The Instigator
BennyW
Pro (for)
Losing
15 Points
The Contender
socialpinko
Con (against)
Winning
29 Points

The Libertarian view of Nonaggression supports the pro-life position.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/11/2011 Category: Politics
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 3,640 times Debate No: 16434
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (36)
Votes (11)

 

BennyW

Pro

I would like to present to you why the libertarian nonaggression principal supports the pro-life position. If abortion is an act of aggression, and I will make the argument that it is, then libertarians should oppose it. Although the the nonaggression axiom is often applied to foreign policy, it also deals with interaction between individuals. "No one has the right to initiate aggression against the person or property of anyone else". [1]

I will also argue why the abortion debate is not one of property rights but rather individual rights, as the fetus is an individual.

The first round is setting up our arguments and the debate will commence from there.
I wish my opponent the best of luck.

1 http://www.csun.edu...
socialpinko

Con

I thank Pro for initiating this debate. I've been wanting to do an abortion debate from a libertarian perspective and I look and it's just waiting in the challenge period! I would like to expand upon Pro's definition of what non-aggression is before we begin though. Non-aggression will be defined as:

"an ethical stance which asserts that "aggression" is inherently illegitimate. "Aggression" is defined as the "initiation" of physical force against persons or property, the threat of such, or fraud upon persons or their property. In contrast to pacifism, the non-aggression principle does not preclude violent self-defense. "[1]

I do not think that this definition gives either me or my opponent an unfair advantage in this debate. I simply believe it is more specific than the one which my opponent provided and elucidates on exactly what the non-aggression principle is and what it allows.

The fact that non-aggression and pacifism are not one and the same will be at the core of my argument. I will argue that a woman has a right to expel an unwanted organism from her body because that organism is itself violating the non-aggression principle by nurturing itself off of the woman's nutrients.

Therefore, abortion is in fact not an act of aggression, but an act of retaliation against an organism who both acted in aggression against and invaded the woman's body. Acts of retaliation can be in accordance with the non-aggression principle when not doing so will result in more harm or aggression against one's property. Property necessarily includes one's own body. Obviously not expelling a parasite that invades one's body will result in that parasite continuing to feed off of it's host, and in the case of children, will violently leave after about 9 months, resulting in much unneeded pain felt by the mother.

Pain felt by the mother will not be a central point made in my case. It will be the invasion of the mother's property and stealing of her nutrients that I will base my case on.

So to follow the resolution, I will argue that a woman has a right to expel an unwanted organism(embryo, fetus) from her body at any time during the pregnancy up until the moment of birth.

As to the other part of the debate that my opponent wishes to bring up, I will argue that a woman's right to an abortion is more about property rights than individual rights for the same reason that man A asking man B to leave man A's property is about property rights and not individual rights.

To make my argument simpler to understand, as I know it might look rather messy, I will provide it in the form of a syllogism.

(A)The non-aggression principle prohibits individuals from agressing against one another.[2]- Premise

(B)A fetus is an individual- My opponent concedes this.[3]

(C)The non-aggression principle does not prohibit one from acting in violent self defense- Premise

(D)A fetus, embryo is aggressing against the mother by invading her body and living off of her nutrients.- Premise

(E)According to the non-aggression principle, the mother may react in a retaliatory manner to prohibit the parasite from aggressing against her in the future.- Conclusion

(F)Aborting the organism is the only way to prohibit the organism from further invading the mother's property and stealing her nutrients.- Premise

(G)The libertarian view of non-aggression supports the pro-choice position.

(H)If the libertarian view of non-aggression supports the pro-choice position, it cannot support the pro-life position.-Definitions of pro-choice[4], pro-life[5]

The resolution has been negated.
Vote Con.

[1]http://en.wikipedia.org...
[2]What constitutes aggression is covered in my definition.
[3]Here is a quote that my opponent made in R1.
//"I will also argue why the abortion debate is not one of property rights but rather individual rights, as the fetus is an individual."//
[4]"the ethical view that a woman should have the legal right to terminate a pregnancy"
http://en.wikipedia.org...
[5]"ethical opposition to elective abortion and support for its legal prohibition or restriction"
http://en.wikipedia.org...
Debate Round No. 1
BennyW

Pro

I thank con for responding
I agree with you definition and feel it is more complete than the one I presented.
It is true that violent self defense is permissible and does not violate the nonaggression principal. As far as it being an act of self defense though, the mother's life is only in danger in a small number of pregnancies, and in such cases a reasonable effort should be made to save both. [1] [2]

As far as property goes the fetus is not an intruder as it originated there, therefore the womb is home for 9 months. However if anyone is the intruder it would be the sperm, though even there it is usually an invited guest.
Also, there is the issue of duty. If you are on a boat and see a drowning man and he boards your craft for his life, would it be morally justified to push him back? Would his being there actually have any significant detrimental effect on you? [3]

In your premise D you say "A fetus, embryo is aggressing against the mother by invading her body and living off of her nutrients. "
The same could be said of a newborn or toddler; they live off the mother's nutrients and food, could you simply kick a toddler out on to the street simply because they are a drain on you?

I thank my opponent and await his response.

1 http://www.guardian.co.uk...
2 http://www.healthmetricsandevaluation.org...
3 http://www.lewrockwell.com...
socialpinko

Con

I would first like to thank my opponent for responding in such a timely manner. Seeing as my opponent agreed to my definitions I will now move to his objections to each of my points. I will only list premises or conclusions that my opponent took issue with.

My opponent first takes issue with the mother's right to violent self defense of her property when necessary. He does not take issue with whether or not the mother should be allowed to defend herself, but my opponent seems to argue that the mother should only be given that right when her life is in danger.

However, according to the non-aggression principle, one is given the right to self defense in response to another individual or group of individual's initiating force against one's property. One's life need not be in danger to retaliate. According to the non-aggression principle I am justified in retaliating against someone who kicks me in the groin even though my life may not necessarily be in danger.

My opponent's next point is that the fetus is not an intruder into the mother's body as it originated there.

I must admit I have never heard this argument before. However it falls apart under scrutiny seeing as one cannot create property inside an already existing piece of private property. To use an example, I cannot walk on to your private property, build a small shack and proclaim it to be my own property. In doing so you have invaded and aggressed upon my own property.

The next argument my opponent employs we may call the 'Problem of Duty'. My opponent argues that one has some sort of moral obligation to help another in trouble when it is within the realm of possibility to do so.

There are a few objections I have to this argument, namely, where does my opponent get this sense of duty from the non-aggression principle? The resolution is purely over whether or not the pro-choice position is supported by the non-aggression principle. This argument not only has nothing to do with the non-aggression principle, but actually contradicts it when you compare the two.

To understand why we must break down the non-aggression principle. What is the purpose of it? The purpose can be reasonably supposed to mean that one should not act protect one's assets. Notice that in the non-aggression principle, force is only called for when one initiates force against someone else's property. The non-aggression principle is an inherently egoistic principle. This of course lies in direct contradiction to such an altruistic principle as "Help who you can".

So not only should this point have not been brought up in the first place by my opponent, as it does not help his own case in the slightest, but this argument lies in complete opposition to the non-aggression principle and so cannot possibly help his case. So even if we agree that it would not cost one much effort or strength to help one on to his boat, thus saving him from drowning, one is in no way obliged to according to the non-aggression principle.

My opponent also attacks Point D. It says:

(D)A fetus, embryo is aggressing against the mother by invading her body and living off of her nutrients.- Premise

My opponent simply tries to perform a Reducto ad Absurdum and claims that one could, according to my line of reasoning, assume that "a newborn or a toddler" is aggressing against the mother and so the non-aggression principle justifies her in kicking them out to the street.

There are however a few key differences between the example my opponent provided and my actual argument.

(A)The toddler or newborn are not necessarily feeding off of her nutrients by their very existence and so a toddler and newborn are not necessarily aggressing.

(B)There are other option for a mother if a toddler or newborn are aggressing that would bring less force initiated against her in the event that she does as my opponent describes.

She might put the children up for adoption. This way social services or the police will not come after her for child abuse. It is in line with the non-aggression principle to put the children up for adoption as it minimizes aggression against the mother. My opponent's example multiplies the amount of aggression brought against the mother. My opponent's example is not in line with the non-aggression principle.

I have sufficiently responded to my opponent's objections to my points. The resolution continues to be negated.
Vote Con
Debate Round No. 2
BennyW

Pro

I thank my opponent for his response and will now address his points.

My opponent says, "According to the non-aggression principle I am justified in retaliating against someone who kicks me in the groin even though my life may not necessarily be in danger." You could retaliate but you couldn't kill them. The force used should not exceed what is necessary to defend oneself. [1] If your life is not in danger than you cannot kill. As far as property goes, you do have a right to protect your property, but with proper warning.
If an intruder came onto your property and built something of equal value to a human, you would go after the intruder since he is the one who actually committed the crime.

My opponent argues that the problem of duty is not relevant to this debate but I will show why it is worth mentioning. It deals with the issue of property rights versus a duty to not harm others.
"The non-aggression principle is an inherently egoistic principle. This of course lies in direct contradiction to such an altruistic principle as "Help who you can"." This is essentially the ethical egoism argument of Ayn Rand and her opposition to altruism, which I was anticipating might be brought up. To fully address this it may take another debate but to address it briefly I could just look at my opponent's next comment.
If you apply this view to its full conclusion you run into problems. If my opponent were to take the same Ethical egoist approach that he did with the man and the boat, then there would be nothing wrong with throwing a toddler out on the street. " This way social services or the police will not come after her for child abuse. " Wouldn't it be at least for this reason that you would save the drowning man; for fear that you would be arrested for murder? My opponent seems to be employing a double standard. [2] This can also be applied to the fetus. We do have self ownership over our own body and property as long as it does not interfere with someone else's.
If the non-aggression principal were truly a form of ethical egoism, then there would be no incentive to practice it.
In fact, in order to defend liberty, it would be necessary to defend the liberty of the unborn, otherwise you are being inconsistent. It is akin to slave owners owning slaves, therefore violating the individual liberty of some people. [3]
Libertarian Judge Andrew Napolitano who is a believer I natural law is opposed to abortion. He goes on to say "it should be prohibited, just the way all unjust killings are prohibited". [4]
To address some of your specific points:
(A)The toddler or newborn are not necessarily feeding off of her nutrients by their very existence and so a toddler and newborn are not necessarily aggressing.
True, but it is a drain on her financially at the very least, but even so would not give justification to simply despose of the toddler.
In relation to your point B you say "She might put the children up for adoption. This way social services or the police will not come after her for child abuse. It is in line with the non-aggression principle to put the children up for adoption as it minimizes aggression against the mother." This is true, and the act of abortion itself is in general causes more harm even to the mother than caring the baby to term.
In closing the pro-life view does not go against libertarian principals. [5]
I thank my opponent for this challenging and enlightening round and look forward to his response.

1 http://www.thefreedictionary.com...+(law)
2 http://westernstandard.blogs.com...
3 http://www.l4l.org...
4 http://reason.com... p.4-5
5 http://www.l4l.org...
socialpinko

Con

My opponent argues that one is only justified in retaliating in a manner that is necessary to defend oneself. However I argued this exact point in my syllogism. The abortion of the fetus is necessary if the mother is to have her own property rights protected. I argued this in P(F).

(F)Aborting the organism is the only way to prohibit the organism from further invading the mother's property and stealing her nutrients.

There is no other way to make sure that the mother's property rights are not further violated. In the case of this being before the baby is able to sustain itself outside of the womb, it would necessarily die anyways. In th case that is able to sustain itself outside of the womb, the medical costs, pain of child birth, irreparable damage to the mother's body and the possible illnesses related to pregnancy outweigh the life of the body. If my opponent objects to this he should bring up a reason why, according to the non-aggression principle, the fetus has a right to life that trumps the mother's right to her life and property.

My opponent then argues that one is retaliating against the wrong person. However he misinterprets my point. It is the fetus that is aggressing against the mother's property. It is the fetus that is occupying itself inside the mother's womb and it is the fetus who is nourishing itself off of the mother's nutrients. If the mother chooses to retaliate against the person who got her pregnant that would be one thing, but these two options are not mutually exclusive.

Next my opponent brings back up his point that according to the non-aggression principle, one has a duty to help the drowning man. He argues that I am employing a double standard when arguing that it is in the mother's best interest to give the children up for adoption but then arguing that the man has no duty to help the drowning man.

Again my opponent simply misinterprets my argument. It may be in one's self interest to give one's children up for adoption, but that is very different from it being one's duty to do so. If a mother decides to retaliate against her children by throwing them on to the street, it is not technically violating the non-aggression principle since she is defending her property. So when I say that it is in the mother's self interest not to do this, I am far from arguing that she has some sort of duty to do it. So the man on the boat has something to gain from helping the drowning man, but the non-aggression principle does not command that he does so.

Next my opponent says this:

//"We do have self ownership over our own body and property as long as it does not interfere with someone else's."//

This is a gross misunderstanding of the non-aggression principle. My opponent assumes that acting against someone else's person or property is always aggressing, however the non-aggression principle is very careful in defining the difference between "aggressing" and "retaliating". If a person aggresses against your property(as in the case of the fetus) you are allowed(according to the non-aggression principle) to retaliate against that individual(does not count as violating their rights). My opponent next argues:

//"If the non-aggression principal were truly a form of ethical egoism, then there would be no incentive to practice it."//

The incentive to practice it is self interest and egoism. If you aggress against someone else's property they are entitled to retaliation. It is therefore in your own self interest not to aggress against their property. My opponent then brings up an objection to P(A).

//"it(the newborn) is a drain on her financially at the very least, but even so would not give justification to simply despose of the toddler."//

The non-aggression principle justifies one acting in a manner that is needed to prevent further aggression. It was my opponent that said that the mother should kick the newborn out on to the street. It is the mother's right is she wishes, however I already showed that it would not be in her own self interest and so this would likely not happen. The last point that my opponent brings is in response to something I said that went along the lines of "Putting the newborn child up for adoption minimizes aggression against the mother and so is in line with the non-aggression principle." He responds with:

//"This is true, and the act of abortion itself is in general causes more harm even to the mother than caring the baby to term."//

Again, the act of abortion is necessary to stop the aggression being brought against the mother. There is nothing else that can be done that stops the aggression at that point.
Debate Round No. 3
BennyW

Pro

I thank my opponent again for responding. As this is the last round I will not present anything entirely new but will rather be clarifying and expanding upon my previous points as well as responding to his.

First of all my opponent says, "If my opponent objects to this he should bring up a reason why, according to the non-aggression principle, the fetus has a right to life that trumps the mother's right to her life and property." My opponent wants me to say why the life of the fetus trumps the property rights of the mother. The solution is to accept that the fetus is acting as a tenant for 9 months. I anticipate that my opponent might counter this by saying that the fetus is instead a squatter, but would imply that the fetus actually invaded the women's body, which is not the case. Besides, why should the women's property rights trump the fetus's right to their own well being? Are property rights more important than the right to life? I would say, according to the nonaggression principle it doesn't because if someone wanders onto your property, you cannot shoot them without fair warning.

He goes on to say, "My opponent then argues that one is retaliating against the wrong person. However he misinterprets my point. It is the fetus that is aggressing against the mother's property. It is the fetus that is occupying itself inside the mother's womb and it is the fetus that is nourishing itself off of the mother's nutrients." However a fetus does not invade the body it is already there. The true aggressor is whoever provided the sperm since it is not the fetus's fault that he/she exists.

"It was my opponent that said that the mother should kick the newborn out on to the street." This is a complete misrepresentation of my point. I was saying that in order to be consistent under ethical egoism one might come to that conclusion, and that no rational person would go for that.

"Again, the act of abortion is necessary to stop the aggression being brought against the mother. There is nothing else that can be done that stops the aggression at that point." This really doesn't address the objection I brought up and more dodges the question, so I will elaborate on what I mean. I will repeat what I said earlier, the act of abortion can have worse long term effects on the women's body then carrying the baby to term. To elaborate let us look at specifics. First of all remember that abortion is a major surgery while the act of giving birth is a natural process. Abortion can cause infection, increase the chance of future miscarriages and an increased chance of sterility. Also, since it interferes with the change in hormones it has detrimental effects on the women's natural process.[1] It can also cause psychological distress and depression as well as an increased rate of suicide.[2] [3]
I await my opponents response.
Vote for pro.

1 http://www.abortionfacts.com...
2 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...
3 http://afterabortion.org...
socialpinko

Con

First, my opponent asks why a woman's right to property trumps the fetus' right to it's well being. The reason is that we are arguing from the non-aggression principle. According to the non-aggression principle, one is justified in retaliating against another who initiates force against one's property insofar as not doing so would result in continued aggression against one's person or property. So, since the fetus is aggressing against the mother's property and there is nothing else that can be done to stop this other than aborting it, according to the non-aggression principle one would be justified in doing so. Next my opponent argues:

//"Are property rights more important than the right to life? I would say, according to the nonaggression principle it doesn't because if someone wanders onto your property, you cannot shoot them without fair warning."//

False analogy. There are other options besides shooting the guy. One could ask him to leave and if he doesn't do so forcefully remove him. There is no other option in this case, other than allowing the fetus to continue initiating aggression against the mother. According to the non-aggression principle, the mother is justified in aborting the fetus. My opponent then goes on to argue:

//"The true aggressor is whoever provided the sperm since it is not the fetus's fault that he/she exists."//

Again, my opponent is not looking at my actual argument. I already argued in the last round that the person who provided the sperm being an aggressor does not mean that the fetus is not one. These two things are not mutually exclusive. I do agree that the non-aggression principle would justify one taking actions against whoever got you pregnant(in the case of rape), however this does not absolve the fetus of aggression. Next my opponent responds to me writing this in response to his scenario regarding a mother being justified in kicking her toddler out on to the street for aggressing against her.

//"I was saying that in order to be consistent under ethical egoism one might come to that conclusion, and that no rational person would go for that."//

My opponent here makes what I would call the Argument from Common Sense Fallacy. He argues that a rational person would not come to the conclusion which he logically took from a premise of mine. However he showed absolutely no reason why this is either morally wrong or goes against the non-aggression principle. He simply assumes that it is common sense or common morality. However that will not due in a debate. One must bring up sound logic in defense of one's points. My opponent has not done so here.

Next I will look at my opponent's last arguments. He argues that abortion can have effects on the woman's body that are worse than the effects of carrying the fetus to term. Let's look at the source which he provides.
http://www.abortionfacts.com...
In the source it provides a list of possible complications that may arise during an elective abortion. However nowhere in it does the source say how often these complications occur. So I looked for myself and found a non-biased neutral medical site[1] which showed that in the United States, mortality caused by an elective abortion occurred in "1/1,000,000 with surgical abortion through 63 days gestation". While complications may arise from any medical procedure, mortality during elective abortions is not frequent enough that a woman would choose not to have one from an egoistic perspective.

Also, as to my opponent's last point that abortion may have risks of causing the woman who chooses to have one to have an increased risk of suicide, this does not actually help my opponent's case. He is arguing that the non-aggression principle supports the pro-life position, which was defined as support for the "legal prohibition or restriction" of a woman's right to an abortion. At best this argument supports my argument that a woman should have a choice of whether or not to have an abortion, at worst it is completely unrelated to my opponent's position.

The resolution has been negated. I have shown why the non-aggression principle does support the pro-choice position and consequently cannot support the pro-life position. I hope that voters will read this debate carefully before making a decision and vote based on who argued their position the best, rather than their own personal opinion. I would also like to thank my opponent for a debate with a twist on such a hotly debated issue. Vote Con.

[1]http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...
Debate Round No. 4
36 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by socialpinko 5 years ago
socialpinko
She seems to be voting in my favor on a good portion of them, though the majority of the ones she voted on I was already winning.
Posted by F-16_Fighting_Falcon 5 years ago
F-16_Fighting_Falcon
Well Spinko, voting on one person's debates is not a bad thing by itself. I do that sometimes when I meet a new member and want to debate them. I go back to some of their older debates still in the voting period and analyze them. It is the votebombing that is the problem. Either Jewgirl hates you and she is votebombing or she thinks you are good and is looking through your debates intentionally. There is always the possibility that she doesn't know how to vote and hence the reactions from everyone whose debates she votes on.
Posted by socialpinko 5 years ago
socialpinko
I asked her why she was voting so much(including about 15 of my own debates) and she said it was because she wanted toearn how to debate better, as she's newer to debating.
Posted by F-16_Fighting_Falcon 5 years ago
F-16_Fighting_Falcon
Jewgirl is obviously a big votebomber. I haven't seen even ONE legitimate vote from her. EVERY single vote of her's elicits complaints from the debaters. It can easily be checked by going to her profile and looking through all her votes.
Posted by BennyW 5 years ago
BennyW
Jewgirl, how was I unclear, I want to know what you didn't understand.
Posted by F-16_Fighting_Falcon 5 years ago
F-16_Fighting_Falcon
In the DDO category, the thread about debates you are proud of.
Posted by BennyW 5 years ago
BennyW
OK now I am curious which forum topic was it posted in?
Posted by F-16_Fighting_Falcon 5 years ago
F-16_Fighting_Falcon
Benny, I think the reason is that Spinko posted it on a forum topic. That and the fact that once somebody votes, it shows up on the homepages of all their friends that that someone had voted on the debate. They will be curious to find out more and that is how they will arrive at this debate.

For instance, Man-is-good votes on a lot of old debates. It shows up on my homepage, I would go to those debates and vote as well. Other's would follow me and so on and so forth. In fact, since I am commenting on this debate now, I wouldn't be surprised if more people show up.

How did I come back to this debate after a month? Spinko posted it in the forums again. So, I guess it is a good way to advertise debates :)
Posted by BennyW 5 years ago
BennyW
I think there must be something else. This is a sort of old debate, it shouldn't appear at the top of any list unless that was one of the changes that was made.
Posted by socialpinko 5 years ago
socialpinko
Just more people in general I suppose.
11 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Vote Placed by jewgirl 5 years ago
jewgirl
BennyWsocialpinkoTied
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Reasons for voting decision: pro was unclear as opposed to con.
Vote Placed by wiploc 5 years ago
wiploc
BennyWsocialpinkoTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Con was lucid and cogent. Pro kept arguing topics other than the resolution.
Vote Placed by PartamRuhem 5 years ago
PartamRuhem
BennyWsocialpinkoTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Con did a wonderful job of proving the non-aggression principles to support his side. Both debaters excelled, and I found it to be close, but in Round 2, Con really did it for me by saying that the embryo/fetus was invading the mother, sucking her nutrients, and how under the non-aggression principle force is called for "when one initiates force against another's property. I went into this debate tabla-rasa, so I hope my vote is considered fair by both debaters.
Vote Placed by kohai 5 years ago
kohai
BennyWsocialpinkoTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Counter bombing Ryan.
Vote Placed by ryan_thomas 5 years ago
ryan_thomas
BennyWsocialpinkoTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Both sides did great, but pro did a better job of proving his case. Also, I agree with pro that if anything the sperm is the aggressor not the fetus.
Vote Placed by F-16_Fighting_Falcon 5 years ago
F-16_Fighting_Falcon
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Reasons for voting decision: Comments section.
Vote Placed by Deathbeforedishonour 5 years ago
Deathbeforedishonour
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Reasons for voting decision: This was close, but pro was the better debater.
Vote Placed by mcc1789 5 years ago
mcc1789
BennyWsocialpinkoTied
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Reasons for voting decision: I am so glad someone argued on how abortion fits with the NAP. Murray Rothbard, in The Ethics of Liberty, makes arguments similar to Con's. Pro's insistence the fetus "was already there" fails, as by its conception it necessarily enters the body to be a parasite. This is no fault of the fetus, but a parasite can be removed nonetheless under NAP. Any other negative effects of the abortion are ancillary, with no bearing on the right to have one, only it's risk. Thus I vote Con-we miss you, social.
Vote Placed by medic0506 5 years ago
medic0506
BennyWsocialpinkoTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Con did not convince me that a fetus is an "agressor". I agree with pro that, if anything, the sperm is the agressor, and even that is a stretch, if the mother consented to sex.
Vote Placed by Ore_Ele 5 years ago
Ore_Ele
BennyWsocialpinkoTied
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Reasons for voting decision: See comments