The Instigator
Pro (for)
11 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
0 Points

Pro Choice (arguing from a self-ownership position)

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Post Voting Period
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/23/2014 Category: Politics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 521 times Debate No: 59427
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (5)
Votes (2)




Pro Choice (arguing from a self-ownership position)

Dexterbeagle will argue for pro-choice rights based on a firm belief in the philosophical, legal, and political merits of self-ownership. The Wikipedia entry, (here: provides the necessary context, although those interested in developing arguments might want to consider the section with the heading HISTORY, specifically this:
John Locke wrote in his Two Treatises on Government, "every man has a Property in his own Person." Locke also said that the individual "has a right to decide what would become of himself and what he would do, and as having a right to reap the benefits of what he did."
The reason I note the quote mentioned above is because this is the most interesting"at least to me"most salient part of the debate.

Quick formatting/rules to consider before accepting the debate
BOP will split 50/50, meaning the winner is the person that provides the best argument, sources, grammar, conduct as designed in the standard 7-point system.
First round acceptance
Second Round opening remarks and rebuttals
Third Round major arguments/counterarguments, rebuttals, or more precisely making a strong case for your position.
Welcome comments for help strengthen the debate.
The proposition seems clear to me"however, as I"ve learned since my entry into the DDO world, my words are often imprecise to others, so please provide comments and I will make an effort to address questions related to the debate or for further clarification.

I am going to make one or two additional points in the comments section answering general questions I anticipate a potential opponent would want answer.

Best of luck to Con. Look forward to the debate.


I accept this challenge and look forward to an exciting debate. In this debate I will defend the following propositions:
1. Life begins at conception
2. The fetus/embryo is human life, and it is therefore morally reprehensible to terminate this life.
I will make my case for these propositions in the next round.
Debate Round No. 1


Okay, I am going to keep this round somewhat brief due to other obligations but plan on expanding my arguments in round three.

The very idea of self-ownership is one binds every other principle in western political and legal thinking. Both the American and European traditions exemplified the position. John Locke is only one of many that see the right to property an inalienable right, one that eclipses all others.

Locke talked about rights of property not in sense people have an inherent right to land or possession but everyone property in the most basic sense of ownership of self, specifically dominion over body. One"s body is a form of property, in the sense we use a source to make a living. More importantly, self-ownership is the very basis that facilitates independence and allows one to pursue happiness.

The philosophical argument is the foundation for economic property rights in the United States and elsewhere. This right to property allows me to start a business and employ people. As a result, they give up their rights and privileges: civil liberties like speech, the ability to take the property an employee, as well as their intellectual property, as is the case with companies like Apple and Google.

Con takes the position that life begins at conception, likely based along similar lines as the argument as my own. Con however states the following:
1.Life begins at conception
2.The fetus/embryo is human life, and it is therefore morally reprehensible to terminate this life.

For the first proposition that life begins at conception simply means there is a potential for a person to result from a fertilized egg. However, this does not trump the bodily rights on the woman to make decisions over her reproductive organs. Moreover, life does not mean a person with rights including the right to sue and be sued, right to speak or assembly, nor does it entitle the "life" to due process under the law. These are protections and rights people are entitled to under law. The second argument continues to equate life and personhood, or being an individual capable of making conscious choice.

The claim it is "moral reprehensible to terminate a life" is a value judgment. However, what Con appears to be saying is that terminating a fetus is the same as killing a person, therefore termination should viewed and treated the same as murder.

This leads to all kinds of interesting legal situations, including a case where a car accident where a driver causes the accident results in a miscarriage, directly attributable to the accident. By the standards set out by Con it would have to be so. While fetus/embryo cannot file a tort compliant against another party, claiming damages, Con would likely favor a purposed Iowa law that allows women who have "abortion regret," to sue a doctor for malpractice, including "suing for physical injury, a patient could sue for emotional distress, which would include a negative emotional or mental reaction, grief, anxiety, or worry." [1] The statute would give women ten years to sue. But, this is probably this would perhaps be too lenient for Con. Logically termination of life would mean both the woman and the doctor were engage in carry out a murder, right?



knock_down_argument forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2


Self-ownership is fundamentally about self-determination and self-determination including the right to control one"s physical body and have control over one"s mind and the ability to control your well-being. Both sides agree murder, killing, or anything even resembling the abuse is wrong. Where Pro and Con differ is where place out focus. Those who equate abortion with murder tend to frame their arguments and attention on the rights of the fetus. This is where the mistake lies. Any moral claims rest with the woman and her physical body. Pro-Life advocates believe the fetus/embryo has a legitimate claim to the inside of a woman"s physical body.

In Mandatory Motherhood, biologist Garrett Hardin wrote that in the case of an unwanted pregnancy, the choice dichotomy that says the choice for a woman is either abortion or no abortion fails to account for the reality of the situation. In reality, the women with unwanted pregnancies face a much more stark decision, either abortion or compulsory childbearing. While abortion is never a desirable outcome, something treated lightly, if a woman decides to make a decision, a choice over her body, she determines is the best course then we need to ask ourselves whether an autonomous free agent have claim of her body or does the fetus claiming the body of the woman? Pro takes the side of women and the fundamental right to have control and choice over your body.

However, let me concede something to the other side: they have had more influence over the language of the debate than has been my own side. That said, Pro wants to move away from thinking about abortion in terms of a medical procedure or as a desire not to be pregnant but rather as a right to self-ownership and self-determination to control one"s body, and in concrete terms this includes free not to be coerced or compel to use it against one"s will.

Moreover, they have been able to use certain terms interchangeably without addressing their specific meaning. The DNA encoded in the fertilized egg has special code and this information tell the woman"s body to develop in a specific manner. However, this does not bolster the claim that the fetus or embryo is a person, an independence separate from the mother. According to dictionary definition person means "a self-conscious or rational being," which means a person, but not a fetus or embryo, can make conjectures about this or that, have desires, and assume responsibility for decision and choices. A person is different from a fetus or embryo because a person uses cognition and independent perception to understand and make meaning of their world. The fetus or embryo has no comparable experience.

For Pro, this shows way having an abortion is not analogous to murdering another human being. And also shows why deciding either to have an abortion is not analogous or similar in any sense to killing a newborn child. Children are able form, perhaps unsophisticated, perceptual patterns to evaluate and develop their own separate reality. And children even newborns respond to world around them. The embryo and fetus require the physical womb and cannot are not capable of independent action.

Lastly, let me end on a point of agreement. Hopefully, everyone agrees with the notion that life along with respect and dignity of life and persons is essential to a function family, country, and world. With that said, while Pro and Con are likely to remain at a deadlock over whether a fertilized egg constitutes. But if you are serious about respect life and providing the best opportunities for all then at some level you have to ask whether it would be better to bring another life into the world if they are unwanted. The woman, her body, and independent agency is the one who chooses. The fetus or embryo lack the concept of I or self-reflexive thought, they cannot speculate or weight the decision of existence or non-existence. No this responsibility and very difficult choice remains with the woman. In the end, the fundamental right resides with the woman, her responsibility over her body, mind and choice of action to believe the opposite denies self-ownership and self-determination, which I have argued are fundamental to be human and fundamental to happiness. Please Vote Pro.


knock_down_argument forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by ArcTImes 2 years ago
I use a similar argument as yours. It's basically the same but it's worded kind of different. It would be cool to see a counter argument that is good enough to make us think.
Posted by dexterbeagle 2 years ago
Thanks for the input. I understand that most people will want to frame it exclusively in religious terms. While that is fine, I wanted to see whether it could expand to philosophical issues as well. So, I have no problem with anyone who wants to make the religious argument, but I would like to that person to take a coherent position that explores the notion of self-ownership. My intent was simple: I wanted to create a debate on social issues but have it also address other elements. In principle, the religious argument does not have to restrict my opponent; I hope someone will come up with a creative counter position to my own. Thanks for the comments.
Posted by thenewkidd 2 years ago
The Pro Choice / Pro Life debate stems from Non-Religious and Religious views of when the soul enters the body.

Neither side is going to be completely convinced..

Most Pro Choice people take the stance of
I'm not going to force my religious views on you.
Science says "it is a fetus not a baby".
It is the mother that is sustaining the life so there for it isn't a life until it can sustain its own existence.

Pro Life insists.
That is it a life at conception.. Terminating life is murder and murder is wrong.
Soul enters the body at conception there for it is a baby right away (despite what science says).
It doesn't matter if the baby is in the mother, the mother has no choice when it comes to terminating a life.
Adoption is ALWAYS an option.

Where as me.. I am Pro Life.. BUT I believe that there are exceptions to the rule and believe that abortion is necessary in some cases.
So.. I don't know if I can argue that Abortion is completely wrong all the time as I don't believe that and cannot argue that.
Where as the Pro Life side.. I cannot argue that is completely right all the time as I have already stated abortion has to be an option on the table in some cases.
Posted by ArcTImes 2 years ago
But you can solve the problem defining your words in the first round, or giving a precise resolution, or just being careful.
Posted by dexterbeagle 2 years ago
One question I anticipate is "what is con arguing?" To me that is largely up to the creativity of my opponent. However, because I value debate please accept this debate only if you are interested in a good debate, which I realize is the vast majority of DDO debaters. But I just wanted to state from the outset, I find gimmicks and semantic games the one aspect of DDO I find the most annoying and most frustrating. Reading posts and looking at other debates, I have noticed that sometimes--and only a fraction of the time, debates descend into the Bill Clinton games or more precisely debate what the "what the definition of IS IS" And that is not really what this debate is trying to accomplish, notably debating the various dictionary definitions. I will check back later on to respond to anyone interested in additional clarification. Thanks.
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Vote Placed by lannan13 2 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Forfeiture
Vote Placed by RobertMcclureSmith 2 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: FF