Should Abortion be allowed?
All I ask for is a civil debate that uses facts and logic for it's support.
My opponent does not need to list their specific views on abortion but to avoid any misunderstandings I'll address mine.
1. Birth Control - This will most likely be mentioned so I'll just say I'm for BC, am I for kids under 18 getting them? Only if the parents are involved in the choice, once they're 18 or whatever the age of consent is in said state then they can go to the nearest Walmart or whatever and buy their own without anyone bothering them. That's what I support
2. Abortion - Obviously the main issue here, now while I will concede when we get into societal issues with situations regarding rape I'm not entirely certain what the answer is, as it would depend on society as a whole. However in no circumstance should the proven murder of an innocent child be the answer even in rape as they have done nothing wrong.
Those are my views on the topic, again if my opponent wishes to do the same that is up to them, other than that I hope for a good debate.
Since Con has specifically stated that I need not list my views, I will refrain, unless it seems relevant at a later time. I will wait for Con to make his opening arguments in the next round.
Thank you to my opponent for accepting this debate! Now for the arguments let me first say that practically all MORAL issues are addressed here, in this link.http://bnonn.thinkingmatters.org.nz...
1. Living beings are highly organized.
2. They have the ability to acquire materials and energy.
3. They have the ability to respond to their environment.
4. They have the ability to reproduce.
5. They have the ability to adapt.
^^^All of those points show how the unborn are living beings I'll now show the relationship.
1. It's common knowledge that the human body is incredibly complex, from the blood, to the bones to the muscles and organs and to all the other parts of the body as well. Then when you add man's natural ability to think on levels other animals can't it shows how complex humans are, even at such a young stage.
2. This is also true that they gather materials from the mother, there is the argument of consent but I'll answer that one further down.
3. They do adapt to their environment in the sense that they feel what their mother's feel.
4. The unborn are constantly reproducing more and more cells just like we do.
5. They have the ability to adapt which again proven by the fact that when the mother feels stress or other types of emotions the unborn do as well.
Many will argue that Biology doesn't matter when it comes to deciding whether or not the unborn deserve Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness, that because the unborn doesn't have any real cognitive ability they don't deserve life. I'll go through all of the issues that I've heard regarding this topic and show how they are too inconsistant and arbitrary to be legitimate criteria when deciding the rights of the unborn.
"The unborn don't deserve rights because their intelligence is less than an animal" - This is a stretch to be honest because how does one decide what's intelligence? Do we decide it by how well one can speak? How well they hunt? How well they react to differenct situations? Because in many ways a dolphin can be considered to be more intelligent than certain humans, using the logic of this argument to decide human rights is very arbitrary and inconsistent.
"They don't deserve rights because they don't feel pain" - This is a very common argument for abortion, however whether or not one feels pain shouldn't be a criteria for human rights as well. The main reason being that when people sleep or go into a hopelessly comatose state they can not feel pain. Now a counter may be that "well we used to feel pain" so what's your point? There's no reason to believe that matters as you are right now not capable of feeling pain or capable of giving off any real signs of intelligence. Another counter may be that "I'll eventually wake up though" while this is true for those who are asleep again there's a hole here for the hopelessly comatose, though even for those asleep it's not much of an argument because of the fact that if you are killed while asleep then it doesn't matter whether or not you would've woken up at that moment you would've died.
For more information you can go to this link http://www.firstthings.com...
As I've mentioned previously that all the issues regarding morality were addressed above at the beginning, however I'll go through some of the most readily defended arguments for abortion.
"The mother didn't give consent so she should be allowed to choose abortion" - This is probably one of the most readily defended arguments out there, however it holds some flaws. The most obvious being in the case of consensual sex the woman is giving consent for a child to be born in her womb, she does NOT need to give constant consenst because of the fact she willingly accepted a child being born into her womb, even in the case where she had sex just to have sex, people don't drink with the intention of passing out but they are still at fault there for not being careful of their situation, it's the same logic here. The case of rape I'll address separately.
"Rape" - The flaw with this argument is that many blame the child for the rape. In no way did the child commit the rape, the rapist did, and he's the one who should be punished not the child who has commited no crime. Now for consent should the mother be allowed to kill the child since she gave no consent for the child to use her womb? No, why? Because of the fact again the child commited no crime, and if the issue is that he/she is causing distress for the mother in many other cases a woman can be distressed but we wouldn't say that's enough reason for her to demand the death of someone. Ex: Let's say a woman needs her car for her job and it's very critical, but a drunk driver crashes into it one day, now that obviously will cause her distress and be a heavy hit on her autonomy, but we wouldn't say the woman has the right to kill that drunk driver. To say that the woman deserves to kill that driver would be insane and hold to ideas of a sociopath "oh this person caused my life to hit a bump they deserve to die now!" that makes no real sense.
"To say pro-abortion is a strawman I'm just pro-choice not pro-abortion" - Many have said that they are just pro-choice and not pro-abortion, I'm sure me saying "pro-abortion" will get someone mad so I have a simple question, if you are NOT pro-abortion why not? What about abortion makes it so unattractive to you? There are answers that will not suffice examples being
- I'm against abortion because it's against my beliefs
- I wouldn't get an abortion (women)
- I just don't support abortion
None of these answers say why one might have moral issues with abortion, and if you do have moral issues with abortion why would you support women being able to do something that's morally wrong?
Another argument by some is that abortion may be morally wrong but it's necessary, in that it helps prevent crime. This was a widely believed notion since Freakanomics which was written by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner, they asserted that when Roe v Wade was legalized in 73 that it helped reduce crime since those who would've been born into a more crime prone situation weren't allowed to be born, however there's many flaws here. One flaw being that Levitt claims that after 18 yrs of legalized abortion that crime started to lower in 91 however Canada proves that this isn't even much of a correlated effect, Canada legalized abortion in 88 but had crime peak in 91 and then saw that same decline overall just 3 years after abortion was legalized. This has two possible explanations, either Levitt was off on how he tested abortion in correlation to crime, or that the whole notion that abortion lowers crime is completely false, and the latter seems to be the more likely due to the fact that many other groups have come out and debunked Levitts study, in even more detail than what I just provided.
I think I've addressed pretty much all issues regarding the defense of abortion, if I've missed any please let me know. I'll be happy to address any other issues, out there though I only have 1,000 more characters I don't think that's enough for me to do much more in this round. I'll now await my opponents arguments.
I would like to thank Con for his arguments. I will attempt to address everything in an organized way.
I agree with almost everything Con says here. I will address a single point of contention, which I don’t feel is terribly important, but I feel it should be dealt with at the beginning in case a larger argument are going to be built upon it.
Signs of Life
To quote Con, “a fertilized egg shows signs of life from the very beginning practically.” A fertilized ovum is known as a zygote for the first few days . At this point, it does not show signs of life. Con’s source lists five characteristics for life, and while I take issue with how some of them are applied to zygotes, I will address one of the characteristics of life that the source omits: movement . Zygotes are not capable of moving, in fact, they require cilia in the oviducts to transport them to the uterus . Therefore, a zygote is not alive. However, in this case, I don’t think Con is basing his argument specifically on the zygote stage, so if he chooses not to address this point further, I will assume the discussion is regarding the later, embryonic stages where I concede the conceptus is alive.
I agree with Con that the two arguments he offered against his point are not well defined. I am not going to address them, because I will not be using them.
Consent and Rape
I’ll lump these two together because I will deal with them in the same manner. Few people will argue against the belief that, generally speaking, we should be able to control what happens to our own bodies. Many argue that this is a basic human right enumerated in the US Declaration of Independence . Therefore, it would logically follow that a woman could abort her pregnancy as she saw fit. The only objection I can imagine here is if the fetus has rights of its own, a point I will address later.
Pro-Choice, not Pro-Abortion
This fits me, and although I am not required to expand on my own positions, I will do so here since Con brought it up. I am not a fan of abortions; I find them to be wasteful and destructive. In the same way, I find hunting for sport, or stomping on anthills to wasteful and destructive. However, if we are hunting for food, we are still killing the animal, but it is no longer a leisure activity, and the utility of acquiring nutrition outweighs the destruction of the animal. My position is that the right of a woman to control her body generally outweighs the destruction of the conceptus.
I’ve never cared much for this argument. I’m not going to address it since it is not an argument I am going to make.
Con has established that a fetus in utero is alive, a point that I do not contend. However, he has not demonstrated why that fetus deserves any more consideration than a tapeworm or a tumor, both of which would be removed from the patient’s body and destroyed.
Abortions Should Be Legal
Although I am not required to state my own positions, I will do so in order to further the discussion. It is my belief that the tie between life and protections that Con has not demonstrated is self-awareness; the ability of an entity to recognize its own differentiation from its environment , as well as having knowledge about our feelings and our perceived image . Humans and only a handful of other species are known to possess self awareness  We humans place great importance on self awareness and it explains why we put up a fuss about killing a dolphin, but step on a spider without a second thought. Also, the medical field treats a still living, but brain dead person, as “human remains;” it is no longer a person even though it is still alive . As babies do not have self awareness when they are born , it follows fetuses do not have the same rights as developed people, and therefore there should be no prohibition on abortions.
My opponent has made some points that are interesting and surprising. I'll now address them all..
My opponent has made a contradiction here, quotes
"I agree with Con that the two arguments he offered against his point are not well defined. I am not going to address them, because I will not be using them."
But then goes on to say, "the ability of an entity to recognize its own differentiation from its environment , as well as having knowledge about our feelings and our perceived image . Humans and only a handful of other species are known to possess self awareness  We humans place great importance on self awareness and it explains why we put up a fuss about killing a dolphin, but step on a spider without a second thought."
However the argument of against Self-Awareness is the same as the argument against sentience, that if we are asleep we aren't really aware of who we are. This also applies to when one is on drugs perhaps, I recall when I broke my arm and had to get surgery they put me under anesthesia right? Well when I eventually woke up after the surgery I didn't even know where I was for at least a minute. So by this logic if I were to be killed within that minute I wouldn't have been a human being, so it wouldn't be considered a crime, then add the other scenario say one of the people operating on me when I was under decided to kill me, if I was under anesthesia I wouldn't have felt anything nor really been aware of the fact that I died, so I wouldn't have been a human being worthy of rights.
This may be anecdotal yes, but one could extend this logic to just about any situation in where the potential victim is either asleep, under heavy medication, or in a coma. No matter what the scenario, if we go by this logic the potential victim turned victim will not be human, therefore their death won't be worthy of punishment. I also thought of another scenario, since anesthesia not only puts one to sleep but takes away the feeling of pain, what if a pretty woman were to go into surgery, and lets say her reason wasn't particularly life-threatening, if her doctor is a man that male doctor could rape her on the table, and going by this logic shouldn't be a crime. Due to the fact that the woman is under anesthesia and has no feeling in her body and no real awareness to the fact she's being raped, her right to liberty goes out the window. This is why the logic of using anything related to psychology is completely inconsistent and overall weak as an arguing point.
Again please refer to this link as it goes through every scenario of this kind of thinking.
Since my opponent, does not wish to make this an issue then I will also drop this issue as well.
This will probably be the meat of this debate as my opponent makes a good point in mentioning movement of the zygote and whatnot. However this quote and this source
"Based on universally accepted scienti@257;c criteria, a new cell, the human zygote, comes into existence at the moment of sperm-egg fusion, an event that occurs in less than a second. Upon formation, the zygote immediately initiates a complex sequence of events that establish the molecular conditions required for continued embryonic development. The behavior of the zygote is radically unlike that of either sperm or egg separately and is characteristic of a human organism. Thus, the scienti@257;c evidence supports the conclusion that a zygote is a human organism and that the life of a new human being commences at a scienti@257;cally well de@257;ned 'moment of conception.' "http://bdfund.org...
Now many of these arguments can only be decided upon if we are able to set in stone whether or not there's enough reason to believe that a zygote/embryo/fetus is a human being, since that's where the whole abortion argument originates around anyway. Regardless there's something I want to address, in regards to whether or not one can be pro-choice but not pro-abortion.
My opponent used the analogy of hunting for both sports and food, and stomping on anthills. While I'm in complete agreement that it's wrong to hunt for sport and stomping on anthills and that both actions are unnecessary, I'm in disagreement with my opponent's argument on hunting for food.
"if we are hunting for food, we are still killing the animal, but it is no longer a leisure activity, and the utility of acquiring nutrition outweighs the destruction of the animal. My position is that the right of a woman to control her body generally outweighs the destruction of the conceptus."
While it is true that we downplay the life of the animal killed for food, (I'm for hunting for food) it's not the same as an abortion. The difference is that hunting for food is a natural thing in that animals have hunted since the beginning of time it's completely natural, abortion on the other hand is not natural in that it is the murder of an innocent human of the same species, and it's not even for survival it's just killing for comfort.
One counter argument that instantly comes to mind is the fact that it's justified to kill when say you might be raped/killed yourself. However that isn't the case in abortion, while many pregnancies can lead to health complications, that's what pre-natal care and healthy living are for. Most pregnancies also just lead to health complications many of which aren't life-threatening, and can be treated properly. Overall there's no reason to say that killing for food is the same as killing just for comfort, the latter being something that should definitely not be allowed.
My opponent claims I have "not demonstrated why that fetus deserves any more consideration than a tapeworm or a tumor, both of which would be removed from the patient’s body and destroyed."
However as I stated under Biology that a zygote is a human being, and other than the mother wanting comfort (which isn't a legitimate reason) and as is human logic it isn't right to kill someone just because it comforts you. Especially when that person is an innocent being who means you no harm (even though they can cause harm the fetus doesn't mean harm), one example would be that if a woman needs her car for her job and someone drinking crashes into it by mistake, we wouldn't say it's logical for that woman to kill the driver nor that the driver deserves death as a penalty.
"difference between tapeworm and tumor" - A tapeworm by definition is a parasite a creature of one species that lives its entire life from offspring to maturity off of the life force of a host or a creature of another species. This is much different from a zygote who is just following the natural process of depending upon his/her parent and not deliberately trying to cause harm onto the mother. A tumor is by definition " is an abnormal mass of tissue which may be solid or fluid-filled." . Basically again it's just a illness related to one person's body, it doesn't involve the actions or life of another human being, that's why when one kills a tumor it's not a bad thing because they are just eliminating something that can be harmful to their life.
I would like to first thank Con for his remarks. I will now address my opponent's points.
First of all, I’m not sure what Con is getting at when he quotes me as saying that I will not be addressing two particular arguments. The argument I put forth is not one of the ones he addressed in his initial remarks, so I don’t see how my comments regarding what I will not address are relevant.
In R2, Con argued that the unborn are alive; I did not dispute this point. However, I did take issue with Con’s point that a conceptus in the zygote stage is alive. I mentioned earlier that I thought the point was largely irrelevant, and considering that it is a widely debated point without scientific consensus, I will concede it. I will agree that, for the purposes of this debate, a zygote is alive. However, this does not show that we should offer greater protections to such a life form, such as in my earlier example of a tapeworm. I will address that point in greater detail later. Con then went to point out that the zygote is also human. This is another point I could contend, but I choose to concede it for the purposes of this debate.
I have conceded that the unborn are living humans, does that status alone show that we must necessarily value their lives above the will of others? While this is a very psychologically comforting position to take, there are many instances where we humans choose to end the lives of other for various purposes. For instance:
Euthanasia: The killing of someone who is suffering .
War: Armed conflict for political purposes .
Self-Defense: Killing another to prevent injury to one’s self .
Capital Punishment: Killing as punishment for a crime .
Organ Donation: Harvesting organs from those who are brain dead, but physically alive .
There are others, but I think this list is sufficient to prove my point that simply being human does not necessarily mean that we as a culture afford you an unfettered right to life. Even if you don’t agree with some or all of these, it cannot be denied that as a species, simply being human doesn’t grant you the right to live. Therefore, the fact that a conceptus is a living human does not automatically protect its life.
In the previous round, I compared abortion to hunting, claiming that if it has no utility, it should not be performed, but if there is utility, than it should be acceptable. Con countered that hunting for food is natural, while abortions are not. It seems that Con is arguing that we should not do things, or use things that are unnatural. If that is the case, I expect him to forfeit the rest of this debate because computers are unnatural, as are glasses, cars, diapers, and polyester. Also, death from a staph infection is natural, but we take steps to prevent those all the time. Naturalness is irrelevant.
My Own Argument
I showed how the distinguishing point between humans and most of the rest of the animal kingdom is self-awareness. I then showed that since fetuses are not self-aware, they need not receive the protections most of the rest of the human race receive. Con did not object to these points.
Con did suggest that women get abortions for reasons of comfort. Women get abortions for a number of reasons including, her health, that the fetus is not properly developing, the pregnancy was the result of rape or incest (possibly resulting in emotional trauma for both mother and child), the inability to care for a child, and others . Therefore, the argument that woman have abortions for comfort is invalid, and frankly irrelevant, unless it can be shown that the fetus is deserving of the same protections we give to developed persons.
Con then chose to attack my example of tapeworms and tumors. It doesn’t matter if both of these situations are illnesses. In fact, a woman’s immune system must be suppressed during pregnancy because it thinks the developing fetus is a foreign body, and a danger to her health . The bottom lines is, again, unless it can be shown that the fetus has some quality that requires us to show it the same concern that we show developed persons, we need not treat it as such.
For purposes of this debate, I have conceded that fetuses are living humans. I have also shown that living humans do not always receive the protections Con wants to give to fetuses. Therefore, the simple fact that they are living humans does not necessarily afford them protection.
Con suggested that abortions should not be allowed because they are unnatural. I showed that we accept all sorts of unnatural things into our daily lives, so this argument falls.
Finally, Con argued against my points by claiming that women have insufficient justification to get abortions, and by arguing that fetuses are different from my examples of, “tapeworms and tumors.” I showed Con was erecting a strawman with his suggestion that women have abortions for purposes of comfort. Also, I showed that both the comfort argument and the Con’s tapeworm argument are irrelevant, unless Con is going to show some reason that fetuses should necessarily receive the same protections as developed persons. http://oxforddictionaries.com...+
I would first like to apologize to my opponent for taking so long to respond, my internet went down for some reason and I had to completely restart my network and stuff.
My opponent has made a comment talking about how he missed a big portion of previous argument in this topic so I won't be addressing that until he is able to respond next round. However my opponent did say "I’m not sure what Con is getting at when he quotes me." So I'll address that point real fast
The purpose of me quoting my opponent was to show a contradiction in his logic I originally presented the argument that "since the unborn can't feel pain they aren't human" I then went on to say why this was a poor argument, my opponent then used the argument of "self-awareness", however this argument holds the same kind of flaws as does the "sentience" argument, hence why I called it a contradiction.
My opponent makes the claims that even though a zygote is human they don't deserve rights. He then goes on to list numerous situations where killing an individual is "ok" I'll go through each of them
War: I don't know anyone other than lunatics like say Hitler who would say war is a good thing to initiate, however in war there are two sides. There are those like Hitler who initiate a heinous act for stupid reasons and then there are people like the Allies who fight for those who can't defend themselves, I doubt (at least I hope this is the case) that any of us would say it was wrong to go and help the Jews escape mass genocide, we weren't killing innocent people we were killing those who were killing innocent people.
Self-Defense: This is similar to the "war" example though it differs because instead of someone else defending a victim the victim fights against their oppressor. Now I really doubt any of us would say it's wrong for a woman to say kill a man who's trying to rape her, that would sound like flat out lunacy.
Capital Punishment: This is a common argument to claim hypocrisy on the pro-life side, however the flaw here is that the death penalty is for those that have committed horrible crimes, and while I concede it isn't perfect the fundamental reasoning for it is sound. To use this as a reason for abortion is like comparing a 5 year old to that of a mass murderer, I don't see how it's logical to compare someone who is innocent and ignorant of the world to someone who has shown a blatant disregard for human life.
Organ donation: Now my opponent brings up being brain dead but "physically alive" however he does not elaborate on what he means by being "physically alive." If he means that the skin is still pink and warm along with the other organs still working then that isn't really the case, this link goes into detail about how a brain dead donator, donates his/her organs. Now according to the link my opponent provided there's also the cases of being in a coma, however to quote my opponent's link
"In the early days of considering this new definition of death, it will probably only be used in those rare cases where the patients have given approval in advance for using this definition of death for themselves."
In the case of coma's the organs can only be harvested when said patient and all people involved give the go ahead, for the harvesting. That's in no way devaluing human life like abortion does. The link then goes on about PVS or persistent vegetative state, here's a quick quote of this part.
"Thus, historically-speaking, it will be some decades
before persistent vegetative state will routinely be recognized as equivalent to death."
If PVS can be biologically proven to be the equivalence of death then no one's opinion will change that just like no one's opinion will change whether or not a zygote is a human being if it's proven biologically. So again in this case the person is either dead or has given consent for their organs to be harvested so in no way is human life being devalued.
Euthanasia:This is the same as abortion in terms of moral fundamentals, it's the devaluing of human life which is why I'm against it. This link goes into more details on the moral case against Euthanasia.
Overall a constant flaw I see in these examples is that in each case at least said person gets to live a life, this is not the case for the unborn as they've yet to even be born and that is the perfect example of devaluing human life.
My opponent talks about how naturalness is irrelevant due to the fact that we use things that aren't natural. However that is false, humans are undoubtedly more complex than other animals and different things are natural for us, for example a tiger has it's build, claws and teeth for its hunting. Humans on the other hand needed to make weapons out of their environment in order to live, this naturally progressed to technological breakthroughs like computers and whatnot, these have all become a big part of human life (for better or for worse is in the eye of the beholder). Thus these things are as natural as the act of killing another organism for food, however the act of killing another of the same species for no reason is in no way natural.
Now it is true that many other species kill or fight each other because of a sort of tribe mentality, humans as well displayed this mentality to kill your fellow species for land, females or whatever. However today would we really say that's a humane thing to do? I mean look at some of the examples in the biology part "war", would we really say war is a natural thing for humans to willingly exterminate and torture their fellow man? I would hope not, and if in that case it's wrong why would we say it's alright to do this to an innocent child who has yet to even do anything in life? Good or bad.
Re:My own Arguments
For self-awareness Pro commented on how he missed my response to this so again I'll wait for his counter argument here.
Now I made the claim that women get abortions for comfort, I stand by that argument. In pretty much all cases a woman is just getting an abortion for comfort. Let's look at health issues for example, please note I'm aware of life threatening situations and I'll address those separately, but in the case of health issues many health concerns can be addressed through pre-natal care or other forms of treatment. Having health issues isn't a reason to kill a child unless it is known that the mother's life is in danger, in which case the woman makes the choice to survive not necessarily for comfort. My opponent then talks about the case of rape, I believe I talked about this but I'll say it again. A common argument in rape is that the woman should have the right to abortion because the child may remind her of that horrible incident, however there's flaws here..
1. The child didn't commit a crime, the child was merely the product of a crime but in no way committed any act of harm towards the woman intentionally.
2. The mother doesn't have to raise the child, while she doesn't have a right kill the child (I'll elaborate) she doesn't have to raise the child. Adoption facility issues aside she can do just that and place the child under adoption.
3. The mental reminder of rape can reappear even without a child. And like I've said as an example what if a woman sees the face of her rapist and is reminded of him when she sees another man that happens to have characteristics similar to her rapist, as this can happen according to 
"Flashbacks can be triggered by many stimuli, such as sensory or emotional feelings."
This further proves that it's not just a child that can cause the victim to remember that horrible scene, but we wouldn't say that it's morally right for the woman to take action should that stimuli be from another man would we? This article also goes on about women who were raped talking about this debate, I think this is relevant so we can at least get some glimpse of how actual rape victims feel about this debate.
My opponent also says "a woman’s immune system must be suppressed during pregnancy because it thinks the developing fetus is a foreign body, and a danger to her health." However again "a danger to her health" as I've said isn't legitimate reason to kill the child especially when we have many ways of addressing these health issues. To answer my opponents final idea here of whether or not there's reason to give the unborn Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness, again look at the fact that the unborn are innocent human beings who haven't even had a chance to live life which is a drastic difference from any example my opponent has brought up.
I'm running out of space so I'll make this quick, I've thoroughly addressed all of Pro's arguments and have quoted pro and his own sources as proof, I would like to again stress that should Pro want to compare a zygote/embryo/fetus to someone that he must be fair and compare them to someone who's innocent and not a sociopathic murderer like he did with his objection regarding say Capital Punishment.
Also to Pro, please make sure you read everything this time lol, and again sorry for taking so long but again my internet went out and I just now got it to work again. Thank you for your patience.
I would first like to thank Con for his understanding of my error, and also for his R4 remarks.
Because it seems simplest to me, I will respond to Con’s R4 comments first, and then go back to address the bits I missed from the previous round.
The only thing I will address here is Con’s claim that the pain argument has the same flaws as the sentience argument. I will discuss both pain and the sleeping individual shortly.
The reason that I brought up war, self-defense, etc, was simply to show that situations exist where is it acceptable (not necessarily desirable, but at least acceptable), to kill another human being. I’m not talking about details, but simply the fact that hypothetically, a situation could exist where killing someone would be acceptable. Based on Con’s responses, it seems that he agrees. Therefore, I restate my point that the simple fact that a fertilized ovum is a human life does not necessarily make killing it wrong.
Con originally argued against abortion because it is unnatural. After I pointed out that humans do all sorts of things that are unnatural, Con switched his position claiming that technological advances are extensions of humankind’s natural abilities. First of all, this seems to be at odds with many definitions of “natural:”
“existing in or derived from nature; not made or caused by humankind” 
“implanted or being as if implanted by nature : seemingly inborn” 
“That exists and evolved within the confines of an ecosystem.” 
“Without artificial additives.” 
“Without, or prior to, modification or adjustment.” 
However, I will not argue semantics. If Con is going to argue that computers and other modern technology is simply an extension of humankind’s “natural” weapon making, who is to say that abortion isn’t a similar advancement regarding whatever purposes a woman decides are acceptable? It seems that again, it comes down to whether or not there is something about the fetus that makes it deserving of protection.
Another point Con made was to equate abortion to torture and extermination. He asked if it was humane. My answer here is to point back to the point about tapeworms. Is it humane to kill them? If it cannot be shown that a fetus has something that makes it deserving of protection, the argument from being inhumane fails.
Self-Awareness v. Sentience
Here is the argument I inadvertently skipped; Con made these points way back in R2. I will address them out of order for purposes of simplicity.
Con’s second point addresses the claim that "They don't deserve rights because they don't feel pain." I find pain irrelevant to the discussion. I feel confident in claiming that mice feel pain, but are not sentient. As I am not claiming that abortion is acceptable because fetuses don’t feel pain, and since sentience is my concern, I will not address pain any further. However, Con did bring up an interesting point later in that paragraph which I will address along with the next point.
Con’s first point is addressing the claim that “The unborn don't deserve rights because their intelligence is less than an animal." First of all, I need to point out that intelligence  is not the same thing as self-awareness . However, an oversimplified definition of self-awareness might be intelligence plus something else.
I agree with Con that dolphins are intelligent. In fact, I mentioned in R2 that dolphins, as well as several other species, are considered self-aware. The important, albeit difficult to distinguish, question is when a person becomes self-aware. Again in R2, I noted that babies are not self-aware at birth. The study I referenced showed that newborns could differentiate between what is themselves, and what is not themselves, but that it wasn’t until about six to eight weeks of age until a child was able to create maps of reality in their minds . This shows that they have attained a cognitive level above simple responses to stimuli. Before this point, they have no more minds than many lower animals.
The other point Con brought up in his paragraph on pain is the idea of killing someone who is sleeping. Of course it would be wrong to kill someone who is sleeping. This is because we know they have a self-aware mind. In fact, the mind is often just as active in sleep as it is in waking . Of course, a better question, and one that Con did bring up, is that of a comatose patient.
Like abortion, the issue of allowing comatose, or otherwise brain damaged, patients to die is not settled in our society. In my opinion, if the best medical opinions available tell you that your relative is not likely to wake up, or that their brain is damaged to a point where their mind is no longer there, you should be under no compulsion to keep their body alive; it should be a decision left to the family, the same way the decision whether or not to abort a fetus should be a decision left to the woman (preferably with the advice of her family and her medical professionals).
However, a significant difference between the comatose patient and the unborn is still the question of mind. We know that a comatose patient HAD a mind; the question is whether or not it is still there. If it is not, we should be under no compulsion to keep the body alive. I admit that this is not always a question we can know 100%, but these are the messy points that make up life.
As I noted earlier, babies are not self-aware when they are born, and even if the question of when they become self aware is hazy, the fact that 88% of abortions take place in the first trimester  should calm some of that questioning. Even if we are wrong about exactly when a baby becomes self aware, it can hardly be argued that it takes place before the fetal brain is able to receive signals from the eyes and ears, which begins in the second trimester . In fact, the cerebral cortex, the part of the brain that houses the reasoning aspects that makes us us , doesn’t even begin to develop until the eighth gestational week , the point at which 50% of abortions have already taken place . So, even if we are mistaken about the exact point a person becomes self-aware, it is clearly not in these early stages of gestation. Since it is during these stages that the majority of abortions occur, we cannot universally restrict abortions on the grounds that we are ending a thinking mind. Since a thinking mind is the thing that differentiates us from other animals that we regularly kill, and the simple fact of being human doesn’t offer blanket protection, we have no reason to prohibit abortion.
First, I would like to re-address the point about rape. Con took issue with my point that the child may remind the woman of the rape. I would again point out that the woman should have every right to control her body, including the right to have something removed from her body, for whatever reason she chooses. Even if we find the reminds me of the rape argument unsatisfactory, it does not change the fact that the woman should have control over her body, as she sees fit, unless we show that there is some reason to restrict that right. In the case of abortion, I believe I have shown that Con's reasons are not sufficient.
To wrap up this round, I have shown that there are times when the killing of human beings is acceptable, and I have also shown that fetuses do not have a self-aware mind, the thing that differentiates humans from most of the rest of life on earth. Therefore, aside from fallacious arguments, we have no reason to prohibit women from having the choice to terminate their pregnancies.
Well seeing as how this is the final round I'd like to just summarize and close things up as best as possible, I'd also like Pro to keep in mind that I can't respond after this.
Pro has made some points, and like him I'll be addressing his most recent comments and then go back to the earlier round arguments.
Yes, it is true that in many cases it's "acceptable" to kill people, however we have to draw the comparisons between the people being killed in the scenarios that Pro brought up and then compare them to the situation of a zygote. I've done this already in the previous round, and I'll admit it's a little annoying that Pro missed this point as it is very vital to this argument here's what I said last round
"again look at the fact that the unborn are innocent human beings who haven't even had a chance to live life which is a drastic difference from any example my opponent has brought up."
Pro has acknowledged for the sake of debate that a zygote is a human, add that to the fact that they've done nothing to willingly harm someone and that should be all the proof Pro needs to give the zygotes protection. Keep in mind my example, that even though the zygote may cause health issues for the mother he/she does so unitentionally, and my example from R2
Ex: Let's say a woman needs her car for her job and it's very critical, but a drunk driver crashes into it one day, now that obviously will cause her distress and be a heavy hit on her autonomy, but we wouldn't say the woman has the right to kill that drunk driver. To say that the woman deserves to kill that driver would be insane and hold to ideas of a sociopath "oh this person caused my life to hit a bump they deserve to die now!" that makes no real sense.
In the argument of nature and technology, I concede that I am wrong there. While I still have other issues I could raise about the original point of why hunting animals (for food) is ok but abortion isn't, it's too late to make a case on this.
Pro re-hashes the same point that if I can't show why a zygote deserves protection then abortion would be the same as say taking out a tapeworm. However I've answered not only the major point Pro raises in this argument but I've addressed it as well in R3, though this article goes into more scientific details about why the argument of comparing a zygote to a parasite fails.
Sentience vs Self-Awareness: First let start by saying that I was in no way comparing the fundamentals of "intelligence" "sentience" or "self-awareness" only that the arguments against them are all basically the same. The whole premise of my arguments against such points is that they are arbitrary and inconsistent, due to comas and sleeping. I'll go through all the points that Pro raises here.
Pro uses this source  to support his argument of people sleeping being "self-aware" however a quick glance shows one flaw right away, in that this article never once mentioned being self-aware, and this is vital to Pro's argument. It also says
"There is a progressive decrease in the activation or "firing" rate of most neurons throughout the brain as sleep progresses from wakefulness to non-REM sleep."
Basically that there's little reason to believe someone who's asleep is aware of their surroundings, then add the fact that there are light sleepers and heavy sleepers and you have even more inconsistency. The two types mentioned in Pro's link were REM sleep and non-REM sleep, and according to the article we shouldn't consider anyone who's under non-REM sleep to be worthy of protection, due to the fact that they have a decrease in activation of most neurons. While Pro could possibly make some arguments for this, it'd be again very arbitrary which is something we should avoid as much as possible when considering we're talking about human life here.
Comas: Pro makes a point that comatose patients had a mind, and while it doesn't seem he's making an argument out of this it's worth mentioning that I've addressed that many times already. Pro then goes on to talk about how the unborn's consciousness isn't created until around the eight gestational week, however this is irrelevant since he hasn't supported whether or not a person in comatose with a fully functional human body deserves protection, while he can argue the point that they don't have a normal functional mind this sort of disproves that notion.
In this link it talks about the different forms of comatose, one specifically being PVS which was mentioned before as Persistent Vegetative State here's a quote (emphasis added)
"Persistent vegetative state. This is a state of severe unconsciousness. The person is UNAWARE of his or her surroundings and incapable of voluntary movement. With a persistent vegetative state, someone may progress to wakefulness but with no higher brain function. With persistent vegetative state, there is breathing, circulation, and sleep-wake cycles."
Now Pro could argue that there are sleep-wake cycles, but the fact remains that in most cases of this scenario that the person is unconscious and unaware of where they are. Which means that by his logic it'd be alright to kill this person without any worries of legal action being taken, because it doesn't matter whether or not the person HAD awareness or even if the WILL have awareness since at present moment they DON'T have awareness.
"being human doesn't’t offer blanket protection" By this logic then it's completely fine for someone to kill a 2 month old child or even younger and possibly older too. Since all they have going for them is being human it'd be completely humane and legal to kill that child for whatever reason, now Pro may object saying "but it's not her body then" well if this logic is to be extended Pro has conceded that a zygote is a human being, therefore by this logic the woman is no longer taking action that just affects "her body." The actions against that 2 month old child affects that child's human body, and if Pro concedes that a zygote is also human then abortion affects the zygote's body as well, and even if Pro were to flip-flop on this position I've adequately proven that a zygote is a human regardless of individual opinion, science supports this claim.
This hole in Pro's logic also debunks his claims on rape, Pro says that again a woman should be able to whatever to her body, but if Pro acknowledges that the zygote is human then he can't by any means say that the abortion is just affecting the woman's body.
Pro then claims that I'm trying to appeal to emotion by claiming that the unborn are innocent, while that can be a view here it wasn't my intention. It's illogical to say that the unborn if they are human (which again Pro has conceded to), have committed any type of crime, if they have committed a crime I'd like to know what it is. While the argument may be made that they are harming the woman's autonomy, then that question would be "does that mean they deserve death though?" Think about it if you don't intentionally hurt someone you don't get death, you get jail time so why is it that with these human beings we automatically go straight to death? This is in no way an appeal to emotion like Pro claims, this is just pure logic as it is silly to compare a human who's killed while trying commit the act of rape to a human who has yet to commit any heinous crime.
Pro summarizes in that he's shown the killing of humans to be "acceptable" however again you have to look at what these humans did that caused their "acceptable" death, again would we say that a human who's raped and murdered multiple people is the same kind of human as someone who's not even capable of willingly committing a crime? Again this is no way an attempt to appeal to emotion, it's just a challenge to Pro's logic.
I've thoroughly gone through all of Pro's points not just once but multiple times in just this round alone, so Pro has no grounds to say that he missed one of my rebuttals. That being said I've enjoyed this debate, while I'm surprised that Pro decided not to use the statistical argument for abortion, I'll admit that my argument against animals vs unborn was horrible and while I have other points I could make this debate is at its end.
I would like to thank Pro for a well thought out debate, most people who I've debated with on this issue tend to go into emotionally driven gibberish but Pro didn't do so, while it seems he ignored a few of my arguments he did provide well thought out rebuttals and I have to respect that. Thank you and may the best side win!!
I thank Con for his final round comments. As it is the last round, I don’t plan on bringing up any new points. I will only address Con’s arguments and do an overall review.
Con has again brought up the point that the unborn are innocent. This is not a point I missed, it is something I dismissed as irrelevant. We slaughter cows and pigs all the time; they are generally innocent. The point I have been trying to make this entire debate, and one I feel Con has not adequately addressed, is that cows, pigs, and fetuses in utero are not self-aware, and therefore do not require the same protections we offer to fully developed humans. Con’s example of a drunk driver being killed for inconveniencing a woman is a poor analogy because the driver is a thinking, self-aware being; the unborn fetus is not.
Although I don’t feel I should have to address an argument Con did not make himself (instead he only linked to it), I will do so because it will be quick to dispatch. The article basically says that the fetus may actually be beneficial to the mother’s health. So what; people reject things that are good for them all the time . Con draws a conclusion that does not necessarily follow from the premises; this is a logical fallacy known as a non sequitur .
Sentience and Self-Awareness
Here, Con began by attacking some of the details of my comment regarding sleep. However, this is irrelevant because even if my points are 100% false, my points regarding comas still apply. Regarding comas, Con states that I have not supported why a healthy body in a coma is deserving of protection. I don’t need to source it; I clearly stated that it is something unsettled in our society, that it is my opinion, and I gave my line of reasoning.
I’m honestly not sure if Con’s next point is a straw man fallacy , or a slippery slope fallacy , but it is surely one or the other. He suggests that, according to my reasoning, a person in a persistent vegetative state may be killed. What I said in the previous round is that if a patient’s “brain is damaged to a point where their mind is no longer there, you should be under no compulsion to keep their body alive.” I didn’t say that we can kill willy-nilly, but that the family shouldn’t be required to keep a body alive if, according to the best opinions they can get, there is no mind. Also, I’m not talking about vegetative states specifically.
Con then performed the same fallacy(ies), and perhaps also another appeal to emotion, suggesting that my reasoning could lead to the killing of two year old children becoming acceptable. My reasoning for not allowing this relies on other ideas which I will not be expounding on here. I feel this whole tangent is superfluous to the discussion at hand and beyond the scope of what we are supposed to be discussing.
A Return to Innocence
Con next returns to his innocence argument, which, whether intentional or not, is another appeal to emotion. I have demonstrated again and again that a fetus is not self-aware, and those points have not been challenged by Con. Innocence is not an issue here.
As I stated in the previous round, my example of times when killing another human being are acceptable, was simply to show that such situations exist. There is no logic here to challenge; it is a statement of fact. I feel I made my point.
I would like to thank Con for setting this debate up in the first place; I feel it has been a productive exchange. I wish Con the best here on DDO and in life in general.
Throughout this debate, I showed that a zygote is not self-aware, a point that Con did not challenge. I then drew a straight line from that point to allowing women the choice to terminate their pregnancies. I feel my case has been made.
However, I feel compelled to point out that I had no burden of proof in this debate. Con clearly stated in R1 that I need not even give my views on the topic. While I enjoyed the exchange, I am disappointed that Con spent so much time arguing against my position, instead of spending more time and energy arguing for his position. Even if he was able to completely dismantle my points, it would still not add up to support for his position. Overall, I feel Con has failed to adequately make his case.
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