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The Contender
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Should abortion be legal in the first trimester?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/26/2016 Category: Politics
Updated: 6 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 359 times Debate No: 88807
Debate Rounds (4)
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You said you would be willing to debate the con side of this. I don't care about your age or experience, so let's go. 8,000 characters, but you don't have to use them all. 48 hours.

First round: Acceptance
Second round: Opening statement
Third round: Rebuttal
Fourth round: Closing (more rebuttals allowed)


I accept.

P.S. I like your profile picture.
Debate Round No. 1


The main reason I believe abortion should be legal, at least in the first trimester, is because a person has a right to his or her own body. This is called bodily autonomy. You cannot force a woman to support a fetus without infringing on her right to her body. You can't even force a person to give blood in order to save the life of another, if the first person doesn't want to have his or her blood drawn. In the McFall vs. Shrimp case, it was determined that a person does not have to give bone marrow to save the life of another (1). If no one can be forced to harm their bodies for another person's gain, why should pregnancy be the exception? That makes no sense, especially when whether or not fetuses qualify as people is up for debate. Pregnancy does take a toll on a woman. From anemia to weight gain, to list of problems women can experience during pregnancy goes on and on (2). Some of these problems can lead to miscarriage anyway, along with killing the mother. Abortion is fourteen times safer for the woman than going through with a pregnancy (3).

Also, it's impossible to stop women from getting abortions. You can only stop them from getting safe abortions. Every year, 68,000 women die from getting unsafe abortions. Five-million more suffer medical consequences in the long term (4). If a woman does not want her baby, she will get herself an abortion. By stopping her from receiving one safely, you ensure that she'll turn to other means.



Here's the deal. One shouldn't legalize murder, so why would abortion be legal? No matter how one looks at it, and feel free to test this statement, abortion is the killing of a human being. The rights of that human being to life and bodily autonomy are being violated when the act of abortion occurs.

This debate really comes down to one thing. What constitutes a human being? Is it the body? If it was, how would we qualify amputees? If it's the mind, how do we qualify people with special needs? There is only one definitive way to define what a human is. If it has the DNA of a human being, than it is human.
Debate Round No. 2


You are yet to prove that a fetus is a human. I want you to cite a source. Until that time, it is just your opinion. Well, my opinion is that fetuses are not human. Both these opinions are equally valid. And since it's up for debate about whether a fetus is human, but we're not debating whether women are human, you'd think women would get priority. Anyway, we can't continue this string of debate until you find proof.

But don't fret! This debate doesn't "come down to one thing." A woman should not have to support another life form at the expense of her own body, no matter what. Legally, you do not have to hurt yourself to save another's life. That is what I proved with the bone marrow example, (and you didn't really refute it). To answer your question, this is why abortion would be legal. If someone was trying to force you to donate bone marrow and you didn't want to, you would be legally justified in allowing that person to die.


As for your rejection of the idea that I can't prove that fetuses are human without a source, I reject this. If you require a source for this, I would ask you to provide a source for all knowledge. The requirement of a source is only necessary to understand whether or not certain events have transpired, not for any other thing. I didn't need a source as an infant to understand that water was wet. Why should I need a source to prove what is obviously fact? You're failure to engage, with a rational argument, against the idea that fetuses are human is proof that my opinion is superior. Besides, what is a source? A source is an official opinion. Who chooses what a good source is? Someone whose opinion is official.

As for the bodily rights argument, I also reject that. There is a moral obligation for a government, as outlined by Thomas Jefferson, to protect life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Life comes before liberty or happiness. If one doesn't have life, one can not have liberty or happiness. As for the bone marrow example, that is a failing of the United States of America's justice system. They have failed to follow through their moral or governmental obligation.
Debate Round No. 3


The idea that fetuses are human is not "obviously fact." People define "living human" in different ways. That's why no one can agree on it. You say fetuses are human. I say they are not human. If neither one of us can back that up with anything substantial, voters have no reason to believe either one of us. Citing sources adds credibility to your debate. And I don't want a blog post or a pro-life article. I want scientific evidence. If it is as self explanatory as you believe, you should be able to google search "fetus is human" and get a link. It's shouldn't be hard.

But it is hard. Why? Because no one can agree. There isn't unbiased scientific evidence for either side.

However, even if you were the first person to somehow prove that fetuses are humans, it still wouldn't win you this debate automatically. Bodily autonomy is still an important thing.

You say "there is a moral obligation for a government, as outlined by Thomas Jefferson, to protect life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." Based on your other arguments, bringing up Jefferson adds nothing to your claim. I can say that Jefferson is wrong about this being a moral obligation of government. After all, you said that my bone marrow example was a "failing of the United States of America's Justice System." If my expert opinion is worthless, so is yours.

However, I don't completely disagree with you. The government should promote life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness... to a certain extent. Are you suggesting mandatory organ donation? Should I be able to message you today and say, "Hey, I need a kidney. Send it to me by next week and you're not allowed to say no." No, I shouldn't. Because it is your kidney. You do not have to give up your own possessions, much less your body, to keep me alive. It would be nice if you did, but you can't be legally obligated. That would mean that the government owned your body. It is unacceptable to force someone to seriously harm their own body, no matter what the purpose. As much as we can encourage selflessness in this form, it cannot be required. Because then your body isn't yours anymore. The government can take it away at any time.


This debate comes down to two things. Bodily autonomy and the definition of humanity, and the subsequent qualification of fetuses under that definition.

Bodily Autonomy:
The issue my opponent brings up about my expert opinion being worthless if I dismiss their expert opinion is debatable, but that is not what today's debate is about. This is about whether a government is morally obligated to force people to give up their redundant organs or other non essential body parts in order to save a life. I am going to say that the government should do that. When it comes to life, that is the first thing that needs to be protected. Liberty comes next. If we don't have life, than we don't have liberty. Therefore, we must safeguard life above liberty. Any argument in the contrary is ultimately contradictory. If we put liberty above life, than we are all dead. That is an impossible argument.

Definition of Humanity and Fetuses:
According to Oxford Dictionaries, the definition of humanity is "the human race; human beings collectively:". According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of humanity is " the human race : the totality of human beings". When it comes down to it, one only has humanity if one is part of the human race. The human race, as defined in biology (and I'm going to cite my knowledge of taxonomy, as passed on to me in my honors biology class), can only be found in DNA. Therefore, the ultimate definition of humanity is "possessing human DNA".
Debate Round No. 4
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