The Instigator
oboeman
Con (against)
Winning
20 Points
The Contender
MoonDragon613
Pro (for)
Losing
3 Points

Regarding third-trimester abortions

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/5/2008 Category: Politics
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,648 times Debate No: 4346
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (5)
Votes (7)

 

oboeman

Con

Greetings.

In this particular debate, I am arguing that third trimester abortions (assuming development within normal parameters) be banned, unless the life of the mother is at stake.

I realize that this is quite a common and rather conventional debate topic, but I have seen and heard of too many similar debates "solved" only upon opinion, personal belief, and flawed logic.

Let me proceed with a definition:
Abortion – the artificially induced expulsion/death of an embryo or fetus.

Third-trimester fetuses have such a high degree of neural and brain development (assuming development within normal parameters) that depriving them of life would be deplorable, and nearly equivalent to the intentional killing of human life following the event of birth. As a collective and society, we ought to respect human life in the third-trimester by allowing it to progress and further its development.

Please note that my objective in this debate is to prove that, assuming development within normal parameters, the abortions of third-trimester fetuses should be illegal in the United States, unless the life of the mother is at stake.

I look forward to the debate.
MoonDragon613

Pro

"As a collective and society, we ought to respect human life in the third-trimester by allowing it to progress and further its development."

Many abortion debates boil down to the degree of development which distinguishes between a fetus and a baby. Well I for one have had enough with the foreplay. Let's assume for the sake of argument, that a third-trimester fetus is the equivalent of a baby. I still don't give a rat's behind.

Argument #1A: National Policy SHOULD NEVER EXCLUSIVELY focus on the "sanctity" of human life. Instead Good National Policy should ALSO take into consideration the economy, personal liberties, and quality of life.

If our government wanted to protect life, then it should ban the use of automobiles. Automobiles are one of the leading causes of death nationwide. But if I told everyone we should ban automobiles to preserve the lives of innocent pedestrians, you'd call me insane. So what tens of thousands of people die in automobile crashes? We still allow people to drive because of the economic benefits which makes life worth living.

If you want to ban the use of third-trimester abortions, It is NOT ENOUGH to say, they're almost the same as babies. Good National Policy must take into consideration the impact on the economy, the impact on personal liberties, and the impact on individual quality of life.

Argument #1B: Third-trimester abortions are good for the economy, personal liberties, and quality of life.

As I argued in the first segment, Good National Policy has to take a lot of issues into consideration. Starting with the economy. Women who have children also invariably tend to take maternity leave. The fewer children, the more women working, the healthier and more productive the economy. Secondly, women have greater personal liberties, which is a given. And third, women won't have to undergo the unbearably painful experience of child birth until they are ready. Thus the quality of life for American citizens improves.
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At this point oboeman, you have 3 choices before you.
Choice 1: Argue that Good National Policy should Only take into consideration the sanctity of human life (oh and I am sooooo ready for this)
Choice 2: Even though it's a bad policy we should implement it anyway to make religious people happy (which in my opinion would be a fantastic and creative rebuttal, albeit a difficult course to navigate)
Choice 3: forfeit the next however many rounds.

I shall await your reply.
Debate Round No. 1
oboeman

Con

To initiate this round, I would like to thank my opponent for accepting this challenge, and I look forward to the remaining debate.

Alright, as proposed by you, we will assume that a third-trimester fetus is the equivalent of a baby.

Rebuttal #1A:
National policy should focus on that of which is of more value to society. Understandably, good national policy should also take into consideration the economy, personal liberties, quality of life, etc. HOWEVER, the real question here is which holds more inherent value to our collective society.
I will not use the term "sanctity" of human life, necessarily, but instead talk about the value in which life is placed in society at the current time.
As mentioned, a good national policy should deal with what our collective society in the United States can deduce is more important, and therefore values more. I am arguing that the fundamental value that is holding our society together is the essential respect to sentient life. Given that a baby (developed within normal parameters) is a sentient life, a third-trimester fetus is therefore too.
What good would economic values and personal liberties be if our society lost its fundamental value holding it together?
The fundamental respect to sentient life must always be intact in order to preserve all of the other values our society holds today. I am postulating that the fundamental respect to sentient life is the overall most imperative value our society has today. On an overall basis, it outweighs the other values you had mentioned.
As well, assuming you agree with me about it being a sentient life, permitting third-trimester abortions outside the boundaries I set in my opening argument could lead to a slippery slope regarding the killing of other sentient life. I am arguing that killing sentient life is unethical on a universal basis throughout our society today.

"If our government wanted to protect life, then it should ban the use of automobiles. Automobiles are one of the leading causes of death nationwide. But if I told everyone we should ban automobiles to preserve the lives of innocent pedestrians, you'd call me insane. So what tens of thousands of people die in automobile crashes? We still allow people to drive because of the economic benefits which makes life worth living."

There is a great difference, making this analogy somewhat flawed. All third-trimester abortions kill the fetus. Not all automobiles kill pedestrians. They do, however, have the capability to kill pedestrians. Because of this capability, I am in support of limiting the use of automobiles in regards to reckless drivers, increasing such fines, etc.

Rebuttal #1B:

Again, I have postulated that the greatest overall value that is held by our society as a whole today is the fundamental respect to sentient life. This outweighs other values, on an overall basis.
I am not necessarily saying that third-trimester abortions would be either good or bad in regards to the economy, personal liberties, or the quality of life. What I am saying is that the most important value should be maintained. By keeping this value intact, our collective society can function normally.
While women may, of course, have greater personal liberties, it is unethical at the expense of a sentient life. If women strive for greater personal liberties, adoption is also available. The same is true for the quality of life.

Logically, it is unethical to kill a fetus if it holds the same characteristics of a baby. Most importantly is the attribute of sentience. I also pose to you a set of two questions:
First of all, are you arguing that the killing of a baby (i.e. after birth) is acceptable, given your arguments presented?
Second of all, if you claim that the killing of a baby is unacceptable, at what point does it become unacceptable in the process of development?
MoonDragon613

Pro

"I am not necessarily saying that third-trimester abortions would be either good or bad in regards to the economy, personal liberties, or the quality of life. What I am saying is that the most important value should be maintained. By keeping this value intact, our collective society can function normally."

Right now you probably work a 9 to 5 job, bringing back a pay check so you can feed your family. Imagine if the government decided that you only need half of that to survive and so takes that pay check away from you and then spends it on food to feed people in Darfur. After all, half your pay check will still feed your kids. It might make your life miserable, but hey, what's more important? Your freedom, your standard of living? or sentient life?

Now who here thinks this would be an absurd national policy? Raise your hand. Or better yet, vote for Con.

Because let's face it ... if we accept the idea that sentient life takes precedence over personal liberties, then heck, we couldn't even have fought the Civil War. IF we invaded the South, the war would have caused the loss of sentient life. Since sentient life is more important than the quality of life, we should have just let black people keep slaving away at the plantations, as long as their slave masters only beat them and not kill them. Because hey, sentient life takes precedence right?
-----------------------------------------------

Let approach this debate from another angle.

Imagine if there exists a sentient parasite. For the sentient parasite to live, it has to feed off a female. Is it good national policy for force all females to serve as hosts to these sentient parasites?

If I was a female and you told me that it's good national policy to have me host a sentient parasite, I would beat you with whatever weapon is within reach.
------------------------------------------------

So to repeat:
Argument #1B: Third-trimester abortions are good for the economy, personal liberties, and quality of life.

As I argued in the first segment, Good National Policy has to take a lot of issues into consideration. Starting with the economy. Women who have children also invariably tend to take maternity leave. The fewer children, the more women working, the healthier and more productive the economy. Secondly, women have greater personal liberties, which is a given. And third, women won't have to undergo the unbearably painful experience of child birth until they are ready. Thus the quality of life for American citizens improves.

Therefore we should have third trimester abortions. Thank you.
Debate Round No. 2
oboeman

Con

"Right now you probably work a 9 to 5 job, bringing back a pay check so you can feed your family. Imagine if the government decided that you only need half of that to survive and so takes that pay check away from you and then spends it on food to feed people in Darfur. After all, half your pay check will still feed your kids. It might make your life miserable, but hey, what's more important? Your freedom, your standard of living? or sentient life?"

Though I am currently a student in high school (rather than a working adult), I will use your analogy. This would, indeed, be an absurd national policy. Of course, the government should always attempt to protect sentience, however, in this example there is an alternative option. Money can be found elsewhere to feed people in Darfur. If the United States government truly wanted to assist in Darfur by helping to feed people, it is their responsibility to find money in a place that would cause less harm and subsequent misery (e.g. instead of taking half of the money made by a particular family, perhaps taking a small percentage of money as some type of tax to aid in resolving world hunger; and thus meaning that the extremely wealthy would pay a larger sum of money than those who would strike financial misery by having the government deduct such a large sum of monetary value). With such a system, no loss of the standard of living is foreseeable, and yet sentient life is maintained by feeding the hungry.
I have therefore invalidated your analogy.

"If we accept the idea that sentient life takes precedence over personal liberties, then heck, we couldn't even have fought the Civil War. IF we invaded the South, the war would have caused the loss of sentient life. Since sentient life is more important than the quality of life, we should have just let black people keep slaving away at the plantations, as long as their slave masters only beat them and not kill them. Because hey, sentient life takes precedence right?"

War is always wrong, but sometimes, unfortunately, it is considered a last resort. Ideally, more conversing between the northern states and the southern states; more diplomatic negotiations between the union and the confederacy; and more approaching of the philosophical implications, such as slavery and the inherent rights of the states, should have been achieved. Only then, after all of the above was vigilantly attempted (and if they fail), and if at least one side remains ignorant to the other, might war be considered a final resort. But again, all "wars," ideally, should be solved without fighting or the loss of sentient life.
Therefore, my main argument for this analogy of yours is that war is not ethical in the first place. However, of course if it comes to a last resort, it is a necessity to fight against the physical harm of others. If the government had not intervened, slavery might still have been a severe problem today, meaning an additional 150 years of the malevolent practice, resulting in the physical harm and killing of many more slaves.

"Imagine if there exists a sentient parasite. For the sentient parasite to live, it has to feed off a female. Is it good national policy for force all females to serve as hosts to these sentient parasites?"

A parasite, by definition, physically harms its host. If a sentient parasite is physically damaging another being, one should not force the being to serve as a host to it.
As a note for your likely subsequent rebuttal, a third-trimester fetus can hardly be considered a parasite. Though it obviously takes in nutrients from the mother, it often does no physical harm to her. It would likely be considered a form of commensalism. And even if it did do physical harm to her is some circumstances, I stated in my opening argument that an exception to the illegalization of third-trimester abortions would include if the "life of the mother was at stake."
As well, in reference to third-trimester abortions, the sentient life is physically and directly killed. In your analogy, the females, or for that matter anyone else, are not directly killing the parasites by choosing not to serve as their hosts. The parasites would merely die by default.
I have therefore invalidated your analogy.

Again, I ask that you answer these questions, leftover from my Round 2:
First of all, are you arguing that the killing of a baby (i.e. after birth) is acceptable, given your arguments presented?
Second of all, if you claim that the killing of a baby is unacceptable, at what point does it become unacceptable in the process of development?

Logically, it seems as though it would be just as permissible to kill a baby as it would be to kill a third-trimester fetus (given the guidelines I set in Round 1). Both, invariably, possess sentience. However, I will let you answer my inquiries.

The loss of sentient life is always most deplorable.
Overall, the fundamental value of sentient life is the greatest asset there is in our society.
In reference to your argument #1B, personal liberties need not be forfeited, as adoption is still a valid method of preventing the loss of sentient life. Adoption would also relieve potential parents of having their personal liberties sacrificed.
Again, I advocate in this debate that third-trimester abortions (assuming development within normal parameters) be illegal in the United States, unless the life of the mother is at stake.
Seeing as I have logically refuted each of MoonDragon613's arguments and analogies, I am thus winning this debate. A CON vote is thus in order at this point.

I await your next rebuttal.
MoonDragon613

Pro

Before we begin....

"As well, in reference to third-trimester abortions, the sentient life is physically and directly killed. In your analogy, the females, or for that matter anyone else, are not directly killing the parasites by choosing not to serve as their hosts. The parasites would merely die by default."

So lemme get this straight... You're against abortion ... but if there was a medical procedure where the mother can cut off nutrients to the fetus and thus allow the fetus to die of starvation ... that'd be cool with you? As long as you don't literally kill it it's all cool?
-----------------------------------------------------------------------

Anyway, so far the debate has boiled down to this fundamental difference of opinion.

Pro believes that good government policy should take into account the economy, personal liberty, and quality of life.
Con believes that everything should take a back seat to the "sanctity" of sentient life.

So if you share Pro's point of view, vote Pro, otherwise vote Con.

If you're not certain which point of view you're in alignment with, think about the following hypothetical example:

(1)
Every year, thanks to the One Child Policy, Chinese women across the country have no choice but to have abortions because the government mandates this as a population control. HOWEVER, it is in the power of the United States to allow all pregnant Chinese women to come into the United States. Should the US adopt an open door policy for all pregnant Chinese women?

If your answer is yes, then vote Con. If no, vote Pro.

(2)
An adult pig is technically more intelligent and more "sentient" than a 3 year old child. (Thus far more sentient than a third-trimester fetus) In light of learning this, would you stop eating pork?

If your answer is yes, then vote Con. If no, vote Pro.
Debate Round No. 3
oboeman

Con

Allow me to proceed.

"So lemme get this straight... You're against abortion ... but if there was a medical procedure where the mother can cut off nutrients to the fetus and thus allow the fetus to die of starvation ... that'd be cool with you? As long as you don't literally kill it it's all cool?"

I am still opposed to the killing of sentient life. I was merely stating in my Round 3 that it is MORE ethical to allow the parasite to die by default. Even though it may be MORE ethical, it is still UNETHICAL. The killing of sentient life is most deplorable.

While Pro thinks that good government policy should take into account the economy, personal liberty, and quality of life, it must be remembered that Con shares those ideas.
The greatest, fundamental difference between Pro and Con in this debate resolves around the inherent value of sentient life in our society today. Con claims that the value of sentient life largely dominates other values in decision-making, while Pro claims the contrary.

There is one distinct reason that can be deduced as to why the value of sentient life largely dominates other values in decision-making, ultimately leading to Con winning this debate:

If our society were to demote the intrinsic value of sentient life from decision-making, chaos would readily follow. The reasoning behind this involves the fact that the respect to sentient life is what holds our society together. If this value was lost, or even demoted, it would easily, and logically, lead to a slippery slope of questioning other fundamental ethics, such as the respect to children and babies (i.e. following the event of birth). Essentially, if it were alright to kill a fetus in the third-trimester (both of us agreeing it has the attribute of sentience, assuming development within normal parameters), then, logically, nothing would be wrong with infanticide. Considering that in your Round 1 you claimed that "a third-trimester fetus is the equivalent of a baby."
First of all, let me set up a brief transitive property (A=B and B=C, therefore A=C).
Let the killing of a third-trimester fetus = A.
Let the killing of a baby = B.
Let unethical = C.
The killing of a third-trimester fetus = the killing of a baby.
The killing of a baby = unethical.
Therefore, the killing of a third-trimester fetus = unethical.
(The above transitive property works assuming you consider infanticide unethical.)

As well, do you consider infanticide unethical? Even if it were to improve the quality of life, preserve personal liberties, etc.? Considering you have agreed in your Round 1 that both third-trimester fetuses and babies are equivalent, and you support third-trimester abortion rights, then it is logical to assume that you would support infanticide rights. For voters reading this debate, ask to yourself if this is ethical.
This was the slippery slope argument that I brought up. By the killing of a third-trimester fetus with sentience, it permits the killing of other sentient beings. Clearly, the killing of sentient beings is unethical.
Sentience remains the greatest and most important value our society holds, universally, today. Of course, other values are also quite relevant, but an inherent analysis of these values deduces that respect to sentience if the most vital.

"Every year, thanks to the One Child Policy, Chinese women across the country have no choice but to have abortions because the government mandates this as a population control. HOWEVER, it is in the power of the United States to allow all pregnant Chinese women to come into the United States. Should the US adopt an open door policy for all pregnant Chinese women?"

I support first-trimester abortion rights (assuming development within normal parameters), and I am unsure of my own view regarding second-trimester abortion rights at the time. However, I stated in my Round 1 that the "abortions of third-trimester fetuses should be illegal in the United States." My objective in this debate was to argue that point, not the ethics of other societies. In order to abide by such policies, however, perhaps first-trimester abortions would be the optimal, preceding further development of the fetus.

"An adult pig is technically more intelligent and more "sentient" than a 3 year old child. (Thus far more sentient than a third-trimester fetus) In light of learning this, would you stop eating pork?"

First of all, just as a point of reference, many debate whether or not sentience is measured on a scale, or if it is indeed a black-and-white issue. However, regardless, I am for vegetarianism (for the most part). If you look at my profile, however, you will see that I am against vegetarianism/PETA. The reason I am opposed to that topic is because I am against the organization, PETA, for a variety of reasons. I am also Jewish, so it would be unlikely that I would eat a whole lot of pork anyway.
=P

To those who read this debate, I ask that you vote CON for the following reasons:
I have established the most truth.
I have debated logical points to support my initial claim.
I have successfully rebutted my opponent's arguments.
I have invalidated my opponent's analogies opposing third-trimester abortions.

Again, I claim that third-trimester abortions should be illegal in the United States (assuming development within normal parameters), unless the life of the mother was at stake.

Finally, I would like to thank my opponent for accepting this debate, and the debate was fun, leading to enthralling discussion. I am also looking forward to reading your following rebuttal,
Oboeman.
MoonDragon613

Pro

"The reasoning behind this involves the fact that the respect to sentient life is what holds our society together."
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"Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!"
- Patrick Henry to the Virginia House of Burgesses

Is there a value to sentient life? Of course there is. That was never at dispute. But in 1775, the people of America said sentient life is all good and nice ... but was it was not something for which men and women give up their liberties for. And they were just talking about their own sentient lives. No one said, hey, hold on a minute, let's put our liberties aside because it might jeopardize British lives.

Had our government been shackled by an unwavering respect for sentient life, we would have NEVER liberated ourselves from the tyranny of Great Britain. And we would have NEVER liberated the Black men and women of the south from the clutches of slavery.

There are just some things more important than American sentient lives. Not to mention the sentient lives of non Americans. --------------------------------------------------------------

At the beginning of the debate, I raised the issue of personal liberty. To which my opponent replied "What good would economic values and personal liberties be if our society lost its fundamental value holding it together?"

But that's just it isn't it? Isn't Personal Liberty something worth dying for? Worth fighting for? Worth killing for? Am I to understand that the sentient life of others is worth more than our own personal liberties? If the British came tomorrow to our shores to chain our women, are we to sit idly with our thumbs twiddling because the British are sentient lives?

A fetus is not an American citizen. And if sentient, it is hardly so. But to be frank, I don't care how sentient the fetus is. No one has the right to shackle American women.
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Thank you and Good night. Was a pleasure exchanging opinion.
Debate Round No. 4
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by JoeBob 8 years ago
JoeBob
"the right to shackle American women"??

Talk about diving off into emotional rhetoric. All law is about curtailing freedoms so that society conforms to some generally accepted norm of behavior. All law shackles all citizens.

That's why we have these debates: To figure out what our general norms should be.

And by the way, American women have far more rights and freedoms than men do in the realm of reproduction: The right to abort vs. keep, the right to abandon, the right to sue for custody (and win), etc.
Posted by Maya9 8 years ago
Maya9
MoonDragon most definitely has the more logical arguments. Oboeman's arguments are based entirely on premises that are a matter of morals, which are relative and which he makes no effort to argue the value of. He assumes that the fetus's life has more value than the quality of life of the woman carrying it, but never bothers to argue as to why this is so.
Posted by Mangani 8 years ago
Mangani
I don't feel "pro" had convincing arguments. I voted "con" for the logic of his arguments.
Posted by MoonDragon613 8 years ago
MoonDragon613
LoL. Yuppp in my old age.
Posted by HandsOff 8 years ago
HandsOff
"Right now you probably work a 9 to 5 job, bringing back a pay check so you can feed your family. Imagine if the government decided that you only need half of that to survive and so takes that pay check away from you and then spends it on food to feed people in Darfur. After all, half your pay check will still feed your kids. It might make your life miserable, but hey, what's more important? Your freedom, your standard of living? or sentient life?"

Moondragon, I never thought I'd hear you criticizing the government for taking half of someone's pay check (they do that now). Sounds like your becoming more conservative in your old age. Very unique angle on this debate by the way.
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