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The Contender
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Should Abortion be Criminalized?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/23/2013 Category: Politics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,856 times Debate No: 41120
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (3)
Votes (1)




Abortion should be criminalized, it's commonsense, and I'm going to explain why.

Abortion has taken the lives of more than millions and thousands of unborn infants. The only difference is that your killing an unborn baby. Many people have tried to make biological excuses to abort unborn infants. The truth this, it's most logical to say that abortion prevents one's life.

Many people argue that the woman has the right to do anything with her body. However, every female has the responsibility of fertilization, as set forth by nature. The unborn baby has their own right to live in this world. In order to experience life in this world, we have to go through a process, this process obviously takes place through the mother. To abort one's process prevents one's life and future, and is absolutely no different than murder.

I know there has also been a controversial issue under this topic, and many people would bring this up. It's about life-threatening issues to the mother regarding birth. Pertaining to this, then abortion can be allowed just for that particular case. "This is because one person will have to die" one way or the other, the mother will have a high potential to lose her life following her birth. I believe as long as the doctors approve and supply evidence that the mother will die following birth, then abortion can be legalized just for that case. However, if that is not the case, then abortion should absolutely be banned, because there is now an option for both people to live without sacrificing one's life.

People should have the right to live no matter what stage they're in. The stage before birth is similar to that of the stage of puberty. These are all just stages in life. So let's be honest here, let's take this on a level of commonsense, abortion is murder. This is why, many people agree with me, and people who do, will fight to defend life on all stages.


I'd like to thank my opponent for this debate and wish him the best of luck!

Since my opponent didn't define any of the following terms during his opening arguments, I will;


Abortion: "the termination of a pregnancy after, accompanied by, resulting in, or closely followed by the death of the embryo or fetus: asa : spontaneous expulsion of a human fetus during the first 12 weeks of gestation — compare miscarriageb : induced expulsion of a human fetusc : expulsion of a fetus by a domestic animal often due to infection at any time before completion of pregnancy — compare contagious abortion"[1]

Crime: "an act or the commission of an act that is forbidden or the omission of a duty that is commanded by a public law and that makes the offender liable to punishment by that law;especially: a gross violation of law"[2]

: "rights (as freedom from unlawful imprisonment, torture, and execution) regarded as belonging fundamentally to all persons"[3]

Person: "the personality of a human being"[4]

Murder: "the crime of unlawfully killing a person especially with malice aforethought"[5]

(C)ontention-1: "Preventing" life
My opponent claims that abortion should be criminalized as murder, not because a life is being intentionally ended, but rather, prevented. However, murder entails ending someone's life, not preventing it from ever happening. You can't murder someone who doesn't exist.

If we were to criminalize the act (or inactivity) of preventing life, most people would end up being prosecuted. After all, we prevent people from existing almost every day; every time we refuse sex, masturbate or wear protection we end the potential for someone to exist. Many people, myself included, don't even want to have children in the first place, but that doesn't mean they should be prosecuted for preventing someone's existence.

C-2: Rights of the unborn child
A fetus is not a person, and therefore not promised the same legal rights as born humans. Neither the US Constitution[6] or the Universal Declaration of Human Rights guarantee rights to unborn humans. In fact, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights specifically says that all humans are "born free and equal"[7].

As stated in contention-1, you cannot murder someone who doesn't exist, you also can't guarantee rights to someone who doesn't exist.

C-3: Rights of the woman
My opponent asserts that women have some kind of natural obligation to give birth but fails to elaborate further. Considering that domesticated horses, laboratory mice, and geladas have been shown to naturally abort their offspring[8], I don't see how you could really make the case that abortion isn't a natural process.

In the first and second trimester of human pregnancy, the fetus is totally dependent on the mother for survival[9]. It's little more than a tumor with no sense of self or a emotion, and therefore a part of the mother. If the mother aborts her fetus, which has no rights and his not a person, she is not imposing her rights on anyone else.


Debate Round No. 1


In reply to your points on Contention 1 "'Preventing' life," the fetus is just a stage of human life, similar to that of puberty. So either way, the process of abortion is still an act of ending life. When I meant "preventing," I meant preventing the life from a further future, which I have already mentioned in my previous argument. Also, regarding to the part when you said you can't murder someone who doesn't exist, and claiming that things like the refusal to sexual intercourse is also preventing a a future of one's life; the thing is, before their is a fetus, we are not sure or certain that there will be a new person arriving to the world. When there is a fetus though, we're now certain that there is someone to be born. So what I'm saying here is, once there is a fetus, you can prevent someone's further future and murder someone who does actually exist.

Regarding to your second contention, you were able to pinpoint areas of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, but not the U.S. Constitution. Also, since the Declaration of Human Rights does not directly enforce or constitute others, less time is spent on the words chosen by the writers. Also note that there are many particular cases regarding human rights advocacy groups that what they declare a human right or not is still debatable.

Women do have a responsibility to keep continuing the growth and reproduction of the populace, it's obviously the reason why we exist today. Also regarding source 8 which you have mentioned, that source was a bit vague to me. The source did not provide much explanation and especially not much evidence on how and why those animals abort their babies themselves. The only evidence the source had bring was that the percentage of pregnancy failures within animals grow with new monkey males. There are a variety of reasons why that could happen, possibly due to miscarriages with new monkey males involved in the process, etc. Aside from that, we people, to try and abort babies, have to do it physically and requiring more than one person. Once again, taking this on a commonsense level, abortion is murder.


Before I continue, I'd like to thank my opponent for actually responding! It's nice to see people who actually try to FINISH a debate for once!

(R)ebuttal-1: "Preventing" life
I really don't really disagree with the assertion that fetal development is a part of human life, fetuses are, after all, biologically human. But the termination of a biological human doesn't necessarily equate to murder, the termination of a person, however, does. Since fetuses are not "people", even if they have the potential of becoming people, killing them can't constitute as murder. Potential, by the way, does not equal certainty.

Which brings my to my second rebuttal...

R-2: Fetuses having rights
My opponent seems to be under the assumption that because the US Constitution doesn't mention the unborn, they are obligated to have the same rights as born humans. The US Constitution doesn't specify on the rights of unborn humans, which is precisely why I posted it to support my claim. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, though not a legally binding document, was ratified by the United States as a set standard for how we enact laws and uphold human rights.

Incidentally, most legally binding papers which refer to human rights only apply them to people or persons. Human rights is defined by Merriam-Webster as belonging to all "persons". Fetuses, however, do not meet the criteria of the definition for person hood (which is also listed in round 1), and therefore have no rights.

R-3: Abortion is murder
Since person hood at conception had not been proved and that murder must end a person's life after he/she dies, and not before it, abortion cannot, legally or logically, be considered murder.

R-4: Abortion as a natural process
My source listed a few instances of certain kind of animals who naturally abort their offspring when their natural fathers are replaced by new male strangers. The idea is that the new male will kill the offspring if it born anyways, so the mother simply aborts it to not bother wasting energy bringing an offspring into the world that's doomed to get killed anyways.

Miscarriages are natural abortions, actually. In fact, they're also called "spontaneous abortions". Most of the time they happen because the fetus doesn't develop correctly in the woman's womb. In other cases, however, it happens because the woman might have some kind of disease or condition, the womb may get infected or the woman might have participated in activities which were bad for her health[1].

Ramifications of Criminalizing Abortion:
C-4: Abortion won't stop, but will become more dangerous

Women would still seek out abortions even after they were made illegal, and deaths associated with "back-alley" abortions would sky rocket. This trend can already be seen in countries where abortion is illegal, where an estimate 68,000 deaths occur each year because women resort to unprofessional and dangerous methods to getting rid of their children[2].

Modern professional abortion methods, however, are widely considered safe by the medical community. The risk of death associated with abortions performed safely by professionals in a safe, medical environment are less than 1 in 100,000[3].

C-6:If abortion were to be criminalized, crime would increase
Not only would the number of illegal abortions increase, but so to would the number of criminals. There are estimates which suggest that abortion had reduced crime in the United States by 50% between 1973 to 2001[4]. This is because single women, teenagers and poor women are more prone to getting pregnant on accident, resulting in the child growing up in poverty-stricken conditions which lead to a life of crime.

C-7:There will be more pollution, starvation, suffering and war
Abortion is a great form of population control, and banning it would only lead to more people and further overpopulation of earth. Overpopulation is one of the root causes of conflict, poverty, environmental damage, lower life expectancies and a whole mess of other stuff which can easily be found online[5][6].

C-8: Criminalizing abortion threatens the separation of church and state
Opposition towards abortion comes largely comes from individuals and groups with religious motivations, who even now pressure the government and government officials to make abortion illegal. Should abortion ever become illegal, such parties would almost certainly have played a role in influencing the government to passing legislation banning abortion for reasons which could ultimately only be described as religious.

[2]David A Grimes, MD, et al., "Unsafe Abortion: The Preventable Pandemic," Lancet, Oct. 2006

Debate Round No. 2


Before resuming the debate, I'd like to thank my opponent for complimenting me, I've been through that problem before.

You said it yourself that fetuses are biologically human. I would also like to point out that it is also logically human too. Once there is a fetus, there is evidence for a human to be born, and doing any incidental harm will prevent it from gaining a further future, therefore constituting murder. Everything starts out small, especially us humans, and no one should be able to abort/murder the "human process of life" no matter how you put it.
Replying to my opponent's rebuttal on the U.S. Constitution, if the Constitution does not specify rights particularly to unborn infants, then it is for the U.S. people to decide, which leads to debates that we have today. Also note that more rights can be established than what's on The Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
You also said that fetuses do not meet the criteria for being a person, however person hood states that if the being is not conscious or have self-emotion, particularly that of the fetus, it is not sufficient enough to be a human; there is a flaw to this. Consider an example that someone went into a deep coma due to a deadly car accident not knowing when he will awake. This person, after a long period, virtually wakes up losing his memory and losing the ability to speak. He realized during his pass, he was in a standard form of a fetus. Could he have been legally killed during his pass? This is no different than your description of the fetus, it is morally wrong to kill him during that state and the fetus in reality.[2]
In reply to your third rebuttal that abortion is not logically murder, it's actually the whole opposite. Number one, you are killing a child, a child is defined to be unborn or recently born[1] by the Merriam-Webster dictionary. Secondly, at the moment of conception, a new genetic code exists for the human being and needs water, food, oxygen, air, and an environment adequate enough for his or her own survival.
Female monkeys aborting their offspring due to the cause of the murderous monkey tendencies, is actually just a theory and even if it's correct, is irrelevant to humans.
Abortions would not skyrocket if criminalized, almost all abortions committed illegally are actually in developing countries. To also note that nearly before abortions became legal in the United States, 90% of illegal abortions were done by trained physicians.[3] Therefore, criminalizing abortion will only take a very small effect on the amount of deaths caused by "back-alley" abortions.
Abortion was not a major factor that decreased crime dramatically since 1973. However, there are many fundamental problems and flaws to this. FBI statistics state that crimes committed by 14-17 years old youths have actually increased by 3.6 times since 1984.[4] Additionally, back then, African-American women had higher abortion ratings than white women. However, crime for blacks increased over 500% from 1984-1993. After the crime peak in 1991, the cause of the declination of crime was actually proved and more closely-related to be because of the crack controversy back then.[4]
Pertaining to population control, only less than 150 thousand unborn people die annually because of abortion(increasing very slowly)[5] compared to the seven billion people in the world(increasing tremendously every year). It's insignificant and ineffective towards population control. I would also like to point out that using population control as a reason to continue to legalize abortion is morally wrong and sick. Keeping in mind how other advocacy groups has used that as a legitimate reason for abortion. Also note that contraceptives could be used as it acts before pregnancy and before the creation of a fetus.
I completely disagree with you on how criminalizing abortion threatens the separation of church and state. Many people disagree with the thoughts of abortion because of the commonsense and logical idea that it kills unborn infants, not just religion. Even if the Church has chosen a side, that absolutely does not mean it threatens the separation; I have many atheistic friends who are strongly opposed to abortion too.
Also note that the mother and father can give their child away to adoption as it's the government's job to monitor it. Most people who get adopted have a good life today, you can easily search that up online. In conclusion, many steps should be taken to realize that abortion is a crime, because if we don't, many unborn infants would continue to die. I also urge voters to look at all aspects of this debate.


R-1: Personhood/murder argument
Being biologically human is different than being a person. A fetus can't participate society in a meaningful way like a person can because it is inside a woman's womb. That's the difference between a fetus and a man in vegetative state, they never participated in society or experienced personhood to begin with, the man in a coma has. Another difference between a fetus and a socially accepted person is that a fetus can not live independent from it's mother during the early to middle stages of pregnancy, in other words they're not independent individuals[1].

Also, if my opponent's assertion that fetuses were people was true, he still wouldn't be able to consider the act of aborting them illegal because the doctor and woman would still consider them non-sentient life forms. And, even if they are a person, they are not guaranteed the right to use another person's body without their consent, less the person who's body's being used has her rights violated as well. To force a woman to give birth to a child based on the assumption that she has some natural obligation to violates her freedoms as an individual to do what she wished to with her body and violates her right to privacy.

R-2: Natural abortion
My opponent seems to be confusing the scientific definition of a theory with the traditional one. A scientific theory can be an accepted fact in the scientific process, it's designation as a theory only means that it can be expanded on. The same is true of other scientific theories like evolution and gravity[2].

The fact that natural abortions occur in humans is also well established, it's called a miscarriage or "spontaneous abortion". I already covered this on the previous round, even providing my opponent with a reliable source and cited reasons why it happens.

R-3: "Back-alley" abortions
An illegal abortion can still be unsafe if it is performed in an unsafe, non-medical environment, it doesn't matter if the person performing it is a professional or not[3]. Contrary to what my opponent says, making abortion illegal would undoubtedly make finding a safe environment and professional to perform an abortion harder, not impossible, to find. Medical advancements have without a doubt made abortion safer between the 1940's and 70's, but it wasn't until after Roe v. Wade in 1973 did deaths associated with abortion drastically decline[4]. Roe v. Wade also allowed medical professionals to better study and perfect off the work of others without getting infringed upon by restrictions from the government[5]. In short, without the legalization of abortion the procedure would not be as safe as it is today. Ironically, the procedure is safer than the very act of giving birth itself.

R-4: Abortion and crime
Overall crime in the United States decreased by 30% between 1991 to 1999, and abortion has thought to play a big, though not sole[6], factor in this reduction. Crimes committed by the broader 15 to 24 age group actually lowered in the 1990's during this drop. The idea is that the legalization of abortion prompted women who lived in poverty or bad social/economic conditions who are more likely to accidentally get pregnant and give birth to criminals, to get abortions. This view seems to collaborate with interviews and studies that show the number of convicted criminals who grew up without unwanted or with one or both parents not present[7][8].

R-6: Abortion and religion
I never stated that all people who were anti-abortion were religious, but rather that religion is extremely intertwined in the pro-life movement and plays a huge role in pushing the government for making abortion illegal.

In conclusion:
Women should have the right to choose whether or not that they give birth, it's a choice that shouldn't be dictated by anyone else. Fetuses do not have any sense of self, independence, or social participation and therefore are not considered people and cannot be "murdered". Criminalizing abortion is not just pointless, but could potentially harm children and mothers.

Unfortunately, the chat limit will not allow me to go much further, so I'd like to thank my opponent for what had been a treat of a debate and wish him a Happy Thanksgiving!

Debate Round No. 3
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by MrVan 2 years ago
Ooooh! Oh no! The text is bigger than I wanted it! Ah well, it's easier to read I guess.
Posted by michael90000 2 years ago
To Bloodhuntr1; rape is an unfortunate thing, but that doesn't mean you can kill someone because of it. There are sadly many things in life to deal with, including this particular topic. Though many people would be glad to be living instead of dead anyways. At least on the good side most women who get raped do not get impregnated. I hope this answers your question.
Posted by Bloodhuntr1 2 years ago
What if you got attacked and pregnant would you keep the child and when they say were is daddy you say hes in jail and you never loved him cause he ****ed you
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Guidestone 2 years ago
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
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Total points awarded:16 
Reasons for voting decision: Very good debate. Grammar mistakes, Pro: 15, Con: 19. Con did use a wide variety of sources including the Universal declaration of human rights and used sources every round. Con did address every issue Pro brought up in a very organize and well though out manner; therefore, deserves the more convincing arguments.