The Instigator
Pro (for)
0 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
1 Points

In the UK, for those who abort for social - NOT LIFE-THREATENING - reasons should pay.

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Post Voting Period
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/3/2014 Category: Society
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 581 times Debate No: 43327
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (4)
Votes (1)




In the UK, abortion is of course free of charge due to the NHS. However figures obtained in 2011 show that 21% of pregnancies end in abortion and 60% (and rising) of abortions are for social reasons. These facts are highly disturbing for me as a Buddhist. We say life begins at conception to other non-Buddhists, but to a Buddhist, what we mean is that at the moment of conception a consciousness is formed or in other words, the karmic identity is delivered. This means that abortion at least for social reasons is unacceptable as you are harming the consciousness which has already become embodied. Thus I think we should charge a large amount of money to those who wish to abort for reasons other than medical. By doing this, less lives will be lost and we can change the mindset of people that women have the right to decide over the fate of their own child when in reality, no one has that kind of authority over anyone's life.


I accept your challenge and look forwards to an interesting debate on this controversial & emotive topic.
Many thanks for providing an interesting resolution to debate, my rebuttals may be fairly direct so please do not let this put you off your right to reply!

I will start by challenging if in fact you are right as a Buddhist to be highly disturbed by the carefully considered, highly personal, deeply emotional & very private actions of many women that under go the three step process required in the UK to abort their pregnancy.

At this point I will not contest your provided statistics however I would be keen to see there source.

Whilst I would respect all religious points of view when they infringe on the rights of other we need to look coldly at what is being proposed.
Pro has stated that it is believed that at the point of conception a consciousness is formed, this is something that Pro would not be able to prove and is as such as good as pure fiction.
The evidence to date shows that the brain evolved in a compartmentalized fashion and it is the sum of certain parts of the brain working together that give the illusion of consciousness to use (1). Hence if parts of the brain are damaged, like in cases of stroke, the personality can be lost completely whilst other functions continue. This is the best evidence that there is no soul and that consciousness cannot exist without the brain developing to a certain stage of maturity, this is also evidenced in the stages of perception that develops as we grow from infants to adults.

This is evidenced based research that is generally accepted to mean the a foetus can not be consciously aware, the components to be so do not exist.
The potential may, but that is not relevant at that point in time as the woman has decided to halt development.
It is futile to pursue this logic on a reason of potential, there is none.

At this stage of development no consciousness exists to be destroyed therefore you should not be offended.

You say that "social" whatever that means, I'm really not sure but it sounds quite offensive, abortions should be charged for. Presumably like a dentist visit or other product we purchase.

I guess that the result you wish from this is to preserve "potential" life at the cost of removing the woman's choice, especially poorer women. Most women that can afford an abortion would already pay to go privately.

You say "no one has that sort authority over someone's life" yet it appears however that you feel that you do have the right to control people, especially the poor to an alarming extent.

Debate Round No. 1


Thank you for accepting my challenge.

When you gave me that large chunk of scientific evidence on when a consciousness formed, I sat there in confusion for you completely missed and misunderstood my point. Believe me, I am a big science fan. Science is nothing to be disagreed about for it is just stating the facts, which you correctly did - you pointed out and explained to me when the brain starts thinking and develops a personality through experiences and opinions etc. However what I stated before about a consciousness being embodied into the body must have been vague for you to evidently misunderstand; I used that phrase to put it simply to you for you are not a Buddhist. Let me put my argument in another way.

Buddhists believe that all beings are eternal and are all subject to change, therefore there cannot be any gods for they too would have flaws. We believe in karma and karmic identities NOT souls. When a being dies their karmic identity is transferred to another body at the moment of conception. This karmic identity is not a physical thing which is why scientists in this present day cannot prove it exists and this is also why it is not like a soul. It is also not like a soul because souls are fixed, permanent things whereas karmic identities are always subject to change.
The aim of all Buddhist practices, including meditation, is prajna, or wisdom. The Buddha taught that the fundamental cause of human difficulties is our existential ignorance " our failure to understand the true nature of reality and wisdom is the opposite of this. To start with, we simply need to hear the teachings that indicate the Buddhist vision of life. Then we need to reflect on them and make sense of them in relation to our own experience. But prajna proper means developing our own direct understanding of the truth .

By social reasons I mean having an abortion because you have too many kids already; or because you are pregnant with your ex's baby; or because you just don't want a child - all these things are caused by the stupidity and carelessness of not using contraception. I do not pity the poor who cannot afford an abortion because they were too irresponsible to use contraception. And you took my statement of :'no one has that sort of authority over someone's life' completely out of context. I meant by this that no one has the authority over someone's life to decide when and if they should die. The way that you responded to this comment implies that you are against any laws for they have the right to control people but ask yourself this: What would society look like without laws? What kind of monsters will we turn into if we turn to anarchy?

And since you are such a big fan of logic and rationalism (which is not healthy for the mind) you will be glad to know that actually the Buddha's fundamental teachings are compatible with science.


Thank you for your response.

"just stating the facts, which you correctly did ."

Thank you for conceding that my scientific argument is valid.

" karmic identity is transferred to another body."
You have already conceded that at the point of inception there is no body to transfer to, if in fact such a strange thing was even possible or probable.
This however has no bearing on your resolution about payment for abortions unless you can prove the above quote.

"This karmic identity is not a physical thing
" "scientists in this present day cannot prove it exists"
That is convenient but it, along with your other religious claims will not stand up to the Principle of Economy, stating that "Scientists must use the simplest means of arriving at their results and exclude everything not perceived by the senses."
Scientist do not need to disprove it, the burden of proof is with the person making the claim.

"The aim of all Buddhist practices....."
This is all very interesting but has little to do with the actual debate resolution:

In the UK, for those who abort for social - NOT LIFE-THREATENING - reasons should pay.

"having an abortion because ...."
Please provide some evidence to your spurious claims. No contraception is 100% reliable and it has been successfully argued that a termination in the first week is actually a safer form of contraception than taking medication for years.

"I do not pity the poor ...."

Some people are actually poor because they are less able to manage their lives, how will forcing an unwanted child upon them help?

"The way that you responded to this comment implies....."

I would be against any laws that are based on unsubstantiated religious nonsense or that limited a woman's right to self determine what she does with her own body.

"What kind of monsters.... "
The kind that force women to be breeding machines against their will..

"And since you are such a big fan of logic and rationalism (which is not healthy for the mind)"

Thank you! I take that a a compliment!
From my perspective your beliefs are very unhealthy.

To this point my opponent has not addressed my arguments or rebuttals.Pro has focused on a lecture about Bhuddism and not evidenced in any way the resolution that was put forward:

In the UK, for those who abort for social - NOT LIFE-THREATENING - reasons should pay.

I asked if Pro was right to be offended, this has been ignored.
My opponent has agreed that at the point of conception there is no body or consciousness.
Pro has not provided proof any such spirit exists even less that it should be used as a reason to limit human rights.
The BOP lies with Pro.

So far I suggest no valid argument has yet been offered.

I would thank my opponent for a thought provoking round. I have edited this doc due to the low word count available for this debate.

Debate Round No. 2


himanij forfeited this round.


Unfortunately Pro has forfeited the last round. I hope that all is well for Pro.

Should Pro have not taken a religious line then she may have been able to evidence her argument.

Vote CON!
Debate Round No. 3
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by Ragnar 2 years ago
Looks like a well laid out debate. I however have to abstain from voting, as I'm in the middle of a similar debate and don't want to risk voting my bias.
Posted by Kreakin 2 years ago
Until this debat I had though of Bhuddists as quite a passive bunch, now I see it is all religions that lead people to think they can control others just because they believe a strange doctrine. : /
Posted by himanij 2 years ago
Yes I have explained what I mean by social reasons in my argument in Round 2.
Posted by black_squirrel 2 years ago
Pro, can you clarify what you consider "social reasons" and what not?
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by bsh1 2 years ago
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Total points awarded:01 
Reasons for voting decision: ff