The Instigator
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0 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
4 Points

Resolved: The HHS Mandate is unjust. (STRICTLY VALUE LD)

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Post Voting Period
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/15/2012 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,212 times Debate No: 22859
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (0)
Votes (1)




1. Acceptance
2. Opening cases
3. first rebuttals
4. second rebuttals.


I accept the debate challenge in the position that the HHS mandate is just.
Debate Round No. 1


I'd like to start by thanking my opponent for accepting this debate, and I'm sorry if this seems like a very small case, but I'll do my best to refute and create a good debate.

Because I stand for freedom and equality, I must affirm the resolution, Resolved: The HHS Mandate is unjust.
For reasons of resolution analysis, I offer the following definitions. I define justice as equality of individuals relating to principles, doctrines, concepts, etc. And I also define the HHS Mandate as the proposed mandate which requires insurance companies to provide birth control of the woman's choice to them for free.
As prescribed by the resolution, I value justice because it is the ultimate good. As the affirmative, I seek to achieve the ultimate good of justice by means of the value criterion which is the exercising of individual freedom.

My reasons for affirmation on the injustice of this HHS Mandate are:
A. The HHS Mandate limits religious freedom of individuals.
B. The HHS Mandate provides sexual "protection" to women but not men.

Contention 1.
The proposed HHS Mandate limits the religious freedom of individuals. This argument stands because certain religious groups do not believe in birth control. With the HHS mandate, it will force individuals to provide something to another which they do not believe in at all. This deprives justice because the select individuals ought not be forced to purchase for something they don't believe in doing. Thus each party is not getting their do.

Contention 2.
The HHS Mandate provides sexual "protection" to women but not men. In the proposed legislation of the HHS Mandate, we can see that insurance companies and business owners will be forced to provide birth control to women. Although this may sound just, not only women need things which will prevent them from creating a child. Men also need things such as condoms in order to prevent accidental child birth. Because the mandate does not provide these things to everybody, but instead provides it to a select group, justice is not achieved on any level.

For these reasons I urge an affirmative ballot.


I thank lddebate234 for his clear outline of the resolutions and definitions. Rather than undergoing a cross I will proceed with my constructive.

I must, however, quibble with the proposed definition of the HHS Mandate. As I understand it's "reality" is that some religious organizations may be able to gain exemptions. I think this is still under consideration (SOURCE: which explicitly notes some possible exemptions as "note **").

However I believe that the mandate even without the need for "exemptions" is "just", per se. To that end I would like to continue the debate under the rubric that the "Mandate" includes mandatory coverage of all of the listed FDA approved forms of birth control in all instances of the mandated coverage.

Lddebate234 defined justice thusly:

"…as equality of individuals relating to principles, doctrines, concepts, etc"

I affirm this definition as written with a caveat as noted later on.

I would also like to propose an additional definition which will be of importance to my position.

Insurance is generally understood to function precisely because those involved in the program are pooling resources and spreading risk. As such it is not desirable for a generalized insurance scheme to work if some members of the pool opt out of shouldering certain of the risks. This is at the heart of the mandate under this rubric.

Point #1

As the core of my negative advocacy I would like to provide the criterion of justice in terms of utilitarianism. Justice must be maximized for all, not simply a small group. The HHS Mandate is proposed for the American system and as such is being applied to a plural society with a great deal of heterogeneity in values. Absolute equality within this framework is impossible since many things that are available to some are of no value while others may take it as a negative and yet others require it. Equality of access to healthcare is among the "etc" I would list in lddebate234's ealier stated definition of "justice".

Justice as applied to a pooled risk construct (insurance) then becomes a matter of sharing the burden. This means that any mandate applied to such a pooled construct will require a utilitarian approach to achieving justice.

Further to the point justice is not disserved so long as those people who object to a given medical procedure are not, themselves, forced to partake of the procedure. It would be a clear violation of one's individual rights of conscience to force them to personally undergo a procedure they fundamentally disagree with.

Justice is served in which all members of society are allowed their personal conscience and morality while not abrogating the right of healthcare for others.

In its extreme let us hypothesize a group that feels a moral opprobrium is attached to blood transfusions. Should they "opt out" of coverage for blood transfusions in others who do not share this moral stricture, then it weakens the insurance scheme. At the end every sub-group would be allowed to chip away at the overall pooled risk causing the system to collapse rendering no one covered by affordable healthcare thus resulting in a much worse scenario. And the alternative is notthat the group with a moral objection to blood transfusions is forced to undergo blood transfusions, but rather that an unknown and unknowable portion of the money they put into the pool may (or may not) go to support a blood transfusion for someone who needs it and does not feel any moral problem with it.

Point #2

As for lddebate234's second point of inequitable coverage for women and men if we work under the assumption that there is no "exemption" and that the FDA listed means of contraception are in effect. That appears to include "barrier methods" which would include condoms. (SOURCE:

As such this appears to render the second point moot.

Debate Round No. 2


lddebate234 forfeited this round.


It would appear that there is little to rebutt from my side, so I would like to take this opportunity to clarify my oiginal points in contrast to lddebate234's original contentions.

My main thesis is that the HHS Mandate (as generally agreed on for the purposes of this debate; ie that the HHS Mandate applies across all religious stances regardless of the possibility that there may be some religious exemptions in the actual body of the legislation).

I feel that a broad mandate requiring all parties pay into a common insurance pool (or support a minimum level of coverage that includes items certain groups may find 'immoral') is a just system.

My reasoning rests on the combination of factors that will maximize "justice" in our society.

1. Our society is a plural society with a wide variety of beliefs and moral stands, some of which are mutually exclusive yet all are adjudicated equal before the law

2. If the insurance-based healthcare system is to be relied upon then the vagaries of how an insurance system works must be factored into the system. Insurance works by pooling resources and spreading risk. If some can "opt out" then it weakens the insurance system which may, in the extreme, cause the dissolution of the insurance system an the failure of the healthcare system that is underlain by this (rendering many without access to healthcare)

3. A plural society must view all the potential outcomes in a utilitarian fashion (the most good for the largest number).

4. Under the HHS Mandate (or the variant we are discussing here) there is no requirement that a person themselves undergo a procedure they find morally reprehensible.

As such in order to ensure the greatest number of people have access to the greatest good (healthcare in the present case) utilizing an insurance based system (pooling resources and sharing risk) then the mandated coverage must include things that not everyone will value or approve of. And no harm is done to the individuals since no one is required to undergo a procedure they object to.

Debate Round No. 3


lddebate234 forfeited this round.


It appears that lddebate234 has forfeited the last two rounds. As I understand it the forfeiture of a debate round results in a loss of the debate for lddebate234.

I would like to summarize my points which I feel have been effectively supported by my points:

1. In an insurance based system applied to a large, plural society made up of people who carry differing views and values, a mandated healthcare coverage system is just even without any sort of exemptions. Since the idea of insurance is to share the burden.

2. A mandated set of coverages across this plural group does not infringe on the people's rights of conscience since they are not required to undergo the procedures they may object to. But to allow those who need them and want them vastly improves the overall "justice" of the system

3. Finally the point about inequitable coverage can be offset by the language of the mandate which sesemingly actively covers those items such as barrier methods such as condoms. But lddebate234 must also understand that birth control and other types of this coverage also serve to protect a woman's health in ways that are not necessarily applicable to a man. For instance some birth control methods alleviate problems from endometriosis and painful menstruation.

As such the HHS Mandate as established and debated here maximizes justice while not imposing an undue burden on the people whose conscience is bothered by certain procedures.

I would gladly thank lddebate234 for a nice debate but I am doubtful that they are even in the room anymore and I am talking to the aether.

I respectfully request that this be marked as win for me.

Thank you and thank you for those who have read it this far.
Debate Round No. 4
No comments have been posted on this debate.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by 16kadams 6 years ago
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: FF