The Instigator
Sylux
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Apologician
Con (against)
Winning
25 Points

Morality Debates: Abortion Edition

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/22/2009 Category: Politics
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,459 times Debate No: 10179
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (3)
Votes (4)

 

Sylux

Pro

My proposition: abortion is justified.

The fact that a woman wants to not have a disturbance of something such as a child is reason enough to abort the fetus. The fact that abortion is outlaw is a prime example of the non-seperation of Church and State. It is, as said by many religions, a sin to take a life, and this includes an unborn life in their distorted derivitave context. You cannot call a fetus a life, but only life. It has yet to experience the world or gain any knowledge of its own existance.

But let's say that it was true. That the immorality of taking "a life" is a sin punishable by the supernatural Sky-Wizard. Since, you know, it's his kid and not yours, right? I digress. What if the carrying female was raped or abused or thrust into an unconsentual incestuous sexual experience with, let's say, her brother. Would you force her to abandon the thought of aborting the hell-spawn growing within her, or would you allow her to get the abortion to stop a horribly mutated, miserable baby from being born?
Apologician

Con

My opponent's argument begs the question by simply presupposing the unborn to be non-human. Before we ask the question "Is it permissible to kill the unborn?" we must ask "What is the unborn?" Picture a mother with her back turned whose child runs up to her and asks "Mommy, can I kill this?" Obviously, before she answers the question, she needs to know what "this" is. My opponent has simply disregarded the status of the unborn.

My position will be to demonstrate that the unborn fetus is a rights bearing human person. My argument will be secular in nature, relying not on religious premises, but philosophical and scientific arguments.

Contention 1: The unborn is a living human

This is an obvious fact that is conceded by most sophisticated abortion advocates. The unborn possess human DNA and are the offspring of human parents. The embryo, from the moment of conception, is a self-contained organism with its own unique genetic code. True, it is an immature human, but level of development does not make anyone less human. After all, toddlers are less developed than teenagers, but it is rightly absurd to say that toddlers are less human than their teenage counterparts. That fact that an embryo is a living organism is clearly obvious, since dead things don't grow. [1] As outlined by Robert P. George and Chris Tollfesen, there are three key points to take into consideration which firmly demonstrate the humanity of the unborn:

1. "The embryo is from the start distinct from any cell of the mother or of the father"
2. "The embryo is human: it has the genetic makeup characteristic of human beings."
3. "The embryo is a complete or whole organism, though immature. The human embryo, from conception onward, is fully programmed and has the active disposition to use that information to develop himself or herself to the mature state of a human being." [2]

Contention 2: The unborn is a rights bearing person

Personhood is an essential property that is rooted in human nature. That is, the unborn are persons by virtue of being human organisms. "[A] human being is intrinsically valuable because of the sort of thing it is and the human being remains that sort of thing as long as it exists." [3] The unborn do not become persons by virtue of gaining some accidental property (Such as consciousness), they are persons by their very nature, even if properties such as consciousness are never actualized. A dog remains a dog even if it never develops the ability to bark. By the same token, a human being who never develops the ability for self-consciousness is still a human person because of his nature. "Consequently, a human being's lack makes sense if and only if he is an actual person" [4]

Contention 3: The murder of a human person is prima facie morally wrong

Sure, there are instances where killing is justified (Ie: self-defense), but unless the unborn is directly threatening the mother's life (In which case the doctor can only save one or the other), then it is immoral to take the life of another person simply for the sake of one's personal convenience. Therein lies the heart of my argument: Abortion is prima facie immoral.

"What if the carrying female was raped or abused or thrust into an unconsentual incestuous sexual experience with, let's say, her brother. "

If the unborn is a human person, then its termination through elective abortion is murder. My opponent again simply begs the question. Though I sympathize with the woman's plight, the unborn child did not perpetrate the crime, he is simply a victim like the mother. Let me repeat: the unborn child is not the aggressor. The killing of another human being is by no means a justification to relieve one's own emotional stress. The _real_ question is: "Is the abortion a rights being person?" If the unborn is, as I have sufficiently demonstrate, then the taking of its life is immoral if done out of personal convenience. My opponent has simply begged the question by assuming the answer of that to be "No." As I have demonstrated, the mother is morally obligated to have the child. If she does not want the child, then she may give it up for adoption.

_____________

SOURCES

[1] -- Scott Klusendorf, "The Case for Life" (Wheaton IL: Crossway. 2009) 37
[2] -- Robert P. George and Christopher Tollfesen, "Embryo: A Defense of Human Life" New York, NY: Doubleday 2008) chapter 2
[3] -- Francis J. Beckwith, "Defending Life: A Moral and Legal Case Against Abortion Choice" (New York, NY: Cambridge University Press. 2007) 132
[4] -- Beckwith, 132
Debate Round No. 1
Sylux

Pro

First and foremost, I would like to take this time to gratefully thank my opponent for gracing my debate. As this is my first, it's a very exciting experience for me. Also that he has the time to oppose me while he has a few other ongoing debates is truly great. I don't know how much focus it would take to uphold so many thoughts at once!
I digress. My opponent comes forth with the reasonably well-opinionated basis that a developing fetus, or even an embryo, is a human being. As defined by The Free Dictionary, a human being is an entity that is "...any living or extinct member of the family Hominidae characterized by superior intelligence, articulate speech, and erect carriage." By deductive reasoning, these guidelines dictate that an unborn fetus is NOT a human being. Only by genetics can it be considered a member of the Homosapien race. By etymology of the word "homosapien", it includes the word "sapient", described by the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary as "[any being] possessing or expressing great sagacity." By this definition, one cannot be considered human until they have reached the level of wisdom and knowledge, so, as guided by the meaning of the word, not even a toddler or even a teenager can be considered human until they have fully developed and have reached the mental capacity, hormonal balance and overall wisdom to be considered human. By extremely technical definition, I am not human.

"Sure, there are instances where killing is justified (Ie: self-defense), but unless the unborn is directly threatening the mother's life (In which case the doctor can only save one or the other), then it is immoral to take the life of another person simply for the sake of one's personal convenience. Therein lies the heart of my argument: Abortion is prima facie immoral."

But what if the baby was indirectly threatened? Would you really want to force a misshapen not-even-human-yet to endure the hardships of permanent mental and physical mutations for its entire, horrible mistake of a life?

"Though I sympathize with the woman's plight, the unborn child did not perpetrate the crime, he is simply a victim like the mother."

But the ending of his life before it has begun shall save him from being a victim! If he is never able to experience the pain accompanied by his deformities, then why force him into existence? After, and only after, the baby is born does its end become murder. Any time before its birth can honestly be considered an act of great justice. But that's just my morality speaking here.

I shall now return to my original premise: abortion is justified. The basis of which I am branching my arguments outward from is the morality of abortion. Morality is generally accepted as a code of conduct established by society, which is established by the bible, which was supposedly established by the supernatural Sky-Wizard. However, this cannot be justified itself. Morality can only be built for each individual person by emotions and feelings accompanied by certain experiences they have that requires a decision, no matter how great or small. Law is one thing, but morality is another. If I say it is okay to kill someone who has stolen a piece of candy from my store because I have killed someone who stole candy from my store and enjoyed it and thought it was righteous, you cannot say that it is morally wrong for me. It would be very morally wrong for most people, but for a select few it is perfectly acceptable.

So, I restate in inquiry, how can you say that abortion is morally wrong for me as an individual?

_________________________________________________________________________________________________
http://en.wikipedia.org... (I know, not a source, but I only used the first few sentences as an extended definition)

http://www.thefreedictionary.com...

http://www.merriam-webster.com...
Apologician

Con

"By this definition, one cannot be considered human until they have reached the level of wisdom and knowledge, so, as guided by the meaning of the word, not even a toddler or even a teenager can be considered human until they have fully developed and have reached the mental capacity, hormonal balance and overall wisdom to be considered human. By extremely technical definition, I am not human."

The view on of humanity defended by Con faces a vast number of challenges. Firstly, it flies in the face of modern science. Con proposes that we define humanness in terms of cognition -- a being can be considered human if he is morphologically similar to the species homo sapiens and possesses an advanced level of reasoning. However, Con conflates humanity with personhood. Con's proposed definition is simply _not_ how embryologists define humanity. [1] The embryo is most certainly human, there is virtually no controversy among leading abortion advocates and embryology textbooks that the embryo is human (Rather, they deny that the unborn are _persons_ while affirming that they are humans). The unborn have human DNA, human parents, and the active disposition to develop themselves into a mature human being.

The very fact that the embryo develops in the way it does is due to the fact that it has a human nature that develops toward maturity. The salient point is that the embryo could never develop human traits if it weren't already human to begin with. Hence, I did not come from a fetus, I was once a fetus. Did I come to exist after my body? Obviously not. Yet Con's criteria implies the very denial of that, which is absurd. The unborn do not develop into humans, but develop according to the human nature they already have. By all accounts, therefore, the unborn are human. It may be an immature human, but it is a human nonetheless.

What I think Con wishes to say is that the embryo is not a _person_, that is, a rights-bearing and intrinsically valuable being. This distinction, however, is still problematic. Writes Robert P. George and Christopher Tollfesen: "[W]e must distinguish between two senses of the capacity (or, as it is sometimes called, the potentiality) for mental functions, psychological states, and so on: an immediately exercisable one, and a basic natural capacity, which develops over time. But if this is so, then there is little mystery in how an embryonic, fetal, or infant human being, incapable at the time of exercising his or her mental capacities, is nevertheless a person: that a human being does, by its nature, have the radical capacity for such mental acts. And is by a self-directed process developing that capacity to the point where it is immediately exercisable." [2] Con thinks that only properties that are true of the mature human (Such as self-consciousness) can count toward personhood, "but where could such properties have come from if they were not already roote din the nature of the being that possessed them?" [3]

Secondly, if Con wishes to propose that not even a toddler or teenager can be considered human, then it follows logically that since they are not moral agents, we are warranted in killing them for trivial reasons. But obviously we know that it is wrong to kill toddlers and teenagers. Similarly, Con's criteria entails that humanness comes in degrees, since some individuals are "more human" than others by virtue of having developed the cognitive abilities to a higher degree. This, I contend, is plain absurd. It is the same motivation that fostered slavery and racism. People have equal rights regardless of their mental ability or socioeconomic status.

"But what if the baby was indirectly threatened? Would you really want to force a misshapen not-even-human-yet to endure the hardships of permanent mental and physical mutations for its entire, horrible mistake of a life?"

If it were not human, I would have no qualms about terminating it. However, since this point hinges on the above arguments, which I have already shown to be wrong, then it follows that the termination of a human person is immoral even if they will be born with deformities. If the unborn are human, then they have a basic right to life of which they ought not be deprived of.

"But the ending of his life before it has begun shall save him from being a victim! If he is never able to experience the pain accompanied by his deformities, then why force him into existence? After, and only after, the baby is born does its end become murder. Any time before its birth can honestly be considered an act of great justice. But that's just my morality speaking here."

How exactly is killing someone without their consent considered to be "an act of great justice?" As I have shown, since the unborn are human persons, they deserve the basic right to life. Con states that "After, and only after, the baby is born does its end become murder." How, pray tell, does he justify the assumption that a journey of a few inches through the birth canal turns the unborn from a nonhuman tissue mass into a human being with a right to live? That is a completely arbitrary and flat-on-its-face absurd notion. Why does it suddenly become murder to kill the baby once it has been born? That is a completely arbitrary criteria that has no rational grounding whatsoever. One's location is completely irrelevant to whether or not one is a human being.

Regarding Con's point on morality, I do not share the moral relativism that he does. Instead, my position is that morality is objective, that it exists independently of human opinion. In regards to jurisprudence, I affirm natural law. As such, morality and law are inseparable. Thus, to answer to my opponent's question:"So, I restate in inquiry, how can you say that abortion is morally wrong for me as an individual?" My reply is simply that taking the life of the unborn is depriving them of their right to life, a basic right that is grounded in every human person, regardless of size, level of development, dependency, and environment.

Moreover, the substance view of persons that I defend grounds human equality and dignity better than my opponent's conception of personhood as contingent on one's cognitive abilities. On the substance view, all humans are equal regardless of their size, level of development, degree of dependency, and environment. However, on Con's view, personhood comes in degrees. People who exercise their mental abilities with greater skill are "more human" than others. Babies and infants who do not immediately exhibit the criteria for personhood can be freely killed. Thus, the substance view of persons is intuitively superior to my opponent's conception of personhood, giving us another reason to reject it.

~-~

One a sidenote, I have a question for my opponent: Do you affirm that women have a right to abortion, and how would you react if the Supreme Court overturned Roe vs. Wade?
____________

[1] -- See Keith Moore and T. V. N. Persaud, "The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology (Philadelphia: Saunders/Elsevier, 2008) 15 and T. W. Sadler, "Langman's Embryology" 5th ed (Philadelphia: W. B. Saunders, 1993) 3 Also see Merriam-Webster's Medical Dictionary, http://www.nlm.nih.gov...

[2] -- Robert P. George and Christopher Tollefsen, "Embryo: A Defense of Human Life" (New York: Doubleday 2008) 80

[3] -- Ibid, 81
Debate Round No. 2
Sylux

Pro

Sylux forfeited this round.
Apologician

Con

Pro has failed to defend the proposition "Abortion is justified." Arguments extended. Please vote con.

Thanks for the debate.
Debate Round No. 3
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by Sylux 7 years ago
Sylux
Air conditioning coolant.
Posted by Sylux 7 years ago
Sylux
I'm not prejudice, and my BFF is Christian, sooooo...
Nah, I'm not hatin' on Christians. I just have different views and opinions, this is the site for expressing them.
;D
Posted by Nails 7 years ago
Nails
I sense some deep-seated anger towards Christianity.
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by Procrastarian 7 years ago
Procrastarian
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followhard
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Vote Placed by Apologician 7 years ago
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