The Instigator
owl13
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
JohnMaynardKeynes
Con (against)
Winning
19 Points

Should welfare recipients be subject to mandatory birth control?

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 5 votes the winner is...
JohnMaynardKeynes
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/7/2014 Category: People
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 917 times Debate No: 58671
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (0)
Votes (5)

 

owl13

Pro

If someone is looking to get welfare for themselves and the existing children, they should be required to take birth control until such a time as when they are capable of providing for themselves. Why do so many believe it is everyone else's responsibility to take care of them.
JohnMaynardKeynes

Con

I accept. PRO has offered no stipulations as to when we will both begin our arguments, because because he has offered a contention, I will begin now.

Resolved: Should welfare recipients be subject to mandatory birth control?

The burden of proof, of course, lies solely with PRO. He must prove that we should require welfare recipients to be subjected to mandatory birth control.

The only word I think is in need of defining is "mandatory." This means "authoritatively ordered; obligatory; compulsory." [1. http://tinyurl.com...]. This is a crucial world. I'm going to argue that it is unjust to force anyone to do anything.

I'll start with my rebuttals and then offer my own case .

Rebuttals

PRO writes, "Why do so many believe it is everyone else's responsibility to take care of them."

This line presents a bit of cognitive dissonance, as the resolution asks us to examine a subject operating within the framework of a welfare system. That is, Pro is arguing that we should require welfare recipients take birth control, but this wouldn't be possible if there weren't welfare recipients at all. Welfare, by definition, is society collectively deciding that every person is entitled to a certain standard of living -- that live is precious and deserves to be protected. So PRO has already accepted the social contract, which I am about to offer as a contention. The question ultimately boils down to gradations and shades of gray, if you will. So this cannot substantiate PRO's case unless he would like to argue that welfare benefits shouldn't exist -- in which case, this debate is over because he cannot uphold his BOP in such a case.


Contentions


C1) Social Contract
Pro has already accepted the legitimacy of welfare, so it follows that he accept a means by which to fund welfare. This means that he accepts taxation as legitimate, in which case he accepts the social contract. Without accepting the social contract, as I pointed out earlier, the debate is already over.

So we have established that the existence of welfare is legitimate. Why then does PRO want to place conditions upon it? Is there an urgent need that PRO believes we need to address that warrants burdening people to such a degree that we invade their privacy and compel them to act in a certain way? PRO of course is arguing for a deviation in the status quo, which is largely the reason he has the BOP in this debate.

C2) Privacy Invasion and Constitutional Implications

PRO's suggestion quite frankly is unconstitutional. The Supreme Court has been clear that we all reserve a right to privacy. The 14th amendment's liberty clause -- "nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws" [2. http://tinyurl.com...] -- and this has been the justification for decisions such as Roe v. Wade and Griswold v. Connecticut [3. http://tinyurl.com...].

PRO's suggestion that people use birth control violates this right in several ways. First it requires them to do something against their will -- an instance of government force which PRO must be able to justify -- and requires some sort of enforcement mechanism. So not only is the government literally going to need to check on welfare recipient's sexual history, which has always been a private matter between people, their doctors, their partners, and whomever else they choose to share that sensitive information with, and not only can the government literally break into someone's house at night and say, "you aren't using a condom so you're under arrest" or "you mistakenly forgot to take (x) pill, so you're under arrest"; people would need to prove to the government that they are using birth control in order to receive their benefits, which would unduly burden them, financially, physically, and morally.

C3) Economic Implications

First, there's the problem with affordability of birth control, and this is increasingly an issue by the virtue of the recent Supreme Court decision regarding Hobby Lobby. If someone is on welfare, they are not able to sustain themselves and their children. What makes PRO think that the person will be able to afford birth control as well? The person will likely need to forego necessities in order to comply with this cumbersome proposition. On top of that, it's an instance of government compelling people to spend their money not in the way they would like to, but in the way government would.

On top of that, it distorts the free market. Prices of goods are dependant on supply and demand. This would cause an uptick in the demand for birth control, which would in turn drive up its price. This not only reinforces the previous point because poor people would be even more incapable of purchasing birth control if the price were to go up, but it impacts people who aren't on welfare, but happen to use birth control. At the same time it prevents people from spending money elsewhere, thus removing demand from elsewhere in the economy and destroying jobs.

At the same time, we need to factor in the costs of enforcing these laws. Not only will those cost money, particularly from local and state governments, and thus remove resources that could otherwise be spent in other areas, but it will involve incarcerating people for committing a victimless crime. If someone doesn't want to use birth control, they haven't harmed a soul. Why then should we waste money imprisoning them and monitoring their private lives, all whilst preventing them from being productive members of society and contributing to the economy (which they can't exactly do if they're in jail)?

We also have the issue of people choosing not to take welfare because of this requirement or being kicked off welfare because they failed to meet it. Not only could this person die or be unable to feed his children, but he wouldn't be able to feed his children. We know from empirical work that welfare actually provides a boon to the economy. People who are poor or middle class tend to consume with about 100% of their income. Money changes hands in the circular flow and thus creates jobs. Why would PRO want to discourage this?

C4) Utilitarianism

Utilitarianism is predicated on maximizing happiness and minimizing suffering [4. http://tinyurl.com...]. I've already explained in my last few contentions that a lot of people -- practically everyone since it would hurt the economy -- would be hurt by a low like this. Why then should we have it? How can PRO justify something that would have a net negative effect on societal welfare?

C5) Deontology

Deontology stresses behaving with respect to a moral code based on a duty, which many would argue is divinely inspired [5. http://tinyurl.com...].

We have a duty to one another which is grounded in the social contract -- which, again, PRO has already accepted by recognizing the legitimacy of welfare benefits. People have a fundamental worth and we must, when we can, serve one another to the best of our ability. If we were to deny people welfare, not only would we deprive them of a chance to succeed and to contribute to the economy and to others; we would be committing a severe moral wrong by denying that their life has intrinsic value.

C6) More Moral and Constitutional Ramifications

I mentioned Hobby Lobby earlier. The Supreme Court ruled that it is unconstitutional to force an employer to pay for insurance that covers birth control because it would impinge on the employer's beliefs. Forcing welfare recipients to purchase birth control is also a violation of their religious and moral beliefs, and is therefore unjust.


I run low on characters. Back to PRO.
Debate Round No. 1
owl13

Pro

owl13 forfeited this round.
JohnMaynardKeynes

Con

Extending and awaiting PRO's opening arguments.
Debate Round No. 2
owl13

Pro

owl13 forfeited this round.
JohnMaynardKeynes

Con

My opponent has forfeited every round.

My arguments remain uncontested and PRO's burden remains unfulfilled.

Vote CON.
Debate Round No. 3
No comments have been posted on this debate.
5 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Vote Placed by dynamicduodebaters 2 years ago
dynamicduodebaters
owl13JohnMaynardKeynesTied
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Reasons for voting decision: ff
Vote Placed by lannan13 2 years ago
lannan13
owl13JohnMaynardKeynesTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Forfeiture
Vote Placed by Splenic_Warrior 2 years ago
Splenic_Warrior
owl13JohnMaynardKeynesTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Forfeit
Vote Placed by Wylted 2 years ago
Wylted
owl13JohnMaynardKeynesTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Ff
Vote Placed by ESocialBookworm 2 years ago
ESocialBookworm
owl13JohnMaynardKeynesTied
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Reasons for voting decision: FF