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The Contender
Con (against)
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Restricted abortion should be legal

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Voting Style: Open with Elo Restrictions Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/12/2016 Category: Society
Updated: 7 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 876 times Debate No: 88120
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (11)
Votes (1)




! Round 1 is for acceptance only, no arguments to be presented in round 1. !!

!!! Fourth round for rebuttal and closing statements, no new arguments. !!!


Restricted abortion should be legal = By this I mean abortion should be legal for a woman to choose in the embryonic period of pregnancy.

Abortion - is the end (termination) of a pregnancy. A low-risk surgical procedure called suction aspiration or suction curette is generally used for first trimester abortions. Medical (non-surgical) abortions using medications such as mifepristone (RU486) are available in some clinics.

The embryonic period in humans begins at fertilization (penetration of the egg by the sperm) and continues until the end of the 10th week of gestation (8th week by embryonic age).

If you have any problems with the debate, use the comments section so we can agree to terms before we start the debate.


I accept.
Debate Round No. 1


I thank Sengejuri for accepting the debate.

Freedom not restricted unless justified

I think this is axiomatic. It's not just an issue of being free or wanting freedom or arguably freedom being necessary for well being, even if rejected on those grounds to argue otherwise is self defeating, since you presuppose the freedom to argue as your starting point if you were to even try that non freedom should be the starting point rather than freedom.

Bodily rights argument (the violinist analogy)

Judith Jarvis Thomson asks us to consider the following...

"You wake up in the morning and find yourself back to back in bed with an unconscious violinist. A famous unconscious violinist. He has been found to have a fatal kidney ailment, and the Society of Music Lovers has canvassed all the available medical records and found that you alone have the right blood type to help. They have therefore kidnapped you, and last night the violinist's circulatory system was plugged into yours, so that your kidneys can be used to extract poisons from his blood as well as your own. The director of the hospital now tells you, "Look, we're sorry the Society of Music Lovers did this to you--we would never have permitted it if we had known. But still, they did it, and the violinist is now plugged into you. To unplug you would be to kill him." [1]

Even if we grant violinist the right to life, the question is thus, do you have the right to unplug ? should you be forced to be kept plugged in if you choose you don't want to ? I know of no anti abortion person who has argued that you can't unplug your self, even if it means certain death for another person.

Like wise it is argued, a pregnant women can unplugged the embryo inside of her, she should not be forced to continue with her pregnancy anymore than some one plugged into the violinist to keep them alive, such is yours & hers bodily rights.

Pregnant Women vs Billionaires (Dis-proportionality argument)

The pro life/forced continuation of pregnancy advocates insist their cause is just & noble as they are out to save lives. But notice these people themselves don't justify anything and everything when it comes to saving lives, lives of post born humans who can think, feel and are self aware.

You would be hard pressed to find such a person who would demand that we force billionaires to give up nearly all their wealth leaving them with say a few million dollars (still leaving them richer than most on the planet) and using those funds to save people lives.

So here is the logical point, if rights and freedoms are such that we can't force the billionaires of the world to give up all their wealth except a few millions to save thinking, feeling, self aware humans, then it would be laughable to then argue that we are justified to force women to give up more, their bodily rights and the dangers of pregnancy in order to save non thinking, non feeling, non self aware, human embryos.

3 day human embryo is not morally equivalent to a human 5 year old child

Consider the following, you arrive at a burning building, behind one door are 100, 3 day human embryos, behind another a 5 year old child. Who do you try to save first ?

Most if not all will try to save the girl, if a 3 day human embryo is morally equivalent to say a 5 year old child then it is simple arithmetic, try to save the 100 hundred all things being equal before you try to save the 1.

But as I argue they are not equal, the 5 year old child not only trumps one 3 day human embryo, it even trumps one hundred. But why ? It has something to do with the fact that the 5 year old child can feel pain, is self- aware, can think, things that do not apply to a 3 day human embryo.

If abortion is murder (reducto argument)

If it is the case that abortion in the embryonic stage is equivalent to murder as some anti-choicers assert then that means all women who have had an abortion in that period should all be in jail doing sentences for murder, maybe even the death penalty, as well as any future women who will have an abortion in the embryonic period. Think about it, the likes of Charles Manson, Ted Bundy and next to them endless row cells of women who had an abortion in the embryonic stage.

So there are two possibilities.......

1) Be logically consistent, and start locking up all those woman and future women who have had such an abortion.


2) Reject such a conclusion based on the realization that abortion is murder in the embryonic stage is false premise to begin with.

I argue that this shows that the abortion is murder in the embryonic stage is absurd and should be rejected as such.

The right to life as an absolute is untenable

The right to life, that is to say say the right not to be killed is often invoked as justification for not allowing abortion. Notice those who advocate it don't really believe it them self at least not as an absolute, the most common view where intentional killing is justified is self defense (or some variation of). Then we have issues of drone strikes, war, dropping the A bomb, etc etc.

The point is, not even the pro-life-anti choicer believes in such a simplistic absolute right to life and to selectively apply it in the case of women & abortion is a double standard and hypocritical.

Personhood & rights

Consider the following argument..............

1) Only a person has a right to life
2) If X does has none of the characteristics [1-5] it is certainly not a person.
3) The human organism in the embryonic stage has none of the [1-5] characteristics
C) Therefore the human organism in the embryonic stage is not a person
C2) Therefore the human organism in the embryonic stage is has no right to life

[1-5] refers to the following characteristics....

1) Consciousness (of objects and events external and/or internal to the being), and in particular the capacity to feel pain;

2) Reasoning (the developed capacity to solve new and relatively complex problems);

3) Self-motivated activity (activity which is relatively independent of either genetic or direct external control);

4) The capacity to communicate, by whatever means, messages of an indefinite variety of types, that is, not just with an indefinite number of possible contents, but on indefinitely many possible topics;

5) The presence of self-concepts, and self-awareness, either individual or racial, or both.

We can be extremely flexible to the Pro life/anti choice position under Warrens personhood criteria and it still would not matter as Warren argues..."All we need to claim, to demonstrate that a fetus (for my purposes in this debate the human organism in the embryonic stage)is not a person, is that any being which satisfies none of (1)-(5) is certainly not a person. I consider this claim to be so obvious that I think anyone who denied it, and claimed that a being which satisfied none of (1)-(5) was a person all the same, would thereby demonstrate that he had no notion at all of what a person is-perhaps because he had confused the concept of a person with that of genetic humanity." [2]

Consider the characteristic of self awareness...""This sense of self is critical to our status as persons. In fact, philosophers often use the terms self and person interchangeably: a capacity for self-awareness is necessary for full personhood. One has a sense of self if one is able to entertain first-person thoughts, and if one possesses first-person knowledge." [3]

Consider we are visited by intelligent aliens, can we kill them cause they are not persons based on their non humanity ? No. Rather we would recognize them as persons because of various characteristics 1-5 they possess.

Characteristics that don't exist in the human organism in the embryonic period.

I look forward to Cons opening argument.






First, I wish to emphasize the prompt asks whether abortion SHOULD be legal. Obviously, abortions currently are legal in the U.S., but that is irrelevant. Pro will argue why they should continue, and I will argue why they should not. I will do so on the basis of logic, science, and legal consistency, under the assumption that human life deserves to be protected.

But, since there was no format specified, I will start with rebuttals.

== Rebuttals ==

Violinist Analogy: It would, no doubt, be alarming to awake and find yourself plugged into the kidneys of a musician against your will. However, pregnancy is not akin to being kidnapped and plugged into a stranger. Consider, if you have agreed to donate your kidney to a possible recipient, then there is no justification to willingly unplug and kill that recipient. This, I contend, is a more accurate analogy to pregnancy. All sex (except rape) is consensual by definition. And, since even the best birth control cannot advertise 100% effectiveness, all consensual sex therefore comes with the possibility of pregnancy. Therefore, consenting to sex is by definition consenting to the possibility of pregnancy. This is indisputable. If we once again relate this to our consenting organ donor, then it appears Pro's analogy has little relevance. Pro did not directly bring up pregnancy due to rape, so I will not address that in this round.

Woman vs. Billionaires: Once again Pro presents a false analogy. Pro tries to equate billionaires refusing to give up their fortunes to women refusing to give up their bodily rights. The problem is that these two examples are totally dissimilar. A billionaire refusing to give money to charity is not directly killing anyone. Sure, you could say indirectly maybe, but that standard could be applied to all of us - I could be indirectly killing a coal miner in Peru since my choice to flip a light switch on is driving the demand for a dangerous energy source. In contrast, abortion is directly and intentionally ending a human life who shares half your chromosomes. Big difference.

3 Day Embryo vs. 5 Yr. Old Child: An interesting moral dilemma, but I can play that game all day - what if one room contained 100 strangers and the other contained your sister? What if one had your child and one had your wife? How about a sick person vs. a healthy one? Who do you save? If both groups are morally equivalent, then would you simply flip a coin? Of course not. To reduce this dilemma to a simple checklist is a severe straw man. This analogy seems clever when applied to embryos, but if fails when applied to other types of humans, which makes it useless.

If Abortion is Murder: Here Pro tries to show that "anti-choicers" must either advocate putting all women in prison or convert to pro-choice. This is largely an irrelevant point since abortion is currently legal, and it has nothing to say about why abortion SHOULD remain legal other than Pro thinks it seems "absurd." If abortion were to become illegal, obviously there would be consequences for breaking the law, as is the case with all laws. I fail to see how this is controversial.

Right to Life Untenable: It is a Non Sequitur that supporting a "right to life" must mean supporting an absolute right to life. Pro gives no reason to believe one necessarily implies the other. I am not advocating a "simplistic absolute right to life" anymore than Pro is advocating a "simplistic absolute right to end life." I believe we are debating specifically about embryonic abortions, and that's what I'm going to stick to. Another straw man erected by Pro.

Personhood and Rights: Here Pro tries to show that an embryo is not a person using 5 criteria. First, Pro gives us no reason to accept these 5 criteria as authoritative. I could easily offer other criteria supported by other philosophers or doctors, but let's go along with it for now. The problem is there's evidence that at just 9 weeks, an embryo can hiccup and react to loud noises [1]. This can meet Pro's criteria #1 and #3. Since Pro claimed that an embryo, even if we are "extremely flexible," meets zero criteria, this argument is now at least in doubt if not refuted. To take it further, let's apply these criteria to other people - a brain-dead person lacks 1-5, an unconscious person lacks 1-5, a severely mentally handicapped person lacks 1-5, on and on.... are none of these groups people? Can they therefore be killed at will? Not only do embryos meet some of these criteria, but this definition fails when applied to other groups of people and should be rejected.

== Argument ==

Scientifically, legally, and logically, an embryo should be considered human life.

1. Science overwhelmingly confirms that the unborn, even at the earliest stage, are human. At the first second of conception, the zygote has unique and completely human DNA. Humans have 46 chromosomes with DNA specific to the Homo Sapiens species. All 46 chromosomes, as well as the human specific DNA that comes with them, are present the moment fertilization occurs. According to the book Human Embryology & Teratology, "fertilization is a critical landmark because, under ordinary circumstances, a new, genetically distinct human organism is thereby formed.... The combination of 23 chromosomes present in each pronucleus results in 46 chromosomes in the zygote. [2]".

Even if an abortion happens just after pregnancy is usually detected, the embryo has already begun developing its own unique brain, spinal cord, fingerprints, and heart. By week 6, the arms, legs, eyes, and bones develop. The heart also begins beating [3]. The brain and spine of a fetus are not the organs of some separate sub-human species. They are genetically and fully Homo Sapien. There is not a single scientific argument to justify why a fetus is not a member of the human species.

2. Federal Law - even Federal Law confirms that the unborn are both alive and human. The 2004 Unborn Victims of Violence Act (UVVA), Section 1841, says that any action that injures a child in utero can be punished as if the injury was inflicted on the mother herself, even if the offender acted accidentally or had no knowledge she was pregnant. Furthermore, UVVA says, "As used in this section, the term "child in utero" or "child, who is in utero" means a member of the species homo sapiens, at any stage of development, who is carried in the womb." Incredibly, this means that if a pregnant woman on her way to the abortion clinic gets hit by a texting driver, survives, but loses the baby, then that driver can be charged with manslaughter. Yet, if the woman arrives safely at the abortion clinic, she can "lose" her baby in a perfectly legal and often celebrated procedure. This contradiction borders on the insane and cannot be justified with logic. For the sake of legal consistency, restricted abortion should not be legal.

3. Logical Beginning of Life - Beyond conception, there is no clear or consistent definition of life's beginning. There are very few people who draw the line at birth - even the most ardent abortion supporter would not advocate aborting 3 minutes before birth. But where then DOES the line get drawn? 3 hours? 3 days? 3 weeks? 3 months? This is a very difficult question to answer since there is no clear answer to be found. If there is no obvious or consistent definition of life, then there is no obvious or consistent time to say abortion is ok. Viability is often used by pro-choice advocates, but this is a largely meaningless term that I'd be happy to address in the next round if Pro wishes.

[2] O'Rahilly, Ronan and Muller, Fabiola. Human Embryology & Teratology. 2nd edition. (New York: Wiley-Liss, 1996), 8-29
Debate Round No. 2


I thank Sengejuri for their opening argument.

Freedom not restricted unless justified

I take it Con agrees here.

The right to life as an absolute is untenable

Con does seem to agree that one can't use the right to life in the absolute sense to justify forced continuation of pregnancy.

Bodily rights argument (the violinist analogy)

Implied non consent - I think Con has it backwards here concerning contraception and consent to pregnancy, if some one goes out of their way to use contraception obviously not only are they not consenting they are taking active steps to prevent pregnancy, that sounds like a big we don't consent to me.

Prior consent does not mean consent can't be withdrawn later

Presumably Con means in their kidney analogy you are hooked up to the other person, in that case Con seems to just assert that since you consented this means you lose any bodily rights/choice to disconnect. Firstly this is just assumed and not justified. I challenge Con to justify this.

Secondly there is an argument that consent given of ones own body doesn't negate bodily rights/choice later on.

Consider a woman who tells a man at 11am she consents to have sex with him at 7pm. At 7pm the mans turns up, the woman claims sorry got a headache. Since the woman gave prior consent can the man now force her to have sex ? has she lost any right to choose to not have sex cause of prior consent ? is rape now justified in this case ? of course not.

The logical point being, previous consent to use ones body does not justify that consent can't be withdrawn later on.

Violinist analogy (revised, prior consent given)

Consider the violinist analogy with some variables changed. A violinist is in hospital & dying. There is no other way for the violinist to live unless you and ONLY YOU are hooked up to him for 3 months, after the 3 months are complete the violinist can live without being hooked up to you. You consent and are hooked up. After 2 weeks you say sorry, I just can't do this anymore. If you are unhooked death isn't probable, it is certain for the violinist.

The question is thus, do you have the right to disconnect ? do you have a choice ? Are other people justified to take away your freedom to maintain you hooked up to the violinist for the remanding 2 months & 2 weeks ?

I maintain that the fundamental point is the same, you can choose to disconnect.

Consent objection vs right to life

The consent/rape objection is problematic, cause the right to life argument is based on it being so fundamental that it can't be applied or rejected on the basis of whether said organism is the product of sexual consent or rape. This would put the subjects right to life or absent right to life at the mercy of how it came into untenable position.

Since Con has gone to the consent/rape objection they can't also use a more fundamental right to life argument in order to justify forced continuation of pregnancy.

Pregnant Women vs Billionaires (Dis-proportionality argument)

Contra Con this isn't an analogy, this is the actual state of affairs. I don't dispute that billionaires should have such rights and freedoms, either does Con.

Con makes the point of intentional killing vs letting some one die, then concluding "BIG DIFFERENCE"...............fair enough.

Thinking, feeling, self aware humans vs the human organism in the early stages of pregnancy that are absent such things "BIG DIFFERENCE".

Rights and freedoms are such that billionaires can't be forced to give up most of their wealth to save self-aware, suffering humans, how much so then that a woman can't be forced to continue a pregnancy to save a non self ware, non suffering human organism.

The argument stands.

3 day human embryo is not morally equivalent to a human 5 year old child

Con doesn't really engage with the argument here. Con would rather just make charges of games, straw-man, coin flips and I can do that too.

Ironically for all of Cons red herrings they never even disputed that you are justified to save one 5 year old girl over 100, human embryos, which more plausibly as I argue is due the factors such as self awareness, intelligence, ability to feel pain.

Con merely claims it fails, but did he actually show that ? I maintain Con did not.

If abortion is murder (reducto argument)

Contra Con for this debate and the outside world the fact of legal abortion being available hangs tenuously as a never ending onslaught of Pro-lifers chip away at availability of abortion to women, such as TRAP laws. [1]

Contra Con it isn't just me who views this as absurd, that woman who have had a abortion should be doing hard time for murder. Interestingly Con never actually disputed this is where the initial premise that abortion (in the embryonic period) is murder gets you.

Con remarks..."If abortion were to become illegal, obviously there would be consequences for breaking the law, as is the case with all laws. I fail to see how this is controversial."

Women, all women past/present/future who have or will have an abortion are equivalent to murders, thus the long/life imprisonment and even death penalty consequence of such women. Con doesn't see what all the fuss is about.

Cons Law consistency argument

Lets see if we can help Con out where in regard to the allowing abortion vs texting driver causing loss of pregnancy is manslaughter...."cannot be justified with logic"

1) The law could be wrong in regard to the texting driver being charged with manslaughter/murder. Eg error in definitions/application/reasoning etc etc.

2) Even if it is not, as shown in the bodily autonomy argument, the woman has the right to disconnect, that doesn't apply in the texting driver hypothetical.

Con may not like it, but it can be reconciled logically speaking.

Cons Life argument ?

One word come to mine when reading Cons contemplation's on life, confusing. Maybe what Con has in mind is when does a unique human organism begins to exist, but his own source answers that question...""fertilization is a critical landmark because, under ordinary circumstances, a new, genetically distinct human organism is thereby formed" [3]

Personhood & Rights

Con makes the point that he could use other criteria (but didn't), and yes I agree, different criteria will draw the line differently between person vs non person, which one has to do once some one starts talking about personhood, neither side of the argument can get out of that dilemma.

The criteria of 3) Self-motivated activity as I understand it and argue for isn't just oh look it's moving by it's self. Rather it's the intentionality of moving what ever because you made the decision to do so, beyond say a reflex action, or mere response to stimuli.

So no, criteria [3] has not being met, nor [1].

Is Con a non person when Con goes to sleep or is unconscious according to the [1-5] criteria ? no, the argument is based on current capacity of X (eg self awareness) not necessary that X is currently exemplified.

Being severely handicapped isn't the issue here, it's the criteria of [1-5], being severely handicapped doesn't necessarily mean some one doesn't possess any of the relevant current capacities.

Contra Con, recall the point about self awareness being crucial to personhood. If Con rejects self awareness as relevant are you open to the idea that rocks could be persons ? they have no such capacity for self awareness.

Also recall the point about how we would recognize intelligent, self aware aliens as persons based on said current capacities. Con doesn't seem to dispute that such aliens are persons.

If you do reject such criteria yet recognize such aliens as persons, then on what basis do you do so ?

I look forward to Cons reply.



[2] O'Rahilly, Ronan and Muller, Fabiola. Human Embryology & Teratology. 2nd edition. (New York: Wiley-Liss, 1996), 8-


Freedom not restricted unless justified: I did not respond to this because it's redundant. This is what the whole debate is about - justifying if and when a freedom should be restricted. As such, my entire argument is, in a sense, a response to this.

The right to life as an absolute is untenable: Pro phrased this argument in Round 2 as a rebuttal. However, I never forwarded this as an argument, so I'm not sure who Pro is responding to. You cannot rebut an argument that was never presented.

In any case, sure, let's agree that an absolute right to life belief is untenable. I am not advocating this belief, nor do I need to for this debate. I am advocating a right to life specifically for unborn embryonic humans, and I have no requirement to extend that out to "drone strikes, war, dropping the A bomb..." as Pro says. Again, I never presented an absolute right to life argument, so hopefully this is the last we hear of it.

Violinist: I think Pro now sees the problem with this analogy and attempts to avoid it by saying consent can be withdrawn after it is given. That's true, to a point.... but if you give consent all the way up to being connected for 2 weeks and then decide to disconnect, you would absolutely be morally culpable for that death. This is why it's illegal to stop giving CPR once you've started [1]. You willingly agreed to start saving someone, and then willingly decided to stop, fully knowing they would die. At the very least, this fulfills Legal Dictionary's definition of Medical Negligence: "The action (error of commission) or lack of action (error of omission) during a medical procedure which can lead to illness, disability or death." [2]. So, contrary to Pro's claim, someone who voluntarily unplugs after previously giving consent would certainly be morally liable.

Pro also says if someone uses contraception then they are "obviously" not consenting to pregnancy. Really? Taking precautions to prevent pregnancy is not the same as withholding consent. That would be like saying "I consent to medication but not side effects." By agreeing to one behavior (sex) you are also agreeing to the risks that behavior involves (pregnancy). Of course, you can do things to reduce the risks like following prescription directions carefully, but that still doesn't make you immune. If you choose to take a prescription that warns "side effects may include headaches," then you have no right to sue the drug company because you got a headache. In a sense, that is what sex is - "warning: this activity may result in pregnancy." Accepting one is by default accepting the other. Of course anyone has the right to withhold consent before (or even during) sex, but that's not at all what we're talking about. We're talking about pregnancy resulting from sex that was consensual from start to finish. (Pro still has not argued for a rape exception).

Consent objection vs. right to life: Pro again accuses me of advocating an absolute right to life - "Since Con has gone to the consent/rape objection they can't also use a more fundamental right to life argument in order to justify forced continuation of pregnancy." The problem is I never used a fundamental right to life argument, so I'm not sure why Pro is attacking this. Scroll through my previous argument, you will not find the words "right to life" anywhere.

Pregnant Woman vs. Billionaires: Pro agrees there's a big difference between intentional killing and letting someone die, but tries to pivot by saying an embryonic human is not thinking, feeling, or self aware. This is a more formal presentation of the argument that an embryo is just "a blob of cells" with no consciousness or self awareness, suggesting it is not human. My response is that we are all just a blob of cells, we just become bigger blobs as we mature. Since that quality remains the same, the discriminator becomes "thinking, feeling, and self awareness" according to Pro. So, what then do we make of a person in a coma? Or a person who is unconscious or in vegetative status? Such people become merely a "blob of cells" with no feeling, thinking, or awareness. They meet zero of Pro's 5 criteria. Are such people stripped of their personhood? Can they be killed? No reasonable person would say yes. Pro dodges by clarifying "the argument is based on current capacity of X (eg self awareness) not necessary that X is currently exemplified." This only confirms my point. A person in a coma has no capacity for X. They must be brought out of such a state to regain their capacity for anything. My point with this rebuttal is to show that Pro's personhood criteria are insufficient and would qualify other groups of people for death in addition to embryos, which is not reasonable.

3 Day embryo vs. 5 year old: If anyone has failed to engage this argument, it is Pro. Pro never responded to any of the equivalent dilemmas I presented in Round 2. Pro assumes that I would save the 5 year old because I would instinctively identify the 5 year old as a person and the embryos as non-persons. But who would Pro pick if forced to choose between their child and their spouse and why? If Pro chose to save their child, is it because their spouse was a non-person? Or were other factors at play (emotions, utility, social conditioning, etc...)? Any number of factors are at play here, not merely the definition of personhood. So, saving the 5 year old does not prove the embryos lack personhood - there could be many reasons for making that choice.

Reducto argument: Pro is trying to sensationalize this. In this entire debate, I have never used the words "hard time," "murder," or "death penalty." Nor have I advocated for an ex post facto law that criminalizes all past and present abortion. If restricted abortion became illegal, it would not necessarily become murder. Maybe it would be a misdemeanor or a fine. That's a topic for a whole different debate. Suffice it to say that if it became illegal, then there would obviously be consequences for breaking the law, as is the case for every law in existence. I remain confused about why this is a controversial stance.

Law Consistency: To rebut my call for legal consistency, Pro merely says "the law could be wrong." Pro gives no reason why the law is wrong, only that it's possible. If this is an acceptable rebuttal, then allow me to use it on Pro's entire position - the abortion laws could be wrong. Pro misses the larger point here - the UVVA legally defines an unborn child at ANY stage of development as a full human with rights equal to those of the mother. Legal abortion is therefore a direct contradiction to the Federal government's definition of human life, and so to achieve better legal consistency, restricted abortion should be illegal. Pro did not rebut this point.

As far as aliens, I'm not sure what Pro's point is here. I assumed we were debating about human personhood, so unless the alien is human then I fail to see how this is relevant.

Pro critiques me for not offering my own definition of personhood. Since Pro is affirming a positive claim, they have the burden of proof and I have no need to defend my own definition. But I maintain that it's more logically, scientifically, and legally consistent to define human life at conception, in which case abortion should be illegal. Pro has not disputed my claim that a genetically unique homo sapien is created upon conception other than saying a human person must exhibit 5 additional criteria. I have already demonstrated why these 5 criteria don't survive scrutiny, which forces us to embrace a definition more in line with the UVAA (a homo sapien at any stage of development), which provides valid justification for making abortion illegal.

Finally, Pro dropped my argument that conception is the most logical beginning of human life.

[2] negligenc
Debate Round No. 3


I thank Con for their reply.

Freedom not restricted unless justified

Con does seem to agree, and thus seeks to provide justification to restrict abortion in the embryonic period.

The right to life as an absolute is untenable

Con says..."I am advocating a right to life specifically for unborn embryonic humans,"

And that right to life can't be based on a more fundamental absolute right to life, which once again Con agrees is untenable.

You sure do talk alot about this point for some one who supposedly agrees with it, I thinketh he protest too much.

Bodily rights argument (the violinist analogy)

Prior consent does not mean consent can't be withdrawn later

Con does admit that prior consent doesn't necessarily mean you can't withdraw later on concerning the use of your own body.

Cons assertion of morally culpable/morally liable isn't it's self a justification or counter argument, rather for that they use another legal consistency argument, CPR law.

For starters there is an argument that that law is bad law, I'm sure that good intentions exist behind such a law, BUT, the way to hell is paved with good intentions.

When you start passing laws that effect Samaritan acts which impose various burdens/liabilities etc they act as a disincentive to help, and that's the last thing we want. Thus why various Good Samaritan laws get implemented. [1]

As such the first argument here is to impose such a liability in the case of the violinist or CPR is bad law to begin with, thus the legal consistency argument is rejected on those grounds.

But lets assume that the CPR law is good law, In the CPR example conflicting values/interests have being weighed up. We could grant that the burden imposed on the person doing CPR is minimal compared to interest of saving a self aware, intelligent human.

Accepting this doesn't get you to forced continuation of pregnancy, cause as alluded to before, the burden imposed on the woman is much higher, and the interest in the early stages of pregnancy of a non self aware, non intelligent human organism is much lower.

Tacit Consent

Con still argues to well you knew it could happen therefore you consented to it, eg pregnancy, side effects of medication.

There are all sorts of counters to this, well you went out late at night wearing that, you know that rapists exists, ergo you consented to rape.

You knew that tree branches sometimes fall, and sometimes cause death, you went for a walk where there were trees, a branch fell and hit you and killed you, therefore you consented to that.

So here is the logical point, Knowledge that if you commit Y, possibly outcome X, doesn't necessarily mean you consented to X by doing Y.

Ergo, knowledge that sex can have an outcome of pregnancy, does not necessarily mean you consented to pregnancy.

Pregnant Women vs Billionaires (Dis-proportionality argument)

Cons remarks here are really aimed at countering the personhood criteria which I will get to later.

But as far as this argument goes, Con doesn't dispute that billionaires can't be forced to give up most of their wealth to save self aware, intelligent, suffering, humans as such I maintain how dis-proportional it is to demand that women give up more to save less.

3 day human embryo is not morally equivalent to a human 5 year old child

Con wrongly asserts that my argument here is based on who you think is a person.

The argument is that you would make your decision based on various criteria, such as self awareness, intelligence, ability to feel pain, ergo 5 year old child over 100, 3 day human embryos.

Con asks..."But who would Pro pick if forced to choose between their child and their spouse and why? "

Con is only helping my case here. In their case it's alot harder. Now change child to 100, 3 day human embryos, now it just became alot easier.

I argue that Con/Myself would choose their spouse over 100, 3 day human embryos, once again more plausibly because the correct morally relevant factors are things like self awareness, intelligence, ability to fell pain.

Change spouse to any self aware, intelligent human, I submit same result.

Con may of thought their counter example weakened my argument here, it only emphasised the point more.

If abortion is murder (reducto argument)

Con puts forth the idea that abortion be illegal but not on the grounds of murder, something much less, something that one would pay a fine for, like a speeding ticket perhaps ?

So why does Con do this ? either Con agrees abortion is murder is a false premise, or Con still wants to leave open the option that abortion is murder in which case his remarks are all one big distraction.

I maintain that abortion is murder is a false premise and shown to be such when followed consistently and logically to it's absurd conclusion.

Cons Law Consistency argument

Con makes the point that allowing abortion laws could be wrong, yes which is why I present argument more than just abortion is legal so argument is over.

Like wise it's possible that the laws Cons use in their various arguments could be wrong. Con wanted a way to reconcile their claimed inconsistency, that's one way. And no, you can't dismiss this possibility just because it has not being proven.

Secondly I made the argument about the difference between the pregnant woman and her bodily rights and the texting driver.

Once again..."Con may not like it, but it can be reconciled logically speaking."

Personhood & Rights

Contra Con, no we are not going to just accept Cons criteria of personhood on their say so.

Reasons why Cons personhood criteria should be rejected.

1) To give personhood to genetic humanity is on it's own an unsupported assertion and begs the question against a mental capacity criteria of personhood.

2) It's speciesism, humans declaring their own "humanity" in the biological sense gives them personhood and thus excludes others who are not of that particular DNA set.

3) If God exists, God or any non material entity that is self aware and intelligent not only is excluded cause it has no human DNA, but is excluded regardless of what material criteria you use for personhood. This is also a argument in support of the 1-5 mental criteria.

4) Counter factual, what if things had turned out differently on earth ? what if humans took a slightly different evolutionary or even creationist path ? Something close to humans exist yet don't contain our specific human DNA as we know it. Cons criteria excludes such beings from personhood. Also again providing also another reason to accept the 1-5 criteria for personhood.

5) If Con just claims, okey self aware aliens and Gods are persons too then it just becomes ad hoc, making it up as you go along, and frankly denying the obvious, your only including those things based on a capacity mental criteria yet won't admit as such cause your using a materialist human DNA criteria for personhood to deny abortion rights.

My argument is that my 1-5 criteria for personhood is at least superior (not saying perfect) to Cons criteria, thus the conclusion of non personhood of the early human organism stands.

Cons law consistency arguments self defeating

The reasoning that Con has used for their arguments and counter arguments is to invoke some prior legal law, then argue that allowing abortion is inconsistent with that law and thus to make it consistent abortion should be illegal in the name of said legal consistency.

This is ultimately self defeating, at least to those of us (maybe Con as well?) where abortion is legal in the embryonic period.

Cause now we can turn such reasoning on Cons position, where abortion is legal in the embryonic period, to adopt Cons position that such abortion should be illegal is obviously contradictory to the previous laws which allow such an abortion. Thus to maintain legal consistency we must reject Cons position of abortion should be the name of legal consistency of course.

I thank Sengejuri for the debate.





== Rebuttals ==

Right to life untenable - Nothing more need be said. I do not advocate this position and I do not need to, despite Pro's attempts to artificially tie me to it.

Violinist - Pro missed the entire point. My intent was not to show that CPR law justifies "forced continuation of pregnancy." I merely brought that up to falsify Pro's claim that you could choose to unplug 2 weeks into saving the violinist without moral or legal consequences. The CPR example (and common sense) proves that's not true. It's not a legal consistency argument (as Pro says). Rather, it shows that while Pro can only give us an opinion ("I maintain that the fundamental point is the same, you can choose to disconnect"), I can provide hard evidence that people actually do not have the right to stop saving someone after consenting to start.

This gets us back to my original rebuttal that Pro's "Violinist Analogy" is a poor argument. The analogy only works for an action taken against someone's will. Pregnancy from consensual sex is by definition not an action taken against someone's will (all sex involves the risk pregnancy. Therefore, consenting to sex by default consents to the risks). As such, Pro's Violinist argument does not apply and is refuted.

Tacit consent - Pro counters that "Knowledge that if you commit Y, possibly outcome X, doesn't necessarily mean you consented to X by doing Y." Actually, it does. I would phrase Pro's statement like this: "Knowing that Y involves a risk of X, agreeing to Y is also agreeing to accept the risk of X." Pro's rape example is nonsensical, because by definition rape can only occur in the absence of consent (rape can never be consented to). But I would agree with Pro's tree falling example. Yes, agreeing to camp near a tree IS agreeing to the risk of the tree falling. The fact that it sounds silly makes it no less true. (In fact, many tribal cultures refuse to sleep under trees for this very reason [1]). Pro tries to equate the word "consent" to "want", e.g., consenting to pregnancy = wanting pregnancy. But that's not the case. I don't want headaches, but I'm still consenting to the risk of headaches if I take a medication that warns "side effects may include headaches." How much more so when we're talking about human life?

Pregnant Women vs. Billionaires - This entire argument depends on how we decide to define personhood. A woman is only "giving up more to save less" if an embryo actually IS less. Otherwise there is no disproportionality. Pro says an embryo is not a person because he lacks self-awareness, intelligence, feeling, etc... I have shown why this personhood definition fails, and I maintain that conception is a more logically, legally, and scientifically consistent definition. As such, I believe this argument is, also, refuted.

Embryo vs. 5-year old - Pro spent a lot of energy here just to avoid answering the question. Look carefully at what Pro wrote: "Con wrongly asserts that my argument here is based on who you think is a person. The argument is that you would make your decision based on various criteria, such as self awareness, intelligence, ability to feel pain..." But..... aren't these the exact criteria Pro used to define personhood in Round 2? So it seems that yes, the argument is based on who you think is a person. Pro goes on to declare victory by saying my child/spouse dilemma actually helps their case............. as long as you replace the word "child" with "100, 3 day human embryos." This is painfully obvious misdirection. Of course it helps Pro's case if Pro is allowed to change words at will! Notice again how Pro never actually answered my question - who would you save and why? Pro did not dispute my claim that multiple factors other than personhood can influence this choice, and so I consider this argument dropped.

Reducto Argument - for their rebuttal, Pro lashes out against the premise that abortion is murder and accuses me with: "either Con agrees abortion is murder is a false premise, or Con still wants to leave open the option that abortion is murder..." Unfortunately for Pro, abortion being murder has nothing to do with this debate. Something being illegal does not automatically qualify it as murder. Pro continually uses this tactic of attacking claims I never made throughout this debate, and it has fallen short once again. This is the definition of a Straw Man - building up and attacking an argument Pro wishes I made, but never actually did.

Law Consistency - Saying "the law could be wrong" is not a sufficient reconciliation to the inconsistency here. When trying to refute a claim X = Y, it's not enough to say "X could be wrong." You must, of course, demonstrate why X is wrong. In this case, I presented the argument that the law defines personhood as a homo sapien at any stage of development. Pro merely said "that could be wrong" but did not explain or give reason as to why. This is not an acceptable rebuttal. As far as the bodily autonomy right ("right to disconnect") vs. texting driver, I have already exposed the glaring weaknesses of Pro's bodily autonomy argument. Again and finally, I affirm that the Federal Government legally defines an embryo at any stage of development as a person with rights equal to the mother, and in order to achieve better consistency in U.S. law, abortion laws should recognize this definition as well and adjust accordingly.

Personhood - here, Pro finally gets around to attacking my claim that a genetically complete homo sapien is a person. I'll address each of Pro's rebuttals:
1) I cannot be begging the question since I gave clear reasons for why my premise should be accepted.
2) It's not speciesism - I'm talking about homo sapien DNA, not DNA specific to certain races or cultures.
3) I never mentioned anything about God. This is irrelevant.
4) This has actually happened - chimpanzees are the "something close to humans" that Pro mentions. Is Pro saying therefore that chimpanzees are people? I fail to see how this helps Pro's case.
5) Aliens again? C'mon man, no one is talking about aliens here.....

I hope the desperation is now obvious - Pro is having to reach for Gods, aliens, and hypothetical evolutionary mutations, in order to rebut my argument. This is because Pro cannot show that conception is less logically, scientifically, and legally consistent than their "5 criteria." My rebuttal stands.

Law Consistency Argument Self Defeating - here Pro exposes the biggest contradiction of their argument. Pro says that since abortion is already legal, it should remain legal in the name of consistency. But, didn't Pro just get done arguing that the laws could be wrong in a previous paragraph? So which is it? The point is that the UVAA defines an embryo as human life with protected rights, and Roe v. Wade allows the destruction of that life. This is an inconsistency. To achieve consistency, we must either repeal UVAA or Roe v. Wade. Yet, when we weigh the logical and scientific evidence, we find that the UVAA definition of human life is a good one, and therefore it would be more reasonable to uphold UVAA and change the abortion laws.

== Conclusion ==

This debate comes down to one question: what is a person? Pro says it is defined with 5 criteria. I have shown why these criteria are insufficient by noting that they would qualify other groups of fully grown adult humans as "non-people." Pro has supported their argument with analogies that, when carefully examined, don't apply. In response, I offered a genetic definition of personhood that meets legal, scientific, and logical scrutiny. Pro heavily contested the legal side, but largely dropped the scientific and logical arguments. Pro has not met their burden of proof, and has not fully dealt with my definition. I ask the vote go for Con.

[1] Diamond, Jared. "The World Until Yesterday." Penguin Group, New York, NY (2012), 243-244.
Debate Round No. 4
11 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by logicvsfaith 7 months ago
to clarify i how i feel about abortion is not how i feel abortion should be handled if that makes it easier to understand
Posted by logicvsfaith 7 months ago
like i said trying to remove gender biased is hard yes a woman carries the child but ultimately she could not have a child without a man and vise versa as far as "work" goes i would agree that mother would do more but as far as Bodily rights its is still 1 cell from mother 1 cell from father 50/50 multiplying endlessly a woman if giving full bodily rights could not justify in killing part of my body because if you give a woman bodily rights a man would also be entitled to those same privileges and my personal stance on abortion is no abortion except in the cases or rape,insect or life of mother my personal views on it differ than my opinion on it which is strange i agree but i appreciate your opinion and i think you made valid points just my 2nd point is rarely talked about and is normally answered the same way every time ... similar to how you answered
Posted by illegalcombat 7 months ago
Considering the woman is the one who will be doing the work so too speak for 9 months, plus the risks from pregnancy, don't ya think she is giving a bit more than 50% ?
Posted by logicvsfaith 7 months ago
and bodily rights i would like to comment on She carries my seed in her stomach if she has an abortion she is killing part of me and yet i have no say in the matter if you apply bodily rights to woman that right must also go to men
Posted by logicvsfaith 7 months ago
trying to remove Male biased from my 2 point is hard but from the most 3rd person perpetive i can give

yes if a male conceived children my argument will still hold merit just switch male and female in my argument and i could easily resubmit

So because a woman is the vessel for a child she only contributed 50% on she has 100% controll of its life im sorry again my opion may be unpopular but i just cant justify a father and/or mother not having a say in the life of their child AT ANY STAGE IN ITS LIFE
Posted by illegalcombat 7 months ago
1) Actually you can, depending on what the argument is and the factors you think do or do not apply and what effect they have on the moral equation.

If some one adopts either an absolute pro life (no abortions ever) or absolute pro choice (have an abortion 10 mins before birth) I think both have defeaters showing each position is untenable.

2) Put it this way, if the male was the one to get pregnant would you still argue the same ? if yes, then at least your consistent but I would disagree.

As I said before if the male got pregnant too I would grant the same bodily rights
Posted by logicvsfaith 7 months ago
and just to tag unto it a male seed stays inside a woman body during the pregnancy 1 cell from him and 1 cell from her multiplitng endlessly until death the woman is merely a vessel for life which in my opinion which it may not be the most popular does not give her soul judgement over a life
Posted by logicvsfaith 7 months ago
1. We agree on the notion that a woman should have the option to have an abortion there is no need for debate there where we differ is in 2 key areas

1st- if you allow a woman to have an abortion in the first trimester then you have no right to say she cannot have one in the latter stages (not saying that is your stance just in general) and

1b. Under what moral ground does anybody have the right to tell anybody what they can and cannot do with there body for example if you say a woman cannot have an abortion because of X reason ... then you are telling her what she can and cannot do with her body based on your beliefs or the beliefs of your group which is unconstitutional ( and the last group of people who did that we called them NAZIS)

2. Yes a woman must carry the child and give birth to it but it took 2 to make that life the male knowingly conceived a child with a woman with the intent of having a child he "donated his seed" in the chance of offspring a woman should not have a soul judgment over a life that she did not create alone
Posted by illegalcombat 7 months ago
What I CAN"T live is what I consider the INSANE position...................
Posted by illegalcombat 7 months ago
1) Deepening on the arguments maybe 2nd and or 3rd trimester can be justified, maybe they can't, it depends on the reasoning and or morally relevant factors at play.

As long as woman have choice in the early stages of pregnancy even if later on abortion is restricted I can live with that. What I can live is what I consider the INSANE position that from the moment of conception a woman should be forced against her will to continue with a pregnancy.

2) No, my primary argument in support of abortion is one of body/freedom rights. If the male got pregnant too then it would apply to their own body as well, but such is the case with human mammals only the female gets pregnant.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Death23 7 months ago
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