The Instigator
LightC
Pro (for)
Losing
18 Points
The Contender
RoyLatham
Con (against)
Winning
32 Points

Resolved: Social abortions ought not be legal in the US.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 8 votes the winner is...
RoyLatham
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/8/2008 Category: Politics
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,496 times Debate No: 6173
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (38)
Votes (8)

 

LightC

Pro

(Note: Only people who are familiar with LD should take this debate; however if you do not know LD and would till like to do it, I have no problem with that.)

I affirm: Social abortions ought not be legal in the US.

For analysis of the resolution I offer the following observations:

1. Resolution states "Social" abortions, therefore the resolution is dealing with the context of abortions excluding health related mother issues, or rape.
2. Resolution states "ought" implying some sort of obligation.
3. Resolution is in a US framework.

The negative values justice which is giving each their due. There are two reasons why justice is an appropriate value. First, the resolution implies an obligation we must evaluate the resolution based from that standpoint. I.e. an obligation that goes beyond simple necessity. Second, the resolution asks for the legality of the issue. Laws ought to be just. The value of justice is achieved by the criterion of Respecting Human Worth. This is an appropriate evaluative standard because justice is what giving each their due is. This definition can only apply because justice is based on human worth itself, and what is due to a specific person. Justice ,furthermore, is able to be weighed based on this VC. For example, it is wrong to rape a rapist because it undermines that rapists human worth. However, it is not unjsut to incarcerate that rapist because it does not violate any human worth.

Contention I: Abortion is a form of dehumanization

Abortion is the act of terminating a human being. The affirmative's advocacy is not that abortion is a violation of rights, rather the advocacy is that killing any type of human without due cause is dehumanization. For example, slavery is unjust because it violates a human without due cause. Furthermore, extend this logic to abortion. The human-fetus has no defense mechanism against the abortionist's medical tools. Clearly ripping a baby ought not only dehumanizes that baby, it creates a moral stigmatization within society. Society is allowing an act which dehumanizes, thus it is unjust.
RoyLatham

Con

Pro offers a new twist to the traditional abortion issue. I look forward to the debate.

I accept Pro's definition of "justice" as "giving each their due." The question then arises as to what is due to a fertilized egg versus what is due to the woman and to others potentially impacted by legislation making abortion illegal.

1. Pro has states that human rights are not at issue in his advocacy. Pro illustrates by claiming that there is a right against "dehumanization" that exists independent of human rights. Pro cites slavery as unjust because it "violates a human without due cause." All violations of human rights involve some "violation" of a human without due cause. I challenge Pro to give an example of a human right which can be justly violated. There are none. Protection again slavery is a human right precisely because not doing so is unjust. Pro's error in claiming that the issue is not about human has no significant impact on the arguments. If there is an independent "right against dehumanization" which is separate from human rights, we must still resolve the conflict between this alleged new right, or whatever it is, and the rights of the woman and of others in society.

If what Pro has discovered trumps human rights, Pro must make the case why that is so. Pro has not offered that argument.

2. A fertilized egg is not a human being, therefore it is properly "dehumanized." Pro seeks to have all abortion made illegal, including "morning after" situations in which the fertilized egg is a microscopic undifferentiated sphere of a few hundred cells. The sphere is "human" because it is made of human DNA, but it is not a "being" because it has no memories or any of other attributes that make up a "being." Unfertilized eggs, sperm, and a surgically removed appendix are all "human" because they are all the products of human DNA and of nothing else. However, none of those are "human beings" because none posses the other attributes of human beings. Something which is not a "human being" is quite properly treated accordingly.

3. Pro implicitly acknowledges that fertilized eggs are not human beings by providing the exception for rape in his assertion. Neither Pro nor anyone else would allow a child to be killed at age three on the grounds of the child being the product of a rape. Why not? Because the three-year-old is clearly protected by all human rights. At some point the fertilized egg that was allowably aborted becomes a human being that is granted human rights. For this debate, exactly when that occurs is moot. It suffices that fertilized eggs are not human beings, and therefore neither protected by human rights nor can they be "dehumanized" because they are not human beings.

4. More than half of fertilized eggs are spontaneously aborted naturally. No one has the slightest concern that human beings are beings are thereby destroyed. There are no movements to develop heroic technologies to save them, nor to afford the burial traditions of religions. That is because there is implicit recognition that fertilized eggs are not human beings, and therefore "giving each their due" does not give a fertilized egg what is due to a human being.

5. The woman has a right to determine what to do with her body. Even if it were accepted that it is unjust to destroy a fertilized egg, which I do not grant, it is greater injustice to violate the rights of the woman to govern her own body. A fertilized egg is both within the woman and cannot survive independently of the woman, therefore it part of the woman. When Pro grants the exception to allow abortion over concern for the health of the woman, Pro grants that the woman has a greater right to live than the unborn. thus if rights are in conflict, the rights of the woman supersede.

6. Pro contends that making social abortion illegal will be more just than having it illegal. We know what actually happens when abortion is made illegal. Up until the 1950's abortion was illegal in most of the US. There were very large numbers of illegal abortions as a consequence, performed by quacks under unsanitary conditions. the result was the unnecessary injury and death of many women. Passing laws is not a theoretical exercise, it is a practical matter. It is far less just to adopt a policy that will result in the unnecessary injury and death of many women. The risks of legal abortion are lower than the risks of childbirth. Illegal abortion is extremely dangerous. A just society should not accept the practical consequences of the Resolution.

7. It is unjust to burden women with children they cannot properly care for. From the viewpoint of society, this is a substantially greater injustice than terminating a fertilized egg. Young teens, drug addicts, AIDS victims, and women suffering mental illness cannot properly care for children, therefore the burden largely passes to taxpayers. This is a substantial injustice because taxpayers clearly are not getting their due. Taxpayers were not responsible for the burden placed upon them.

8. If Pro is correct that the alleged "dehumanization" from abortion has harmful effects upon society, then Pro should be able to site those harmful effects. Pro must not just claim that there are things wrong with society, for surely there are. Pro should demonstrate that certain ills were a consequence of legalizing abortion. One expected consequence of might be increased implementation of the death penalty. However, that has not happened. Quite the opposite has happened. Is there evidence of a mobster saying, "Sure, I shot Vinnie. Abortion was legalized, so why not?" One can allege any sort of cause and effect relationship, but is there any real evidence of a causal link between abortion and adverse consequences? I know of none. I challenge Pro to provide solid proof.

A just society should honor the rights of woman above any supposed injustice to fertilized eggs.
Debate Round No. 1
LightC

Pro

I'll go straight down the flow I guess.

--> He agrees with definition of justice, therefore it is the evaluative standard for the round.

1. Pro has states that human rights are not at issue in his advocacy. Pro illustrates by claiming that there is a right against "dehumanization" that exists independent of human rights.

--> I'm sorry, you have misunderstood my statement about rights, implying positive rights. I argued that the idea of rights exist outside of the realm of my VC. We have human worth not because of rights given to us by the government, but we have intrinsic human worth. You can drop my opponents statement #1 because it was on false ground.

If what Pro has discovered trumps human rights, Pro must make the case why that is so. Pro has not offered that argument.

--> Follow my logic from what I just stated. Human rights come from the impact of my VC, however positive rights are not necessary to achieve my advocacy.

2. A fertilized egg is not a human being, therefore it is properly "dehumanized." Pro seeks to have all abortion made illegal, including "morning after" situations in which the fertilized egg is a microscopic undifferentiated sphere of a few hundred cells. The sphere is "human" because it is made of human DNA, but it is not a "being" because it has no memories or any of other attributes that make up a "being."

--> I have three responses:

First, I do not seek to make ALL abortions illegal. I.e. only social abortions
Second, yes DNA does make up a human
Third, the clash comes down to the idea of "being." However, his attack can be dropped on a definitional evaluation. According to Merriam-Webster, being is defined as the state of existence. The fetus exists, therefore is can be linked to the term being.

"Unfertilized eggs, sperm, and a surgically removed appendix are all "human" because they are all the products of human DNA and of nothing else."

--> Extend my above logic. Since I have proven that:
a. A fetus is a human (he concedes to the DNA argument)
b. A fetus is a being (proven by definition)
You can now extend this and use it as a drop to his case that the fetus is indeed a human-being. Furthermore, his sperm and appendix argument does not count because it doesn't apply to the "human-being" burden.

3. Pro implicitly acknowledges that fertilized eggs are not human beings by providing the exception for rape in his assertion. Neither Pro nor anyone else would allow a child to be killed at age three on the grounds of the child being the product of a rape.

--> My opponent mistakes my argument again. I was merely making an analogy that it would be wrong to rape a rapist because that is violation of human worth.
--> Furthermore, I already made the A Priori argument that this is not about rights.

4. More than half of fertilized eggs are spontaneously aborted naturally. No one has the slightest concern that human beings are beings are thereby destroyed.

--> I have three responses:

First, this argument is non-unique.
Second, this argument has no resolutional impact.
Third, the key word is natural. for example, there is a clear distinction between a person being struck by lightning, compared to a person shot in the face. One was of natural causes, the second was an act done by premeditation.

The woman has a right to determine what to do with her body. Even if it were accepted that it is unjust to destroy a fertilized egg, which I do not grant, it is greater injustice to violate the rights of the woman to govern her own body. A fertilized egg is both within the woman and cannot survive independently of the woman, therefore it part of the woman. When Pro grants the exception to allow abortion over concern for the health of the woman, Pro grants that the woman has a greater right to live than the unborn. thus if rights are in conflict, the rights of the woman supersede.

--> I have 2 responses:

First, extend my VC logic to this. The right to govern a body only exists because we have human worth. Therefore, the standard of my criterion supersedes this attack.
Second, right of a woman to govern her body ought not be justification for violent acts.

7. It is unjust to burden women with children they cannot properly care for. From the viewpoint of society, this is a substantially greater injustice than terminating a fertilized egg.

--> since my opponent has not made a right's distinction in this point, do not make him make one in the next round.
--> Basically my opponent's logic means that it would be justified to kill a child even after he/she was born, because he/she could not be properly cared for.

8. If Pro is correct that the alleged "dehumanization" from abortion has harmful effects upon society, then Pro should be able to site those harmful effects.

--> I never argued societal solvency. I merely argued that there would be a societal stigmatization. Basically I am saying that undermining the human worth of an unborn child created an unraveling of societal morality. Morality is based on human worth. If human worth can be degraded, then morality has lost meaning.
=========================================================================

--> My opponent has not provided a value structure. For this, he cannot win the round. I did place a note at the top of my case warning non-LD'ers. Under LD rules he cannot make a value structure in the next round, and thus he loses the entire debate because he does not provide a standard.

Thank you ladies and gentlemen.
RoyLatham

Con

1. I accepted Pro's evaluation standard of justice, but I clearly did not accept "human worth" as the single value criteria. Why not simply go a small step further and declare "banning abortion" as the value criteria? I plainly reasserted human rights as additional value criteria in the evaluation of whether justice is done. To suppose that the "human worth" is the only criteria for justice could lead to the nonsensical conclusion that something manifestly unjust was just. Pro must defend his criteria by which justice is to be evaluated. Whether human rights are granted by government or inherent in the nature of mankind and independent of government is a separate issue. They need not be assumed to be derived from government.

2. The definition of "human being" is not properly constructed from the independent definitions of the words "human" plus "being" as Pro has done. Pro's error is analogous to the error of attempting to construct the the definition of "jelly bean" from the independent definitions of "jelly" and "bean." (Sorry, it is the best example I could think of on short notice.) The correct definition of "human being" is obtained by looking up the phrase "human being" which yields, "Any living or extinct member of the family Hominidae characterized by superior intelligence, articulate speech, and erect carriage." http://www.wordwebonline.com... Clearly a fertilized egg consisting of a non-differentiated sphere does not possess superior intelligence, articulated speech, and erect carriage. Therefore a fertilized egg is not a human being.

3. "My opponent mistakes my argument again. I was merely making an analogy that it would be wrong to rape a rapist because that is violation of human worth." No, I correctly understood your argument. It is the course of making the argument that Pro implicitly acknowledges that there is critical difference between a fetus and a child. If a fetus and child were human beings of equal status, then Pro could not possible grant an exception that allowed a fetus to be aborted in the case of rape. A child would never be allowed to be "aborted", but Pro grants that the fetus can be aborted. Thus Pro must be implicitly assuming in allowing the exception that the fetus is not a human being.

Pro made the argument that this is not about rights, but that argument was rebutted on the grounds that justice cannot be evaluated without general consideration of rights as well as "human worth." pro did not counter that rebuttal.

4. The impact of the argument with respect to the resolution pertains to whether or not a fertilized egg is a human being. If it is in doubt whether a fertilized egg is a human being, the test can be applied as to whether society treats a fertilized egg as a human being. The argument shows that since none of the ceremonies and traditions applied to human beings are applied to fertilized eggs, it is therefore clear that society does not consider a fertilized egg to be a human being. Therefore, the criteria of "human worth" does not apply and the resolution fails.

Whether the fertilized egg was aborted naturally or not has no relevance, because the same traditions regarding the death of humans are ordinarily applied whether the death is from natural causes or not.

5. "The right to govern a body only exists because we have human worth. Therefore, the standard of my criterion supersedes this attack." No, asserting that the standard of human worth applies does not of itself tell us whether the application of the standard to the fertilized egg supersedes its application to the woman. The fertilized egg is not a human being, so therefore the woman's worth supersedes. However, if the fertilized egg is deemed a human being, it has no feelings, memories, or cognition, whereas the woman does. Therefore, the woman's worth is greater.

A violent act should be weighed in accordance with the level of violence. A fertilized egg can feels nothing, therefore the level of violence is nothing.

6. Pro did not rebut the argument that the fact of illegal abortions constitutes greater injustice than making them illegal, therefore it stands.

7. "since my opponent has not made a right's distinction in this point, do not make him make one in the next round." I have no idea what you are talking about. Is it conventional in LD debate to talk to the judges rather than to your opponent?

"Basically my opponent's logic means that it would be justified to kill a child even after he/she was born, because he/she could not be properly cared for." That claim is made with logical argument. I have not idea how you came up with that, nor could I be expected to know.

8. "I never argued societal solvency. I merely argued that there would be a societal stigmatization. Basically I am saying that undermining the human worth of an unborn child created an unraveling of societal morality." Precisely what I asked for was an example of the "unraveling of social morality" that has occurred as a traceable consequence of abortion having been legalized for the past fifty years ago. If there is nothing that can be identified as a consequence, then Pro should acknowledge that fact.

----------------------------
"My opponent has not provided a value structure. For this, he cannot win the round. I did place a note at the top of my case warning non-LD'ers. " I must admit I am fascinated by LD rules. Apparently one can completely fail to respond to an argument (6), not know how to look up a definition, and claim arbitrary nonsensical value criteria -- yet still claim victory. Interesting. I do, however, point out that a reasonable interpretation of Pro's offer "if you do not know LD and would till like to do it, I have no problem with that" is that under those circumstances reason would be allowed to prevail.
Debate Round No. 2
LightC

Pro

Since this is my last speech (on this site, and in LD rules) I will simply do a line-by-line analysis and then go to some voters.

Argument 1

--> This argument comes down to a standard evaluation. These were my three responses:

First, since he never gave an opposing VC, my VC is the evaluative term.
Second, even if you look to the "rights" argument, it still is inferior because rights come from human worth.
Third, positive rights argumentation does not impact the resolution in so far as my structure determines the impaction.

Argument 2

--> My opponenet makes a definitional flaw; my argument is as follows.

First, since there is no universal definition of human-being, we must breakdown the word itself, and then come to a logical conclusion.
Second, even if you buy my opponents given definition he still comes to a block on "potentiality. I.e. the potential to achieve those standards given in the definitions.
Third, therefore my definition is superior.

Argument 3

--> My opponent is making an extratopical argument. I.e. going beyond the stated resolution. The stated resolution explicitly states social abortions. Therefore, his argument is extratopical and non-unique.

Argument 4

--> you can break my opponents argument down in 2 ways:

First, if you buy my opponents argument about not knowing if it is really a human being, then we must look to a legal analysis. I.e. the presumption. To mitigate possible heinous crimes, the fetus must be presumed as living, just in case it is.

Argument 5

--> Again, this argument is extra-topical. The resolution asserts social abortions. Therefore, it must be evaluated under that framework. However, furthermore, my opponent has absolutely no warrants. I.e. that the woman's rights do supersede, and why woman have those rights of governance.

"A violent act should be weighed in accordance with the level of violence. A fertilized egg can feels nothing, therefore the level of violence is nothing"

--> This is wrong for two reasons:

First, if someone was numb all over, and then killed, you can infer from my opponents logic that that is not a violent crime.
Second, my opponents logic leads to the fact that once a fetus develops a nerve system, then it is a violent act to abort.

Argument 7

"Is it conventional in LD debate to talk to the judges rather than to your opponent?"

--> Yes.

"I have not idea how you came up with that, nor could I be expected to know."

--> simple. you claimed that it is ok to abort so that the child would not grow up in a bad way, etc. Logic extension leads to the conclusion that it is ok to kill any child for that reason.

Argument 8

--> I wasn't arguing extrinsic implications. I was arguing intrinsic moral downfall. E.g. slavery created a moral defarbrication.

"I must admit I am fascinated by LD rules. Apparently one can completely fail to respond to an argument (6), not know how to look up a definition, and claim arbitrary nonsensical value criteria -- yet still claim victory. Interesting. I do, however, point out that a reasonable interpretation of Pro's offer "if you do not know LD and would till like to do it, I have no problem with that" is that under those circumstances reason would be allowed to prevail."

--> Well, yes, under LD rules I must win because you provided no counter-value structure. Furthermore, you could have asked me for the rules before the debate, not my fault. And that note at the top implies that since it is LD, you can do it if you want, but all rules apply.

[Voting Issues]

Judges you can vote affirmative on the following issues:

1. Lack of counter value structure.
2. Presumption argument (made in this rebuttal)
3. Dehumanization

For these reasons you can affirm.

Thank you judges, opponent and readers.
RoyLatham

Con

1. Pro contends that justice is obtained solely by applying the criteria of "human worth." Pro further contends that sole measure of whether an act respects human worth is whether or not an act is "dehumanizing." Pro's logic is then that removing other human rights from a woman is not dehumanizing, but rather that only abortion is dehumanizing to the fertilized egg, and that no factor may be considered. The founding father considered rights self-evident, and hence derived from human nature or as Pro would phrase it, "human worth." Pro maintained that human rights are only those established in law, and therefore the new abstract right against "dehumanization" he claims to have derived from human worth takes precedence. This question has long been resolved in favor of human rights being the standard for "human worth" and not the new standard which Pro has proposed.

2. If the extremely narrow definition of human worth proposed by Pro is accepted, it is then the job of Pro to establish that the human worth of a fertilized egg is greater than the human worth of an adult woman. The necessary first step is to establish that a fertilized egg is a human being. "Human being" is, as a phrase, defined in the dictionary as characterized by having a backbone and walking upright. Thus according to the dictionary, the fertilized egg is not a human being and the resolution based upon that assumption fails.

Pro proposes to remedy this definition, deemed unsatisfactory, by constructing his own. His definition of human is fine. However, the dictionary offers two definitions of being, (a) existence, in the sense of "being there." and (b) an independent creature, in the sense of "a being from another planet." Definition (b) is the sense that used in the phrase "human being." However, if Pro did the construction correctly, he would again lose, because a fertilized egg is not independent.

Pro's incorrect construction of the definition of "human being" should be rejected in favor of what the dictionary gives as the definition. the proposition then fails.

3. In his resolution, Pro provided an exception for rape. I made no argument that the exception was incorrect or improper and in no way argued against it. Indeed, the exception is perfectly logical and I rely upon his logic. The logic behind crafting an exception is that the harm of dehumanization to the woman is greater than the harm of dehumanization done to the fertilized egg. Thus Pro implicitly acknowledged tat by his own standards, the proposition maintaining that the egg suffers greater harm, fails. Pro never provided a counter-argument, maintaining that pointing out his logic is out-of-bounds.

4. How has society judged the question, "Is a fertilized egg a human being?" Buy observing the traditions of society we know that society universal treats the death of a fertilized egg in a way much inferior to the death of a human being. If the fertilized egg is nonetheless maintained to be a human being, then society clearly affords it a much inferior worth than that of human that have been born. Pro's rebuttal was that natural death is different, but in fact tradition does not treat natural deaths differently.

5. Pro's standard of "human worth" was applied to the woman in comparison to the fertilized egg by arguing that the woman's right to govern her body could be derive from human nature in the manner that Pro claimed to derive a right against dehumanization. Pro's only rebuttal was to claim that applying his standards in any way other than that which he espoused is extra-topical.

6. I argued that there was greater injustice in making abortion illegal than in making it legal. Pro failed to provide any counter-argument, not even a symbolic one. Therefore, the argument stands and under the standard of justice mutually agreed upon, the resolution fails.

7. Having argued that a fertilized egg was a not a human being, and that even if deemed a human being was judged by society to are vastly inferior worth, I argued that therefore the rights of the woman and of society should prevail. Pro again declined to counter the point directly, claiming that no right, and implicitly, no human worth had been established for either the woman or society. Had Pro granted any human worth, be would be obliged to argue the relative worth.

Pro argued that my argument implied that it would be acceptable to kill children. His argument assumes that I had attributed equal worth to children and fertilized eggs. I had stated explicitly that no one would equate the two. I argued throughout the debate that such was not the case. Per Argument 3, pointing out that Pro had allowed an exemption for rape, Pro implicitly acknowledged that the logic behind my argument was correct.

8. Pro alleges that the legalization of abortion does harm to society. Abortion has been legalized for roughly 50 years, so I asked Pro to point out a harm to society that had resulted and to trace that harm to the legalization of abortion. Pro rebutted that he was arguing "intrinsic moral downfall." Apparently "intrinsic moral downfall" is that society is not doing as Pro wishes, because he cannot cite a single negative consequence that is a product of the intrinsic moral downfall that he claims.

------------------------

Pro used an incorrect definition of "human being" and failed to rebut the numerous arguments that even if a fertilized egg were considered a human being that the egg's worth was inferior to humans who had been born. Most damaging was Pro's inclusion of a rape exemption, by which makes it abundantly clear that even he acknowledges the substantial inferiority of the egg.

Pro claims that any application of his standard of human worth other than his is out-of-bounds. To my knowledge, there is no rule in LD that prohibits applying Pro's standard to Pro's arguments, which what I did. The implications are simply broader than Pro suspected.

Pro has lost on all counts.
Debate Round No. 3
38 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by conservitivesequalsmart 8 years ago
conservitivesequalsmart
you should have one this light C
Posted by RoyLatham 8 years ago
RoyLatham
You claim that utilitarianism has brought genocide and other horrors. Not at all, such things derive either from false utilitarian arguments, or, far more commonly, claim by powers in authority claiming to have special knowledge of morality that cannot be debated. For example, the divine right of kings and the ultimate moral authority of a religion.
Posted by RoyLatham 8 years ago
RoyLatham
In the debate I said that definition of a human being offered did not meet the definition in the dictionary. That unquestionably remained true. You quoted someone who called the fertilized egga an individual, then claimed that "individual" meant "human being" and further claimed that whoever said "individual" had more authority than any dictionary. In our present discussion, I observed that you were attempting to settle a moral question solely on a semantic argument. I further supposed that even IF your semantics were accepted, then that doesn't settle the moral issue either. It only would meant that the semantics does not reflect how the word is actually used by people.

You should notice that during the debate I frequently addressed hypotheticals "if X is deemed true, then ..."

You never address the fundamental point, which is that outside an abortion debate, fertilized eggs are never treated like adult humans. Funerals are not afforded to natural abortion of fertilized eggs, in vitro fertilized eggs are not treated like adults, the life of the mother is always favored over that of the fertilized egg, abortion exceptions are frequently made for rape and incest, and so forth. If you want to claim that fertilized eggs are accepted as the same as adult humans, then take each apparent difference and provide data that they are in fact treated identically. Cite funerals given to fertilized eggs and go through the list. You personally may well wish that they were treated identically, but they are not. Therefore any semantic argument that they are identical is wrong.

Abortion is an unresolved case of morality. Some moral issues are clearly determined. This is not one of them. Therefore the best that can be done is to let people vote on it. In doing so, you can use any appeal you wish. You can make a semantic argument if you wish, a moral argument, or any other argument. A good society might be non-utilitarian, if you wish to argue that.
Posted by CP 8 years ago
CP
Roy,
So your contention is not, as orginally stated, that no one defines a fertilized egg to be a human being (shown false), but rather that the human being in its earliest form does not have the same rights as an adult. I find it rather odd that you only reference "adults" when discussing human rights. Are teens, children, infants not afforded their natural rights? Clearly that is not the case. If we acknowledge natural rights for humans at these different stages, what is the logic for not considering further? The Fetus moments before birth, full term, embryo, etc. Inevitably we end at the earliest stage; the zygote. The question then becomes, should the most important of the natural rights, the right to life, for this innocent being be revoked without consideration or consequence. The fact that it likely may die on its own does not render the purposeful destruction of its life moral. Which brings us to the main argument regarding abortion: Morality. If morality can truly be determined through utilitarianism, then yes, society's degrees of happiness or betterment ought to be the utmost consideration. However, this type of mindset has brought the human race atrocities such as slavery and genocide which I believe we can both agree are quite immoral.

Thanks for the conversation. It's always enjoyable to share and attempt to learn from opposing viewpoints. Perhaps when I have more time, we can debate the issue.

Take care,
-CP
Posted by RoyLatham 8 years ago
RoyLatham
No, no matter how you define it, no one considers a fertilized egg to have the same rights as an adult. It is only a posture adopted by abortion opponents when they want to rationalize their belief in the end result. Winning "by definition" is used by advocates of gay marriage to attempt to obtain legal coverage never intended through expanding the definition of "marriage." There is an effort to redefine anything uncomfortable as "torture." Anti-abortion advocates want to expand "human rights" to include fertilized eggs, something never acknowledged outside of the abortion debate. The way to argue against abortion is to try to convince voters that society would be better if abortion were banned. That's all that all that need be done. Ditto gay marriage. Same with making captured terrorists uncomfortable. Trying to win through semantics is the wrong approach.
Posted by CP 8 years ago
CP
Roy,
The point here is that the Medical field clearly views a fertilized egg as an "idividual" (human being) outside the scope of the abortion debate. The fact that we do not grant an individual that is human with the same rights or recognitions as others ought not be the determination for revoking their rights and deeming it morally permissable (e.g. slavery).
Posted by RoyLatham 8 years ago
RoyLatham
CP, There is no contradiction between the two statements you cite. The question is whether or not a fertilized egg ought to have the same rights as your next door neighbor. In other words, is the fertilized egg a human being in the same sense as an adult having human rights. It is abundantly clear that the argument is never made outside of the abortion debate. For example, many fertilized eggs are spontaneously aborted naturally, if I recall correctly it is about half. They are not afforded funerals, death benefits, or memorial ceremonies as given for any grown person. No one really believes they are the same.
Posted by CP 8 years ago
CP
RoyLatham: "A fertilized egg is a microscope homogeneous sphere that is never considered to be a human being in any context outside of an abortion debate,..."

- From the U.S. National Library of Medicine & National Institutes of Health -

Zygote:
1. a cell formed by the union of two gametes; broadly : the developing individual produced from such a cell
(http://www2.merriam-webster.com...)

"Individual" clearly referring to a separate being of the same species produced in the event.
Posted by RoyLatham 8 years ago
RoyLatham
TheRaven, If one is going to argue that a definition taken from a dictionary is wrong, you have to have very good counter evidence. Alternative conflicting definitions from other dictionaries would be the first choice. I think that claiming that the dictionary definition errs is really expressing the wish that it should be something other than what is. That cannot make it so.

Pro did not limit abortion restrictions to late term, when the distinction between a fetus and a baby starts to blur. I am opposed to late term abortions pretty much for that reason. Basically, when the fetus can survive naturally without the mother it can be considered to be an independent creature. Pro implicitly maintained that a fertilized egg was a human being. A fertilized egg is a microscope homogeneous sphere that is never considered to be a human being in any context outside of an abortion debate, where the posture of believing an egg is just like the grown person living next door is adopted to rationalize the desired conclusion about abortion.

It's not relevant in this debate, there is another avenue for alternative definitions that debaters sould know about. Ordinary dictionaries reflect common usage. Specialists in a field have technical definitions, jargon, that often differs from common usage. A quotation from an expert may involve word usage that is not the common meaning. An example that comes up in a debate is "atheist," which is used by philosophers differently (to include agnostics and others) from the way many people commonly use the word. About a hundred years ago the Supreme Court had to rule on whether tomatoes are fruits or vegetables -- something to do with a tax exemption for fruit. Scientists testified that without question the tomato is a berry, and hence a fruit. The Supreme Court ruled that it was a vegetable, on the grounds that unlike fruits it isn't eaten for breakfast -- at least not by American Supreme Court justices.
Posted by TheRaven 8 years ago
TheRaven
Not that Pro's definition was any good either. Most dust is really skin cells, which have human DNA and exist, so is dust human?

What I'm getting at is that neither side really defined what "human" is, which related back to both you're arguments.
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