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Bullish's position on abortion (restarted)

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/9/2014 Category: People
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,089 times Debate No: 49443
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (13)
Votes (1)




This is the restarted version of my debate with Bullish over his view on abortion. I had Ore_Ele restart it because extenuating circumstances on my part caused me to forfeit. I don't anticipate that I will be forfeiting this one, so I think the debate will be uninterrupted.

Burden of proof is on Pro to defend his position.

Debate Rules:

1) Pro will write his case in round 1.

2) Pro will abstain from posting any arguments or rebuttals in round 3 in order to ensure an equal number of rounds for both sides to debate.


Abortion- a medical procedure used to end a pregnancy and cause the death of the fetus. []

Bullish's position:

Bullish says: "First, cutting off nutrients to a fetus is not killing. As Batman once said, "I don't want to kill you, but I don't have to save you either". Second, I believe in the "right" to no life. If a bundle of flesh can make no rational choices, then it the duty of the mother/universally agreed upon governing body to make that decision for it. I extend this to infants, mentally retarded humans, and animals. How we know what is reasonable is another issue." I invite you to defend this position. Please state your case in R1. We will argue over it in the following rounds. But, please do not post in R3.


I re-accept this debate.

...Like Con stated, this is me trying to defend my position. Con appears to want to be more informed of the opinions of others on the issue of abortion. From what I gather of his comments in the comments section, I'm supposed to just say what I believe and he will observe it. So, this "debate" will have a different format than my former debates. This debate will be in a more prose style, flowing from one idea to another, instead of having organized sections and contentions.

I need to explain my view on abortion more. What I believe is that abortion itself should be practiced without social backlash. I believe that that there are situations where abortion is an objectively better option than not aborting. What I had stated in my opinion on abortion is not a guideline, just an assertion that there are cases where it is better for one decision to be made for another person, rather than having them make it themselves. To support this view, and perhaps avoid the constant stream of "why"s and "so what"s, I must start from the basics, the very basics.

Obviously we have to pragmatically accept some sort of reality for this debate to happen; I want to stay on philosophy, not metaphilosophy. I assume that I and my opponents live in similar realities. I don't want to debate matter this further.

The reason that any of this even matters is because life-forms are cybernetic systems. While the universe may not have a purpose, cybernetic systems do. The purpose of life and society is simple: to live on. Humans have acquired a unique goal: to be happy. As a fellow cybernetic system myself, and a part of a greater cybernetic system, I care. As an individual, I am a rational egotist with bases in Game theory. I believe I am the best at benefiting myself in some cases, but I other cases, I'd rather lay taxes. Societal, I am a pragmatic utilitarian. The term pragmatic simply means I think there isn't a practical calculus that we can apply to every situation and come up with the best solution. We should rely on empirics, experiences, and even intuition for certain things. Utilitarian is more descriptive of my philosophy. I believe that the greatest good for the greatest number is the "best." Each individual has his own version of what is "best," but ultimately, when he achieves what he believes is best, one thug happens: chemicals in his brain. When he is hooked up a hypothetical machine that constantly injects dopamine, serotonin, adrenalin or any other chemicals into his brain without building any resistance, he is happy, and that is what he is looking for, regardless of what noble causes he believe he is looking for. These labels I put on myself are not absolute. They are good guidelines, but the pragmatist part says I'd rather treat each case individually.

Although most humans look at what I described with the disdain they have for 1984, it's what we have been working towards for eons. Look at all the periodicals, do they not provide advice on how to be happy?


Society itself is as complex as the human body. Each cell in the human body is selfish, yet selfless at the same time. So in human society, we must make amends and compromises where possible. Perhaps one finally begins seeing where my position on abortion comes from. The concept of rights is useful, but not absolute. Arguing from rights is therefore pointless unless those rights govern society. Rights do govern society, IMO pretty effectively. I will argue for abortion partly from rights.

It is a woman’s right to do what she wishes with her body. Theoretically, she’s not killing the baby. She’s removing it from her body. While it is true that in many abortion cases, it is simply more practical to grind up the baby and suck it out with a tube, induced premature birth is also possible. Just because you suddenly became dependent on me doesn’t mean I’m suddenly obligated to help you. Bsh1 had summarized this position well with the “violinist” example: .

Young people don’t have rights until they turn 18 in this country. They can’t drive, can’t vote, can’t even drink, and have to spend 6 hours a day in a labor camp. That’s perfectly acceptable because young people do not have the same mental capacity to make rational choices for themselves, and they do not have the same societal position to do what an established adult can do. Babies who can’t even put 2 and 2 together don’t deserve rights.

Imagine a case where abortion would be good. Say, the mother was raped, in danger of dying if she does not abort the baby, and unable to support the baby if it is born. Say the baby was prenatally diagnosed with a rare disease which made it paralyzed from the neck down, be in constant pain, and mentally retarded. If it were born, it would be a burden on the mother, itself, and society. Any wise person would abort.

The problem with society is that it looks at abortion as inherently bad. Whatever the reason, society will look down upon those who abort; worse, they want to physically punish those people. Society believes that stealing from the corrupt is justifiable, it believes drugs should be banned, it even believes murder in self-defense is honorable; why not abortion?

What if it wasn’t for all of the reasons listed above? What if it was just one? The most practical thing would be to leave it up to mother. If she doesn’t want the baby, what good could come out of it? If she wants to kill the baby when it’s not born, what makes her suddenly want to keep it alive after it’s born? The mother loses utility if she is forced to give birth, and the baby doesn’t have the capacity to have utility.

What if the baby has a debilitating disease that renders him unable to feel happiness, but the mother out of her selfish desire to raise an offspring decides to keep it? Ideally, she would be forced to abort. But she has rights, and rights are a practical way to govern society. She would gain her utility, society would see her suffering, and learn that giving birth to a sad baby is bad.

Abortion shouldn’t be illegal at any stage.


One can extend some of what I said above to fully grown adults who are too retarded to rake care of themselves. Yes, I believe that if a person doesn’t have to capacity to ask for their own rights, then they have no rights. Their rights come from someone else’s. Their care takers “own” them in a special form, and they share rights.
Debate Round No. 1


Thanks to Bullish for re-accepting this debate. I'm not going to get too technical with this debate and I won't go too in-depth. Therefore, I'll be doing the same thing as my opponent, just arguing in a semi-formal, prose manner.

Firstly, my opponent opens by saying that a woman has the right to do what she wishes with her body. If this is taken in the most literal sense, then my opponent is flat out wrong. After all, I don't think that my opponent would think that a woman should be allowed to hurt, harm, or kill someone without moral justification even if she is exercising her bodily autonomy to do so. If my opponent agrees that some restrictions should be set forth, then we can reject this claim. However, for the sake of colloquial leniency I am just going to assume that my opponent means that a woman should be allowed to control who uses her body to survive, how long someone uses her body to survive, and when someone uses her body to survive. If this is not what my opponent means and he actually means that a woman should literally be allowed to do anything they want with her body without restrictions, then I understand, but he hasn't defended this statement. So, I invite him to do so in the next round.

Next, my opponent says that abortion doesn't kill the baby, but the definition I provided contradicts this. My intention is not to play semantics, but rather it is to show that abortion does kill the fetus, by definition. The definition of abortion is, "a medical procedure used to end a pregnancy and cause the death of the fetus." [] Yes, the main goal of an abortion is ultimately to end the pregnancy, but the fetus' death is the only way to do this. So, unless the woman's right to not be pregnant makes it permissible to kill the fetus, then we have no reason to accept this. The fetus is the sole object of an abortion. After all, an abortion isn't successful unless it results in the death of the fetus []. So, from all of this, we can conclude that abortion is intrinsically geared towards ending the fetus' life in order to end the pregnancy.

My opponent then cites the "violinist example" from bsh1's debate against donald.keller. I completely agree that it is morally permissible to unplug yourself from the violinist you've been forcibly attached to. But, I can still accept the example as sound and still be skeptical of abortion's morally permissibility. In order to stay true to the nature of this debate's prose, semi-formal style I will briefly cover some of my criticisms the violinist argument rather than going into a long, extrapolated rebuttal. My first criticism is that the violinist analogy equates action with inaction. In abortion, the act, in and of itself, is meant to kill the fetus so that the pregnancy ends. Therefore, we should affirm that abortion is the direct and active killing of the fetus. After all, abortion isn't successful unless the fetus dies and the definition of abortion tells us that death of the fetus must occur so that it even is an abortion. Now, when you unplug yourself from the violinist you aren't actively and directly killing them, you are passively allowing them to die. You are not killing them, the ailment they suffer from is. Therefore, I think that it is a false comparison in this regard. My second objection, briefly, is that you are not responsible for the violinist you are attached to. In pregnancy, you are responsible for the fetus living off of you. Excluding non-consensual sexual intercourse (rape), the man and the woman consensually and knowingly engaged in a sexual act that they knew would result in a new human organism being created. The fact that they aren't responsible enough to accept the consequences of their actions (a new organism coming into existence), then we have no reason to view my opponent's defense of his position as acceptable.

My opponent next states that young people don't have rights in this country until they turn 18. However, his argument fails because he only cites legal rights.... which are privileges that people gain once they turn a certain age. This includes being able to drive, vote, drink, etc. My opponent never covers moral rights. Rights granted to us because we are human persons. These include the right-to-life, the right of bodily autonomy, the freedom of speech, the right to privacy, etc. To deny anyone these fundamental moral rights because of their age just seems like raging ageism to me and I'm not convinced that age and the ability to make rational decisions are morally relevant in determining whether or not one deserves rights.

Next, my opponent cites example of when abortion would be good. I agree with the first two examples. Killing the fetus when the mother's life is in danger seems like self-defense and would therefore be acceptable. As for cases of rape, the violinist example is a better defense of abortion in this case because two people didn't engage in voluntary sexual intercourse and would therefore not be jointly responsible for the fetus or violinist they are attached to. Now, my opponent cites an example where the fetus will be paralyzed, in constant pain, and mentally retarted. While the likelihood of all these things occuring in one case is miniscule, I will admit to its possibility. I also admit that they may be a burden on society, but I don't see how this makes abortion acceptable. After all, I don't see how it would be acceptable to kill a born person who suffers from the same thing as the fetus in your example simply because they are a burden on society. Why is it acceptable to kill someone because they are/will be a burden on society?

My opponent says that self-defense is honorable, but why not abortion? Well, because killing in self-defense is different from abortion, in most cases. In abortion, the goal is to end the pregnancy by killing the fetus. The goal of killing in self-defense is to end someone else's life so as to protect your own. I don't see how the are analogous so that abortion could be seen as acceptable.

My opponent then asserts that abortion is the most practical thing to do, but doesn't defend this. He says that when a woman is forced to give birth, the she loses utility, but doesn't actually touch on how the mother losing utility because of her actions means she can abort to alleviate herself of her responsibility. He also says that the baby doesn't have utility, but again doesn't argue how this makes abortion acceptable or morally permissible.

My opponent continues by citing an example of a baby that has a debilitating disease that renders him unable to feel happiness. While I doubt whether or not this example is realistic, I think that it wouldn't be so common and this would be one of the times where abortion may be acceptable. But, I'm not arguing that abortion isn't practical, moral, or acceptable in any situation. This should be obvious from what I've said thus far.

My opponent says that abortion shouldn't be illegal at any stage. I invite him to defend this statement.

My opponent then says that if one doesn't have the capacity to ask for rights, then they don't deserve rights. I'm extremely skeptical of this. Do tell, Pro.

Thanks to Bullish for those intriguing and engaging opening arguments. I look forward to his response.


Thanks to my opponent for responding.


I agree with my opponent’s paragraph on what rights women should have. As I explained in R1, I believe that rights are important in maintaining the social integrity that allows a favorable environment for gaining utility.

My opponent states that abortion must involve killing the fetus and sites the Merriam-Webster dictionary. He did not, however, include the actual definition. The “full” definition states that abortion is “the termination of a pregnancy after, accompanied by, resulting in, or closely followed by the death of the embryo or fetus.” [ ] As we can see, it’s the termination of pregnancy, not the actual killing. The phrase “termination of a pregnancy… closely followed by the death of the embryo or fetus” should signal that at least in some cases, the fetus dies after the mother removes her life support. The fact that killing the baby is included in the definition is only a testament to the commonality of the occurrence. We observe the definition of a sycamore: “a tree of the eastern and central U.S. that has light-brown bark that peels off in thin flakes.” [ ]Clearly, a sycamore growing in Great Britain will still be classified as a sycamore, just as an abortion without the death of the fetus is still an abortion.

This is however, irrelevant unless we wish to place all our weight on rights, which I’m certain some people do. I do not believe that everything should be placed on rights, and I explained practically why not.

Con rebuts the violinist example by stating that it is equating action with inaction. That is not true. Unplugging yourself is an action. Con then states that abortion is not successful unless the fetus dies, but I showed why this is not true in the definitions paragraph. My opponent’s third rebuttal states that sex implicitly obligates a woman to not abort. This is an unsubstantiated arbitration. One does not accept responsibility by doing something that is unrelated. One accepts responsibility when one agrees to accept responsibility. For example, I could decree from now on that any person who drinks water must not collect their pay check next month; I could similarly argue that any person not responsible enough to obey this decree is unfit to drink water. It is irrational.

My opponent does not define “moral rights” and provides no grounds on which to assert why “natural rights,” which are themselves arbitrarily defined by a few men some centuries ago, must be obeyed at all times. Only (negative) rights are relative to the discussion, whose only variance is how much we care about them. I acknowledge that rights we care more about should be treasured more closely, and rights we care less about sacrificed for the greater rights if necessary. Therefore, the rights of the young and ignorant are justifiably violatable.

My opponent asks me why it is acceptable to kill persons who are burdens on society. That is a loaded question, as I did not assert it is acceptable. I asserted that it is acceptable to not grant them rights, because it is logical to assume that rights only apply to those who care about them (not an abstract “potential” to care about them). The counter balance is if someone else who is intelligent cared about the inepts’ rights for them; brutally put, this is called property ownership; having custody of a child or otherwise inept people is a cross between owning the person and giving them rights.

Killing them or otherwise containing them would cost resources. Even if we kill them, involuntary euthanasia of an Alzheimer’s sufferer arguably brings about more utility than having that person forget that putting your hands in a bender is dangerous. However, if enough people fear that involuntary euthanasia will slide down the slippery slope one day to themselves, it is reasonable to ban it. The same is not true with abortion. There are no slippery slope arguments for why abortion would lead to legalizing murdering a pro-life person. The reason I do not think society should actively seek out the “burdens” is because of the energy involved in seeking them, which are in general much better spent doing actually useful things. My opponent asks this because he does not see how abortion is acceptable if the fetus is known to be a burden on society. I answer that because it is already known that the fetus will very likely to be a burden on society. Self-defense uses the same logic, except on a much more short-sighted scale. The money and utility spent by a mother on raising a disabled child she does not wish to raise has an opportunity cost on those who do wish to raise a child.

Abortion: killing fetus to save resources; self-defense: killing person to save life. My opponent uses an unfitting analogy by comparing the result of abortion as solely the death of the fetus. No rational person kills babies for the sake of killing babies.

My opponent appears to agree that the mother gains utility even though he said I did not support it. He uses the word “alleviate” to describe a mother who has an abortion. Alleviate is a word associated with positive utility. It appears that my opponent rejects my utilitarian views, which permits abortion. I explained my utilitarian views in R1, and I welcome him to rebut it here or in another debate (although I may not do another debate in a long time).

My examples are indeed at times unrealistic. But I use them as relevant reducto absurdio arguments to help better understand my arguments. They should not be taken literally.

I say that abortion should not be illegal at any stage, because the mother is the sole person who understands rights who is affected at any time before birth. This is different in other cases such as drinking or driving.

The last inquiry should have been addressed in the argument body.


To Con.
Debate Round No. 2


So, I created this debate thinking that I'd be able to compete all of the way through, but I've been putting it off far too long. I have been more attentive towards things much more important than this debate as of late and I think that I'm going to have to concede. I hate to forfeit and I have 7 minutes left. I have no intention to restart this debate, I've already done that once. Anyway, I'd like to thank Bullish for a fun debate and I hope that the voters vote in his favor. Thank you.


I hope my opponent is more persistent and successful in his other pursuits.
Debate Round No. 3
13 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by flame4321x 2 years ago
Also what the hell do you mean, a "right to no life"? You never elaborate, and you can't have the right to death at all, or else I would have an obligation to respect your right to death by killing you right now. That clearly is immoral, and that right you speak of is pretty much BS. Just wanted to put that out there.
Posted by flame4321x 2 years ago
I agree when you say a fetus is incapable of making rational decisions, but I disagree that the mother has the power to make any decision over the child. With the examples you gave, all of them never have the potential to ever be rational, and to ever make decisions. With this fetus, this child, they have the potential to make rational decisions. They will be able to make their own decisions in a (relatively) short 9 months. And will the baby choose to die? Of course not! All humans are self interested, and always try to do the best thing for themselves. And plus, if you do not buy that argument, and you still assume it is the mother's job to make decisions for that child, then you're missing the whole point of this tiny little issue called basic human rights, such as the right to life. The mother (acting rationally of course) would have to respect and protect any human life forms that she has the responsibility to make good decisions for. She has to respect the child's rights. So either way, by allowing for abortion you are making an immoral act, and a violation of human rights. You have 2 choices: a). You can kill the baby, gain immediate pleasure at the expense of your own child, violate the most fundamental human right, and take away the choice of a (future) rational being forever, or you can b). give the child up for adoption, and have it live a happy, safe life, and at the same time so can you. Hrmm. Tough choice...
Posted by Bullish 2 years ago
Do you want me to move this along or do you want more time?
Posted by Bullish 2 years ago
1 minute.
Posted by emospongebob527 2 years ago
Yeah. Sorry, I got held up. I'll post it soon.
Posted by emospongebob527 2 years ago
Yeah. Sorry, I got held up. I'll post it soon.
Posted by Bullish 2 years ago
2 hours.
Posted by emospongebob527 2 years ago
No, Bullish. It's just that I have done a lot of academic study on the topic of abortion and I find it extremely easy to argue in favor of either side. But, yes, I have flip-flopped on the issue of abortion before. Yes, my Dad is religious. Why?
Posted by Bullish 2 years ago
Weren't you pro on abortion about 15 hours ago? Aren't you the one with the religious dad?
Posted by emospongebob527 2 years ago
Just argue how your position on abortion is preferable to mine. I may actually edit it describing my position and then change my stance to Pro.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Geogeer 2 years ago
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: When you get a second shot yo don't waste it. That is a constant with everything in life. Con forfeits, Pro wins the debate.