The Instigator
SebUK
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
mycahrshelton
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points

Legality of Abortion.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/7/2015 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 846 times Debate No: 73063
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (0)
Votes (0)

 

SebUK

Con

I would argue that abortion unless done due to rape, fetus deformation or because of a high risk to the women's health should be criminalised. The burden of proof would be shared.
mycahrshelton

Pro

I accept this challenge to debate sebuk on the legality of abortion.

I should state here that I don't support abortion morally as I belive a fertilized egg is an example of life and has its own rights to life, but I still belive abortion should be completely legal and should be undergone upon any female who desires it without questions asked.

Good luck to you, sir.
Debate Round No. 1
SebUK

Con

Argument from morality:
1)The killing of another member of homo-sapiens unless the organism can consent is wrong.
2)Abortion is the act of killing another member of homo-sapiens. The organism cannot consent.
3)Abortion is wrong.
4)Therefore abortion should be illegal.


Defending 1>
This is easy to defend, murder is evil. Murder causes harm. Murder causes more than just harm as it is the ultimate injury due to the fact it causes life to cease. It cannot be a virtuous act; The majority of people do not want to be murdered. It cannot be socially accepted because of this fact.

Defending 2>
Abortion as defined by the Oxford Dictionary: 'The deliberate termination of a human pregnancy, most often performed during the first 28 weeks:'. The organism is terminated in the process therefore it is an act of killing. It deliberately causes the death of it. The organism is a member of the homo-sapiens species because it carries the human DNA and it will grow into an adult, It is not as developed as a human being outside of the womb. However a toddler is not as developed as an adult. It does not make the toddler any less of a human being. The organism cannot consent as it cannot communicate it's wishes.
Sources:
http://www.oxforddictionaries.com...

Defending 3>
If we accept 1 and 2 then 3 is correct.

Defending 4>
Since we have now determined abortion is wrong, it should be criminalized to lower the number of abortions happening which would minimalise the amount of this type of immoral behaviour being committed. There would be less incentive for women to commit abortion if it was more dangerous and harder.
mycahrshelton

Pro

I wrote out my rebuttal to instigator's opening argument, but I decided to first write my own opening argument. Please do not note my ignorance to instigator's opening argument as it is intended. I will post my rebuttal in round 3.

Argument 1)
The main argument by pro-life people is that a fertilized egg is an example of life, therefore abortion is immoral. A fertilized egg is just as alive as an unfertilized egg or even a sperm cell. If destroying a fertilized egg is immoral, does that mean not putting every drop of semen to use is immoral, or not taking advantage of every ovulation period is immoral? I bring up these questions to help you realize that abortion being equivalent to murder is a matter of opinion just as it is an opinion [held by some] that a man masturbating or a woman not having sex during ovulation is murder. Whether or not abortion is immoral is a matter of opinion until biology proves without doubt that a fertilized egg is a human life.
Pro-choice people legitimately believe fertilized eggs are not examples of life and this opinion gives them the moral right to abort embryos. I realize, as everyone should, that every person is entitled to their own opinion, therefore I reluctantly and unenthusiastically support said opinion.

Argument 2)
The point of a law is not to stop an act, but to create a punishment for said act. When abortion is made illegal women still get them[1] except unsafely and by possibly less experienced people. "The United States legalized abortion nationwide in 1973, in part because of the clear evidence that restrictive laws were not ending abortion but were exacting a significant public health toll, notably on lower-income women who could not travel or pay for safe services. Almost immediately afterward, pregnancy-related deaths and hospitalizations due to complications of unsafe abortion effectively ended."[2]

Argument 3)
If one does not view a fertilized egg as an example of life, abortion, then, becomes a victimless crime and a personal choice. Laws against victimless crimes restrict our freedom, therefore should be abolished.

Argument 4)
Abortion indirectly lowers the crime rate. The theory is that unwanted children who are forced to be born and/or put up for adoption due to illegalized abortion are not taken care of as well either by their biological parent or foster parent.

When abortion was legalized in 1973 18 years later in 1992 when these unwanted children would have been the prime age for committing crimes, the crime rate was reduced dramatically and has been on the decline ever since.[3]

This is referred to as the boomerang effect and according to economists this is a common phenomenon.

Honestly, I would much prefer a human embryo, whether it's alive, or human, or not, be killed then to be raised by an unloving mother and later become a criminal, offering no benefit to society as a whole.

[1] http://tinyurl.com...
[2] http://tinyurl.com...
[3] http://tinyurl.com...
Debate Round No. 2
SebUK

Con

Argument 1)
Explanation of the argument:

My opponent states that pro-life people believe a fertilised egg is an example of life and therefore abortion is immoral, he denies the validity of this claim by stating that a fertilized egg is just as alive as an unfertilised egg or even a sperm cell. He questions whether if abortion is immoral is for example not putting every drop of semen to use immoral. He says: 'Whether or not abortion is immoral is a matter of opinion until biology proves without doubt that a fertilized egg is a human life.'.
Rebuttals:
Abortion is a completely different process to abortion since a male does not ejaculate pre-mature babies. To put it into more detail abortion is killing an entity that is growing into a baby. There is no such potential when egg cells and sperm cells are two entities separate of each other.

A single sperm cell is not a member of the homo spins but when the egg and sperm connect they become one life form with his/her own nature. A nature that is distinct from it's parents E.g. the mothers eggs and the fathers sperm. The sperm is of nature that of the father and an egg equally bears the nature of the mother.

When the egg cell is fertilised by the sperm, they become one and they starting bearing a human nature of their own, they become a real human life.
-The destruction of a sperm does not kill the father.
-The destruction of the egg does not kill the mother.
In the process of abortion the new life form is destroyed.

Whether abortion is immoral is a matter of opinion, that can be agreed upon. Whether slavery was acceptable was also a matter of opinion not long ago. Someone from the early 19th century may ask: 'Who would pick up the cotton?'. The point is it does not matter whether it's a matter of opinion, any horrendous action can be viewed as acceptable by someone. Unless we can establish that absolute morality is valid we have to determine ourselves what is right and what is wrong and as a society enforce this. I never knew that biology objected to the entity which results from conception not being a life form, If my opponent presents any objection from biology I'm happy to respond.

Argument 2)
Explanation of the argument:
Pro argues that the point of law is not to stop an act but to create a punishment for said act. He continues on by saying that when abortion is made illegal women still get them but unsafely. He then offers us a quote which states that the United Status legalised abortion due to the clear evidence that restrictive laws were not ending abortion.
Rebuttals
Myth 1. The point of law is not to stop an act but to create a punishment for said act.
There are various reasons for law, the most fundamental being the functionality of a society in my opinion. Pro does not offer us an explanation to why there would only be this single point to law. Plain packaging of tobbaco is said to have lowered the rates of tobbaco use. This is one of the reasons why a country could choose to enforce this.
Sources:
http://www.health.gov.au...
Myth 2. Women will still get abortions and therefore there is no point to criminalize the act.
While it is true that women will still get abortions through illegal means the whole point is to make it more dangerous so that less women would consider it. I would not deny the correlation between abortion restricts and abortion rates however I would deny any causation. I would point to the fact that the parts of the world with the harshest abortion laws are also some of the poorest.
'One constant refrain from the pro-choice side of the abortion issue is that there will be just as many abortions if they are illegal, but that they will be much more dangerous. Both arguments are objectively false. It’s old news that the first part of that argument is false. The famous chapter in Freakonomics that claimed abortion lowered crime rates was based on a study in the Quarterly Journal of Economics called The Impact of Legalized Abortion on Crime (pdf). One of the subsidiary findings of the study, discussed in footnote 8, talks about the relatively small decline in births at the same time as the number of abortions went up dramatically after legalization:
'Note, however, that the decline in births is far less than the number of abortions, suggesting that the number of conceptions increased substantially—an example of insurance leading to moral hazard. The insurance that abortion provides against unwanted pregnancy induces more sexual conduct or diminished protections against pregnancy in a way that substantially increases the number of pregnancies.'
In other words: when abortion was legalized you didn’t see a shift of the same number of abortions from illegal to legal. You simply saw many more abortions. The second part of the argument is also deeply flawed: abortions got safe long, long before they were legalized, and it had nothing to do with the law. (Details here.) It was simply a reflection of advancing medical technology. Even prior to Roe, illegal abortions were performed by doctors, and in the arguments leading up to Roe the safety of illegal abortions was considered an argument for legalizing them. The whole “back-alley abortion” thing was invented after-the-fact as a scare tactic. So the evidence suggests criminalizing abortion would lead to a lower rate of abortions without making the illegal abortions that do take place any more dangerous. Maternal death should not increase.'
I know this is a large chunk from an article and I am not using this as my own argument, but just to give a little more information to my opponent. I myself believe that the safety of the aggressor should not be taken into account.
Sources:
http://en.wikipedia.org... (for information on which countries have the least liberal laws).
http://difficultrun.nathanielgivens.com...

Argument 3
Explanation of the argument:
My opponent states that because some people may not accept a fertilised egg as an example of life, abortion is a victimless crime and therefore should not be illegal.
Rebuttals:
The problem with this argument is that we can never apply a law that would please everybody and would have universal support. Hitler could refuse to accept the argument that killing Jews is wrong by refusing to call it an equal life form, that does not make it a victimless crime. The Jew is the victim as is the unborn in the case of abortion.

Argument 4
Explanation of the argument:
Pro claims that legal abortion lowers crime rates.
Rebuttals:
The theory is not highly credited as explained by The Economist in it's article about falling crime rates:
'Unwanted babies were more likely to grow as criminals, it was argued: that theory is now largely discredited: it doesn’t cross borders and crime has continued to fall long after the effect should have tapered off'.
If abortion has been proved to lower crime rates, it is not a necessary reduction since there are other ways in which we can indirectly lower crime rates such as gun freedom and peaceful parenting. To implement a system of legal abortions based on this theory would be to take pragmatism too far. We would be sacrificing morals. We could kill disabled people and people with diseases that they would pass onto their children as Hitler did but this would not work accordingly with what is the right thing to do. The ends do not necessarily justify the means in other words.
Sources:
http://www.economist.com...

I request that Pro does not address what I have stated here but that he posts his rebuttals of my opening argument instead like I just did.


mycahrshelton

Pro

Your first defense assumes that abortion is murder.

Definition of murder
"Murder is the killing of another person without justification or valid excuse"[1]

Definition of person
"A person is a being, such as a human, that has certain capacities or attributes constituting personhood, which in turn is defined differently by different authors in different disciplines, and by different cultures in different times and places."[2]

The term "person" is difficult to define, therefore "murder" is difficult to define. For this reason, the morality of abortion becomes an open ended debate, therefore an opinion.

Definition of opinion
"Opinion is a judgment, viewpoint, or statement about matters commonly considered to be subjective, i.e. based on that which is less than absolutely certain, and is the result of emotion or interpretation of facts."[3]

In your second defense you stated "The organism is a member of the homo-sapiens species because it carries the human DNA".

How so? You offered no credible reference to support this statement so I can't comprehend this as anything but your own personal opinion. But if this is fact, wouldn't that mean unfertilized eggs and sperm cells have human DNA? Would this, in turn, mean every drop of semen not put to use and every ovulation period not taken advantage of is murder? These questions show that what defines a human is still an open ended debate, therefore an opinion.

"If we accept 1 and 2 then 3 is correct."
This statement is very true, however as I've proven that 1 and 2 are matters of opinion, nobody has to accept 3 if they don't want to.

Pro-choice people legitimately believe fertilized eggs are not examples of life and this opinion gives them the moral right to abort embryos. I realize, as everyone should, that every person is entitled to their own opinion, therefore I reluctantly and unenthusiastically support said opinion. I believe everyone, even those who are pro-life, should accept that the opinion of abortion being immoral is just that: an opinion. And I believe no one should force their own opinions into any sort of rule or law.

That is why I can be against abortion morally, but support it politically.

"It should be criminalized to lower the number of abortions happening...There would be less incentive for women to commit abortion if it was more dangerous and harder."

It would seem that it would be that simple, but illegalized abortion has no effect on the rate of abortions.[4] Laws do not stop crime otherwise there would be no crime. Often times making something illegal doesn't produce the result you would expect.

[1] http://tinyurl.com...
[2] http://tinyurl.com...
[3] http://tinyurl.com...
[4] http://tinyurl.com...
Debate Round No. 3
SebUK

Con

Pro starts by defining two words: murder and person. He then claims that because the two are difficult to define the morality of abortion becomes an open ended debate. I will agree that the fetus that is aborted is not seen as a rights-bearing person, despite it being genetically human. The problem with this is it assumes that because the fetus is not as developed as for an example a toddler that it cannot be classified as a person. This is deeply flawed logic, there is no scientific objection to a teenager not being a human because it is not as developed as somebody in their 20s. Since fetuses carry human DNA and they are literally what we all were years ago and not part of something else the only rational position to take is that they are human.
Pro then questions whether the fetus really carries human DNA. It does.
Sources:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk...
http://www.contexo.info...

Pro claims that if we assume that the unborn carries human DNA and if sperm cells and egg cells also carry it shouldn't they count as a human life. I have already wrote about this in the previous round so I will copy and paste it here again.


'Abortion is a completely different process to abortion since a male does not ejaculate pre-mature babies. To put it into more detail abortion is killing an entity that is growing into a baby. There is no such potential when egg cells and sperm cells are two entities separate of each other.

A single sperm cell is not a member of the homo spins but when the egg and sperm connect they become one life form with his/her own nature. A nature that is distinct from it's parents E.g. the mothers eggs and the fathers sperm. The sperm is of nature that of the father and an egg equally bears the nature of the mother.

When the egg cell is fertilised by the sperm, they become one and they starting bearing a human nature of their own, they become a real human life.
-The destruction of a sperm does not kill the father.
-The destruction of the egg does not kill the mother.
In the process of abortion the new life form is destroyed. '


Next, pro claims that if he has proved that 1 and 2 are matters of opinion, nobody has to accept 3. The problem with this is anything can be a matter of opinion, if I propose an argument and somebody replies with 'Well, it's a matter of opinion and therefore nobody has to accept it.' All he has really shown is lack of knowledge and competence to disprove the argument. Pro has to prove that 1 and 2 are not sufficient enough reasons for 3 and 4 not to apply, he has failed at this.

'Pro-choice people legitimately believe fertilized eggs are not examples of life and this opinion gives them the moral right to abort embryos. I realize, as everyone should, that every person is entitled to their own opinion, therefore I reluctantly and unenthusiastically support said opinion. I believe everyone, even those who are pro-life, should accept that the opinion of abortion being immoral is just that: an opinion. And I believe no one should force their own opinions into any sort of rule or law.'

Like I have stated above anything can become an opinion and therefore if a certain opinion is correct it should be enforced. Would the fact that some people may consider human sacrifices morally neutral or even morally right be sufficient enough to refuse to enforce laws against human sacrifices?.
Lastly Pro says that illegalized abortion has no effect on the rate of abortions and that laws do not stop crime otherwise there would be no crime. First of all Pro fails to take into account the fact that the poorest nations around the world have the harshest abortion laws as I argued in the previous round and I do believe that I have also included a quote from an article that explained more abortions occurred when they were legalised? please don't hesitate to call me out on it if I'm wrong.

In regards to laws having no effect on instances of crime I think that is a ridiculous claim, which Pro did not back up. One example I can think of straight away is the drug prohibition which lowers the number of users. Here is an extract from an interview with a Harvard Economist who talks about the possible effects of legalising drugs.

'Consumption of the more harmless drugs would probably increase. And there would be a larger number of people who occasionally take a drug. But when single malt whiskey became legal again after the prohibition of alcohol in the US ended, the whole country didn't become addicted to single malt. '

This economist is for legalising drugs but he does acknowledge the fact that prohibition lowers the number of users.

Source:
http://www.spiegel.de...




mycahrshelton

Pro

mycahrshelton forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
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