The Instigator
Morty
Pro (for)
Winning
28 Points
The Contender
wingnut2280
Con (against)
Losing
12 Points

Banning abortion violates self-ownership.

Do you like this debate?NoYes+0
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Vote Here
Pro Tied Con
Who did you agree with before the debate?
Who did you agree with after the debate?
Who had better conduct?
Who had better spelling and grammar?
Who made more convincing arguments?
Who used the most reliable sources?
Reasons for your voting decision
1,000 Characters Remaining
The voting period for this debate does not end.
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/5/2008 Category: Politics
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,775 times Debate No: 2427
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (3)
Votes (12)

 

Morty

Pro

This will be a four round debate.

For the purposes of this debate, I would like to ask that my opponent begins with these three assumptions: 1) all persons are legitimate self-owners, 2) life begins at conception, and 3) all persons have the same rights.

I would like to start by saying that I believe abortion is a tragedy and is completely immoral in all cases. In spite of this, it should not be prohibited by law.

Women, as self-owners, have complete dominion over their bodies and, insofar as they do not violate the rights of anyone else, they may use their bodies as they please. That is, they have no positive obligations to anyone regarding the use of their bodies.

The correct property-rights analysis is one of eviction. Just as a landlord may evict a tenant, a woman may evict her child from her property (in this case, from her body).
wingnut2280

Con

While I agree, all of us have property rights over our bodies. However, these rights to ourselves are abandoned when exercising them infringes on the rights of others. ie. abortion is the exercise of the property rights you mentioned, but exercising those rights violates the superior right to life of another.

This holds because you concede that life begins at conception. Therefore, a mother exercising her property rights is a rights violation in and of itself.

This is a fundamental constitutional principle. We don't have the right to freedom of speech if it infringes on others rights.

If we are to assume that we all have equal rights, acting to violate the right to life of another in the process of exercising property rights would forfeit your own right to life.
Debate Round No. 1
Morty

Pro

Do we have a "right to life"? I do not believe so. If one person has a right, that implies a responsibility for the rest of the rational beings in the universe. If I have a right to not have my cellphone stolen (that is to say, I am the legitimate owner of the cellphone), then you and everyone else have a responsibility to not steal it from me. If I have a right to exclude from my property, then you have an obligation to stay off my property unless I permit your entrance. Now what would a "right to life" imply? That would mean that everyone has a responsibility, an obligation, to make sure I stay alive. If I die, my rights have been violated by every single person, regardless of the circumstances of my death. It would imply that every starving person must be fed, every dehydrated person given a drink, every freezing person given shelter - so as to prevent death. It would imply that if we had a machine which could transfer "life force" then any time someone died, everyone would have a responsibility to transfer some of their "life force" to ensure that person lived on. A right to life is untenable and, indeed, would violate the doctrine of self-ownership which has been accepted for the purposes of this debate. Most certainly being forced to transfer life force would be a violation of self-ownership on the basest of levels, no?

The fact of the matter is that a "right to life" does not exist, and cannot exist.

Also, I would like to dispel the notion of "superior rights," and thus "inferior rights." There is no such thing. Rights are absolutes, or they cannot be considered "rights." Rights do not ever conflict, or again they would lack the nature of "rights."

Finally, it seems the main objection my opponent has is that as a result of evicting the child from the mother's property (her body), the child dies. But what if we were to extend this theory to property owners of other kinds? Let us assume that it is a particularly cold winter. In an act of charity, a local apartment owner allows a few homeless people to seek shelter inside his building because he has a few unused rooms. Would the apartment owner not be allowed to later evict these homeless people from his apartment building, for whatever reason, if he knew they would die in the cold? Did, by his act of allowing the homeless people to have shelter, the apartment owner create an obligation he did not previously have?
wingnut2280

Con

Your right to life argument ignores the distinction between killing and letting die. Surely, abortion is an instance of killing, a direct and decisive violation of the right, as the mother is choosing to terminate the life. The right to life is not the right to never die, but rather to never have our life unjustly taken from us. Abortion is a grave instance of this.

The obligation to sacrifice something to save another person is certainly contentious, but that doesn't apply to this argument. The child doesn't need to be saved, he/she just needs to not be killed. There is a major distinction.

My notion of superior rights was simply to imply that some rights are preconditioned on others. Certainly, have the right to self-ownership is preconditioned on being alive.

Your analogy isn't analogous. Again, the difference between killing and letting die. 'Eviction' in the abortion scenario, kills the child. In the landlord scenario, the obligation isn't one of killing.
Debate Round No. 2
Morty

Pro

Abortion is not necessarily an act of killing any more than the example with the apartment owner. In the case that the procedure kills the child in itself and unnecessarily (as in partial birth abortion), then it should be prohibited and certainly does violate the rights of the child. But, abortions are not that way in general. We already have the ability to keep a very prematurely removed child alive. As medicine advances, a child may one day be viable outside the womb from day one. But, in any case, the mother is just as much "letting die" as the apartment owner. She is merely removing the child from her property, not killing him/her. The certainty of the child dying outside the womb is not of consequence, from a property rights perspective.

Furthermore, the moment the mother no longer wants the child in her body, the child becomes a trespasser. As such, if the only way to evict is to kill, then that is still legitimate. Other methods of removal should be used, if possible and available, but if none exist, then the killing is still legitimate. Take the following example of this:
Let us assume that there is a property which exists on the top of a high plateau, with cliffs which drop hundreds of feet to a valley surrounding it. There is no transportation to the bottom. Now, a plane above malfunctions and the pilot is forced to eject, landing on this property. Does not the property owner still have a right to demand that the trespasser leave his property immediately? If the pilot does not, would not the property owner be justified in physically removing him from the property by force? This is the situation at hand. Yes, it would be grossly immoral to do such a thing, but the property owner has the right to do so.

Taking of life in abortion is not necessarily unjust. It is only so when viable alternatives exist and the taking of life is unnecessary for eviction.
wingnut2280

Con

First, the killing versus letting die distinction is apparent. Abortion or the termination of the pregnancy is a direct killing of the child. This is much different than the landlord because the lives aren't directly correlated to him from a rights perspective. While he did potentially save those men from dying in the cold, the mother initiated the situation out of her own choice and in terminating it or exercising her rights is directly responsible for the death. The landowner was not initially responsible and does not face the burden of killing the impromptu tenants.

Think of it in this light. The landlord sees a child drowning. He doesn't HAVE to swim out and save the child, but can if he so desires. The mother on the other hand, sees a perfectly healthy child on the bank of a river and pushes him in. This is the distinction. While the landlord faces no burden in saving the men, he can choose to 'unsave' them and exercise his rights. The mother, on the other hand, is not in this situation. She is taking an otherwise functional and existing life and ending it as a result of exercising her rights.

More importantly, your argument hinges on property rights outweighing those of life. The mother is only just in taking the life (exercising her rights) if those rights trump the right to life that the child has. This is to value self-ownership over the right to be alive. This is like arguing that I can exercise free speech even if it takes someone's life. While I do agree that everyone should have the right to own themselves and have the right to exercise their rights, these rights shouldn't be accessible when they directly interfere with the rights of another, specifically and especially a more superior right, like being alive. 'Eviction' as you have presented abortion, therefore, is only justified in a scenario where an equal right of the mother is being withheld. In other words, if the child threatens the life of the mother, she has every right to 'evict' the child.

Assimilating a child in the womb to a tenant-landlord relationship simply doesn't work out. While I agree that the mother should have rights over her own body, these rights cannot be exercised when they strip rights from others, as is one of our country's fundamental constitutional principles.
Debate Round No. 3
Morty

Pro

Morty forfeited this round.
wingnut2280

Con

wingnut2280 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by Morty 9 years ago
Morty
Okay, that was it. Again, I apologize for missing the deadline.
Posted by Morty 9 years ago
Morty
Also, our country's "constitutional principles" hold no water here, not only because it is arbitrary and self-contradictory, but also because it is the reflection only of how the United States is supposed to be run (whereas we are discussing things in a universal sense of legitimate and illegitimate). I won't go further on this point, but merely wish to mention it so that it is no longer used where it is not valid or relevant.

As to your analogy, I do not think it is at all appropriate. What would make more sense is what I suggested earlier, a downed pilot lands on a plateau owned by someone, with no ways down to the valley below. The property owner has the right to evict, even if the pilot would die as a result. His property rights had been infringed upon by a trespasser.
Your analogy assumes that the child was self-sufficient prior to the woman exercising her property right to evict. But how is this true? The child depended entirely on the mother, indeed, that is the reason the child can't survive outside the womb. This is not a fine and dandy child standing next to a lake being pushed in, this is a bum being thrown out of the house.
Posted by Morty 9 years ago
Morty
I was posting when the time ran out. Very sorry. I'll post the argument down here.

The right to life fallacy seems to continue, with the caveat that only killing is prohibited. But, again, I ask about my situation previously suggested of the downed pilot. Does the landowner have the right to evict the trespasser - and if so, how does this NOT apply to a pregnant woman?

Let us take your idea that eviction by force is only legitimate if the owner's life is threatened. How would this hold in a different situation of trespassing? We shall return to the homeless people who are allowed into the apartment by an act of charity. Now, assume that they refused to leave. The only way you could make them leave would be to kill them. Would the apartment owner be forced to allow them to stay, simply because the only way to evict them was through deadly force? They have made no threats towards his life, but simply will not be taken out unless they are killed. Legitimate or not?

However, this whole idea of the mother being able to violate the "right of life" that the child (according to you) holds when her own life is threatened is not consistent with one of the initial assumptions of this argument, that is that all people have the same rights. A life-threatening childbirth does not take away from the apparent right to life that the child has. This reasoning does not hold.

Now, in regards to the "conflicting rights" fallacy, again, right do not and CANNOT conflict. The very purpose of rights is to establish what one can do and the very definition is an absolute. If "rights" conflict, then one of the rights is not a legitimate one. Since we have already recognized self-ownership as legitimate, we must then reject the conflicting "right to life."
12 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Vote Placed by Morty 8 years ago
Morty
Mortywingnut2280Tied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:70 
Vote Placed by Kals 9 years ago
Kals
Mortywingnut2280Tied
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 
Vote Placed by Darth_Grievous_42 9 years ago
Darth_Grievous_42
Mortywingnut2280Tied
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 
Vote Placed by sluggerjal 9 years ago
sluggerjal
Mortywingnut2280Tied
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:03 
Vote Placed by blond_guy 9 years ago
blond_guy
Mortywingnut2280Tied
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 
Vote Placed by floydington25 9 years ago
floydington25
Mortywingnut2280Tied
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 
Vote Placed by KindredSpirit 9 years ago
KindredSpirit
Mortywingnut2280Tied
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 
Vote Placed by Minnesota_Iceman 9 years ago
Minnesota_Iceman
Mortywingnut2280Tied
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 
Vote Placed by kels1123 9 years ago
kels1123
Mortywingnut2280Tied
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:03 
Vote Placed by Logos 9 years ago
Logos
Mortywingnut2280Tied
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:03