The Instigator
Chuz-Life
Con (against)
Winning
10 Points
The Contender
kohai
Pro (for)
Losing
3 Points

The (U.S.) Constitutionality of Legalized Abortions on Demand

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/13/2011 Category: Society
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 7,678 times Debate No: 18339
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (53)
Votes (4)

 

Chuz-Life

Con

NOTE: You must be over the age of 27 to accept my challenge for this debate!

Having read some of the previous debates on the abortion issues (found in archives of this site), I am somewhat reluctant to issue the following challenge.

However, it is my opinion that the issue of 'human rights' is an issue that actually WARRANTS repeated examinations, the searches for and the proving of facts, and even the seemingly endless debates that will likely go on long after this exchange has ended.

As elective abortions are presently legal in the United States and the Roe v Wade decision is considered to be the 'Law of the Land' I have taken the 'CON' side of the debate. I am challenging the Constitutionality of a law that essentially says that a human being is NOT a person nor worthy of the protection of our laws, unless or until they live too long and develop past an arbitrarily decided point (spec. viability); After which, we (society) can not or will not justify the denial anymore.

My opponent will be expected to rebut my Constitutional arguments and to DEFEND the Constitutionality of elective induced abortions remaining legal.

The following links are provided for future reference and your consideration. Please take the time to visit them before accepting my challenge.

(1) http://www.law.cornell.edu...

(2) http://www.law.cornell.edu...

(3) http://dictionary.lp.findlaw.com...

(4) http://en.wikipedia.org...

(5) http://www.southtexascollege.edu...

(6) http://snl.depaul.edu...

(7) http://dictionary.lp.findlaw.com...

I look forward to a worthy, civil and productive exchange with my opponent and will now yield the floor in anticipation of his/her opening remarks.
kohai

Pro

Thank you, Chuz-Life for accepting this debate. My opponent contends that a fetus is a person and thus has the right to life. Since my opponent wishes to use the constitution and laws as her method of fighting abortion, I will use the same to defend a pro-choice stance.


Definitions

Abortion: the termination of pregnancy by various means, including medical surgery, before the fetus is able to sustain independent life. Until 1973 abortion was considered a crime (by the mother and the doctor) unless performed by physicians to protect the life of the mother, a phrase often broadly interpreted. Untrained persons performed thousands of abortions each year in the U.S. using hasty, unsanitary and dangerous means, resulting in maiming, permanent damage of organs, and death of many women. The Supreme Court ruled in the case of Roe v. Wade (1973) that a woman had the right to choose abortion to end a pregnancy through the first trimester (three months) of gestation. In the latter stages of pregnancy, danger to the life of the mother could still justify a legal abortion. Political struggles followed over legalized abortions. Some state legislatures passed limitations such as requiring teenage girls to obtain their parents' consent in order to get an abortion. Despite appointment of anti-abortion justices by Presidents Reagan and Bush, the Supreme Court has not over-turned the basic Wade case rule. President Bill Clinton's appointments are expected to make legalized abortion continue in the future. [1]


Contention 1: A fetus does not have the legal status of a person.

A fetus is a human in a biological sense (i.e., belonging to Homo sapiens), but it is not a person. In the book, On The Moral and Legal Status of Abortion, philosopher Mary Anne Warren detailed five psychological crieterai for personhood. According to her, these qualities include consciousness and in a particulary sentience, the capacity to reason, self-motivate activity, the capacity to communicate messages, and lastly, the presence of self-concepts [2]. Since a fetus does not have any of the qualities, it cannot be considered a person under the law.
My arguments can be summed up as followed:


P1: Only a person has a right to life.
P2: An entity is a person if it has (1) consciousness, (2) the capacity to reason, (3) self-motivated activity, (4) the capacity to communicate messages, and (5) the presence of self-concepts.
P3: A human fetus does not have properties (1-5).
P4: Therefore, a human fetus is not a person. (from 2 and 3)
C: Therefore, a human fetus does not have a right to life. (from 1 and 4)

| QUESTIONS FOR MY OPPONENT |

Imagine that you are pregnat, but that the baby cannot live. Would you be willing to allow that baby to die in a quick death or in a slow and painful death? What if the fetus puts your life at risk? Will you be willing to sacrifice your life for a baby that, most likely, will not live anyway?

| Arguments for why abortion should be legal |

(a) Rape

The woman does not choose to become pregnant. This fits perfectly with the Violinist analogy, since you are forced to be attached to the Violinist and should not be held morally culpable for refusing to accede to this situation.

(b) Medical need

In cases, like ectopic pregnancy (where the fetus is growing in the fallopian tube), the mother has a substantial chance of dying if the fetus is not aborted, in which case abortion is a life-saving medical procedure. If abortion is defined as murder, then medical need would not matter; the mother would be forced to carry any life to term, regardless of danger.

2) Abortions don't stop when we ban them

According to the NY Times, "A comprehensive global study of abortion has concluded 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. Moreoever, the researches found that abortion was safe in countries where it was legal, but dangerous in countries where it was outlawed and performed clandestinely. Globally, abortions accounts for 13 % of women's deaths during pregnacy and childbirths." [3] However, according to the Associated Content in 1932, 15000 women died each year to due illegally and improperly performed abortions.


| CONCLUSION |

A fetus does not have the constitutional right to life and there are some cases where abortion is permisable and even necessary. We know that safe abortions are much safer than improper abortions, so why put more lifes at risk?

I turn it back over to CON.


Bibliography
[1] "Definition of Abortion." Legal Dictionary | Law.com. Legal Dictionary. Web. 14 Sept. 2011. <http://dictionary.law.com...;.

[2] Warren, Mary Anne. "On the Moral and Legal Status of Abortion." http://instruct.westvalley.edu......

[3] Rosenthal, Elisabeth. "Legal or Not, Abortion Rates Compare - NYTimes.com." The New York Times - Breaking News, World News & Multimedia. New York Times, Oct.-Nov. 2007. Web. 14 Sept. 2011. <http://www.nytimes.com...;.


Debate Round No. 1
Chuz-Life

Con

Thank you to my opponent "Kohai" for accepting my challenge. I would like to state for the record that I issued the challenge and that you accepted. Your opening remark seems to have it the other way around. I would also like to make it known that I am a male. I am not a 'she.' These are trivial details, I know. So, please do not take offense to my corrections. It's not like they are Germaine to the issue.

__________________________________________________

My opponent is correct in his observation that I do in fact consider a human being who is in the fetal stage of their life, growth and development to be a "person."

The current LEGAL definition for what is legally known as a "natural person" is "a human being." (link; http://dictionary.lp.findlaw.com...) I'll note for my opponent that the legal definition does not add any other criteria that has to be met for a human being to be LEGALLY considered to be a person, other than they be a "human being." There is no legal requirement for an ability to breathe, to have brainwaves or an ability to feel pain. There is also no legal requirement that the human being be 'born.'

Take for example, "the Unborn Victims of Violence Act" (Link; http://news.findlaw.com...) The Unborn Victims of Violence Act already recognizes the "person hood" of prebirth children killed in over 60 listed acts of violence where the attacker can be charged with MURDER if the child is killed in a criminal act.

I ask the voters reading this, to contemplate for yourselves how a child in the womb in the event it is killed in an act of violence can be considered a "person" and their killer can be charged with MURDER.... while the same child in the same womb killed by it's mother for what ever reason SHE decides is necessary for her needs is somehow something LESS than a person. This disparity alone should cast doubt about the Constitutionality of abortion on demand.

__________________________________________________

My opponent continued, saying; " Since my opponent wishes to use the constitution and laws as HIS method of fighting abortion, I will use the same to defend a pro-choice stance."

I will thank my opponent to stay focused on the debate at hand. We are debating the Constitutionality of Legalized (induced) abortion on demand and nothing else. Defending the "pro-choice stance" is only Germaine to this debate in so much as it can be supported by and tied directly to the Constitution itself. This debate is not either of our "wishes" nor our motives. This debate is solely about the United States Constitution and how it pertains to the abortion issue.

___________________________________________________

My opponent (Kohai) contended: " 1: A fetus does not have the legal status of a person."

Aside from the fact that it is considered "circular reasoning" to use a fact as justification for itself, I would like to point it out that my opponent is also somewhat mistaken in his claim. As cited earlier, "The Unborn Victims of Violence Act" actually DOES acknowledge and establish the legal status of person hood to 'children' who are in the fetal stages of their life. QUOTE:

"`(C) If the person engaging in the conduct thereby intentionally kills or attempts to kill the unborn child, that person shall instead of being punished under subparagraph (A), be punished as provided under sections 1111, 1112, and 1113 of this title for intentionally killing or attempting to kill a human being. "

So, we now have the above from the Unborn Victims of Violence act and the above provided LEGAL definition of "persons" and we can add them both to the fact that an attacker who kills unborn child while committing certain criminal acts can be and will be charged with MURDER.

My opponent must dismiss all of the above and resort to "circular logic" in order to maintain his conclusion; That a human child in the fetal stages of their life "does not have the legal status of a "person." If the existing law is the final word on what is or what is not a "person" under our Constitution, what is the use in debating it any further?

(see. begging the question: http://nizkor.org...)

Of course, our present laws are not infallible and they are not the final word on what is and is not "Just" under our Constitution.
__________________________________________________

My opponent (PRO) continued by saying: " In the book, On The Moral and Legal Status of Abortion, philosopher Mary Anne Warren detailed five psychological criteria for person hood. According to her, these qualities include consciousness and in a particulary sentience, the capacity to reason, self-motivate activity, the capacity to communicate messages, and lastly, the presence of self-concepts"

Using Mrs. Warren's "philosophy" my wife was not a "person" nor entitled to the Constitutional protection of her rights by our laws, for more than THREE weeks while she was in a Coma following her cardiac arrest. She was completely without "consciousness, sentience, the capacity to reason, self motivate, communicate and had no awareness of her "self." It's worth noting that even the most typical human child in the womb has a better prognosis than she had.

Consider too, the "Baby K" case. (link: http://www.stanford.edu...) and others where children are born with "anencephalia." They are born without the majority of their brains and skulls. The short summary of "Baby K's" case is that she required extensive medical care and resuscitation's and the Federal Courts ruled in Baby K's mothers favor that her child was a 'person' and just as entitled to Emergency Medical Treatment as any other person would be. Even with the fact that the child was destined to die, and could not possible exhibit ANY of the so called requirements for "person hood" posed by Mr.s Warren or my opponent.

______________________________________________________

My opponent (PRO) continued with: "My arguments can be summed up as followed:

P1: Only a person has a right to life.

<< PRO, I would like to see some objective material support for this claim.>>

P2: An entity is a person if it has (1) consciousness, (2) the capacity to reason, (3) self-motivated activity, (4) the capacity to communicate messages, and (5) the presence of self-concepts.

<< Those criteria for personhood are NOT present in the United States Constitution, the Legal Dictionaries, and certainly not in "The Unborn victims of Violence Act." Will my opponent please provide a credible and objective source to support this claim? Or in light of the materials I have so far provided, concede to the fact that the five requirements you have presented are only a matter of personal preference or opinion? >>

P3: A human fetus does not have properties (1-5).

<>

P4: Therefore, a human fetus is not a person. (from 2 and 3)

<< Hopefully after reading this response, my opponent will agree that this conclusion was a bit off >>

C: Therefore, a human fetus does not have a right to life. (from 1 and 4)

<< Again, see my last. You are very solid in your opinions, Kohai and I respect the way that you have presented your arguments so far. This is shaping up to be a very informative if not productive exchange. Thank you in advance for considering my comments. I await your most considerate responses.>>
kohai

Pro

Thank you, Chuz-Life, for your rebuttal. I wish to remind all readers who are reading this that this debate is NOT if abortion should be legal, nor is this about the morality of abortion. Rather, this is about if legalization of abortion is a violation of the constitution. I contend that it is not a violation of the constitution.

Considering my opponent has not yet responded to my views on when and why abortion should be legal, those arguments still stand. If I can show just ONE case in which abortion should be legal under both the constitution and morals, then I request a vote for PRO.

The current LEGAL definition for what is legally known as a "natural person" is "a human being." (link;http://dictionary.lp.findlaw.com......) I'll note for my opponent that the legal definition does not add any other criteria that has to be met for a human being to be LEGALLY considered to be a person, other than they be a "human being." There is no legal requirement for an ability to breathe, to have brainwaves or an ability to feel pain. There is also no legal requirement that the human being be 'born.'


According to my opponent's own source, the legal definition for a natural being is as followed (note that my opponent only gives what a natural human is):

: a human being as distinguished from a person (as a corporation) created by operation of law

This is their definition of a person. [1].

1: "natural person"

2: the body of a human being

also

: the body and clothing of a human being
Example: had drugs on his person

3: one (as a human being or corporation) that is recognized by law as the subject of rights and duties

(see also juridical person legal person personality)

It is important to note that according to definition 2, a fetus does qualify as a human being. However, according to definition 1, it does not qualify as a human being. According to definition 3, it also does not qualify as a fetus is not recognized by law that is subject to rights and duties.

As per my opponent's source, I have already shown why a fetus may qualify as the scientific definition of Homeosapien, but not the legal status and not in deserving of legal rights. Therefore, his definition has no basis.


Take for example, "the Unborn Victims of Violence Act" (Link; http://news.findlaw.com......) The Unborn Victims of Violence Act already recognizes the "person hood" of prebirth children killed in over 60 listed acts of violence where the attacker can be charged with MURDER if the child is killed in a criminal act.

This is a straw man argument to the hightest degree. This does not prove a fetus is protected with the constitution. According to the current law (which is what my opponent is arguing for), only a mother has the right to abort the child. It is her choice and thus the law protects the unborn against an unjust crime and a mother who may or may not want the fetus to be killed. Remember: I have not defended nor endorced the "Unborn Victims of Violence Act."

I ask the voters reading this, to contemplate for yourselves how a child in the womb in the event it is killed in an act of violence can be considered a "person" and their killer can be charged with MURDER.... while the same child in the same womb killed by it's mother for what ever reason SHE decides is necessary for her needs is somehow something LESS than a person. This disparity alone should cast doubt about the Constitutionality of abortion on demand.

See above. This is a strawman argument and appeal to emotion (see above). This does not, in any way, prove that abortion is unconstitutional. Abortion is done at the consent of the parent--NOT at the force of anyone else.

I believe that this is a summary of my opponent's arguments:

P1: Fetuses are human beings (i.e., members of the biological species Homo sapiens).
P2: All human beings have the same basic rights, especially the right-to-life.
P3: Human fetuses have a right to live. (from 1 and 2)
P4: Abortion directly kills an innocent human being.
C: Abortion violates the fetus' right to life and is therefore immoral. (from 3 and 4)


If anti-abortion arguments are constructed in this way, strong objections can be raised against the notion that all human beings have a right to life. Professor Michael Tooley, a distinguished philosopher at the University of Colorado, has pointed out that humans with complete upper brain death do not possess a serious right to life: they are, for all relevant legal and moral purposes, already dead at that stage.[2] In other words, killing a brain-dead human is not prima facie seriously wrong,nor is it unconstitutional since a brain-dead human doesn't have a right to life in the first place.

My opponent then accuses me of circular logic. How is it circular logic if we are arguing on the premise of the CURRENT law?

| CONCLUSION |

We are debating the legal status of abortion: Is abortion unconstitutional? that is the resolution. My opponent has failed to provide any evidence that abortion is unconstitutional according to today's law. IF I can provide just ONE instance in which abortion should be legal, then I win this debate. My opponent has failed to respond to my arguments about when abortion needs to be legal and failed to respond to my questions.


Bibliography

[1] "Person." Law Dictionary. Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law ©1996. Web. 14 Sept. 2011. <http://dictionary.lp.findlaw.com...;

[2] Tooley, Michael. "Philosophy 1100: Introduction to Ethics: Abortion - Lecture 4." http://spot.colorado.edu......
Debate Round No. 2
Chuz-Life

Con

Kohai, thanks again for this exchange and for staying focused on the subject of this debate.

In round one, my opponent posted: "Imagine that you are pregnant, but that the baby cannot live. (a) Would you be willing to allow that baby to die in a quick death or in a slow and painful death? (b) What if the fetus puts your life at risk? (c) Will you be willing to sacrifice your life for a baby that, most likely, will not live anyway?"

These questions have nothing to do with whether or not "legalized elective abortion" is a violation of the Constitution. In fact, didn't my opponent just reminded everyone in his previous response that "this debate is NOT if abortion should be legal, nor is this about the morality of abortion. Rather, this is about if legalization of abortion is a violation of the constitution?"

My personal preferences are not pertinent to this debate. As PRO said, "this is about the Constitution and the facts." It is not about me or any of my personal preferences.


I digress. To restate his question in a way that does pertain to this debate, I would word it as such: "Chuz Life if elective induced abortions are not Constitutional, does that mean that all abortions should be banned?"

To which, I would answer NO.

However,
I prefer to debate the Constitutionality of those "exceptions" separately.


________


Pro then tried to rebut the Legal definition for "person."

This is their definition of a person.

1: "natural person"
2: the body of a human being also: the body and clothing of a human being
Example: had drugs on his person
3:
one (as a human being or corporation) that is recognized by law as the subject of rights and duties (see also juridical person legal person personality)

Pro went on to say; "It is important to note that according to definition 2, a fetus does qualify as a human being. However, according to definition 1, it does not qualify as a human being."



PRO. How many definitions does it take for a word to have applicability?

I'm asking sincerely, though I also have to tell you the answer is "only ONE."

It only takes one definition of a word, for the word AND it's definition to be appropriate. And Kohai himself just acknowledged that definition #2 (a human body) does in fact 'qualify' a human fetus LEGALLY as a "person."
_____


PRO said: "According to definition 3, it also does not qualify as a fetus is not recognized by law that is subject to rights and duties."

I wonder if Pro has already dismissed or forgotten the link that I provided, regarding the "Unborn Victims of Violence Act" and how unborn children ARE in fact already being recognized by our laws under the protections of that act? It appears that he has.

____

Pro then said; "As per my opponent's source
, I have already shown why a fetus may qualify as the scientific definition of Homeosapien, but not the legal status and not in deserving of legal rights. Therefore, his definition has no basis."

I'm afraid, I can't let my opponent off that easy. The definition DOES apply as he just admitted.

As to Pros comment; "deserving of rights?" I can not find in my reading of the Constitution or the Bill of Rights anything that supports his claim that the basic human rights have to be "deserved."

I ask my opponent; "Where do you get that idea (that basic human rights must be deserved) from?

__________

Pro claims that my use of the "Unborn Victims of Violence Act" as a means to show that prenatal children in some cases ARE already recognized as "persons" is a " straw man argument to the hightest degree." He then begs the question by using the very law he just denounced by saying " According to the current law (which is what my opponent is arguing for), only a mother has the right to abort the child. It is her choice and thus the law protects the unborn against an unjust crime and a mother who may or may not want the fetus to be killed."

Apparently my opponent considers the Unborn Victims of a Violence Act a "strawman" attempt when I use it to show that prebirth children can be and ARE being recognized as "persons" but, it should the act is somehow ok to support HIS claims... because the act (for now) allows for women to abort.

Again, I ask the readers to consider the disparity in that.
_________


My opponent claims that my arguments do not "in any way, prove that abortion is unconstitutional."
The proof that Induced Elective Abortions are Un-constitutional is found in the fact that at least ONE of the legal definitions for "person hood" is in fact applicable to prenatal children. (#2 "the body of a human being")

The 5th Amendment to the United States Constitution says: "no person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law" (paraphrased)

The 14th Amendment says that; "no state shall 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."

I think my opponent will agree that if a child in the womb is a "person?" They are Constitutionally protected by the 5th and 14th Amendments. That, if they are NOT being protected? Their Constitutional rights are in fact being violated.
____________

Pro summarized my views like this:

P1: Fetuses are human beings (i.e.., members of the biological species Homo sapiens).
P2: All human beings have the same basic rights, especially the right-to-life.
P3: Human fetuses have a right to live. (from 1 and 2)
P4: Abortion directly kills an innocent human being.
C: Abortion violates the fetus' right to life and is therefore immoral. (from 3 and 4)

That's close. But I prefer this:

P1: Human beings who are in the earliest stages of their lives are human beings (i.e., members of the biological species Homo sapiens).
P2: All human beings have the same basic rights, especially the right-to-life.
P3: Human Beings who are in the fetal stage of their lives have a Constitutional right to their lives. (from 1 and 2)
P4: An abortion directly kills an innocent human being.
C: Elective Induced Abortions violate the fetus' right to life and is therefore immoral. Un-Constitutional (from 3 and 4)

__________


My opponent lamented; "If anti-abortion arguments are constructed in this way, strong objections can be raised against the notion that all human beings have a right to life. (This is an un-supported claim by my opponent) Professor Michael Tooley, a distinguished philosopher at the University of Colorado, has pointed out that humans with complete upper brain death do not possess a serious right to life: they are, for all relevant legal and moral purposes, already dead at that stage.[2] In other words, killing a brain-dead human is not prima facie seriously wrong,nor is it unconstitutional since a brain-dead human doesn't have a right to life in the first place. "

The ability to deny basic human rights is not in and of itself proof that said rights do not exist.

The Constitution (5th & 14th) says that all "persons" have a right to their lives and to the equal protection of our laws. "ALL persons" is an INCLUSIVE statement. It is not an exclusive statement.
_______

Pro concluded; " We are debating the legal status of abortion: Is abortion unconstitutional? that is the resolution. My opponent has failed to provide any evidence that abortion is unconstitutional according to today's law. IF I can provide just ONE instance in which abortion should be legal, then I win this debate. My opponent has failed to respond to my arguments about when abortion needs to be legal and failed to respond to my questions."

I am providing ample proof to make my case. My citations include the Unborn victims of Violence Act, the Baby K case and other legal precedents, legal definitions and the 5th and 14th Amendments to the Constitution itself.

I note that Pro has yet to respond to the Baby K case that I shared to rebut the idea that the ability to be sentient, breathe, etc... is a Constitutional requirement for "personhood." Does my opponent now agree that there is no such Constitutional requirement?
kohai

Pro

Thank you for your reply. I am very sorry for the long wait and will try to be quicker in the next round.

Firstly, as far as the definitional arguments, my opponent argues that it only needs to meet one of the definitions. I say that this is not true. In order to be qualified as a human that is protected under the law, that person should meet ALL of the definitions. Based upon my opponent's logic, a duck-billed platypus should be qualified as a duck because it has a bill and lays eggs (like a duck). Obviously that is not true.

As far as my opponent's defense on the Unborn Violence Act, I'm afraid my opponent misinterprets it.

`Sec. 1841. Protection of unborn children

  • `(a)(1) Whoever engages in conduct that violates any of the provisions of law listed in subsection (b) and thereby causes the death of, or bodily injury (as defined in section 1365) to, a child, who is in utero at the time the conduct takes place, is guilty of a separate offense under this section.
  • `(2)(A) Except as otherwise provided in this paragraph, the punishment for that separate offense is the same as the punishment provided under Federal law for that conduct had that injury or death occurred to the unborn child's mother.
  • `(B) An offense under this section does not require proof that--
    • `(i) the person engaging in the conduct had knowledge or should have had knowledge that the victim of the underlying offense was pregnant; or
    • `(ii) the defendant intended to cause the death of, or bodily injury to, the unborn child.
  • `(C) If the person engaging in the conduct thereby intentionally kills or attempts to kill the unborn child, that person shall instead of being punished under subparagraph (A), be punished as provided under sections 1111, 1112, and 1113 of this title for intentionally killing or attempting to kill a human being.
  • `(D) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the death penalty shall not be imposed for an offense under this section.
  • `(b) The provisions referred to in subsection (a) are the following:
    • `(1) Sections 36, 37, 43, 111, 112, 113, 114, 115, 229, 242, 245, 247, 248, 351, 831, 844(d), (f), (h)(1),
and (i), 924(j), 930, 1111, 1112, 1113, 1114, 1116, 1118, 1119, 1120, 1121, 1153(a), 1201(a), 1203, 1365(a), 1501, 1503, 1505, 1512, 1513, 1751, 1864, 1951, 1952 (a)(1)(B), (a)(2)(B), and (a)(3)(B), 1958, 1959, 1992, 2113, 2114, 2116, 2118, 2119, 2191, 2231, 2241(a), 2245, 2261, 2261A, 2280, 2281, 2332, 2332a, 2332b, 2340A, and 2441 of this title.
    • `(2) Section 408(e) of the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 (21 U.S.C. 848(e)).
    • `(3) Section 202 of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 (42 U.S.C. 2283).
  • `(c) Nothing in this section shall be construed to permit the prosecution--
    • `(1) of any person for conduct relating to an abortion for which the consent of the pregnant woman, or a person authorized by law to act on her behalf, has been obtained or for which such consent is implied by law;
    • `(2) of any person for any medical treatment of the pregnant woman or her unborn child; or
    • `(3) of any woman with respect to her unborn child.
Debate Round No. 3
Chuz-Life

Con

Pro posted: "I am very sorry for the long wait and will try to be quicker in the next round."

No worries. You indicated that you are busy with other things and we all have other things going on in our lives as well.

Pro continued: "Firstly, as far as the definitional arguments, my opponent argues that it only needs to meet one of the definitions. I say that this is not true. In order to be qualified as a human that is protected under the law, that person should meet ALL of the definitions. Based upon my opponent's logic, a duck-billed platypus should be qualified as a duck because it has a bill and lays eggs (like a duck). Obviously that is not true."

Ok PRO. Let's examine the legal definitions again.

http://dictionary.lp.findlaw.com...

person
1:"natural person"

2
:the body of a human being


also

: the body and clothing of a human being
Example: had drugs on his person

3
: one (as a human being or corporation) that is recognized by law as the subject of rights and duties

natural person
: a human being as distinguished from a person (as a corporation) created by operation of law
(compare juridical person legal person)

legal person
: a body of persons or an entity (as a corporation) considered as having many of the rights and responsibilities of a natural person and esp. the capacity to sue and be sued

Pro, I was almost as surprised in your earlier post when you said; "It is important to note that according to definition 2, a fetus does qualify as a human being." as I am now when you say a Human Being... A "HUMAN BEING" is not a "person" nor worthy of THEIR rights and the life THEY are already living,.... unless they can IN YOUR WORDS "meet ALL of the definitions."

One of the definitions is about how Corporations can be (and presently ARE) recognized as "persons."

My opponent (PRO) should note that Corporations are legally "persons" too. Not only are the people working for corporation legally (and Constitutionally) seen as 'persons', but so too is the business itself.

I ask my opponent and our voters how a non human entity such as a business/ corporation be legally defined and recognized as a "person" under our laws and our Constitution. But a HUMAN BEING who is in the fetal stage of their LIFE, can not?

I disagree with my opponent and his conclusion that a human being must meet 'ALL of the definitions' for the various kinds of 'legal persons' in order to be legally recognized them self.

If the legal definitions of person is "a human being" that means that ANY "human being" should automatically be qualified. They don't have to also meet the definitions for any of the other variations (for corporations and such).

I'll not respond to my opponents; "a duck-billed platypus should be qualified as a duck because it has a bill and lays eggs (like a duck)" comment, other than to say that I am disappointed that he would resort to an appeal to ridicule in this debate.

http://www.nizkor.org...

Things (including persons) are defined by the attributes that they have. We are not defined by the attributes we lack.

As to my opponents citing of the actual text of the "Unborn Victims of Violence Act" to support his claim that a prenatal child should not be legally recognized in all cases outside of the 60 or more listed,... because the act itself provides for an exception (allows) for abortions? My opponent is once again "begging the question."

http://nizkor.org...

I ask my opponent, what proof he requires that a prenatal child is a person?

When I submit to him that a pre-natal child meets at least one (I saw more than one) LEGAL definition for 'person' he says "it meets one of them but that is not enough."

When I submit to my opponent that some of our laws (Unborn Victims of Violence Act) already does recognize prebirth children in more than 60 Cases,... he claims that the ACT supports HIS claims that they are NOT 'persons' because the ACT allows for abortions to continue.

My opponent is tantamount to someone using the Bible to defend the Bible.

How can I better make the point that the Unborn Victims of Violence act is rightfully protecting the rights of SOME prebirth children (by making their killings punishable) but that the children NOT covered by the act are 'persons' as well.... to an opponent who uses the act as justifications for itself?

Apparently to my opponent, the laws regarding personhood can never be challenged,... because a person is only what the law says. That, if the laws say abortion is legal or that a child in the womb is not a "person" then that is proof in and of itself that they are not persons.

It "begs the question" of how the laws can ever be changed if the current laws are the final word on themselves?
kohai

Pro

Thank you, chuz-life, for your incredible conduct. I hope to debate with you soon. For a quick summary, this is what I am arguing:

P1: Only a person has a right to life.
P2: An entity is a person if it has (1) consciousness, (2) the capacity to reason, (3) self-motivated activity, (4) the capacity to communicate messages, and (5) the presence of self-concepts.
P3: A human fetus does not have properties (1-5).
P4: Therefore, a human fetus is not a person. (from 2 and 3)
C: Therefore, a human fetus does not have a right to life. (from 1 and 4)



These are the definitions both you and have agreed to:

person
1:"natural person"

2
:the body of a human being


also

: the body and clothing of a human being
Example: had drugs on his person

3
: one (as a human being or corporation) that is recognized by law as the subject of rights and duties

natural person
: a human being as distinguished from a person (as a corporation) created by operation of law
(compare juridical person legal person)

legal person
: a body of persons or an entity (as a corporation) considered as having many of the rights and responsibilities of a natural person and esp. the capacity to sue and be sued


Pro, I was almost as surprised in your earlier post when you said; "It is important to note that according to definition 2, a fetus does qualify as a human being." as I am now when you say a Human Being... A "HUMAN BEING" is not a "person" nor worthy of THEIR rights and the life THEY are already living,.... unless they can IN YOUR WORDS "meet ALL of the definitions."

I have never said that it meets all of the definitions. You are taking my words out of context. I stated that for something or someone to qualify as a legal human, that person needs t o meet all of the definitions. Clearly, a fetus does NOT meet all of the requirements to be a legal human protected by rights of the constitution. Remember the sylllogism that I have provided in the first round (and summarized in this round).

It "begs the question" of how the laws can ever be changed if the current laws are the final word on themselves?

This is a straw man argument. It use to be the case that slavery was legal and it was the current law. It is obvious that laws can (and, in some cases, should) be changed. This is not a debate to argue that.

I ask my opponent and our voters how a non human entity such as a business/ corporation be legally defined and recognized as a "person" under our laws and our Constitution. But a HUMAN BEING who is in the fetal stage of their LIFE, can not?

I am unsure what my opponent is arguing. I never agreed to the fact taht a corporation should be legally recognized as a "person." (In fact, I am against a corporation being legally defined as a person).

I'll not respond to my opponents; "a duck-billed platypus should be qualified as a duck because it has a bill and lays eggs (like a duck)" comment, other than to say that I am disappointed that he would resort to an appeal to ridicule in this debate.

I am deeply sorry if you were offended by this. I respectfully disagree with your assertion that X does not have to meet the requirements of Y in order to be Y.

Thank you.
Debate Round No. 4
Chuz-Life

Con

Many thanks to my opponent for accepting my debate challenge and for treating myself and especially this subject with so much respect. I too look forward to having more debates with my opponent in the future.

By accepting my debate challenge, my opponent automatically put himself into a virtual 'no win' situation. It has been a long standing belief that (when it comes to debating an issue) "it is not possible to prove a negative." Fortunately for my opponent, many of our laws support his denials and conclusions. The onus is on myself to show that a human being in the womb is a "person" and the burden to my opponent was to "rebut my Constitutional arguments and to DEFEND the Constitutionality of elective induced abortions remaining legal."


I hold that a human individuals life begins at conception, that their aging begins at conception and that (since they are human beings) their "personhood" also begins at conception; when their life does. And I contend that since prenatal children meet the most basic criteria for "personhood" they are being denied their rights by the legality of elective abortion on demand. To support my claims, I provided links to legal definitions, a study on aging and to the wording of the Constitution itself.

My opponent summarized his argument as follows:

"P1: Only a person has a right to life.
P2: An entity is a person if it has (1) consciousness, (2) the capacity to reason, (3) self-motivated activity, (4) the capacity to communicate messages, and (5) the presence of self-concepts.
P3: A human fetus does not have properties (1-5).
P4: Therefore, a human fetus is not a person. (from 2 and 3)
C: Therefore, a human fetus does not have a right to life. (from 1 and 4)"

While I am inclined to agree with my opponent on P1, I can't say that I do agree. Even animals (IMHO) have a right to their lives and to be treated humanely. Objectively speaking, I wonder how "humane" an elective abortion can intellectually and honestly be said to be?

With regards to P2? My opponent again asserts that a "person" is not a person unless they are; "(1) conscious, (2) have the capacity to reason, (3) exhibit self-motivated activity, (4) have the capacity to communicate messages, and (5) to exhibit the presence of self-concepts."

Not only are all of those traits extra-Constitutional when held to the legal definitions that I provided ( http://dictionary.lp.findlaw.com... ) but my opponents requirements would have completely stripped my wife of HER rights, Her personhood and HER right to the protection of our laws,... during the three weeks that she was in a coma and had no favorable prognosis for a full recovery.

The Constitution (5th and 14th amendments) states that ALL persons have a right to their lives and to the protection of our laws. It does not place the conditions (1-5) that my opponent claims that it does. Likewise, the most basic LEGAL definition for a "person" is broad and inclusive as well. As my opponent agreed to earlier, a human being in the fetal stage of their life (human fetus) IS a "human being" and does meet at least THAT one legal requirement for "personhood."

Pro (of course) disagrees that is enough. Essentially holding to the view that a child is not a child nor a "person" worthy of rights and the protections of our laws,.... until they can overcome his ability to deny they are persons anymore.

How else are we to interpret the view that "a person is not a person until they are (1) Conscious, (2) have the capacity to reason, (3) exhibit self motivated activity, (4) can communicate, (5) show they have a sense of 'self?'

AS the voters for this debate read my opponents remaining remarks (P3, P4 & C) I hope you will also Consider this exchange form the Oral Arguments of the Roe v Wade ruling:

http://youtu.be...

"Justice Potter Stewart: Well, if it were established that an unborn fetus is a person within the protection of the Fourteenth Amendment, you would have almost an impossible case here, would you not?

Ms Weddington: I would have a very difficult case. [Laughter]

Justice Potter Stewart: You certainly would because you’d have the same kind of thing you’d have to say that this would be the equivalent to after the child was born.

Ms Weddington: That’s right."

The back and forth continues for quite a while in the oral arguments of Roe v Wade without the question of when life begins or the personhood of prenatal children ever being acknowledged or established by the Supreme Court.

It is interesting to note this exchange between Roes Lawyer (Mr. Flowers) and Justice "Potter Stewart;"

" Mr. Flowers: - ... I know the Fifth Amendment, no one shall be deprived of rights to life, liberty, and property without the due process of law.
Justice Potter Stewart: Yes, but then the Fourteenth Amendment defines a person as somebody who is born, doesn’t it?

Mr. Flowers:
I’m not sure about that, Your Honor.

Justice Potter Stewart:
I know it does.

Any person born or naturalized in the United States doesn't’t-- oh, that’s not a definition of a person, but that’s a definition of a citizen."

The United States Supreme Court came very close to recognizing, respecting and establishing the personhood and the Constitutional rights of prebirth children when they decided Roe.

The Court for whatever reason at the time decided instead to try to find a balance between the rights of a woman to her privacy and intimate decisions and the new child's rights to their life and to the protections of our laws.

Instead of ruling that a life, rights and personhood all begin at the same moment when the child is first created? The court decided instead to set an arbitrarily decided standard (essentially as my opponent does) that essentially says "a child is not a child nor worthy of the protection of our laws,... unless and until it can live too long and somehow breech our (societies) ability to deny them"

Then? Like Magic! They become persons.

I thank my opponent again for accepting this challenge and I wish him only the best of luck in our future exchanges.

Thanks to all who followed our debate and please vote Con if you agree with me, that elective abortions violate the rights of the children aborted!

Sincerely, ~Chuz
kohai

Pro

Thank you, chuz-life, for such a great debate! Throughout this debate, I have been arguing that abortion is constitutional. I first wish to acknowledge a few people.

Freeman: You have been an excellent resource for information and a debate coach throughout this debate. I could not thank you enough.

Chuz-Life: You are a worthy opponent, stuck to the resolution, and shown superb conduct.

You: I wish to thank you, the reader, for taking time to read this debate.

SUMMARY

This is what I have been arguing:

P1: Only a person has a right to life.
P2: An entity is a person if it has (1) consciousness, (2) the capacity to reason, (3) self-motivated activity, (4) the capacity to communicate messages, and (5) the presence of self-concepts.
P3: A human fetus does not have properties (1-5).
P4: Therefore, a human fetus is not a person. (from 2 and 3)
C: Therefore, a human fetus does not have a right to life. (from 1 and 4)

Remember my definition is from the legal definition and shall re-present that case:

A fetus is a human in a biological sense (i.e., belonging to Homo sapiens), but it is not a person. In the book, On The Moral and Legal Status of Abortion, philosopher Mary Anne Warren detailed five psychological crieterai for personhood. According to her, these qualities include consciousness and in a particulary sentience, the capacity to reason, self-motivate activity, the capacity to communicate messages, and lastly, the presence of self-concepts [2]. Since a fetus does not have any of the qualities, it cannot be considered a person under the law.
My arguments can be summed up as followed:

(from round 1).

Please do not vote based upon your pre-assertion, but rather vote to see who has made better arguments. If I have fulfilled my burden to show that abortion is constitutional, please vote PRO. If I have not, and my opponent has shown that abortion is unconstitutional, please vote CON.

My opponent has admited that there were some cases that abortion should be legalized...therefore, fetuses do not have a full right to life.

Thank you once again.

~Kohai


Debate Round No. 5
53 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Chrysippus 5 years ago
Chrysippus
This debate turned on the legal definition of person. Con was able to establish that the law treats the unborn as fully human in areas other than abortion; Pro relied on a philosophical "right to choose" which he could not substantiate, a personal definition of person-hood which Con showed to be contrary to the accepted legal definition, and the opinions of Professor Tooley. The good professor may have interesting ideas about the boundaries of humanity, but his word carries no legal weight and is irrelevant to this debate.

Especially damaging to Pro was his concession in R2 that, under the legal definition, fetuses are human. Were Con more unscrupulous than he is, he could have taken that and ended the debate right there. Kudos to Con for playing the game out to the close, and to Pro for not giving up after that error.

From what I've seen of his debates, Kohai always struck me as a very strong debater. He worked hard in this debate, too, and it was a good debate to read; but ultimately Pro's arguments were rather weak, and gave up too much to his opponent. Arguments to Con, all other points tied.
Posted by SlobberChops 5 years ago
SlobberChops
I would like to, but my cell phone doesn't seem to be getting the text messages to confirm my identity.
Posted by Chuz-Life 5 years ago
Chuz-Life
Can we get a vote from you SlobberChopz?
Posted by SlobberChops 5 years ago
SlobberChops
Very well presented, for the most part!

Am I the only one who find this odd? Kohai's final words include the statement: "My opponent has admited that there were some cases that abortion should be legalized...therefore, fetuses do not have a full right to life." I assume it is agreed that it is legal to take the life of a grown human when he is attempting to take yours and you have no other option. Or, to take that of a terrorist ... an enemy soldier in battle... And, throughout the debate it was stated that a born person does have the "right to life" in question, while only an unborn was up for debate. Yet, according to his final statement, since there are "some cases" where it is legal to take the life of a grown man, even a grown man doesn't have this "right to life" in question.

Strike you as odd?
Posted by Chuz-Life 5 years ago
Chuz-Life
Raisor. Thanks again. :)
Posted by Raisor 5 years ago
Raisor
Yep - I voted correctly but switched "pro" and "Con" throughout my comments.

My intent was to vote Con.
Posted by Chuz-Life 5 years ago
Chuz-Life
Raisor, than you for your vote and for your analysis. Hoever, it apprears that you lost track of who was "pro" and who was "con." You gave the argument to my opponent in your comments, but you gave your vote to me. ~chuz
Posted by Raisor 5 years ago
Raisor
I think both sides could do without calling out each other on fallacies. For the most part you are both wrong in your accusations. No Pro, Con did not resort to a fallacy of ridicule, he just made a bad argument.

Pro does a good job of keeping the debate in the legal rather than philosophic realm. Con agree that this is where the debate is located but insists on relying on a non-legal definition of personhood without explaining how it relates to legal personhood.

Pro: I think relying on the UVVA to defend a legal right to life is fairly problematic. Even the portion of the bill which you claim supports your position seems to identify the child as part of the mother: "the punishment for that separate offense is the same as the punishment provided under Federal law for that conduct had that injury or death occurred to the unborn child's mother." Then there is the fact that the bill makes explicit exception to the issue of abortion, which it should be noted also makes the exception of prosecution "of any woman with respect to her unborn child." That seems to suggest the a mother is not prosecutable at all for something she does to her own unborn child. It sounds sort of like the child is only a living thing insofar as it is part of the mother. So maybe this bill does what you think it does, but its not a clear cut point. OF course, this really bears not impact on the outcome of this particular debate.

For me this was a clear decision in favor of Pro.
Posted by kohai 5 years ago
kohai
I honestly have no clue
Posted by Chuz-Life 5 years ago
Chuz-Life
How can we have over 1000 views and yet garner only two votes?
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by Chrysippus 5 years ago
Chrysippus
Chuz-LifekohaiTied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: RFD in my comment.
Vote Placed by Raisor 5 years ago
Raisor
Chuz-LifekohaiTied
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Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments
Vote Placed by wiploc 5 years ago
wiploc
Chuz-LifekohaiTied
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Reasons for voting decision: As explained in the comments.
Vote Placed by randolph7 5 years ago
randolph7
Chuz-LifekohaiTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Although this debate seemed to wander off point a bit, I think Con's case is more convincing. Kohai's insistence on relying on philosphical definitions and rationale for abortion when the debate is clearly a legal debate lost it for me.