable? How and why did they come to that conclusion?"

Apparently Pro has not been reading this entire debate. Every argument that I've made has been based on the concept that while bodily rights to exist, they are not absolute. What I asked him to do was to explain why this right is absolute and unalienable and how one comes to that conclusion. While I have shown in 2 different methods why this is not true in the case of pregnancy, he has provided no actual argument but chose to simply restate his bare assertion that it is absolute.

Pro completely failed to address the argument in this section, the woman's body is her agent and has the right to bind her to a natural contract for that which it has been designed to perform and which is a natural good to the woman. Thus consent has already been granted through a natural contract. To assert a right to refuse would break this contract. This is in stark contrast to Judith Jarvis Thomson's violinist argument for which there is no natural contract in place as neither the person, nor the person's body has established a right to use the body to filter blood for the violinist. Thus it is clear that the violinist argument fails.

In Round 3 Pro gave the meaning of unalienable to mean:

Meaning such a right cannot be taken or given away legitimately.

And in this round Pro stated:

It is moral to retain the right to your own body.

This would of course mean that one has absolute right over their body always and forever. Under this logic I could make the following argument:

My best friend needs a kidney and I am a perfect match. So I offer him my kidney, 'cause I'm a really nice guy. A few years later my daughter is in a condition where she needs a kidney. If I have absolute unalienable right to my body that cannot be taken or given away then I should be able to force him to immediately get on the operating table and have my kidney transferred into my daughter - regardless of the outcome to him. While it would be honourable of him to give this kidney to my daughter, I think that we can agree that my daughter has no more right to the kidney than he does, and that I have legitimately rescinded any right that I have to the kidney. Thus the right to one's own body is not absolute and it is possible to agree to rescind one's right to part of it.

As such Pro's arguments fail once again.


Conclusions

I have presented two arguments that legitimately limit bodily rights in the case of abortion.

The first clearly showed that the violinist argument was an inaccurate analogy because the natural function of the kidney is to filter the blood of the organism to which it belongs and not to another entity. The purpose of the female reproductive system is to create, sustain and protect life during the earliest stages of life. So not only does the violinist analogy fail, but it can be clearly seen that the function of this portion of the woman's body exists precisely for the benefit of her unborn children.

The second argument is that the woman cannot have an abortion because there are natural contracts in place binding her to not harm her unborn child. The woman's body is her natural agent because it carries out beneficial actions for the mother without being actively instructed to do so. There are 3 possible contracts that are engaged.

1. Voluntary sex is a natural contract to accept conception because it is the natural result of the act engaged in by 2 parties. This is the only conscious natural engaged in.

2. Ovulation is an act of offering to create and attempt to nurture a child. This contract is accepted when a sperm merges with the ovum.

3. Preparing the lining of the womb is a second natural contract by the woman's natural agent. This is an act showing a desire to nurture and provide for any child present in her womb.

These 3 contracts singly or in combination bind the mother to a certain contractual obligation - which in this case would eliminate the option of abortion.

I believe that I have shown these 2 arguments completely deny the woman having a moral option to abort her unborn children.


I wish to thank Pro for a good debate, and I look forward to the comments of any judges on this debate.
Debate Round No. 4
32 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by kasmic 2 years ago
kasmic
I did.
Posted by Geogeer 2 years ago
Geogeer
My pleasure! I hope that you got what you wanted out of it...
Posted by kasmic 2 years ago
kasmic
Congrats on your win!

Thanks again for the debate.
Posted by Geogeer 2 years ago
Geogeer
My thanks to Whiteflame for taking the time to vote and comment. This is the first time that I have presented my natural contract idea. I expected it to be a bit awkward first time through, but expect it to become more concise over time.
Posted by whiteflame 2 years ago
whiteflame
RFD (Pt. 1):

Right off the bat, one of the biggest problems with this debate is that it's never firmly clarified what it is that's being argued and who has the burden of proof. It's assumed from the outset "that a fetus does in fact have a right to life", but I can't for the life of me figure out what that means for the debate as a whole. It seems to mean that I should assume Con, since the right to life is valuable, but Con never capitalizes on this. I never see an argument about what having the right to life means, or what I should take from that assumed reality. It seems to me that this is a very important starting point because it grants Con several arguments that force Pro to outweigh, but I never get any clear idea of how that function plays out.

Similarly, the burdens analysis is nowhere to be found. Who has the burden of proof? It seems readily apparent from the topic that that burden belongs to Pro: he must show moral acceptability (i.e. moral goodness) exists in making the decision to and going through with an abortion. But I never get any analysis from Con showcasing that. Instead, Pro seems to often attempt to shift the burden to Con, arguing that he must prove certain key pieces of his moral theory in order for it to be valid. I don't think it's ever clear why he must do so " if both sides fail to prove anything with this resolution, then I presume Con. I suppose it's possible to shift the burden reasonably, but I need analysis as to why Con's position necessitates that he carries the burden here.
Posted by whiteflame 2 years ago
whiteflame
(Pt. 2)

For that matter, I cannot figure out what Pro needs to do to win the debate. This might seem obvious, but closer inspection actually makes this less certain. Does Pro have to show that, in general, abortion is morally acceptable? Would it be sufficient for him to show that abortion is morally permissible in cases of medical necessity? It might. After Con's R2, I thought Pro might have very well taken that tack, but he never goes for it. Thus, I'm forced to evaluate the debate by looking at the broader issue of abortion in general, which doesn't do Pro any favors.

That being said, let's get into the arguments.

We begin with an argument from Pro that really doesn't seem to go anywhere. "The Violinist" argument is a common one illustrating an issue with the Pro-Life argumentation, but it needs substantial explanation to clarify why abortion is the moral choice, as opposed to simply being a reasonable option that should be on the table. The logic I'm getting from this is that I would be wronged in being forced to keep this violinist alive, but that doesn't necessarily showcase the importance of my bodily integrity. It's unclear how I'm being wronged here. My gut tells me I'm being wronged, but you don't want to rely on the many guts of your voters to decide this. I need to see where the wrong has occurred, and then I need to see the parallels to pregnancy. Why is it absurd that the violinist has a right to my body? I could argue from a utilitarian perspective that it's entirely moral that said violinist retain that right.
Posted by whiteflame 2 years ago
whiteflame
(Pt. 3)

But what this fundamentally comes down to is that there's a basic assertion behind Pro's arguments that simply isn't getting support. Pro keeps hammering this point about "an absolute right to determine what happens in and to" a woman's body " in other words, an individual right to autonomy and self-ownership. I can't find any point at which Pro argued why it's absolute. I can't locate any argument regarding why, if it is absolute, it necessarily is more absolute than the right to life. Similarly, if it's not absolute, I need to know why it outdistances the right to life in importance.

Fundamentally, there just seems to be a lot of links missing here. Pro made an argument " that being forcibly required to keep someone alive medically is harmful " and leaves it without warrants or the necessary links to make it clear how it lines up with the debate as a whole. The link is merely assertion, and the impact nebulous.

Con's case is more careful and precise. He presents two major arguments, the first of which attempts to show that natural rights convey a moral obligation to keeping said potential child alive until birth, and the second focusing on a tacit contract entered into when one has sex.
Posted by whiteflame 2 years ago
whiteflame
(Pt. 4)

The first argument does start out without significant warrants, as it begs the question of why purpose should natural purpose should necessarily dictate morality. Much of Con's argument does develop these warrants and builds a convincing case, but the case that he builds seems to engage somewhat in the problem I presented with Pro's argument " Con simply states that natural law dictates that the womb be used a certain way, and says that misuse is necessarily immoral. It's unclear as to why, in this case, it is necessarily immoral (all of the examples really don't clarify this), or why defiance of natural law in general is necessarily immoral. It's sort of just assumed that, because one denial of nutrients is presumed to be immoral, the denial of a space in which a fetus can develop is also immoral, but I'm missing a link here. The explanations just seem to dance around this point, but Pro never really pins down the problem, pointing to more solid parts that are easily defended. That makes this argument look solid.

The second argument is much simpler to go through, and the example of a landholder inviting someone to stay is quite effective. I do end up somewhat confused as to what the breaking of a contract actually does, since the focus is on any of them holding up, but I'm forced to buy (due to a lack of argumentation from Pro) that any one of these contracts being upheld is sufficient to negate the resolution.
Posted by whiteflame 2 years ago
whiteflame
(Pt. 5)

I do have some issues with the argument in general. I'd say it's a little odd to argue that ovulation is itself a tacit contract, since it's not something entered into voluntarily (contrary to Todd Akin's remarks), and neither is implantation. Pro could have made this clearer in his argument, but it's unreasonable to treat an involuntary act as signing a contract. The argument regarding consensual sex is more convincing, and the responses to Pro's various objections make sense to me. Some of the stronger responses that could have been made to this require objecting to the natural law argumentation, since this necessarily assumes that the purpose of sex is solely reproduction, and that anyone engaging in it necessarily is consenting to that plausible outcome, but I don't see that line of argumentation from Pro.

So the easiest place for me to vote is on contract. As long as I believe that breaking a contract is immoral, and I get that argumentation quite clearly, that's sufficient for me to negate. I could also negate using the Breasts argument, despite my concerns, on the basis that the argumentation stands to the end unrefuted. I'd say the biggest mistake by Pro is not addressing the substance of Con's arguments. Con presents a lot of structure to his case and makes clear through his points what he has to win in order for the argument to survive. It seemed that a lot of times, Pro targeted a single concern, and while that can be effective, it makes for a simple defense. Generating a couple of syllogisms as Pro did appeared to be a straw man, and the responses to the natrual contract argument are a little too threadbare to truly stand by themselves. The contraception argument, in particular, could have been rather important if the reasoning had been expanded substantially.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by whiteflame 2 years ago
whiteflame
kasmicGeogeer
Who won the debate:-Vote Checkmark
Reasons for voting decision: Given in comments.
Vote Placed by philochristos 2 years ago
philochristos
kasmicGeogeer
Who won the debate:-Vote Checkmark
Reasons for voting decision: The violinist argument showed that people have rights to bodily autonomy, but Pro did not show that right to be absolute. However, the scenario is analogous in some ways to pregnancy, so Con needed to show a disanalogy which he did with h to he breast feeding scenario and by appealing to natural function. I thought the breast feeding scenario successfully showed that the right to bodily sovereignty is not absolute, and I don't think Pro adequately answered that. I did not find Con's contract argument to be very persuasive, but I don't think Pro adequately refuted that either. His two reductios were based on mischaracterizations of Con's argument. Con made some new arguments in the final round that I think should be ignored.