The Instigator
belle
Con (against)
Losing
14 Points
The Contender
FREEDO
Pro (for)
Winning
17 Points

Late Term Abortion Is Justified

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 7 votes the winner is...
FREEDO
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/29/2010 Category: Society
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,435 times Debate No: 11015
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (14)
Votes (7)

 

belle

Con

From his profile I see that FREEDO supports late term abortion. I do not think it is justified, except in extreme cases involving the mother's health, and would like to debate him on this topic.

If its all right with him, for the purposes of this debate, I define "late term abortion" as any abortion occurring during the third trimester of pregnancy.

Most arguments for abortion turn on the parasitic dependence of the fetus on the mother. However, by the 27th week, almost all fetuses are viable, and this issue ceases to be a factor. If the fetus is no longer wholly dependent on the mother (and the mother alone) the justification for abortion fails.

I eagerly await the acceptance of this challenge :)
FREEDO

Pro

I would like to thank my opponent for instigating this debate and choosing me to debate it with.

First off let me say that, though I'm grateful for me having been chosen, I am probably not the best person to debate it with because I don't use the same rational as most other people with my same view on this issue as me. Whether the fetus is viable, whether it is human, and whether it's the mother's property is of no concern to me. I, being an Egoist, think it is just of the mother to simply act in her self-interest. So it seems this debate will be of a different matter than my opponent suspected, more so of a debate concerning Egoism.

What is meant by doing the moral thing?

In my perspective, morality IS rationality. If something is irrational, it is immoral. There isn't anything to concretely confirm this, it is simply a choice. I hope my opponent will except the same definition.

So why would, as I believe, consistantly acting in one's own self-interest be a rational thing to do?

1. It works as a system.

A free-market functions upon this principle. Businesses supply the consumer demand for their own personal gain. In caring for themselves they contribute more to the rest of society.

2. I can feel my own satisfaction but not yours.

So why should I pursue yours? Only if it benefits me somehow, which is likely to happen in a civil society. Egoism, strangely, does end up aligning with Utilitarianism most of time.

3. It coincides with evolution.

Now, evolution itself is a whole other debate but if you do accept it, I think Egoism plays a fundamental part in evolutionary advancement. Organisms need to care for themselves before all other things to survive, which is their primary function.

4. Happiness is the only universal value.

The pursuit of happiness thus becomes, in a sense, like an objective morality. Happiness is better than non-happiness and this is self-evident to you. Thus, to pursue it is rational.

I look forward to my opponents response.
Debate Round No. 1
belle

Con

While I will provionally accept FREEDO's presentation of Egoism, I would like to remind him that any moral system that wishes to avoid being inconsistent must be universilizable. It must apply equally to all individuals. In other words, the mother, in this case, cannot posses the right to certain actions that no other individuals do, nor can she possess the right to violate the rights of others. My argument is that the mother, while she does have the right to pursuit her own happiness, does not have the right to commit murder.

Wait! you say. Abortion isn't murder! And why not? Because the fetus is living off the mother. However, once the fetus is viable, that is no longer the case. She can induce labor, give birth, and go on her merry way.

If she was, rather than 7 months pregnant, the mother of a 2 day old infant, would she be justified in killing it because she was tired of taking care of it? I think not. If you allow her that right then your moral system ceases to be universilizable, and ceases to be a moral system at all. And what is the difference between a newborn infant and a viable fetus? One is outside the mother and one is not. That is all. Since induced labor is no more invasive than an abortion, to argue that removing the fetus causes undue stress is disengenuous. It is no more stressful than having an abortion.

As to your arguments-

"1. It works as a system.

A free-market functions upon this principle. Businesses supply the consumer demand for their own personal gain. In caring for themselves they contribute more to the rest of society."

Clearly it doesn't work perfectly, as bankers completely FAILED to act in their interest, precipitating the current financial crisis.

"2. I can feel my own satisfaction but not yours.

So why should I pursue yours? Only if it benefits me somehow, which is likely to happen in a civil society. Egoism, strangely, does end up aligning with Utilitarianism most of time."

Only if its universalizable. I assume from this you agree that no one can violate the rights of others in the pursuit of happiness but just neglected to say so? Otherwise Egoism resembles psychopathy more than utilitarianism :P

"3. It coincides with evolution.

Now, evolution itself is a whole other debate but if you do accept it, I think Egoism plays a fundamental part in evolutionary advancement. Organisms need to care for themselves before all other things to survive, which is their primary function"

Read the Selfish Gene. Great book. However, just because something is found in nature doesn't mean it is desirable. For example, nature is rife with parasites. That in no way justifies parasitism of one individual on another.

"4. Happiness is the only universal value.

The pursuit of happiness thus becomes, in a sense, like an objective morality. Happiness is better than non-happiness and this is self-evident to you. Thus, to pursue it is rational."

How can happiness be an objective morality if it is experienced purely subjectively?

Furthermore, none of that has anything to do with late term abortion.
FREEDO

Pro

First, I could not find any dictionary with the word "universilizable" in it, so I'm just going to have have to guess what you mean. I'm going to go with: being able to be made universal. Correct me if I'm wrong.

"It must apply equally to all individuals."

Agreed. In my point of view, it is most logical for every individual to consistantly act in their self-interest.

"In other words, the mother, in this case, cannot posses the right to certain actions that no other individuals do, nor can she possess the right to violate the rights of others."

As I will explain, I do not belief in rights, I believe in selfishness.

"My argument is that the mother, while she does have the right to pursuit her own happiness, does not have the right to commit murder."

I think it is critical that you give your accepted definition of the word "murder". What makes acts such as war justifiable by your moral standards?

"Wait! you say. Abortion isn't murder!"

I said no such thing. In fact, I pointed out that by my moral standards, it doesn't matter. It probably is murder.

"She can induce labor, give birth, and go on her merry way."

I have no concrete knowledge in the matter but I am pretty sure that labor sucks.

"If she was, rather than 7 months pregnant, the mother of a 2 day old infant, would she be justified in killing it because she was tired of taking care of it?"

I'm not sure if that would really be in her best interest due to social implications. But if there were none the answer would be yes. You may not like my standards but I am definitely consistent.

"If you allow her that right then your moral system ceases to be universilizable."

Not if the notion of rights is unaccepted. We can universally have no rights and universally act upon our self-interest.

"And what is the difference between a newborn infant and a viable fetus? One is outside the mother and one is not. That is all."

Agreed.

"Since induced labor is no more invasive than an abortion, to argue that removing the fetus causes undue stress is disengenuous. It is no more stressful than having an abortion."

How so? During an abortion you can be drugged a lot more than when giving birth, cause...well, it's not like your concerned for the baby.

"Clearly it doesn't work perfectly, as bankers completely FAILED to act in their interest, precipitating the current financial crisis."

I fail to see how you can blame the crisis on the free-market when we are not in a free-market.

"I assume from this you agree that no one can violate the rights of others in the pursuit of happiness but just neglected to say so? Otherwise Egoism resembles psychopathy more than utilitarianism"

That assumption would be wrong. I would never leave out such a defining detail. I have two things to say about this. One, yes, I am advocating psychopathy. Two, there is a complication; I accept moral codes as being needed because consistantly acting in one's self-interest(psychopathy)only works perfectly when your actually smart enough to know what is in your self-interest. This is why dumb people made religion, in my opinion. I believe that I do have this ability. Of coarse, I could be absolutely wrong and am completely negligent of my own well being. So, this is more so a system for me. The only reason I advocate it is because, ultimately, I want to induce more freedom for myself to express it.

"Read the Selfish Gene. Great book. However, just because something is found in nature doesn't mean it is desirable. For example, nature is rife with parasites. That in no way justifies parasitism of one individual on another."

Definition of parasite: http://education.yahoo.com...

It seems to me, that by this definition, humans are parasites. We take complete advantage of many other life forms. And guess what, I really like humans. I think it is a good thing that we have acted so much like parasites, it is how we have become so successful as a species. I think if we would embrace that side of us even more we would in fact grow even more in our success.

"How can happiness be an objective morality if it is experienced purely subjectively?"

I didn't say it was one, I said it was LIKE one, I know it isn't literally one.

"Furthermore, none of that has anything to do with late term abortion."

I told you, in order to defend my stance on late term abortion I had to defend Egoism, which is what I did.

Hope I cleared things about about my stance here. :)
Debate Round No. 2
belle

Con

FREEDO argues that an act is moral if it is in the perpetrator's best interest.

I ask him: does he mean self interest in an objective sense or in a subjective sense? In other words, is self interest defined by the facts of the matter (50 years later you look back and see that yes, it *did* turn out better than if a different action had been chosen) or by one's inclination (the actor "looks within themselves" and decides that what they wish to do is most likely in their best interest).

In the first sense, morality ceases to have any meaning, since it cannot tell us how we should act until years later, when the power of choice is gone from us. In the second sense, any action is permissible so long as the actor thinks it is in their best interest. In such a case I could walk down the street shooting every individual I see between the eyes, and if that made me happier than not doing so, no one would have a legitimate reason to tell me what I have done is wrong. Because in that case I *honestly* think I am acting in my interest. Such a morality I cannot accept. Remember, morality is concerned with the *best* way to live. I challenge you to explain how a world in which people can commit mass murder if they feel they are justified in doing so is at all desirable, let alone better than other options.

That said, I would like to remind my opponent that he has yet to offer any support for the practice of late term abortion except that labor seems painful. However, the methods used in late term abortions are basically different forms of induced labor.{1}{2}

Almost the exact same procedure would take place, except without the drugs used to kill the fetus. Its no added hardship. You cannot be drugged during such procedures as they need you to "push". However, you can get an epidermal so that you feel no pain.

"I fail to see how you can blame the crisis on the free-market when we are not in a free-market."

Unless there is a regulation on the books requiring bankers to make lots of high risk loans without protecting themselves then you sure as hell can't blame regulation for their actions in this case :P

"It seems to me, that by this definition, humans are parasites. We take complete advantage of many other life forms. And guess what, I really like humans. I think it is a good thing that we have acted so much like parasites, it is how we have become so successful as a species. I think if we would embrace that side of us even more we would in fact grow even more in our success."

Unless you believe the earth itself is an organism we do not fit this definition. It clearly states " An organism that grows, feeds, and is sheltered on or in a different organism". While we do *consume* other organisms, we do not live off or inside a single one. By your application of the term all life is parasitic and the word ceases to have any meaning. The intent is clearly to refer to a certain class of living organisms.

Unless my opponent can clear up these grave errors in his moral system (as well as his assumptions about abortion procedures) he has failed completely to make his case.

1. http://en.wikipedia.org...
2. http://women.webmd.com...
FREEDO

Pro

To answer my opponents first question; I mean in an objective sense, as you called it. If everyone did what was most beneficial to themselves as a whole of time, I think we would be better off. And to comment on your scenario of shooting people in the streets; that would almost certainly never be in self-interest. As I implied before, it's a system that best operates with the intelligence to know what your self-interest even is. And if you are incapable of doing so to a defining extent, like many are, than an extension of a moral code is indeed necessary. Such as a rule to not shoot a bunch of people in the streets.

Now, some reasons for late-term abortion besides my philosophical views:

In 1987, the Alan Guttmacher Institute collected questionnaires from 1,900 women in the United States who came to clinics to have abortions. Of the 1,900 questioned, 420 had been pregnant for 16 or more weeks. These 420 women were asked to choose among a list of reasons they had not obtained the abortions earlier in their pregnancies. The results were as follows:
71% Woman didn't recognize she was pregnant or misjudged gestation
48% Woman found it hard to make arrangements for abortion
33% Woman was afraid to tell her partner or parents
24% Woman took time to decide to have an abortion
8% Woman waited for her relationship to change
8% Someone pressured woman not to have abortion
6% Something changed after woman became pregnant
6% Woman didn't know timing is important
5% Woman didn't know she could get an abortion
2% A fetal problem was diagnosed late in pregnancy
11% Other

Relating to the parasite comments; whether my wording was off is of trivial importance since my presented intention still holds. The way our species has acted in taking advantage of the resources available to us, including many life-forms, has been the root cause of our great success.

Also, I would like you to clear something up, like I said in the comments. Do you agree that nothing irrational should be considered moral? That morality is rationality? Since the title of the debate is "Late Term Abortion is Justifiable" it should be known what exactly is meant by justice, presumably something ensuring morality.

If putting other people's feeling, which we cannot personally feel, before our own is truly moral it should be able to be backed up with logic.
Debate Round No. 3
14 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by FREEDO 4 years ago
FREEDO
Funny enough, I'm actually not egoist anymore. Nor Anarchist. But still pro late term.
Posted by mattrodstrom 4 years ago
mattrodstrom
morality (a guide to action) comes from caring about things.

If you only naturally care about your own well being, then I can see Egoism making sense.

It turns out thought that people care about more than just their food intake.
Posted by RoyLatham 4 years ago
RoyLatham
A tough debate to judge. I agree with Con overall, but I think Pro got the better of the arguments in this debate. The obvious Pro case is to argue that late term abortion is justified to save the life of the mother, but that didn't come up.

I think Pro's arguments could have been overcome, but they were not. "What is rational" amounts to "what s consistent with human instincts." If humans did not have instincts for self-preservation, security, and comfort then there would be no cause for "self-interest." Once instinct is acknowledged as the ultimate source of rational self-interest, then one must admit that there are also instincts for preserving family and tribe. Abortion pits the instinct for preserving self against the instincts for preserving tribe and family. I don't see a simple resolution.
Posted by belle 4 years ago
belle
Yes freedo, I agree with you that morality should be as rational as possible, but it doesn't follow from that that morality *is* rationality the way you've defined it. I said it in the round, and puck said it here. You can justify anything that way so long as you believe it is in your best interest. Literally- anything. And thats my problem with it.
Posted by FREEDO 4 years ago
FREEDO
I'll send a message to belle to put the answer to my question in the comments.

Also, I greatly thank belle for this wonderful debate. Well played. :)
Posted by FREEDO 4 years ago
FREEDO
Oh, doo-doo, there isn't another round! I didn't realize that.
Posted by Puck 4 years ago
Puck
Basically all you are stating is a moral relativist stance.
Posted by Puck 4 years ago
Puck
False standard basically. Rational is the evaluation, it can't also be the standard (circular). Solves nothing of the subjective nature of whatever one person deems as rational as therefore 'good'. No doubt it made perfect rational sense to <insert genocidal tyrant of choice> to pursue the course they did.
Posted by FREEDO 4 years ago
FREEDO
Why would you want to believe in a morality which is irrational? That makes no sense to me.
Posted by FREEDO 4 years ago
FREEDO
My statement isn't as outlandish as that and you know it. Also, it only has a negative effect if my opponent disagrees. In my next argument I will ask.
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