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Voting Style: Open Point System: Select Winner
Started: 4/19/2015 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,493 times Debate No: 73683
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (103)
Votes (3)




Team Pro


Team Con

1. Genghis Khan
2. Wylted

The resoultion our adversaries chose is underlined. They are con on this debate

Shared BOP on all topics.

1) Commoditizing citizenship (Pro)
2) Mandatory vaccinations (Pro)
3) Ration end of life care (Pro)
4) Prohibit genetically engineered babies (Con)
5) Artificial Intelligence Should Be Treated as Life (Pro)
6) Gun Ban (Con)

The full resolution is as follows.

Resolution - The MMR vaccine should be mandatory in America.

MMR Vaccine - The measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine

Mandatory - required by law or rules; compulsory.

America - United States of America


1. Forfeiting results in a loss of conduct or possibly the debate
2. Any citations or sources must be used within the character limit of the debate
3. No new arguments in the final round
4. Maintain a civil and decorous atmosphere
5. No trolling or semantics
6. No K's of the topic
7. My opponent accepts all of the following definitions and waives his/her right to challenge these definitions
8. The BOP is shared
9. First round is acceptance only. This debate has been set to be impossible to accept, so if you wish to do so, say so in the comments. If you find a way to accept the debate without me approving it, you will FF the debate.
10. Violation of any of these rules or of any of the R1 set-up merits a loss of a conduct point and due to the severity of the breach may merit an entire FF of the debate.


Round 1: Acceptance
Round 2: Pro's case, Cons Case
Round 3: Rebuttals, Rebuilding Case
Round 4: Closing, Final Rebuttals, Finalizing ones case



We (Genghis & Wylted) accept the debate.

Good luck!
Debate Round No. 1


Thanks to Wylted and Genghis_Khan for joining this debate. We look forward to a fantastic team debate!

We are mandating for a mandatory MMR vaccine to be applied in America. So what is the MMR vaccine? The acronym stands for measles, mumps and rubella, three single-stranded RNA viruses, and the vaccine is meant to impart a protective immunologic response to those who take it. The vaccine is composed of live attenuated viruses, meaning that their virulence has been strongly reduced, but the virus is still viable. This ensures that the vaccine will have the strongest and longest-lasting effect, meaning that the vaccine only has to be taken in its two-shot series once over a person's lifetime.

But that only defines what the MMR vaccine is. What does it mean to be mandatory? I will define that contextually by providing a model.

The U.S. Federal Government will require that all individuals before attending school receive the vaccination, which applies for home schooling by age 5. All individuals who are beyond schooling age and under the age of 65 would have to get the vaccine within 5 years. These will be subsidized on an as-needed basis, ensuring that it is broadly affordable. Failure to vaccinate oneself or one's family results in a fine that scales with income. There would be other exclusions based on allergies, pregnancies, and those individuals who are immunocompromised.

With that, I'll into some contentions.

1. Disease Spread

We must recognize that vaccination is not a choice that solely affects the individual being vaccinated. The decision to get the MMR vaccine affects everyone around you. Measles, mumps and rubella are all transmitted through droplets that are sprayed into the air, making them airborne pathogens with a high likelihood of transmission to those around the infected.[1, 2, 3] The mere fact that others are put at risk by people who refuse to take these vaccines creates a substantial societal harm in the status quo, as many are allowed to refuse to get the vaccine.

We're living this harm today, seeing a resurgence in these entirely preventable diseases in the U.S. and abroad.[4] This resurgence is most marked with measles, a disease that the U.S. had eliminated by the year 2000, but which returned in 17 outbreaks among 222 people just in 2011.[5] Mumps has had 4 reported outbreaks this year alone, and has had several small and two large outbreaks in the last 5 years, encompassing thousands of people.[6] Rubella has also returned from a long absence, appearing in three cases in the U.S. in 2012 after being eliminated back in 2004.[7] This change resulted mainly from a false public perception that vaccines have been linked to autism.[8]

In order to understand why vaccinating a large portion of the population is necessary, we have to understand the term “herd immunity.” This has been defined differently by different authors, but I will use the term in this fashion: “a particular threshold proportion of immune individuals that should lead to a decline in the incidence of infection.”[9] What that means is that if someone becomes sick with a given disease, herd immunity would ensure that that person is so much more likely to run into someone vaccinated against that disease than someone who is vulnerable that they would be extremely unlikely to infect other people. We cannot possibly vaccinate everyone and achieve absolute immunity because of the necessity of the exclusions I listed in my case, but we can seek to achieve herd immunity.

What does that threshold look like for these diseases? For measles, this is 95%.[10] For mumps, it's at least 88%, though it “may need to be higher” than this previously established threshold.[11] For rubella, it sits at 90%.[12] Only through mandatory vaccination could we ever hope to reach those numbers.

2. Disease Impact

My first contention established a threshold for harm in status quo, but I will now show that that threshold has a tremendous impact on society. In order to understand that, we have to know what the impact of these three diseases is.


“Prior to the vaccine, 3-4 million people were infected in the U.S. each year, resulting in 48,000 hospitalizations, 400-500 deaths and approximately 1,000 who developed chronic disabilities.

Even with modern medical care, the disease can lead to serious complications, including blindness, pneumonia, otitis media and severe diarrhea. Despite the availability of a vaccine it remains a leading cause of death among young children worldwide, with deaths mainly attributable to the complications of the disease...

More than 90 percent of susceptible people, usually unvaccinated, develop the disease after being exposed. There is no treatment except to make the patient as comfortable as possible by keeping them hydrated and trying to control the fever. Unvaccinated young children and pregnant women are at the highest risk for measles and its complications, including death.”[13]


“Mumps is not normally a fatal disease, and up to 30% of mumps infections are asymptomatic. There can be serious complications, however, including aseptic meningitis, orchitis, oophoritis, mastitis, pancreatitis, and deafness. Meningitis occurs in up to 10% of mumps cases; it is usually subclinical and self-limiting. Symptoms of mumps-related meningitis include fever, headache, vomiting, and neck stiffness, which peak for a period of 48 hours before resolution and might appear up to 1 week before parotid swelling. More serious neurologic symptoms are rare and are due to encephalitis. Hearing loss following mumps infections is rare (1 in 2000 to 30,000 cases) and usually results in mild to moderate hearing loss.

Orchitis [swelling of the testicles] occurs 4 to 8 days after the onset of parotitis and is a common complication, affecting 20% of men who develop mumps after puberty. Of those cases, 40% will develop testicular atrophy and 30% will have lasting changes in sperm count, sperm motility, and sperm morphology.”[14]


While the disease usually only results in a light fever and small rash, this disease is mainly problematic for pregnant women. “In 1964-65, America had a major rubella epidemic, with more than 12 million cases and 20,000 babies born with congenital rubella; of these, 13,000 were deaf, 3,500 were blinded by congenital cataracts, and 1,800 more suffered severe cognitive impairment.”[7] Since pregnant mothers are among the few who cannot get the vaccine, every single person who decides not to get the vaccine is putting these mothers at risk.

Taken together, this means these three viruses present as enduring, broad threats to public health that are made dramatically worse in the absence of herd immunity.




Many thanks to Mikal and Whiteflame for their opening arguments!
This round, we will be putting forth our own case against the resolution.
Our burden of proof is to demonstrate that the US government should *not* make the MMR vaccine mandatory.

C1) Bioethics

In Western medicine, the personal autonomy of patients is of paramount importance, and rightfully so. When a patient undergoes a treatment or procedure from a medical professional, he has to place absolute trust in the competence and character of that professional, as the fate of his well-being and sometimes even his life is completely dependent on the outcome of the treatment/procedure. Given that, it is only fair that the patient be allowed to *choose* whether or not he wishes to place that kind of trust in somebody else"s hands; he has the right to know every detail of what is going to be done to his body, and subsequently choose whether or not he is okay with it being done. Vaccination is no different; it is a medical procedure which involves the purposeful injection of pathogens into a person"s body, and if they do not feel safe having such a procedure done, then they should have the right to abstain from it.

Furthermore, there is ample ethical justification for granting people an absolute right to bodily autonomy. The only factor which truly distinguishes human beings from the rest of the amoral universe is their characteristic of self-ownership -- in other words, their ability to exert conscious and deliberate control over their own actions and have complete jurisdiction over their own bodies. Without self-ownership, human beings would more or less be inanimate objects, functioning like highly advanced computers and moving about only by virtue of the deterministic processes governing the rest of the universe. Such a mechanistic view of reality leaves no room for prescriptive claims about what "should" or "should not" be done, and thus the resolution presumes that all human beings posses self-ownership -- which, in turn, necessarily entails that all humans also have a right to bodily autonomy.

The implications of all this on a policy like mandatory vaccination are clear. The government simply does not have the right to force a person to undergo a medical procedure, which is enough to negate the resolution all on its own. Not only that, but violations of autonomy by the government and the medical community are also harmful in that they create an endless pretext for *further* violations down the road for the sake of the "greater good" -- mandatory organ donation, childbirth limitations, and eugenics programs, for example. All things considered, allowing the government to violate peoples" bodily autonomy through policies like mandatory vaccination is untenable.

C2) Counter-Plan

We propose that rather than violate the fundamental tenets of bioethics and make the MMR mandatory, the US government should instead opt to educate people to voluntarily vaccinate themselves and their families. There are a variety of ways in which this could be accomplished, some of which barely even involve the government. The American Medical Association could create an initiative among physicians to specifically target and inform patients who are averse to getting vaccinated, or the CDC could launch a publicity campaign encouraging vaccination (as it has already done a few times before for different causes). The government could even just force people who opted out of vaccination to take a class debunking the myths surrounding vaccination. This sort of targeted public education *does* work, as can be seen from previous public health campaigns [1] and efforts to boost recycling rates [2]. Obviously, our CP wouldn't produce 100% immunization rates, but it would certainly boost rates up to the optimal threshold for herd immunity. With the means and efficacy of the education approach established, we can go on to demonstrate that there are numerous advantages which our counter-plan has over mandatory vaccination.

First and foremost, our plan costs less. Pro says that their mandatory vaccination plan will subsidize vaccinations on an "as-needed basis", which means only low income people can get vaccinations for free. However, there are about 160 million people in the US who fall into that category [3][4], and an MMR vaccine costs about $19 [5], which amounts to a total of $3 billion in expenses. Meanwhile, out of the potential methods of education listed, two of them don't actually cost the government *any* extra money because they either aren"t government organizations (AMA) or they would simply be using funds which are already allocated to them by the government in the status quo (CDC). Only the required-class option would really cost any money, and not much of it either, considering that just 7% of children in the US aren"t vaccinated against MMR [6]. Since the total number of households in the US is 115,000,000, and the percentage of households with children is 46% (and assuming that only one parent per household needs to be educated), we're looking at 3.7 million people who would need to be educated. If it costs $200 to send each person to class, then the total expense of our proposal would be a bit less than $750 million. Obviously, these are very rough estimates, but it is nonetheless quite apparent that our CP is much cheaper.

Secondly, whereas Pro's plan can only force people to vaccinate themselves against MMR, our plan educates people on why *all* vaccines are safe. In other words, people who are convinced through education are likely to go ahead and vaccinate themselves against other diseases as well, such as influenza, tetanus, pertussis, pneumonia, hepatitis A, and diphtheria. Most of these diseases have even higher mortality rates than MMR and drastically lower rates of vaccination [7]. Therefore, educating people on vaccines in general has far greater, more all-encompassing benefits for public health than just making MMR vaccines mandatory does. Our plan is also far better than mandatory vaccinations in terms of public relations between the government and the populace. Most of the people who avoid vaccination avoid it because they genuinely fear the supposed side-effects of vaccines. Violating their bodily autonomy and forcing them and their children to undergo the very procedures they so desperately fear is simply going to be perceived as tyranny; it will only generate embitterment, resentment, and mistrust in the long run. Considering that we're talking about at least 3.7 million people here, that is rather concerning. Fostering anti-government sentiments among a significant portion of the population is dangerous and socially unhealthy, hence making our CP the safer long-term strategy.


== Conclusion ==

The resolution is negated:
(1) Mandatory vaccinations are a violation of a fundamental tenet of bioethics, which have defined the doctor-patient relationship for centuries; depriving individuals of their right to bodily autonomy is immoral, and a grave over-extension of government power.
(2) Educating people to voluntarily vaccinate is a viable and sufficiently effective alternative approach to containing disease spread; it is preferable to Pro's proposed policy because (i) it is more than 3 times cheaper, (ii) it provides the additional benefit of encouraging other more important types of vaccinations, and (iii) it is sounder in the long-term due to the inevitable minority backlash and socio-political tension in response to mandatory vaccinations.

With that, we hand the debate back over to our opponents!


Debate Round No. 2


Thanks to our opponents for presenting their case, and now let’s get started with some rebuttals.

Con has presented 3 pieces of offense, so we'll tackle each of those independently.

R1) Bioethics

Our adversaries are building a slippery slope with the medical autonomy and self ownership arguments. From their own line of logic *anything* the government forces you to do results in a loss of ones rights and humanity. If that were the case under their logic, we would have lost our humanity ages ago. What they have to do and what they have failed to do is show that this situation is specifically different than the other mandates imposed by the government. Just basically asserting *bad things* are going to happen if you do this and then failing to explain why it’s bad and what makes this particular mandate different is not sufficient

To put this in perspective, there are certain things that need to be mandatory. You have the right to chose what procedures are done to you if and *only* if that decision impacts *only* you. If you don’t want to have a surgery that is required to save your life, you should not be required to have it. If you want to risk death and not undergo the procedure that is your right. Only you are physically endangered by that choice. Now what happens if you have a bomb inside you that is going to blow up and kill a city if you don’t remove it? If that same person says no to having the surgery because it’s *his autonomy*, then he risks killing everyone else because of that choice. Should someone have the right to say no and risk killing thousands of others simply because it’s *his autonomy*? Since the explosion would dramatically affect the autonomy of everyone in that city, that loss of autonomy has to be balanced against the loss resulting from undergoing surgery. Basic utility tells us the surgery is net beneficial. We can apply that same line of logic here:

(1)Vaccinating prevents infection by measles, mumps and rubella.

(2)Once infected with any of these three viruses, you are very likely to transmit that virus to others, threatening their autonomy.

(3)Since this autonomous choice affects the autonomy of others, autonomy is best preserved by vaccinating.

Let’s look at this from another perspective. I can walk out in public, close my eyes, and start swinging my fists at the air so ferociously that it would put the fear of God into Mongolian Warlords. I am allowed to do this all day everyday, that is until my fist contacts a person’s face. The second my fist imposes itself on to someones elses autonomy and splits their grill, then my right to go around swinging blindly is limited. Con is basically saying that they want to tie a blindfold around their eyes and go punch a bunch of women because they can. Shame on you anti-feminist scum. This is fundamental to the harm principle, which our opponents are ignoring.

Our adversaries use 3 examples for comparison: mandatory organ donations, childbirth limitations, and a eugenics program. The first problem with these is that Con doesn’t specify any actual harm caused by these. Even if we somehow go down this slippery slope, it doesn’t matter if Con presents no harm for doing so. Every one of these examples is debatably beneficial from a utilitarian standpoint, . Second, these are all failed comparisons. We're not requiring anyone to give up a physical part of themselves to save someone else, nor are we forcing the various harms posed by surgeries and lost organs that would come with mandatory organ donation. As for childbirth limitations, merely having extra children doesn't endanger anyone around a given family. Third, it’s unclear how our plan removes inherent barriers to taking these actions. Even if these things are harmful and somehow comparable to our plan, it makes no difference if none of them will ever happen following implementation.

Our adversaries argument also showcases incredible hypocrisy. They went into this gigantic rant about one's medical autonomy and self-ownership, then go on to make a point about *forcing* everyone to go to a class to educate them about the harms of the MMR. By their own logic, forcing someone to do something against their will is a violation of their own autonomy and self-ownership. So, either this point should be dismissed wholesale, as it applies to both of our plans, or this is a strong point against Con, since they’re the ones who presented this argument and they should know better.

R2) Cost

The part of Con's counter-plan that happens to engender the largest cost just happens to be the most vague. How long is the class? Would it be available at a wide variety of locations? Would there be a standardized curriculum? How often would the class happen? Would people who are refractive be required to take it multiple times? These are all questions that affect the cost (as well other issues mentioned later). But assuming this is just a day-long class taken once, this is still going to need to be taught in locations all across the countryy in a number of different languages and staffed by knowledgeable teachers. They will also need some form of enforcement that requires that these people arrive and stay for the duration.

Con is just generally overly focused on costs to the government, and it's unclear why. They haven't actually stated any major harms that result from even a $3 billion loss. It seems that if we're going to focus on cost problems, then we should find some reason to care about those costs. Case in point, individuals losing on-the-job hours sitting in a class without any means of repayment (not to mention being outed as being anti-vaccination to their employers in the process), something that may very well have huge implications for those with minimal incomes. Our case requires an extremely minimal time commitment, doesn't require any cost paid, and protects individuals against a slew of medical costs.

It’s important to recognize, however, that we outweigh on costs in any case. Studies have clearly shown that the economic impact of vaccination is tremendous, especially for children: “For every dollar spent on childhood vaccines, at least $10 in societal costs were saved.”[15] Increasing the number of people who are vaccinated – which is only certain under our case – increases that benefit. And yes, this has been shown in the U.S. directly with MMR.[16] Those cost savings are measured in billions of dollars, and that's just looking at vaccinating newborns. Considering that much of this population is poor (and would therefore be reliant on state resources when they get sick) and that our case is far more certain to protect vulnerable populations that cannot be vaccinated, this benefit is dramatic.

R3) Counter-Plan

The counter-plan is non-unique. Many of the organizations Con mentions have made repeated efforts to inform the public of the importance of vaccination.[17-19] Any and all of the information they could possibly present is available online and easily accessible. That means that this only has a linear effect, and Con will have to show that a linear increase in the number of campaigns will lead to any of their impacts, which they have yet to do.

This counter-plan also has no solvency. Con haven't provided any warrants or evidence showing that simply throwing more evidence at people in larger campaigns does anything. Con has presented a policy alternative – they have the burden to prove that their solution is effective. They will have to show not only that increasing education will increase the numbers of vaccinated individuals, but that that increase is significant enough to meet the herd immunity threshold of 95%. And no, it's not sufficient to refer to a minimally successful campaign for recycling on a city-wide basis and a list of public health campaigns with no discernable assessment of outcomes as a means to prove solvency in this instance.

But assuming it does cause an effect, that effect will actually be negative. An increase in public campaigning will make more of the people who are already resistant to vaccination more resistant. Studies that have examined the effects of information campaigns have shown that “parental intent to get their child vaccinated” doesn't increase. Worse yet, many of the methods they used actually produced the opposite effect, “increasing the misconception that vaccines cause autism and serious side effects.”[15] Since Con hasn't defined a specific strategy for informing the public, they will have to accept that numerous strategies can and will be used, and their effects will range from ineffective to deleterious.

However, none of this really matters, because our case outweighs theirs. If the point is informing the prejudiced, then only our case manages to do so by forcing them to engage with the issue. Requiring that they take a vaccine and see the effects for themselves is a lot more effective than sitting them down in a classroom and hoping that the information they've likely ignored multiple times before permeates. When they see that a vaccine isn't killing them or controlling their minds, they'll be forced to face a different reality than the one they believe exists.

Further, we outweigh by ensuring equal access to vaccination through government subsidy. Even if you buy that education increases the likelihood that people will want to be vaccinated, the expense will always prevent the inclusion of many. Con are perpetuating a classist system that excludes many and, as a result of the mandatory class, actually makes things harder for the poor. Our case is the only one that affords them equal access to highly beneficial health care.



Genghis_Khan forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3


Genghis_Khan forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
103 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by ColeTrain 1 year ago
Wasn't Genghis_Khan actually Romanii?
Posted by n7 2 years ago
RIP in piece Khan
Posted by Wylted 2 years ago
Ghengis Khan is dead, but his legacy will forever stand.
Posted by Geogeer 2 years ago
I know who he used to be, but that account is still closed as well... it may be a temporary thing and he'll re-open it in time to make his arguments...
Posted by whiteflame 2 years ago
No clue. It is sad...
Posted by kasmic 2 years ago
Anyone know what happened to Genghis_Khan's account?
Posted by kasmic 2 years ago
Posted by Mikal 2 years ago
That's fine it's not applicable to abortion to me, as the situation varies
Posted by Geogeer 2 years ago
If I ever end up having an abortion debate with Mikal I'm going to quote this debate:

"To put this in perspective, there are certain things that need to be mandatory. You have the right to chose what procedures are done to you if and *only* if that decision impacts *only* you. If you don"t want to have a surgery that is required to save your life, you should not be required to have it. If you want to risk death and not undergo the procedure that is your right. Only you are physically endangered by that choice."
Posted by Mikal 2 years ago
Our round should be up by the end of the night.

I had to finish my part
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by Commondebator 2 years ago
Who won the debate:Vote Checkmark-
Reasons for voting decision: FF
Vote Placed by Geogeer 2 years ago
Who won the debate:Vote Checkmark-
Reasons for voting decision: Geez, he bailed just as it was getting interesting...
Vote Placed by kasmic 2 years ago
Who won the debate:Vote Checkmark-
Reasons for voting decision: Ff, unfortunate as this debate was pretty solid up to that point.