The Instigator
forti
Pro (for)
Losing
4 Points
The Contender
la_bella_vita
Con (against)
Winning
27 Points

Death penalty kills guilty life, abortion kills innocents..Pro believes in death penalty not abortio

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/17/2007 Category: Politics
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,514 times Debate No: 590
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (7)
Votes (10)

 

forti

Pro

I am curious, how is it that you are against the death penalty yet support abortion. The death penalty is applied to guilty criminals, whereas abortion deals with an innocent life. I assume you will bring up the matter of when life begins. Please, in detail, explain when life for you does begin. My definition is that when the potential for life begins developing, i.e conception, life is set forth. This is not a moral issue for me so much as a matter of ethics.
la_bella_vita

Con

Hi! Thanks for the challenge.

This is my first debate, and I accepted mostly because I'd simply like to respond to your question. I was not going to accept your challenge at first because in theory I don't actually "disagree" with your stance in the title of this debate. However, your question is a good one and I'd like to at least explain my thought process for the answers to the questions in my profile (which is, I assume, where you found that I "agree" with abortion yet "disagree" with the death penalty)

For me, factors for which I base my decisions surrounding my choice not to support the death penalty are very different from those on which I base my decision to be pro-choice. I'll begin by explaining my stance on each and why I reached those conclusions.

DEATH PENALTY:
1. When it comes to the death penalty, first and foremost it quite simply doesn't sit well with me. Having the power to kill people for doing the same thing to someone else strikes me as an odd way of teaching a lesson. Maybe you've read the quote "why do we kill people who kill people to show that killing people is wrong?" It's a little silly, but it makes its point.

My personal opinion is that no one should be murdered or killed. For me, I feel that if I agreed to let these convicted murders be put to death, that would be condoning the exact thing that I find wrong about them. I'm not interested in the idea of anyone killing anyone, no matter who it is. (I know people are going to find this hypocritical when it comes to abortion, but just hold tight, I'll address that when I get to it)

2. Now obviously just because I don't want to kill these people doesn't mean I want them to be free. But thats exactly why we have prisons. Probably the biggest reason I am against the death sentence is that I think it's unnecessary. Has anything come out of a death sentence that is better than them just serving a life sentence? Taking away their right to breathe and live is a whole other step up from taking away their right to be free in society by keeping them in a prison cell for the rest of their life, and I don't think that the satisfaction that the families of those murdered feel is enough. I'm not interested in the idea of making people "feel better" by killing someone.

3. Lastly, the death penalty does NOT only put to death or sentence convicted murderers. There have been many innocent men/women on death row who have been released after new evidence has been revealed, or after someone else has confessed. One statistic states that 69 people have been released from Death Row since 1973 (http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org...).
This is something that bothers me. Beyond the fact that I don't agree with the fundamental idea of it, it's not going to be 100% accurate?? And what if someone actually dies on death row who was innocent? (and I'm sure they have, I just haven't researched it) Should the lawyers and judges be thrown in jail for murder after they wrongly sentence someone to the Death Penalty? The cycle could just go on and on.

ABORTION:
1. You say that you assume I'll bring up something in my argument here about when life begins. This is actually where you're wrong, and why I was hesitating to accept this debate. I don't actually have a strong opinion on "when life begins", and I could find decent arguments to justify either side of the argument. The fact is that this depends on your definition of life, which is really subjective for many people. As you mentioned, yours take on life is that it is from conception, when a sperm fertilizes egg. It could be argued that "life" begins at birth, this would be the breathing life of a person who is a singular part of this world and society. It could also be argued that a life "potential" occurs even earlier, at any instance of unprotected sex. This, to be honest, is a point that I'm not prepared to argue, nor interested in defending because I don't feel either argument is strong enough for me. Does "life" begin at conception? Yes, I believe it does, and science proves that. However, is a fetus a HUMAN LIFE yet? No, it is not. It is a "potential" human being.
This for me presents a quandary that I don't feel I need to address to decide my stance on abortion.

2. When I chose "agree" as my stance on abortion, I meant this in reference to the idea of whether abortion should be legal or not. Do I "agree" with the idea of abortion in general? No I do not. This is where I'll go back to my views on life/death and killing. As I stated before, I don't believe that ANYONE (if you believe that life begins at conception then this includes unborn fetus' as well) should die unfairly. If only it were as simple as "how can you not support the death penalty when you support killing babies?"... but it's not.

Since we are also talking about PREGNANCY, which includes physical changes, emotional changes, life changes and huge decisions for a woman in every way, which includes controversy over the definition of when a human life begins, which includes exceptions like pregnancies from rape or defective birth control methods, which only applies to ONE GENDER in a scenario that the other gender cannot even begin to conceive of (no pun intended).... I cannot in good conscience begin to fathom establishing a LAW that would FORCE a woman to be pregnant. I am always deeply saddened by the idea that abortion happens, saddened for the unborn child as well as for the mother who had to go through the process of making such a painful choice. But does this mean that a LAW is justified? In my mind, it is not.

Does that make sense? I hope I was able to make clearer the choice that I made on the "agree"/"disagree" points in my profile. I never know why there's only two options for things like that... for things that matter it always ends up being so much more complicated.

Thanks again for inviting me to debate! Looking forward to your response.
Debate Round No. 1
forti

Pro

Sorry it took me so long to respond…finals week. Anyways, here I go.

1.While I understand that you may feel that the death penalty is somewhat hypocritical, you must realize that some life is more valuable than others. It is a terrible thing to say, but is the driving force of civilization since the dawn of society. The force drives consistently because it is true. Since biblical times it is seen that the death penalty existed "Whoever sheds man's blood by man his blood shall be shed" (Genesis 9:6). Straying away from Bible, Jean Jacque Rousseau wrote an in depth essay on the Social Contract. "Again every rogue who severely attacks social rights becomes, by his wrong, a rebel and a traitor to his homeland. By breaking its laws, he ceases to be one of its citizens: he even wages war against it. In such circumstances, the state and he cannot both be saved: one or the other must perish. In killing the criminal, we destroy not so much a citizen as an enemy." He describes the most important part of the death penalty; criminals are enemies. They give up their rights once they decide to break the law. When they decide to take life, they become less valuable and more hazardous to society. We must protect the most people as we can. It is the basic principle of utilitarianism. If we fail to help the greatest number possible, than we fail as a society. Sometimes it is a harsh reality, but killing is necessary.
2.The criminals that are killed are not contributing members of society. We are not killing anything but the potential for more crime. The average inmate on death row has an 11th grade education, 8% have been convicted of prior homicide, and 65% prior felonies. Those numbers are far to high for my comfort. We are talking about guilty criminals being convicted by a jury of their peers, who find them too dangerous and unfit for life. Something must be said for our Justice system. Innocent life must be held at a higher value than that of a dangerous criminal. "If we execute murderers and there is in fact no deterrent effect, we have killed a bunch of murderers. If we fail to execute murderers, and doing so would in fact have deterred other murders, we have allowed the killing of a bunch of innocent victims. I would much rather risk the former. This, to me, is not a tough call" (John McAdams).
3.There are three main problems with a life sentence as opposed to the death penalty; escape, living above their means, and the potential for more crime. The average death row inmate is held in a medium security prison. Though it is rare, there has been death row inmates who have escaped. It is a risk to have the possibility of a killer on the streets. Think if Saddam Hussein would have been put in jail for life. Don't you think that Al Qaeda would have gone to great lengths to free him? Next, criminals who are extremely wealthy, i.e. drug lords or mob bosses, can bribe guards and live a decent life in prison walls. They can have all of the luxuries of home, comforts that are undeserved. Finally, if a murderer is kept in a medium security prison it would be easily achievable for them to kill another inmate.

Don't confuse in believing the death penalty for every crime with that of when it is necessary.

Moving on to abortion…

I do see where you are coming from. I think that we just have different ideas on how circumstances should be handled. You do seem to disagree with abortion though, am I correct in saying that? I firmly believe in taking responsibility for your actions. If a young girl or woman gets pregnant, than they have an obligation to that new life. That obligation should not stop at birth, though for many, it does. If you can not raise a child our government has ways of helping with that. To give life is a woman's most powerful gift. To destroy that gift serves only to demean female populous. I am not female, so I certainly can't speak from experience. Only my convictions, which I hold firmly.

Once again sorry it took so long to respond. Let me know if I need to clear anything up. As far as abortion goes I think we stand on the same platform as far as the execution of the act goes, only the law remains in speculation. And I agree, there is always much more than a check in a box to describe your beliefs.
la_bella_vita

Con

la_bella_vita forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
forti

Pro

Okay this has to be at least one hundred characters so I am just going to ramble so she can have a chance to respond...
la_bella_vita

Con

-I don't believe that some life is more valuable than others. The way I see it is that from the moment we are born into this world, the one thing we have the INHERENT RIGHT TO is life. No other human should have the right to take that away from us. We are all people, made up of good and bad, and no other human, who is no better than us in any manner, has the right to decide when WE die. Whether it is murdering an innocent person, or whether it is sentencing someone to death on the electric chair, what gives us the right to take a life?

-To say that the criminals killed are not "contributing members of society" is a gross generalization. Your justification of that statement is their level of education and their past criminal history. Does this mean that the person who didn't graduate from high school's life is somehow worth less than the person who graduated with a Masters degree? Criminal history can depend on how a person was raised, the setting they were raised in, their mental stability, drug use, etc. Does this mean that all these things (most of which are factors that someone cannot control) should allow a person to be punished by death? Also, please do not forget or undermine the fact that each of those people on death row are humans, a son or daughter, sister, brother, mother or father. There are plenty of people that would be affected by their death, they are not worthless lives, no life is worthless.

-Your arguments for the "main problems with a life sentence" don't stand up to argument as I see it.
1. Do you have statistics on the numbers of people that escape from a life sentence? I doubt this point is even worth mentioning.
2. Living above their means? People living out a life sentence do not lead a comfortable life in prison and nobody has even close to "all the comforts of home" (unless you mean TV? Cigarettes?)
3. As for the "potential for more violence", I'm a little surprised you care that all the inmates whose lives are "less valuable" might be killed by another "non contributing member" of society.

Lastly, I never thought that people who believe in the death penalty thought that every crime should be punishable by death. But I absolutely do not believe it is ever "necessary" to kill someone.

***
Back to abortion. Yes, it seems we do agree on the principle that abortion itself is a sad, negative thing. I won't go so far as to say abortion is "wrong", but only that it is a sad reality. Again, I'm arguing against the idea that it should be against the law.

You say that women should take responsibility for their actions. However, this is where things get murky, because it takes two to get a woman pregnant. Yes, it is ultimately the womans choice to abort; but the fact is that the man is therefore exempt from all responsibility of having put this difficult choice on the woman, when it is 50% his fault she is in the position of having to MAKE that decision in the first place.

Again, there are many scenarios that play into possible pregnancy. Women who get abortions are not just stupid and decide not to use a condom or any other means of birth control. There are over 100 million women on the pill worldwide. Clearly, women who don't desire to get pregnant are doing what is necessary to NOT have to make the decision to have an abortion. This doesn't mean that it's perfect though, and sometimes pregnancies happen unexpectedly anyway.

-If a law were established it would change our view on sex as a healthy part of life to emphasize the old fashioned view of sex solely for reproduction. This would take us back to a day when women were not supposed to enjoy sex, but merely be there as a reproductive organ for procreation.

-What if your daughter became pregnant because she was taken advantage of at age 16 by an older boy? Would you tell her to "take responsibility for her actions"? Would you then watch your daughter, who should be going to school and having fun, go through the process of growing a child in her from this experience? Would you then make her decide whether to put it up for adoption or raise it? With either choice, would she ever be able to go back to her life the way it was?

-Being a woman, I have to think about it personally. If I became pregnant tomorrow, would I keep or abort the child? The truth is that I won't actually know how I'll feel about it until I AM pregnant. This is something that men will never have to actually experience so it's easy for you to speak about because it's a decision you'll never have to face. Keep or abort? I don't know, but what I DO know is that I'm sure glad I have the CHOICE to make that decision on my own.

If you are really in favor of a law against abortion, consider the effect that this would have on society:

-It would change our entire society's view towards sex (see point 3 paragraphs above)
-It would result in a large increase in pregnancies, in which case, we have to think about how large families would get, how that would affect jobs/economy, etc.
-We already don't have enough homes for all the children up for adoption. With a law, what do you plan to do about the increase in orphans?
-There would be many men paying $$ in child support, potentially to more than one woman
-Women who REALLY didn't want the child would still seek out an abortion that might be unsafe for her health.
-And how do you propose to change the view of most Americans on the pregnant teenage mother? The shame that many of these women feel would need to change - or are you really going to insist that every woman keep her child and then still look with scorn upon the young teenage mother?
(This relates to your idea of someone as a "non contributing" member of society. Many teenage mothers are high school dropouts, therefore having the same education or less than a common criminal from your example. They won't have the skills to get a job they might have otherwise. Are they therefore "non contributing members", or are they contributing solely based on the old fashioned belief that they contribute to society by having a child?)

You mentioned something about how wonderful a gift it is for a woman to be pregnant. You're right. Pregnancy SHOULD be a wonderful, beautiful time for a mother or a couple. It should be a time to look forward to, to plan a new life with a child. If there is a law against abortion, do you realize how many pregnant mothers you'll have who are 100% opposed to their pregnancy? Who are upset and angry, do NOT want to be carrying a child, scared or unprepared or not seeing it as a beautiful time in any way?
And what about those who keep children that they didn't plan for/want? Can you then imagine the amount of young families that would be unprepared for children, that might even feel resentment towards those children? Are you prepared for the possibility of an increase in divorces, single parents, possible child abuse or child neglect?

Some of these points may seem extreme but the fact is that there is SO much more to think about when considering a law like this beyond the fact that a fetus will be allowed to be born. That's nice and idealistic but it's not realistic. You're affecting many lives and society as a whole. I am constantly shocked at how many people don't think beyond into these scenarios.

An anti-abortion law would ruin pregnancy and what it is supposed to be. Beginning a family is supposed to be a CHOICE. It is supposed to be a time to look forward to and to be excited about. Ultimately you can't FORCE someone to appreciate being pregnant.

Finally, it's education on effective birth control methods, and education for women on the positives of keeping a child or giving it up for adoption that are necessary to change the amount of abortions that are going on. I wish I saw more advocacy for that then taking the easy way out and trying to establish a law. Simply put, laws don't solve problems like this.
Debate Round No. 3
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by Rob1Billion 9 years ago
Rob1Billion
Forti, you seem very eager to step up to the plate and judge who's life is more important than others. I believe Jesus said "let he who is without sin throw the first stone". I hope you don't make that mistake in your future debates. You say fetuses are innocent life and should not be killed. We kill innocent life all the time; it is really no big deal. The concept that all these abortion vs death penalty debates seem to fail to address is the notion of personhood. No one cares about life; life is pigs, cows, grass, and cockroaches. We kill life every time we wash our hands or eat a chicken sandwich. What is of concern to us are PEOPLE. When does a bundle of cells (life) become a person? This is where the argument should lie, not in the "innocence" of the life. We are all equally innocent, and not one of us humans have the authority from the local deity to pass judgement concerning capital punishment or human innocence.
Posted by la_bella_vita 9 years ago
la_bella_vita
Hey Forti so sorry I missed my turn!

The day you posted your last response I was getting on a plane flying back to the states (I'm studying abroad in Milan this year) and since I've been home the Christmas holiday and time with family has taken me away from the internet for a while.

I know you might not have much new to post since I haven't had a chance to respond in round 2 but if you post something for Round 3 then I'll have a chance to respond to Round 2 and close out my side of the debate.

Thanks killa_connor for backing me up on the point that the death penalty has put to death innocent people. I'm looking forward to continuing this debate!
Posted by Lydie 9 years ago
Lydie
No, I don´t think some lives are more valuable than others.
That logic can get you into a lot of trouble.
Posted by killa_connor 9 years ago
killa_connor
"...here is an appealing process for criminals to try to be found innocent."

Indeed there is. And it's much more expensive then feeding and sheltering an inmate for life (an estimated 2.3 million dollars per case in legal fees).

Since 1985, more than 80 people have been found innocent in subsequent years of their execution. I admit 80 people is a small number but its only because the state hasn't put any of its resources into investigating the cases of inmates that have already been executed because, whats the point?

Also, In 2003 alone, 10 innocent defendants were released from death row due to evidence of their wrongful convictions. You don't honestly think that our appeals process can prove all the innocent men on death row to be innocent. That would be a pretty naive assumption to make. Ultimately, we're left with the choice, keep the death penalty and accept that we as a country will inevitably kill innocent people or get rid of it and give them life in prison instead. Haha do you really think the prospect of never having your freedom returned to you for your natural life is really going to be a drastically less effective deterrent to crime?

The statistics were taken off of the Amnesty International site. Check it out: http://www.amnestyusa.org...

Why in the world would Al-Qaeda liberate Saddam from prison? They had no connection! Educate yourself: http://en.wikipedia.org...
Posted by forti 9 years ago
forti
Connor, you say "we execute innocent people all the time that would have been found to be innocent had they been given a life sentence" please enlighten me on your logic there. some sort of statistic would be very helpful. there is an appealing process for criminals to try to be found innocent. those ones who are wrongly convicted are overturned.

and it has Saddam not Osama, we don't have him yet, that was simply an example of the importance of the death sentence rather than a life sentence.

I will get to the cost if she brings it up.
Posted by killa_connor 9 years ago
killa_connor
Pros underlying assumption that all people put on death row are criminals in the first place is flawed. We execute innocent people all the time that would have been found to be innocent had they been given a life sentence.

Also I hope bella points out how silly it is to claim that criminals are receiving too many tax dollars in unnecessary living expenses when, in reality, it is FAR more expensive to pay for the legal appeals process to kill them. ALso, this whole talk about Al-Quaeda busting Osama out of prison and that prison in life resulting in freed convicts is sort of stupid and doesn't move the debate forward... it leaves you arguing how secure our prisons are, which is sort of besides the point.
Posted by moderate84 9 years ago
moderate84
First I want to say that the question put forth is a good one and la_bella_vita you do a good job of explaining where you are coming from. To be fair section one will be why I am for death penalty against abortion section two is what should change.
*I am for the death penalty because I feel in some cases and eye for an eye is justified and can set a tone for those who would think of killing. In terms of we have prisons for a reason some people cannot be reformed and other repeat offenders should get punishment. I am against abortion because that unborn child has done nothing to deserve what happens to it. It did not break any laws, hurt anyone, and in that case playing decided of it's future is unfair. That is why I for capital punishment and against abortion except for rape and possible health detriment to the mother.
*However the system does have flaws, and la_bella_vita is correct when there have been deaths by injection to find out later there was information not know. So yes precautions should be taken. The other angle of it is not everyone can afford a good defense which means that it is not necessary the legal system. However I feel it should still be used even with the flaws. Again good debate and I look forward to hearing the next two rounds. Good job to both sides.
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