The Instigator
Tiarra
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
tejretics
Pro (for)
Winning
7 Points

Should women have the right to an abortion

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 4 votes the winner is...
tejretics
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/28/2016 Category: Health
Updated: 9 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 516 times Debate No: 90345
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (7)
Votes (4)

 

Tiarra

Con

A fetus is a human being, and thus being so, has the basic rights to life.
tejretics

Pro

== Resolutional analysis ==

The resolution is framed in the form of a question, which states "Should women have the right to an abortion?" For clarification, let me analyze what exactly the resolution means. In conventional resolution format, it would be stated as: "Women should have the right to an abortion." In context, "abortion" obviously means intended termination of pregnancy. Since the resolution is normative, the burden of persuasion is shared (offense is expected from both sides). The usage of the word "should" means analysis of the net benefits and harms of each side in this debate.

== My case ==

1. Rational basis

Before I start with the argument, I'll note that preventing a woman from having an abortion shouldn't happen without any benefits to that ban, because then it would be unnecessary paternalism - the law requires "rational basis" to be passed.

Subpoint A: the right to life should not extend to fetuses

Con says "the fetus is a human being." I agree. Most researchers also agree that "life" starts at conception. Many legal structures also grant a right to life to all humans. The question we're dealing with in this debate is whether that right to life *should* extend to the fetus. Legal methodology dictates that when two rights compete with each other, we must analyze the harms and benefits in a utilitarian standard, and we already have two rights to weigh here. The first right is the fetus' right to life. The second right is a woman's right to bodily autonomy (since the fetus is technically within her body). The reason we must weigh these rights is that rights are never absolute. The right to life *can* be infringed upon in circumstances where the benefits of doing so outweigh the harms. That's the reason that, in times of war, military conscription is legal -- it would save more lives.

But I argue that the right to life extended to all "persons" shouldn't include the fetus, for at least 24 weeks. That's because it is impossible to factor a fetus before 24 weeks of development into an analysis of benefits and harms because the fetus cannot experience consequences at all. Analysis of "costs" and "benefits" presumes sentience, i.e. the ability to feel or perceive subjectively. The cost must have a negative impact on the person affected by it, while the benefit must have a positive impact. Emotional states are the only things that allow such positive or negative impact. Before 24 weeks, the fetus completely lacks the ability to subjectively perceive or experience emotions. The majority of research agrees that this is the case. [1] So Con's *only* benefit to banning abortion isn't a real "benefit," since nobody experiences such a benefit at all.

Subpoint B: bans on abortions are ineffective

Even if the fetus *does* have a right to life, it won't make a difference. A ban on abortion won't stop abortions from happening. In fact, there won't even be a *reduction* in abortions. Dr. Paul Van Look of the World Health Organization led a study that suggested that "abortion rates are similar in countries where it is legal and those where it is not, suggesting that outlawing the procedure does little to deter women seeking it." [2] Women are going to have abortions anyway. So whatever right to life the fetus has isn't going to be respected at all.

Conclusion: there is absolutely no rational basis for a law on abortions, since it won't allow a fetus's right to life to be respected, nor will it stop or reduce the amount of abortions taking place.

2. Banning abortion harms women

Subpoint A: women die from back-alley abortions

As already established, abortion rates are similar in countries where it is legal and countries where it isn't legal. But there's a problem as to *why* that is the case: back-alley abortions. Back-alley abortions are abortions taken place in unsafe, illegal and non-medical conditions. When abortion is illegal, it's very tough to afford appropriate medical conditions and regulations expected in hospitals. So women go to places with poor medical facilities to get abortions, or attempt to self-abort. Such unsafe abortions lead to around 68,000 deaths annually (mostly in countries where abortion is illegal), along with *millions* of painful injuries. [3] The harm is huge. Banning abortion would have a significant impact on deaths.

Subpoint B: people face psychological harms from being denied an abortion

If a woman is denied a safe abortion, research suggests that she might face psychological harms (e.g. anxiety or depression). Rocca and Kimport, et al. explain that "[c]ompared with women who obtained a near-limit abortion, those denied the abortion felt more regret and anger . . . and less relief and happiness." [4]

Subpoint C: self-ownership

As mentioned, an abortion ban lacks rational basis. Governments should seek to avoid "paternalism" to whatever extent they can. If a person does something with no harm to non-consensual others, they should be allowed to do it. The idea is best captured by John Stuart Mill's harm principle, according to which "the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against their will, is to prevent harm to others."

Conclusion: banning abortion poses severe harms to society.

Thus, (1) there is no rational basis for banning abortion at all and Con's arguments entirely fail, and (2) banning abortion poses severe harms to society. For those two reasons, vote Pro.

[1] https://www.newscientist.com...

[2] http://www.nytimes.com...

[3] http://www.who.int...

[4] https://www.guttmacher.org...
Debate Round No. 1
Tiarra

Con

Tiarra forfeited this round.
tejretics

Pro

Forfeit, Vote Pro.
Debate Round No. 2
Tiarra

Con

Tiarra forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
Tiarra

Con

Tiarra forfeited this round.
tejretics

Pro

I was hoping for a good debate. Well, I guess it's my fault I accepted this, because I failed to realize the Instigator was a new user. I don't check the profiles of Instigators when I accept debates; something I should learn to do. All the effort I spent on my case was wasted, thanks to this. I don't care about win records; I debate for fun. The fun was lost. I'm disappointed.

== Conclusion ==

First, the government legislates to maximize benefit and minimize harm, and there's no coherent "benefit" to legalizing abortion since the fetuses don't feel benefit. Banning abortion, therefore, lacks rational basis. Second, abortions won't stop if they're banned. Dangerous "back-alley abortions" will start, causing thousands of deaths. Third, women face psychological harms from being denied abortions. Fourth, self-ownership is a basic right that ought to be respected by the government.

Thus, vote Pro.
Debate Round No. 4
Tiarra

Con

Tiarra forfeited this round.
tejretics

Pro

Don't start a debate unless you're going to finish it. I put a lot of effort into my argument - wasted effort.
Debate Round No. 5
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by fire_wings 9 months ago
fire_wings
@tej, just use your argument again in another debate.
Posted by Geogeer 9 months ago
Geogeer
That's too bad your opponent chose not to debate. If you ever want a good abortion debate let me know.
Posted by Normerican 9 months ago
Normerican
I feel like it's murdering babies.
Posted by Praisepasta 10 months ago
Praisepasta
Where are you getting these percentages? Abortion is not only a woman's right, but I feel it's necessary in a world where overpopulation is a constant looming threat.
Posted by Normerican 10 months ago
Normerican
There's still fallacy there, as you are not showing all the statistics. Those who had needed an abortion right then and were denied experienced regret and anger.

Those who obtained an abortion, without the risk of being denied, still felt negative emotions. In fact, even though they felt it's the right decision, 89% of the woman faced regret.

The woman who aborted a planned pregnancy or had other options typically feel negative emotions when having an abortion.
Posted by tejretics 10 months ago
tejretics
>Careful there pro, it is fallacious to consider the psychological trauma of a woman not having an abortion compared to a woman having an abortion. What about the psyche of women who choose to get an abortion and suffer widespread shunning from all the fundamentalists.

Actually the same study found that women who *do* get abortions aren't nearly as psychologically affected. Check out source [4].
Posted by Normerican 10 months ago
Normerican
Careful there pro, it is fallacious to consider the psychological trauma of a woman not having an abortion compared to a woman having an abortion. What about the psyche of women who choose to get an abortion and suffer widespread shunning from all the fundamentalists.

I don't have a bone to pick in this fight, but just saying to be careful.
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by fire_wings 9 months ago
fire_wings
TiarratejreticsTied
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Reasons for voting decision: ff. Tej, you can do the same debate with me. If you really want to. I don't mind.
Vote Placed by Ragnar 9 months ago
Ragnar
TiarratejreticsTied
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Reasons for voting decision: FF
Vote Placed by Geogeer 9 months ago
Geogeer
TiarratejreticsTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro provided more compelling arguments. It is poor conduct to forfeit rounds.
Vote Placed by ssadi 9 months ago
ssadi
TiarratejreticsTied
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Reasons for voting decision: A fully-forfeited debate.. Con forfeited 4 out of 5 rounds, conduct to Pro!