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It is morally permissible to abort an embryo prior to complex development

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/1/2013 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 813 times Debate No: 34414
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This is my first debate on the website. I thought that this topic would be a nice one to start, because, while I have spoken about this with some in my personal life (those who have no desire to argue about such topics), I have yet to see a well formulated contradictory argument. There are 3 rounds, and the debate will last a maximum of eight days, once accepted.

"It is morally permissible to abort an embryo prior to complex development"


"morally permissible"- in terms of morality, more specifically murder, there is no reason why aborting the embryo should be regarded as "killing", and therefore make it morally wrong
"abort"- smite the little sucker
"complex development"- when the organism has a consciousness and thought, i.e. can feel pain

Correct me if I'm wrong, other debaters (in which case I will reset the parameters in a new debate), but would this mean that Con has the burden of proof? I'm not going to say vote abortion because "why not?", but I feel as if all that I must do is dismantle Con's arguments for why it's not morally permissible. Any other tips would be nice, thanks; I'm not going to pretend as if I am an adept.


Hi, I am also new on this site, so apologies for any ignorance on my part.

Personally, I think you are wrong.
Abortion should be wrong, full-stop.
While we are on the topic of ethics, I'd like to draw your attention to Aristotle.
Aristotle defined what a thing was in terms of its potential.
And Aristotle, a highly respected philosopher by the way, would then subsequently say that an embryo has the potential to become a human being, and therefore it is wrong to kill it.
Whether the embryo is in that stage or not does not change the issue whatsoever. Simply because the embryo (from what you said) is unable to feel pain yet, it is alright to ruthlessly murder it?!
In that notion, it almost sounds like it is alright to kill a person - regarding that you give them painkillers first of course.

And what about sanctity of life?
Debate Round No. 1


I'll sum up your points and do my debating.

1) Killing an embryo is wrong because of its potential to become a human being, and ceasing that potential is just as immoral as waiting for the potential to take root and ceasing it then (killing a grown person).

2) Simply because the embryo (from what [Pro] said) is unable to feel pain yet, it is alright to ruthlessly murder it?

3) With my Pro's logic, aborting a fetus is just as bad as subduing an adult, given that they are unconscious.


1) My opponent mentioned Aristotle and potential to become something, and ceasing that potential is actively equivalent to killing a fully developed person. This seems that it will be the apex of this argument- ceasing potential. I see a problem with this, though: where did this potential start? what did it come from? If ceasing the potential is wrong at the embryonic stage, then I believe that it would be equally wrong (which in my debate argues that the abhorrence is naught) to not always continue to use potential, i.e. having children constantly as soon as one is able to. If I could have ten children, but only have three, am I committing an immoral act by not growing the other seven? They are still there, just in two bodies at the moment. Explain that, please, because, if one concedes ceasing this potential by abortion, then one can take the concept in all directions aimlessly without direction, and ironically destroying the whole theory of morals. If one tries to organize this potential dilemma, they are faced with a problem: who determines potential? I'll go back to the earlier example: If I could only afford three children, and I have ten, am I destroying theirpotential because I can't support them? As one can see, allowing this undefinable and infinately extrapolatable term "potential" in to the works of what morality is is undermining. The system to go by is actuality: you are not destroying what will be, only what is.

2) Once one abandons potential, he or she realizes that the embryo is no different than millions of other organisms that we kill daily.

3) Actuality still takes precedence here. Killing an unconscious man is destroying his actuality and abilities as a human, ones that an embryo doesn't and never did have.


SarahJohnson forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2


This is very disappointing.


SarahJohnson forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
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