The Instigator
illegalcombat
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
Grovenshar
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

Early abortion should be legal

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Voting Style: Open with Elo Restrictions Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/27/2016 Category: Society
Updated: 10 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 879 times Debate No: 88790
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (11)
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illegalcombat

Pro

Debate Structure

Round 1 - Acceptance only, No arguments
Round 2 - Arguments/rebuttals
Round 3 - Arguments/rebuttals
Round 4 - Rebuttals to things in previous rounds, No new arguments.

Definitions/Explanations

Early abortion should be legal = By this I mean abortion should be legal for a woman to choose in the embryonic period of pregnancy.

Abortion - is the end (termination) of a pregnancy. A low-risk surgical procedure called suction aspiration or suction curette is generally used for first trimester abortions. Medical (non-surgical) abortions using medications such as mifepristone (RU486) are available in some clinics.

The embryonic period in humans begins at fertilization (penetration of the egg by the sperm) and continues until the end of the 10th week of gestation (8th week by embryonic age).

If you have any problems with the debate, use the comments section so we can agree to terms before we start the debate.
Grovenshar

Con

Accepted.

For the record, I will not be citing philosophers, professors, or any other person unless I take an idea directly from them.
Debate Round No. 1
illegalcombat

Pro

I thank Grovenshar for accepting this debate.

Freedom not restricted unless justified

I think this is axiomatic. It's not just an issue of being free or wanting freedom or arguably freedom being necessary for well being, even if rejected on those grounds to argue otherwise is self defeating, since you presuppose the freedom to argue as your starting point if you were to even try that non freedom should be the starting point rather than freedom.

The right to life/right not to be killed as an absolute is untenable

The right to life/right not to be killed is often invoked as justification for not allowing abortion. Notice those who advocate it don't really believe it them-self in the absolute sense, the most common view where intentional killing is justified is self defense (or some variation of). Then we have issues of drone strikes, war, dropping the A bomb, etc etc.

The logical point is that any anti-abortion argument that is built upon such an absolute right to life/right not to be killed has at it's foundation a false premise and can be rejected as such, not to mention the double standard of selectively applying it in the case of pregnancy to deny abortion rights.

Bodily rights argument (the violinist analogy)

Judith Jarvis Thomson asks us to consider the following...

"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. The director of the hospital now tells you, "Look, we're sorry the Society of Music Lovers did this to you--we would never have permitted it if we had known. But still, they did it, and the violinist is now plugged into you. To unplug you would be to kill him." [1]

Even granting the violinist a right to life the question is thus, do you have the right to disconnect ? Are others justified forcing you to stay connected if you choose to disconnect ? I know of no anti-abortion person who says that you can't choose to disconnect.

Like wise it is argued, a pregnant women can take action to be unplugged from the embryo inside of her, she should not be forced to continue with a pregnancy anymore than some one plugged into the violinist to keep some one else alive, such is yours & hers bodily rights/freedom.

No conflict of rights/interests in the embryonic period

The argument here is that rights most plausibly derive from interests/desires.

We support general rules of not killing cause of our interest/desire in going on living, we support property rights cause we don't want our stuff taken from us, we support freedom of speech, etc etc. In the embryonic period the human organism has no current capacity to have an active or ideal desires, as there is no organized cortical brain activity.

David Boonin writes..." organized cortical brain activity refers to electrical activity in the cerebral cortex of the sort that produces recognizable EEG readings. As I noted in Section 3.5.3, there is no evidence to suggest that this occurs prior to approximately the 25th week of gestation, and ample evidence to suggest that it does begin to occur sometime between the 25th and 32nd week" [2]

Unjust burden argument

Sometimes right/interests conflict and we seek to manage such conflicts such as imposing various burdens upon people.

Never the less those burdens have to be justified and be proportional to interest/conflict concerned. For example we don't consider it an unjust burden to demand & enforce that people don't poison the water supply, but we would consider it an unjust burden to say restrict people to only wearing thick wool coats no matter how hot it is.

Now consider the burden being argued to be imposed on a pregnant woman from the moment of contraception, that being she should be forced to continue the pregnancy even against her will, incur the pain/suffering of said pregnancy and be subject to the risks of complication that can occur in a pregnancy, complications that can result in serious injury even death for the pregnant woman.

So here is the logical point, if we are not justified to imposed a burden on billionaires of the world to give up all their wealth except a few million (still leaving them richer than most) to save thinking, feeling, self aware, suffering, post birth humans, then it would be laughable & disproportionate to then argue that we are justified to force women to give up more, their bodily autonomy and the dangers of pregnancy in order to save less, non thinking, non feeling, non self aware, human embryos.

A case for unequal moral equivalence (5 year old child vs 100, 3day human embryos)

Consider the following, you arrive at a burning building, behind one door are 100, 3 day human embryos, behind another a 5 year old child. Who do you try to save first ? Most if not all will try to save the 5 year old, if a 3 day human embryo is morally equivalent to say a 5 year old child then it is simple arithmetic, try to save the 100 hundred all things being equal before you try to save the 1.

But as I argue they are not equal, the 5 year old child not only trumps one 3 day human embryo, it even trumps one hundred.

If abortion is murder (reducto argument)

If it is the case that abortion in the embryonic stage is equivalent to murder as some anti-choicers assert then that means all women who have had an abortion in that period should all be in jail doing sentences for murder, maybe even the death penalty, as well as any future women who will have such an abortion. Think about it, the likes of Charles Manson, Ted Bundy and next to them endless row cells of women who had an abortion in the embryonic stage.

So there are two possibilities.......

1) Be logically consistent, and start locking up all those woman and future women who have had such an abortion.

or

2) Reject such a conclusion based on the realization that abortion is murder in the embryonic stage is false premise to begin with.

I argue that the abortion is murder premise leads to absurdity and should be rejected as a false premise.

Personhood & rights

Consider the following argument...

1) Only a person has a right to life
2) If X has none of the characteristics [1-5] it is certainly not a person.
3) The human organism in the embryonic stage has none of the [1-5] characteristics
C) Therefore the human organism in the embryonic stage is not a person
C2) Therefore the human organism in the embryonic stage is has no right to life

[1-5] refers to the following characteristics....1) Consciousness, 2) Reasoning, 3) Self-motivated activity ,4) The capacity to communicate, 5) The presence of self-concepts, and self-awareness,

Warren argues..."All we need to claim, to demonstrate that a fetus (for my purposes in this debate the human organism in the embryonic stage)is not a person, is that any being which satisfies none of (1)-(5) is certainly not a person. I consider this claim to be so obvious that I think anyone who denied it, and claimed that a being which satisfied none of (1)-(5) was a person all the same, would thereby demonstrate that he had no notion at all of what a person is-perhaps because he had confused the concept of a person with that of genetic humanity." [3]

Consider we are visited by self-aware, intelligent aliens, presumably Con and a pro-lifers would recognize them as persons based on such characteristics.

I look forward to Cons response.

Sources

[1] http://spot.colorado.edu...

[2] https://ethicslab.georgetown.edu...

[3] http://instruct.westvalley.edu...
Grovenshar

Con

My Position:
My position is short and simple. Abortion is murder. Murder is illegal. Abortion, therefore, should also be illegal. The reason why I believe abortion is murder is as follows. The only way to define a human being is through genetics. If an organism has human DNA in its nucleus, it is a human. Otherwise, it is not a human. Killing an organism with human DNA is

Opponents Position:

Right to Life:
I reject my opponents argument here. It is based on the idea that the people against abortion have a double standard. This is true. The problem isn't that abortion isn't legal. The problem is that people drop bombs on things. What we need to have here is the principal of negative utilitarianism (the least bad for the most people) in place.

Bodily Rights:
I reject the analogy because it is founded on a misunderstanding of human anatomy. I will, however, forgive it because it is just an analogy. I would say that the person who is plugged in has a moral obligation to be plugged into him. It may harm him temporarily, but it will save a life, which, under a negative utilitarian view, is the superior obligation.

Conflict of Right in the Embryonic Period:
This is simply a twisting of the definition of human. As I have mentioned, the only functioning definition of human is found in genetics. That embryo is merely a little human.

Unjust Burden:
Once again, the analogy is bad. The analogy compares people stopping people from doing something and people forcing people to do something. In this case, I will crack down on this analogy. You can't compare apples and oranges. As for the actual substance of the argument, the burden is not unjust. It's about saving lives vs temporary agony. Keep in mind, I will authorize abortions in situations where the mother will die otherwise. Those situations are already covered in other laws and are currently legal.

One Five Year Old vs One Hundred One Hundred Days Old Embryos:
Once again, you have to do the arithmetic. They are all human. You save all of them. It doesn't matter what they are. The order doesn't matter.

If Abortion is Murder:
The two options you present are not the only ones. You have employed the straw man logical fallacy. You say that there are endless rows of women who have had abortions during the embryonic stage. As has been noted, this is currently illegal. The number of women with these types of abortions are small. Not only have you done this, but you have assumed away the laws of logic by having the second option deny a principle because it would lead to pain otherwise. You should never deny a principle. You should weigh each principle next to each other.

Personhood:
I would like to contend with everything after 1. When you say "If X has none of the characteristics [1-5], it is certainly not a person", you should be saying "If X has none of the characteristics [1-5], it is certainly not alive". 1-5 shouldn't be a test of humanity because it applies to literally almost all other organisms on earth.
Debate Round No. 2
illegalcombat

Pro

I thank Grovenshar for their opening argument.

Correction

"Now consider the burden being argued to be imposed on a pregnant woman from the moment of *contraception".

That should be conception not contraception.

Cons main contention: abortion is murder

Easy to say, not so easy to justify under scrutiny.

Freedom not restricted unless justified

I take it Con agrees here and seeks to justify that abortion is murder and thus should be restricted.

The right to life/right not to be killed as an absolute is untenable

Not even Con believes in such an absolute right to life/right not to be killed as Con says..."Keep in mind, I will authorize abortions in situations where the mother will die otherwise." Even by Cons own standards the fact that abortion kills something human does not justify in of it's self that it is wrong or murder.

The right to life/right not to be killed as an absolute is untenable is only reinforced by Con.

Bodily rights argument (the violinist analogy)

Con argues that in the analogy and thus pregnancy that you should be forced to stay connected. I don't think Con appreciates the implications of trampling on such bodily autonomy rights & freedoms.

We could kidnapped Con and force them to give up say a kidney to save some one else's life, also does Con really need two lungs ? Cons reasoning if accepted opens up the flood gates where people can have all sorts of things done to their body against their will in the name of saving others lives.

Ironically Con cites negative utilitarianism (the least bad for the most people) as an underlying moral frame work, well Con in your world we have to always be on guard and in fear of our body being conscripted against our will to save other people, and thus I argue is against your own moral framework.

No conflict of rights/interests in the embryonic period

Recall here that rights more plausibly derive from our interests/desires, such interests don't exist in the embryonic period of the human organism.

Unjust burden argument

Contra Con I am not twisting anything, a human organism is human in the biological sense and I have not argued or implied otherwise, eg HUMAN organism, HUMAN 3 day embryo, etc etc.

Recall how I argued..."So here is the logical point, if we are not justified to imposed a burden on billionaires of the world to give up all their wealth except a few million (still leaving them richer than most) to save thinking, feeling, self aware, suffering, post birth humans, then it would be laughable & disproportionate to then argue that we are justified to force women to give up more, their bodily autonomy and the dangers of pregnancy in order to save less, non thinking, non feeling, non self aware, human embryos."

Consider where Con says..." It's about saving lives vs temporary agony".

This glosses over what exactly is being saved or not in the early stages of pregnancy, "non thinking, non feeling, non self aware, human embryos." Once again, a heavier burden on a pregnant woman to save less.

Con merely claims it is not unjust but didn't explain in detail why, vague sweeping notions eg apples and oranges isn't a successful refutation of the argument here.

I maintain that forced continuation of pregnancy for a woman in the embryonic is an unjust burden.

A case for unequal moral equivalence

(5 year old child vs 100, 3day human embryos)

Con evades the dilemma here, save them all ? sure you can try, but the dilemma is you can't be in two spots at the same, so contra Con the order does matter.

(Mother vs Fetus)

Also consider a pregnancy where complications are such that either the woman or fetus can live, but not both, and fail to act means both die. I argue that most if not all, will choose the life of the mother over the fetus. This only makes sense if the moral value of different human organisms is not equal.

Also consider that about 60% of zygotes do not survive to term, up to half of all fertilized eggs die and are lost (aborted) spontaneously, often unknown to the pregnant woman. No one considers spontaneous abortion of zygotes or blastocysts as morally significant.

The logical point here being that not all things that are human organisms have equal moral value.

If abortion is murder (reducto argument)

Contra Con I did not say there are endless rows of women in prison for abortion, what I argued for is that if abortion is murder and you are consistent and follow it to it's logical conclusion that is where it gets you. So Con your the one
straw-manning here, not me.

Allow me to add weight to the absurdity here.

Consider a rapist, after raping a woman he tells her, if you end up pregnant and you have an abortion in the embryonic period your worse than I am, I am a rapist but you would be a murder. (Hey if abortion is murder he ain't wrong).

Also consider if such an abortion is viewed as murder the rapist gets convicted of rape, but following after is the woman who he raped is now in court because she had such an abortion and thus gets convicted of murder. The woman now will be doing more years (or death penalty) than the rapist.

Again you can get out of this by just looking the other way, oh I don't want women in jail on a murder charge for abortions, but that is just an inconsistent position for the advocate that abortion is murder.

I still maintain that the abortion is murder premise in the embryonic period is more plausibly false.

Cons: Negative utilitarianism (the least bad for the most people)

Under Cons own moral reasoning there are arguments that can be made in support of allowing early abortion.

1) Bodily autonomy - Already covered previously.

2) Prevention of the sufferings and risks (even of death) of pregnancy. Already covered.

3) Prevention of suffering of people born into the world with various diseases/conditions eg, Tay-Sachs, Edwards Syndrome Huntington's,Alymphocytosis.

4) Making abortion illegal doesn't stop them, woman who have illegal abortions are at much greater risk of injury and death.

5) Unwanted babies/children - Higher rates of abuse/neglect for the unwanted, increase societal costs for the unwanted.

Personhood & rights

Consider where Cons says..."1-5 shouldn't be a test of humanity because it applies to literally almost all other organisms on earth."

That's because it's not a criteria for humanity, it's a criteria for person hood.

Maybe Con thinks this is wrong because they are assuming that any and all human organisms make it a person because of its humanity, I don't think that is tenable for the following reasons....

1) It's makes person hood dependent on a morally irrelevant property, eg whether something has human dna.

2) It's specisist, humans declaring that humanity (in the genetic sense) is what makes a person, excludes everything else from personhood that doesn't have human dna.

Also recall my argument that we would recognize self-aware, intelligent aliens as persons based on those characteristics and not deny them personhood cause they lacked humanity in the genetic sense.

Con doesn't seem to disagree we should recognize such aliens as persons on such characteristics.

Also consider..."This sense of self is critical to our status as persons. In fact, philosophers often use the terms self and person interchangeably: a capacity for self-awareness is necessary for full personhood. One has a sense of self if one is able to entertain first-person thoughts, and if one possesses first-person knowledge." [1]

The argument still is that the human organism in the embryonic period is not a person.

I look forward to Cons reply.

Sources

[1] http://socrates.berkeley.edu...
Grovenshar

Con

Cons Main Contention: Abortion is Murder
This was completely glossed over.

Freedom Not Restricted Unless Justified:
My opponent is correct here.

The Right to Life:
My opponent brings up a quote that I said. "Keep in mind, I will authorize abortions in situations where the mother will die otherwise." They say that I am not supporting the right to life here. This is not true. The case that I bring up is a tragic accident where two people will die unless one of them is killed. I am supporting the right to life, not denying it.

Bodily Rights Argument:
The right to life is the ultimate moral imperative for a government to maintain. After that follows liberty. After that comes the pursuit of happiness. When my opponent states that I "opens up the flood gates where people can have all sorts of things done to their body against their will in the name of saving others lives.", I'm really not doing that. Organ donations are a thing that happen quite frequently in today's world. Given the circumstances, the one or two cases this applies to are quite slim. Even when taken to an extreme where there are no organs easily available, my opponent's argument doesn't apply. Such a world would have so much chaos inside of it that the world could not cope.

No Conflict of Rights:
Let me bring up an analogy. If there is a butterfly chrysalis, would you destroy it because it was no longer alive? You wouldn't. After it came out of the chrysalis, it would be on its way, leaving no permanent impact on you.

Unjust Burden Argument:
It is not an unjust burden. When you are in a situation where you are the only one who can protect a human life, than it is your responsibility to do so. If you were watching one person stab another and you had a tazer in one hand and a gun in the other, you wouldn't shoot the guy being stabbed, you would taze the guy with the knife.

A Case For Unequal Moral Equivalence:
(5 yr. old child vs 100, 3 day old embryos)
You're attack on my counter to the analogy applies realism not inherent to the analogy. If that is present, than I will say that all of the 3 day old embryos are already dead. Therefore I help the kid and clean up the mess.
(Mother v Fetus)
Let me set this up with one thing first. The situation you bring up right now doesn't exist. There is no situation in which a fetus can be removed from a mother and still survive. This point is irrelevant.

As for the argument about the abortion of dead eggs, that isn't immoral, that's called cleanup.

If Abortion is Murder:
When you say that you never talked about endless rows of cells, I want to bring up this quote: "endless row cells of women who had an abortion in the embryonic stage." That is a straw man. As for the rapist argument, yes, if abortion is murder, than it should be punished like murder. That's why you don't have abortions. Two wrongs don't make a right. Everybody is a victim of something. You can't use that victimization as justification. That is a failure of any system. You can use that victimization to better rehabilitate those in need of rehabilitation, but you can't ever use victimization as a reason to not rehabilitate.

Cons: Negative Utilitarianism:
1) Bodily Autonomy - Covered in the above section
2) Prevention of Risks and Suffering - This doesn't take precedence over death. As for the idea that pregnancy leads to death, yes it does. However, in those cases, abortion comes to late to be helpful.
3) When you talk about people suffering from these diseases, we have to have their consent to put them out of their misery. Otherwise, that's called forced euthanasia (synonyms include: execution, murder, immoral, etc...)
4) Making abortion illegal doesn't stop women. This is also true of murder. We shouldn't facilitate either crime. We wouldn't want the murderer to have less chance of the crime blowing up in his face.
5) This is true, but that puts money over lives. As for the children themselves, they have to choose whether or not their life is worth living. Otherwise, you guessed it, we have forced euthanasia.

Personhood & RIghts:
The argument that I'm wrong when I say that "1-5 shouldn't be a test of humanity because it applies to literally almost all other organism on earth." is false. The only reason provided is that humanity is not personhood. This is true. Let me restate the argument. 1-5 shouldn't be a test of personhood, because it applies to literally almost all other organisms on earth. A sea horse is not a person, but it fits all five criteria.

As for this beauty: "This sense of self is critical to our status as persons. In fact, philosophers often use the terms self and person interchangeably: a capacity for self-awareness is necessary for full personhood. One has a sense of self if one is able to entertain first-person thoughts, and if one possesses first-person knowledge.", I would like to point out one significant flaw. I can't scientifically prove that "one is able to entertain first-person thoughts". This is an impossibility that has plagued people forever. We can prove that a person has electric signals in the brain, but, as of yet, we can't use this to prove anything about first person knowledge or thought. Therefore, the genetic test is the only test that can viably stand on its own, because I can prove that I have human DNA, and I know that I have first person thoughts and knowledge, and I can prove that others have human DNA, and I appreciate whole-heartedly that I was not aborted.
Debate Round No. 3
illegalcombat

Pro

I than Con for their reply.

Cons main contention: abortion is murder

Freedom not restricted unless justified

Agreed by Con.

The right to life/right not to be killed as an absolute is untenable

Either the right not to be killed is an absolute or it isn't. I have shown why in it's absolute form why its untenable, Con them self admits abortion is not murder in at least one situation.

Vague rhetorical notions of the right to life as the ultimate moral imperative doesn't change that.

Abortion = murder can't be justified just because something human is killed because that presupposes an absolute right not to be killed which is shown to be an untenable premise.

Bodily rights argument (the violinist analogy)

Recall how Con had previously argued that you were not allowed to disconnect from the violinist in the name of saving another life, as Con had argued..."I would say that the person who is plugged in has a moral obligation to be plugged into him. It may harm him temporarily, but it will save a life, which, under a negative utilitarian view, is the superior obligation."

So yes indeed Cons reasoning does open the flood gates, since under their reasoning peoples bodies can be used against their will in the name of saving other lives, I showed were that justification gets you, Con is in denial here.

Con can't be forced to stay connected to the violinist, Con can't have various organs of their body used against their will even if it will save some else's life. This is also the case for the pregnant woman, such is our and hers bodily rights & freedoms.

I maintain the bodily rights argument stands unrefuted by Con.

No conflict of rights/interests in the embryonic period

Recall here that rights more plausibly derive from our interests/desires, such interests don't exist in the embryonic period of the human organism.

Yes this is still the case in light of Cons reference to butterfly chrysalis. The point stands.

Unjust burden argument

Con never explained what protecting life means and justified as such. Once again, can we force Con to give up a body organ to save some ones else's life ? Can we push Con in front of an oncoming bullet to protect some else's life ?

The point being even protecting life has it's limits you can't justify everything and anything under this vague notion. So no Con can't counter the argument here with even more vague notions.

Also Cons scenario has many different morally relevant factors compared to pregnancy, the costs of pregnancy vs just pulling a trigger, early human organisms vs post birth, self-aware intelligent humans etc.

So here is the logical point, if we are not justified to imposed a burden on billionaires of the world to give up all their wealth except a few million (still leaving them richer than most) to save thinking, feeling, self aware, suffering, post birth humans, then it would be laughable & disproportionate to then argue that we are justified to force women to give up more, their bodily autonomy and the dangers of pregnancy in order to save less, non thinking, non feeling, non self aware, human embryos."

Yes this is still the case even if you agree to shoot with a tazor in Cons scenario.

A case for unequal moral equivalence

(5 year old child vs 100, 3day human embryos)

Con evades the analogy by making all the embryos dead. But what happens when they are not dead ? that is to say what happens if the embryos are viable ?

I maintain the 5 year old trumps, 100, 3 day human embryos.

(Mother vs Fetus)

Contra Con in the later stages of pregnancy, some fetuses can live outside the womb..."Viability refers to a point in fetal development at which the fetus may survive outside the womb. The lower limit of viability is approximately five months gestational age and is usually later" [1]

I maintain most will correctly save the mother over a fetus.

Spontaneous abortion of zygotes/blastocysts

Contra Con they are not dead eggs..."The zygote represents the first stage in the development of a genetically unique organism. The zygote is endowed with genes from two parents, and thus it is diploid (carrying two sets of chromosomes)" [2]

They are human organisms, once again demonstrating the point that not all human organisms are of equal moral value.

If abortion is murder (reducto argument)

As Con says..." if abortion is murder, than it should be punished like murder." And that is where you get your mass incarceration of women for murder Con.

So there are two possibilities.......

1) Be logically consistent, and start locking up all those woman and future women who have had such an abortion.

or

2) Reject such a conclusion based on the realization that abortion is murder in the embryonic stage is false premise to begin with.

I still maintain that such an abortion being murder is more plausibly false, and contra con if anyone is a victim here its women who have being told and had to live under laws that presuppose this false premise.

Cons: Negative utilitarianism (the least bad for the most people)

Under Cons own moral reasoning there are arguments that can be made in support of allowing early abortion.

1) Bodily autonomy - Already covered previously.

2) Prevention of the sufferings and risks (even of death) of pregnancy. Already covered. Contra Con stopping death doesn't justify doing anything and everything.

3) Prevention of suffering of people born into the world with various diseases/conditions eg, Tay-Sachs, Edwards Syndrome Huntington's,Alymphocytosis.

Contra Con, the point here is about abortion performed before such people exist, not waiting till such people exist then killing them.

4) Making abortion illegal doesn't stop them, woman who have illegal abortions are at much greater risk of injury and death.

Con just assumes again abortion is murder, I maintain Con has not being able to establish that thus has no counter here.

5) Unwanted babies/children - Higher rates of abuse/neglect for the unwanted, increase societal costs for the unwanted.

Contra Con again by having an early abortion such people don't exist in the first place, thus such people are not getting killed.

Personhood & rights

Contra Con a seahorse doesn't meet the criteria for personhood, if your looking for life on earth other than humans the usual first candidates in line are the great apes.

Also note even if the 1-5 criteria is rejected, Cons own personhood criteria doesn't win by default. They would have to establish that, which I maintain they did not, they just assumed it.

Even if science can't prove others have self-awareness, this doesn't actually refute the criteria in theory, only that it has problems in practice, but this is often the case on many things.

Never the less if Con insists that the criteria should be rejected cause science can't prove whatever, then this applies to their own argument that abortion is murder in the moral sense. Science can't tell you what is moral or immoral, only facts, it can tell you that something has being killed but not that it was wrong to do so. As such using Cons own reasoning since science can't prove that abortion is murder Con has no basis for not allowing abortion on such a moral justification.

Also notice Con does not deny that self aware, intelligent aliens should be recognized as persons, but this can't be the case on Cons person hood criteria of genetic human = person, non genetic human = non person, but can be recognized on a current mental capacity criteria like the 1-5.

I maintain that the 1-5 personhood criteria is at least superior to Cons criteria thus the argument still is the human organism in the embryonic stage is not a person and thus does not have a right to life (how ever that right is defined).

I would remind Con as per rules no new arguments in the last round only rebuttals. This is especially important considering Con has yet to make much of an argument for their own person hood criteria.

I thank Grovenshar for the debate.

Sources

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org...

[2] http://www.britannica.com...
Grovenshar

Con

As a quick side note, this has been a good debate. Though in this last round I will likely come off as a little annoyed, I promise that this is not the case. It would be false to say that I did not thoroughly enjoy this debate. Now to the rest of my rebuttal.

Con's Main Contention:
Just to clarify, I'm saying that abortion is murder, therefore it should be treated accordingly.

Negative Utilitarianism:
I will explain this one more time. The world is an ugly place. When faced with two ugly choices, one should make the least ugly choice, therefore promoting a less ugly world.

What is a Person:
A person is an organism with human DNA.

The Right to Life:
My opponent said this: "Con them self admits abortion is not murder in at least one situation." This is just a straight up lie. Intentional or no, I never said that. I said that there are situations in which abortion will end in less death, and that those situations are acceptable, nothing else. The right to life is the absolute moral imperative. Without life, there is nothing. Therefore it must be the first thing to be saved. Liberty is cool, but, without life, it doesn't exist.

Bodily Autonomy:
When I said that the flood gates were not open, I meant that "flood gates" was a hyperbole that didn't truly apply. There are many willing organ donors in this world. The only organs that would not be touched are those organs which are absolutely necessary for the life of an individual. Also, considering recent advancements in technology, it will not be too long before organ donation will be less necessary than before (I'm not going to provide a source, otherwise this crosses the line from rebuttal to new point).

I'm also going to drive home the rights of those embryos. They also have rights to bodily autonomy. To ignore the rights of embryos, but not to ignore the rights of women is a logical contradiction. However, in abortion you ignore both bodily autonomy and life rights. In giving birth, you, at worst, can only ignore bodily autonomy (and not always that).

No Conflict of Rights:
"Recall here that rights more plausibly derive from our interests/desires, such interests don't exist in the embryonic period of the human organism." FIrst off, this isn't true. The writers of the constitution believed in "God given" rights. I too believe in this. And, for the sake of argument and argument alone, if the founders were wrong, there is still one massive issue with this statement. What about people who are sleeping? They don't have interests or desires. What about this guy [1]?

Unjust Burden:
I'm not going to engage on the red herring that is found in the billionaire argument. That is a different debate for a different time.

I'm going to make myself clear. There is no "vague notion" that protecting life is the supreme moral objective. It clearly is. Should my opponent declare my continued pushing for this notion, than they should also point out that morality is a vague notion.

Unequal Moral Equivalence:
(5 yr v 100 embryo)
This analogy is dumb. I can't continue to work in the constraints of a nonexistent magical world.

(Mom v Fetus)
My opponent failed to address the fact that a scenario where it's mom vs a fetus doesn't really exist today. It's cool if fetuses can live outside the womb. That is a c-section type scenario, not abortion. Since a mom v fetus scenario doesn't exist, than we can safely rule that this is an irrelevant point.

(Spontaneous abortion of zygotes/blastocysts)
I'm afraid that I don't understand what my opponent is trying to say. From what I understood from their first argument, I can conclude that this is when a zygote dies on its own and is than removed. If this is not the case, oh well. I can't argue any more here. However, I will state that the same rules apply to all human organisms. If they are killed by another human, than it is murder.

If Abortion is Murder:
This argument is based on an underlying assumption put forth by Pro. They assume that we should shape our ethics based on our world. This is false. We should shape our world based on our ethics. Should we do otherwise, ethics can not exist.

Con's Neg Util:
1) Bodily Autonomy - Previously Covered
2) Prevention of Suffering and Risks/Death - Stopping death does justify anything and everything (except causing more death to do so).
3) Prevention of Suffering of People Born Into the World With Various Diseases/Conditions - As has been mentioned previously, murder is murder. It's even worse to kill somebody who can't say no and can't stand up for themselves.
4) Making Abortion Illegal Doesn't Stop Abortions - The counter here will be addressed later.
5) Unwanted Babies and Children - Already covered in 3).

Personhood:
1) Consciousness
2) Reasoning
3) Self-motivated activity
4) The capacity to communicate
5) The presence of self-concepts, and self-awareness

My opponent says that a seahorse does not meet these criteria, and is, therefore, not a person. A seahorse is conscious. It can think. It does move of its own will. It can't communicate in the same way people do, but not all people can communicate the same way as other people. A seahorse is aware of its own existence. It may not be as capable of using that knowledge as humans are, but it still has that knowledge. Therefore, a seahorse qualifies as a person.

If my criteria isn't established, neither is yours. Yes, you offered another opinion that agreed with yours, but that is all you offered. That is not proof, therefore you haven't established your criteria. So, you can operate on the assumption that both of us assumed, or you can operate on the assumption that both of us established.

When you say that science points out that your criteria has problems in practice, which is self admitted, you point out a fatal flaw. In a hypothetical world, I can fly by jumping off of a cliff with feathers glued to my arms. That idea doesn't work in practice.

My opponent says that I am wrong because usage of science, which cares not for morality, means that I can't prove that I am moral, but I can prove that abortion is the act of a human killing a human. My opponent has blatantly admitted that I can in fact prove that this is the case. They make an interesting distinction between a human killing a human and murder. According to Oxford Dictionaries, this is the definition of murder: "the unlawful premeditated killing of one human being by another: ". That sounds an awful lot like abortion. As for the assumption that I can't have science alongside my argument and still have morality, this is false. There is no reason that the two should be separated. In fact, I can say that the two are intertwined, but that is a discussion of personal philosophy that is inappropriate for this debate venue.

When my opponent says that I don't deny that aliens are people, this is flawed on two counts. Firstly, I doubt that aliens actually exist. Secondarily, my definition of people is directly contrasting to this so much that I need not expressly deny it. I am surprised that my opponent brought this up at all.

My opponent says "I maintain that the 1-5 personhood criteria is at least superior to Cons criteria". I love that they have an opinion, but it is just that.

I'm going to seize the opportunity to make an argument for my definition of person because it is not a new argument by my opponents admission ("This is especially important considering Con has yet to make much of an argument"). My criteria is the superior criteria because it actually shows that not everything is a person, it is based on a rational/empirical view of the world, rather than the vague, science denying notions of my opponent, and it actually includes people who are sleeping as people (people sleeping don't tick off any boxes in that 1-5 checklist).

Final Thought:
Considering the overwhelming amount of evidence on Con's side, Con is the only way to vote.

Sources:
1) https://www.youtube.com...
Debate Round No. 4
11 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Grovenshar 10 months ago
Grovenshar
It's no problem. Thank you for a good debate.
Posted by illegalcombat 10 months ago
illegalcombat
Con says..."Keep in mind, I will authorize abortions in situations where the mother will die otherwise."

That's my mistake, I had another debate going and got that one mixed up with this debate with that quote.
Posted by illegalcombat 11 months ago
illegalcombat
@tanner

I won't debate your point because this debate is not done yet. I am not going to debate in the debate section with one person while debating with another in the comments.

But I am aware of that possible counter argument.
Posted by tanner_1230 11 months ago
tanner_1230
I have a question for pro using the 5 conditions. So if someone is asleep can I kill them? I mean look it follows all of your rules exactly. You're not consciousness and reasoning when you are asleep. That's why it is called unconsciousness, and is also why you can't do you math homework while you are completely asleep (even though we feel like we want to go to sleep while we are doing it). The only activity you can do while you are asleep is dream and since I never get to choose to dream it doesn't qualify as a "Self-motivated activity" . I cannot actively communicate when I'm asleep. Some may sleep talk however most people don't, and if this condition is to much for you I guess I can allow that we are only allowed to murder people who don't talk in their sleep. Self-awareness is a little tricky to prove, however I would like us to realize that self awareness is usually the thing that awakens us from dreams. The second I realize I am dreaming is the same second I awaken from my slumber.

So there you have it according to illegal combat we can kill anyone who is asleep!
Posted by illegalcombat 11 months ago
illegalcombat
@Groven

Since no one else who meets the criteria has accepted the debate, it's your if you still want it.
Posted by Grovenshar 11 months ago
Grovenshar
Oh well. I consider this my area of semi expertise. Whenever I can debate this topic, I want to. I'm sure I could even add something new to the table.
Posted by illegalcombat 11 months ago
illegalcombat
I'd like to stick to that criteria for now.
Posted by illegalcombat 11 months ago
illegalcombat
I have set it up as a 3 debate minimum criteria.
Posted by Grovenshar 11 months ago
Grovenshar
I want to accept your debate, but I apparently don't meet your age range requirements. Would you be willing to wave them?
Posted by illegalcombat 11 months ago
illegalcombat
Till I can't get any better or I get bored of it.

I'd like to develop an expertise in this one area/issue. It's a popular & controversial so shouldn't be lack of debates.
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