The Instigator
NothingSpecial99
Pro (for)
Losing
3 Points
The Contender
Danielle
Con (against)
Winning
8 Points

The USFG should ban abortion

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
Danielle
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/23/2016 Category: Politics
Updated: 8 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 513 times Debate No: 91702
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (7)
Votes (3)

 

NothingSpecial99

Pro

Full Resolution: The USFG should ban abortion except in cases where the mother's life is in danger.

Debate Structure

Round 1: Acceptance
Round 2: Both sides make their cases
Round 3: Pro rebuts Con's case and vice versa
Round 4: Both sides defend their original arguments from Round 2

Definitions
abortion - the intentional killing of a human fetus
USFG - short for United States Federal Government

Looking forward to a great debate
Danielle

Con

Per the debate terms, Round 1 is for acceptance.

I look forward to a really interesting discussion.
Debate Round No. 1
NothingSpecial99

Pro


Argument 1: The fetus is a distinctive, living human being

It is a pretty well established fact that human zygotes are living. Zygotes are by definition eukaryotic cells [1]. Eukaryotic cells are considered living, therefore with some simple logic:

P1: All eukaryotic cells are living

P2: All zygotes are eukaryotic cells

C: All zygotes are living

There is also no dispute within the scientific community of biologists and embryologists that the human zygote is a human being. Below is an exert from an embryology textbook:

“The development of a human being begins with fertilization, a process by which two highly specialized cells, the spermatozoon from the male and the oocyte from the female, unite to give rise to a new organism, the zygote.”

This is more than an expert’s opinion. This displays the fact that the idea that the human zygote is a human being is universally accepted within the scientific community, enough so that it is published in a textbook and taught to incoming college students as standard [2]. Even pro-abortion advocates like the New Scientist concede that a human zygote is a human being:

“The task force finds that the new recombinant DNA technologies indisputably prove that the unborn child is a whole human being from the moment of fertilization, that all abortions terminate the life of a human being, and that the unborn child is a separate human patient under the care of modern medicine.” [3]

We also know that the each zygote is a distinctive human being because their DNA is distinctive from either parent.

The only people who dispute the humanity of the unborn babies are philosophers and people with no credentials in relevant fields. They seek to ignore the science and impose quasi religious ideas such as the fact that unborn babies need emotion, conscience, sentience. The main problem with these ideas is the fact that they stand on subjective ideological grounds. There is no objective reason why these criteria should be imposed in deciding what is human and what is not human. On the other hand, observation and data do have an objective foundation. The reason why having an objective basis over a subjective basis for deciding humanity is the fact that there is nothing to make various subjective criteria superior over others. Whose criteria should we use to decide humanity? Should be take philosopher Peter Singer’s criteria for humanity which advocates that women have the right to kill their children up to 30 days, after he/she has been born. [4]


Argument 2: Human rights

This argument is mainly for the purpose of establishing human rights. There are many clauses within US international law which supports the idea that there is a right to life. To begin with, stated within the United States Declaration of Independance:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” [5]

To be clear, the Declaration of Independence does have legal authority as it is included within the first volume of the United States Code, the collection of all United States laws, within the organic laws. [6]

A more clear example is within the US Constitution with the 14th Amendment which states:

“nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law” [7]

The United States is also part of a larger coalition of countries known as the United Nations therefore abides or at least should abide by protecting human rights as they define it. The relevant articles here are articles II, III, and VI:

Article 2: Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.

Article 3: Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.

Article 6: Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law. [8]


Sub-argument 1: Human rights as stated above apply to unborn babies

As stated in the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, there is no distinction between human being and a “person” as within article VI, everyone has the right to be recognized as a person before law. The United States as a part of the UN is bound to these rights. There is also evidence that the United States Federal Government doesn’t make distinction. Under Common Law, recognized “persons” only include individual human beings and combinations of them acting in concert [9]. In addition, if you also look at the United States murder laws, the idea of “personhood” is irrelevant. Under USFG law, murder is defined as:

“Murder is the unlawful killing of a human being with malice aforethought.” [10]

Since a human zygote is a human being, abortion would fall under the USFG’s definition of murder and by logic make abortion illegal. The killing is unlawful in the sense that it violates the rights of the unborn to life as stated in the “supreme law of the land” and international law.

Argument 3: Conflict of Rights

Whenever rights are limited, the most common and justifiable reason is when the observation of one right infringes on more important rights of others. This idea is consistent with many political philosophies including utilitarianism, libertarianism, and egalitarianism. The most common justification for legalizing abortion by pro-choicers and used by the US Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade is that women have the right to privacy with their own body. [11]

However as established before, the unborn baby is due for protection under the law including the right to life. There are several reasons as to why the right to life is more important than the right to privacy. The right to life is the precedent to the exercise of all other rights. You can’t exercise freedom of speech or freedom of religion if you are dead and that’s the fact. In addition, what makes the right to life different from other rights is the fact that the right to life cannot be reinstated if wrongfully taken away. Privacy can be restored, meanwhile death cannot be reversed.

Even if the right to privacy and bodily autonomy overrides the right to life somehow, in most cases it cannot be used in most cases of abortion. Within the United States about 32,000 pregnancies every year are the result of rape [12], compared with the 6.1 million pregnancies every year [13] which makes up about less than half of a percent. With this data, a huge vast majority of pregnancies are the result of consensual sex. The main issue with the right to bodily autonomy in abortion is that most females waive their right to bodily autonomy by consenting to sex. With many of the sacred rights in the United States, if you consent to giving up your rights the Constitution cannot protect your. If you give a cop without a permit permission to enter your house and he/she finds incriminating evidence to be used at your trial, the 4th Amendment cannot be used to help you. If you sign a nondisclosure agreement giving consent to not say certain things, the 1st Amendment cannot protect you from potential punishments if you break the agreement. With abortion, a woman cannot claim the right to bodily autonomy since she most likely consented to sex. By consenting to sex, a woman is consenting to the possibility that she may face the natural consequence of creating a new human being.

Even in cases of rape, you have the unborn child’s right to life and bodily autonomy against the woman’s right to bodily autonomy. If abortion were to happen, two rights would be violated versus only one right if abortion was banned.

Conclusion:

Human zygotes are living, distinctive human beings under the jurisdiction of the United States and the United Nations. As human beings under such entities, they are entitled to inalienable rights such as the right to life. Since human zygotes are human beings, abortion fits under the USFG law definition of murder and should be banned. Furthermore, the unborn child’s right to life and bodily autonomy outweighs the woman’s singular right to bodily autonomy. Even in most cases of pregnancies, the woman cannot claim the right to bodily autonomy as she has willingly given up that right when she consented to sex.

Sources:

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org...

[2] Langman, Jan. Medical Embryology. 3rd edition. Baltimore: Williams and Wilkins, 1975, p. 3

[3] 189(2543):8–9, 18 March 2006 --- New Scientist

[4] http://www.equip.org...

[5] http://www.archives.gov...

[6] https://www.nccs.net...

[7] https://www.law.cornell.edu...

[8] http://www.ohchr.org...

[9] http://www.constitution.org...

[10] https://www.law.cornell.edu...

[11] http://www.cnn.com...

[12] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...

[13] https://www.guttmacher.org...

Danielle

Con

== Rebuttal ==

1. I accept that the fetus is a human.

2. Human Rights

Pro points out that the right to a person's life is protected under the Constitution. The Constitution has been amended 17 times since its inception and interpreted innumerable times by the Supreme Court, meaning the law as-written is not necessarily the way the law has/ought to remain.

SCOTUS decided in Roe v. Wade that a right to privacy under the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment extended to a woman's decision to have an abortion, but that this right must be balanced against the state's two legitimate interests in regulating abortions: protecting women's health and protecting the potentiality of human life [1]. The government does not disregard the fetuses' rights all-together, but rather establishes criteria for when their right to life trumps the mother's right to privacy and bodily autonomy. The Court decided this right begins with fetal viability - that is when the fetus can live without it's mother's body.

The Supreme Court has ruled many times that people have the right to bodily autonomy and the right to their own person. For example in Cruzan v. Missouri, the Court ruled that people can refuse to seek medical treatment even if it would lead to their death [2]. Indeed we can use our body however we see fit regardless of other people's preferences. If I want to tattoo my body or have a baby, I have that right whether other people believe I should do those things or not.

Pro writes, "Murder is the unlawful killing of a human being with malice aforethought." However compare this to euthanasia which is the practice of intentionally ending a life in order to relieve pain and suffering. Ending a life in and of itself is not necessarily murder, and Pro has not proven as such. Consider why only killing humans is considered murder whereas killing animals does not qualify. This is because animals do not have the level of sentience that humans do. While fetuses have the potential for sentience at some point, until that point, they do not and should not have the same rights as those who have already achieved this criteria.

We do not grant rights based on potential. We do not give 16 year olds the legal right to drink just because they have the potential to turn 21. We base rights as/is, which is why some fetuses have the right to life and some do not. In my contentions, I will be arguing the right to life ought to be based on a level of sentience, even for human beings.

Pro notes, "Whenever rights are limited, the most common and justifiable reason is when the observation of one right infringes on more important rights of others." He posits that the unborn baby is due for protection under the law including the right to life, and that this right is more important than the mother's right to privacy. But indeed the mother's freedom and right to bodily autonomy is what's also in question. Privacy refers to a woman's decision to keep it personal and none of anybody else's concern or opportunity to regulate.

Pro writes that females waive their right to bodily autonomy by consenting to sex. That is manipulative rhetoric. If I consent to sex, it's not consent to aggressive sex or all sexual acts. If I consent to sex and contract an STD, it would be ridiculous to suggest I must be forced to live with this STD forever (or for a certain period of time) against my will. Instead I should be able to treat it however I would like, because it's my body and therefore my choice. If the STD had achieved a level of sentience, that would be different. But until then it would just be an unintended consequence of my actions.

"When women are compelled to carry and bear children, they are subjected to 'involuntary servitude' in violation of the Thirteenth Amendment... Even if the woman has stipulated to have consented to the risk of pregnancy, that does not permit the state to force her to remain pregnant" [2].


== Arguments ==


1. Individuals have the right to bodily autonomy. This means we should be able to make decisions about our own bodies, especially if they affect our health risks. Abortion should be a legal choice for women because it is risky and directly involves their body and health. More than 70,000 girls ages 15-19 die each year from pregnancy and childbirth [3]. No other person has the right to control how we use our bodies, especially as adults, though this inherent right ultimately extends to all fully conscious persons.

2. Other people do not have the moral or legal authority to govern our bodies, even if someone else's life is on the line. For example if someone needs me to donate organs, blood or plasma, I cannot be legally forced to use my body to save their life -- even if it's my fault they need help (say my drunk driving caused a car accident, and their lives are now in danger because of my choices). Women have the right to determine how their bodies are used. There is no other circumstance in which any person's body is forcibly used to keep another human being alive against their will.

3. Criminalization will not stop abortions. So-called "back alley" abortions will still occur that put women at risk. If it does not serve as a meaningful deterrent, criminalization is not effective and does more harm than good. Legal abortions are generally safe and provide women with reproductive choices that do not needlessly make them criminals [4]. Criminals are those who infringe upon other's rights, whereas women who get abortions do not infringe upon an entity that has any legal rights.

4. Women who are raped or victims of incest should not be forced to carry out a pregnancy. These people should not be forced to carry out a pregnancy from such an invasive and traumatic violation. Even if it's a small percentage of pregnant women, the law exists to protect minority populations.

5. The abortion rate is declining while abortion remains legal [5]. You can combat abortion by providing meaningful sex education and access to birth control. This includes contraception that prevents the fertilization of an embryo.

6. Both IVF and abortion involve the destruction of fertilized eggs that could potentially develop into people. However the push to criminalize abortion and not those who need fertility treatment, proves the contention is less about protecting human lives, and more about controlling women's bodies. Indeed most people who are "pro life" do not support legal measures to protect life when it comes to caring for the sick and impoverished who need care in order to survive. And anti-choice organizations have avoided targeting IVF, even as they’ve sought radical restrictions on abortion access. The point here is that protecting every human life does not seem like a serious or consistent contention.

7. Fetuses that aborted still have lived that are used for good. "All embryonic stem cells are undifferentiated cells that are unlike any specific adult cell. However, they have the ability to form any adult cell. Because undifferentiated embryonic stem cells can proliferate indefinitely in culture, they could potentially provide an unlimited source of specific, clinically important adult cells such as bone, muscle, liver or blood cell... Embryonic stem cells are of great interest to medicine and science because of their ability to develop into virtually any other cell made by the human body. In theory, if stem cells can be grown and their development directed in culture, it would be possible to grow cells of medical importance such as bone marrow, neural tissue or muscle" [6]. This can be useful at treating disease and saving other human lives - the lives of those already sentient.

8. Reproductive choice can be the only thing that stands between a woman and poverty or death. While adoption may be a viable option for some, particularly in the U.S., in other parts of the world that is not necessarily the case. However Pro's standard of the right to life means women who are in specific danger due to restricted medical care or resources (especially in Africa and South East Asia) will be forced to birth children, even if it means that they are likely to die and that there babies will die or be uncared for.

9. Fetuses are often terminated before sentience, so they are not very conscious beings. We legally kill living things that are more cognizant, such as pigs that are as sentient as toddlers. Therefore simply being alive (or even being conscious) does not determine the "right to life" in society. Fetuses arguably do not have the right to life, specifically as it pertains to mandating the use of the mother's body to survive. We do not recognize the right to life in other humans such as those in vegetative states, etc.

The reversibly comatose, momentarily unconscious, or people who are asleep are once functioned and/or are currently functioning as sentient beings, even if they are temporary state of non-sentience. The pre-sentient unborn, however, were never sentient and once they qualify as sentient obtain the right to life. It is the capacity to be sentient which provides this distinction. This standard is important and useful because it accounts for the essence of personhood beyond being alive or arbitrary speciesism. Why don't plants have the right to life despite being alive? It's the ability to feel, think, perceive, and be self-aware amongst other things that makes this important moral and legal distinction.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org...
[2] https://en.wikipedia.org...
[3] http://amplifyyourvoice.org...
[4] http://thinkprogress.org...
[5] https://www.guttmacher.org...
[6] http://news.wisc.edu...
Debate Round No. 2
NothingSpecial99

Pro

Violation of debate structure:

Con has violated the debate structure he/she agreed to by accepting this debate challenge. Con uses his/her Round 2 arguments to refute my case in Round 2. However, rebuttals are not until Round 3 which states:

“Pro rebuts Con’s case and vice versa”

I will proceed by refuting the arguments Danielle made in Round 2, but not his/her rebuttals which I will address in Round 4.

Rebuttals:

1. However, the unborn child has equal right to bodily autonomy. As stated in the resolution, if the mother’s life is truly in danger, she should be able to access the proper medical procedure. The main thing wrong with this argument is that Con doesn’t prove that the human rights to life and bodily autonomy require the precedence of consciousness.

2. This argument is flawed because there is a huge distinction between denying treatment and actively killing someone. If you see someone dying and you do not help and as a result they die, the law doesn’t hold you accountable. Meanwhile, if you intentionally shoot a man meaning to kill him or if you order or pay an assassin to do the killing the person for you, then you will be charged with either murder or conspiracy of murder. This argument is also hypocritical as you are arguing for women to have the choice to govern what happens to the unborn child’s body without their consent. Just because zygotes aren’t able to give consent doesn’t mean their bodily rights should be invaded much like how you can’t have sex with an drunk woman who is unable to give consent in US law.

3. Despite what my opponent claims, “back-alley abortions” aren’t a serious problem. Before the Roe vs. Wade case, there were less than 40 recorded deaths from illegal abortions [1]. In fact, before the Supreme Court case, more than 90% of the “illegal” abortions were done by medical professionals with high standing in their fields [2]. If abortion were to become illegal, “back-alley” abortions won’t be much of a problem.

Even if abortion laws do not prevent these “back-alley” abortions, there are still fundamental flaws in this argument. Despite the fact that slavery has been banned in over 167 countries [3] we have the “back-alley” version of slavery known as human trafficking. Today, nearly 21 million people are bought and sold worldwide into commercial sexual servitude, forced labor and bonded labor. Within the United States, the National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline, operated by Polaris, has received reports of 14,588 sex trafficking cases inside the United States [4]. By Con’s logic, we should reinstate slavery as a legal institution which no pro-choice advocate I know advocates for.

4. Although, the female’s right to bodily autonomy was violated in cases of rape and incest, in what way does this justify violating the rights of the unborn to life and bodily autonomy. The unborn itself is not responsible for what happened to the victim. How does infringing another’s rights atone for what the rapist did.

5. This argument is irrelevant to the debate as it is after fertilization when a sperm and an egg become an embryo which you accept is a human being.

6. Again, what you argue is irrelevant to this debate. Just because many people do not follow what you believe to be a consistent pro-life ideology, that does not mean they reflect badly on the ideology itself. Con fails to make a connection why the actions of people should be related to how the pro-life ideology should be judged.

7. You seem to be contradicting yourself. Con states that violating a person’s bodily autonomy has no legal or moral basis yet advocates that the bodily rights of the unborn can be violated if it yields cures to various diseases. However, killing human zygotes isn’t the only way to obtain embryonic stem cells. Japanese scientists were able to reprogram human skin cells to function like embryonic stem cells using gene therapy [5]. With this scientific discovery, stem cell research can commence without the loss of human life.

8. Adoption in the US is completely viable. In adoption, the demand far outweighs the supply of adoptable children. In fact, for every baby placed for adoption, there are 12 to 15 potential adopters who want to adopt that specific child [6]. Con’s argument for what goes on in developing countries are irrelevant to this debate because the resolution relates to the United States.

9. Con disputes the unborn’s right to life and bodily autonomy. He/she does this by pointing to the fact that animals and plants are legally killed. Con however ignores the wording and importance of the documents that define the rights of all humans. The 14th Amendment states:

“nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law”

The 14th Amendment doesn’t grant these rights to animals and plants but persons. The United Nations which the United States agreed to be a part of while also agreeing to uphold the rights that the UN defines, only extends such rights to humans. That is why it is called the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, not the United Nations Declaration of Anything Alive Rights. Whether or not the ideology is grounded in arbitrary speciesism is irrelevant as the United States government decided to be bound by the 14th Amendment and the UNDHR. We the people agreed to uphold these rights for humans only. Unless the UN extends human rights to non-human things or the United States ratifies a Constitutional Amendment to give plants and animals rights, Con’s argument here is proven false.

Sources:

[1] http://www.cdc.gov...

[2] Mary Calderone, “Illegal Abortion as a Public Health Problem,” American Journal of Health 50 (July I960): 949.

[3] http://www.huffingtonpost.ca...

[4] http://polarisproject.org...

[5] http://genetics.thetech.org...

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

Danielle

Con

I would like to sincerely apologize to my opponent for not following the structure he outlined.

I will respond only to the rebuttals he made last round.

1. My first argument was that individuals have the right to bodily autonomy. Pro counters that fetuses have that right as well; however, that is a bare assertion since I am specifically arguing that they do not. Indeed when the right to life begins will be discussed at length in this debate. I went on to explain that abortion should be a legal choice for women because it is risky and directly involves their body and health. Pro says that in the case of a mother's danger, abortion should be allowed, though my point was that the possibility of risk in and of itself is why a woman has the right to choose if she wants to accept the potential risk.

Furthermore, while Pro does disagree with me on when the right to life (and bodily autonomy) begins for the fetus, he does not deny that the woman has bodily autonomy without question. Therefore, her rights are absolute. If a fetus can live outside the womb, perhaps it should have that right. However when a woman's body MUST be utilized for any reason, her consent is mandatory in order to be consistent with the right to bodily autonomy, which Pro does not deny exists.

Until a fetus is viable to live on its own, its alleged right to life does not trump the mother's right to bodily autonomy.

2. I argued that other people do not have the moral or legal authority to govern our bodies, even if someone else's life is on the line. For example if someone needs me to donate organs, blood or plasma, I cannot be legally forced to use my body to save their life -- even if it's my fault they need help. Pro responded that there is a big distinction between not helping and actively killing someone. However I specifically pointed out that the law does not force us to help keep others alive, even if it is our fault they are in danger (much like a fetus).

Our bodies cannot be impeded upon. If the law does not legally permit us to sell our own organs, the law cannot claim to have more control over how our bodies are used than we do. That is a gross exaggeration of government rights. People are not property; we cannot legally or morally be bought and sold or forced to do things against our will. That is called slavery. Again Pro does not deny that people (mothers) have rights. So Pro must not only prove that fetuses have the right to life, but that this right means they can violate other people's bodies (against their will) in order to keep living.

Pro says, "Just because zygotes aren"t able to give consent doesn't mean their bodily rights should be invaded, much like how you can't have sex with an drunk woman who is unable to give consent in US law." This is a fallacious analogy as we have already established that zygotes do not necessarily have rights.

3. Pro claims that "back alley abortions" aren't a problem because there were only 40 recorded deaths from illegal abortion procedures. There are so many problems with these statistics and arguments. First, noting that only 40 women died completely ignores my argument. My point was that back alley abortions will still occur, thus criminalization does not serve as an effective deterrent. My opponent completely dropped this argument. Abortion was made illegal in the U.S. in 1800. Throughout the next 173 years until abortion became legal, the same number of women each year (over 1 million in some years) continued to seek abortions out, illegally [1]. Thus extend my argument about criminalization and making (caught) women criminals completely unnecessarily and unjustifiably; they have not harmed any human being with rights.

Second, the reason there have been few deaths from illegal abortions is because abortion is available thanks to abortion doctors and people willing to do the procedure. Pro's argument is that back alley abortions wouldn't be a problem, because "before the Supreme Court case, more than 90% of the illegal abortions were done by medical professionals with high standing in their fields. [So] If abortion were to become illegal, back-alley abortions won"t be much of a problem." So he's saying that medical professionals are (thankfully) willing to perform the procedure, instead of having some hack do it. But what's the problem with having some hack do, it, Pro? My point is that we need to keep abortion providers trained and have a safe doctor to work with -- apparently my opponent agrees.

In fact, a total of around 40 million abortions occur both legally and illegally around the globe each year. Around the world around 19 million back alley abortions are still performed on an annual basis. Most of these occur in developing countries in Asia or Africa [1]. About one in eight pregnancy-related deaths worldwide is associated with unsafe abortion [2]. Nearly half of all abortions worldwide are unsafe, and it's the leading cause of maternal mortality [3].

I'm also challenging Pro's sources. Estimates of the number of illegal abortions in the United States during the 1950s and 1960s range from 200,000 to 1.2 million per year. Prior to Roe v. Wade, as many as 5,000 American women died annually as a direct result of unsafe abortions [3].

Essentially there is no way Pro can argue that back alley abortions aren't unsafe or problematic. The fact is that when legal and safe abortions aren't available, both the fetus and women die. Pro fallaciously equivocates legalizing abortion with legalizing slavery. However my argument isn't that we should make abortion legal simply because people will do it anyway; it's that it makes no sense whatsoever to make women criminals for 1) not violating another person's rights and 2) because forcing unsafe abortion kills both fetus and woman, making it a nonsensical standard.

4. Rape has been used as a weapon of psychological warfare for centuries, to terrorize, humiliate, and undermine the morale of the victim. It's a violent degradation and violation of rights. For a mother who raises a rape-conceived child, both the traumatic effect of the rape and the child's blood relationship to the rapist can create significant psychological problems for both mother and child. If a woman decides to keep and raise the child, she may have difficulty accepting it, and both mother and child face ostracism in some societies [4]. Mothers may also face legal difficulties. In most US states, the rapist maintains parental rights. Research by legal scholar Shauna Prewitt indicates that the resulting continued contact with the rapist is damaging for women who keep the child -- which is possible because 31 states in the U.S. allow rapists to assert custody and visitation rights over children conceived through rape [5].

6. Both IVF and abortion involve the destruction of fertilized eggs that could potentially develop into people. However the push to criminalize abortion and not those who need fertility treatment, proves the contention is less about protecting human lives, and more about controlling women's bodies. Pro says, "Just because many people do not follow what you believe to be a consistent pro-life ideology, that does not mean they reflect badly on the ideology itself." But indeed protecting every human life does not seem like a serious or consistent contention. If so-called "pro lifers" don't care about destroying eggs in one instance "because they have legal rights," why not in ALL instances? Of course this is relevant.

7. I pointed out that aborted fetuses do serve a functional and moral purpose in society. Their stem cells can be useful at treating disease and saving other human lives - the lives of those already sentient. Pro says non fetus stem cells exist but that's irrelevant. That doesn't mean fetus stem cells aren't exceptionally helpful and useful for specific functions which Pro does not deny.

8. By saying the right to life doesn't apply to babies outside of the U.S. (implying only American fetuses are relevant) my opponent is discrediting the argument that all fetuses have the right to life. Indeed the right to life trumps national borders. If Pro is saying abortion is permissible in places where adoption isn't a realistic option, he's saying pragmatic arguments trump the "right to life" argument. Throughout this debate I've been arguing that it's more pragmatic to keep abortion legal as well as moral (because fetuses do not have the right to life).

9. Pro invokes the 14th Amendment and United Nations to justify the fetus' right to life, which is a fallacious appeal to tradition and appeal to authority. Neither one of these documents ever extends these rights to fetuses or all humans, specifically. In the last round, I explained at length why a particular level of sentience (and capacity for sentience) should be the standard for legal personhood. However Pro simply recited the 14th amendment granting rights based on personhood. He has NOT proven that human fetuses qualify as "people" with human rights. I have argued that they do not qualify as people with human rights just because they are both living and human. Simply being alive (or even being conscious) does not determine the "right to life" in society. This standard of sentience is important and useful because it accounts for the essence of personhood beyond being alive or arbitrary speciesism.

[1] http://healthresearchfunding.org...
[2] https://books.google.com...
[3] http://www.ourbodiesourselves.org...
[4] http://www.slate.com...
[5] http://georgetownlawjournal.org...
Debate Round No. 3
NothingSpecial99

Pro

Debate Structure:


Here is what has happened in this debate:


Both Pro and Con presented their cases

Both Pro and Con refuted each other's cases

Both Pro and Con offered counter rebuttals as of the posting of this argument


As of now, the debate is balanced in terms of who did what. To maintain this balance, I ask that Con waives his/her 4th round argument. If Con agrees to waive his/her fourth round, I ask the voters to not penalize Danielle for not initially following the structure of the debate.


Now, on to counter rebuttals…………….


Human Rights:


Con asserts that because the US Constitution has been amended numerous times throughout history, the legitimacy of the right to life should be put into question. However, under this same logic, one could also question the legitimacy of the right to privacy for the mother in question too. The best we can do is look at how the text stands today. Con has ignored how the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” are an integrated part of US law as part of the Organic Laws along with the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights that also grant such rights.


The SCOTUS decision is flawed for multiple reasons. One being that there is no Constitutional, legal, or scientific basis for the fetus to obtain the “unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” [1] Meanwhile Con hasn’t disputed the legal authority of the Declaration of Independence or the authority of the UNDHR.


Con then goes to establish how the woman has the right to bodily autonomy which I accept. However, as I established in my original argument. The fetus has equal access to such rights. The Declaration of Independence declares that the right to life is inalienable, the Common Law when the Constitution was drafted made no distinction between a “person” and a human being in the sense that by definition, a person was a human being. The UNDHR which the US agreed to abide declares in Article Six that everyone has the right to be recognized as persons before law. All universally agree that the documents given legal authority by “We The People” that all human beings are entitled to rights.


Con brings up euthanasia to refute the murder law argument. However, with euthanasia at least in the United States, consent has to be given by the patient in question before such can proceed [2]. With consent, the patient is giving up his/her legal rights. What makes abortion different is that the fetus is unable to give consent. In cases of rape, a person who is unable to give consent who had sex with a partner would be defined as rape.


Consent to sex is consent to pregnancy as it is a basic biological fact. Biologically, sex was designed as a mechanism to procreate. Con then makes a false argument with the 13th Amendment. However, the Supreme Court has upheld the use of the draft by the US government to use able bodied men to fight wars even if the the man does not want to carry out service [3]. This is also an incorrect use of the 13th Amendment as the original intent was to abolish slavery as a practice as established in Butler vs. Perry.



I would like to thank Danielle for this debate.

Vote Pro

Sources:

[1] US Declaration of Independance

[2] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...

[3] http://uscivilliberties.org...

Danielle

Con

I'd like to thank my opponent for a great debate.

He asks that I not make any arguments, so I will simply respond to his contention and conclude.


Re: Human Rights

Pro writes, "The best we can do is look at how the text stands today." A few sentences later, he criticizes the law's decision for validating abortion through Roe v. Wade. He goes on to explain why the SCOTUS decision is flawed, directly after telling us that we must accept the laws/document as written.

As it stands, the Constitution does not protect the unborn, but rather persons BORN in the United States of America; you must be born to obtain citizenship [1]. Neither the laws nor the documents call for fetuses to have the right to life. The only qualifier for U.S. citizenship rights is, in fact, being born in the U.S.

Pro says, "The Declaration of Independence declares that the right to life is inalienable," and contests this extends to all persons. He also says the U.S. has accepted the UNDHR's 6th article: everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law. However one could use the law to argue that legalized abortion is a woman's right. Forcing a woman to undergo a life-threatening unsafe abortion threatens her right to life.

"Most recently, the European Court of Human Rights, in the case Vo v. France, ruled that 'it is neither desirable, nor even possible as matters stand, to answer in the abstract the question whether the unborn child is a person for the purpose of Article 2 of the Convention…' (providing that '[e]veryone’s right to life shall be protected by law'). The court therefore refused to adopt a ruling that would have called into question the validity of laws permitting abortion in 39 member states of the Council of Europe" [2].

Women have a right to health. Safe and legal abortion protect women's health. Several UN human rights bodies have recognized the harmful impact of restrictive abortion laws on women’s health, and have consistently raised general concerns about the inaccessibility of safe abortion services [3]. Restricting abortion denies women access to a procedure that may be necessary for their health. Only women must live with the physical consequences of unwanted pregnancy. Some women suffer maternity-related injuries, such as hemorrhage or obstructed labor.

Forcing women to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term causes physical and mental suffering [4]. International law recognizes that women have a right to be free from cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment including mental suffering. As a result of restrictive abortion laws, many women experiencing complications of pregnancy and needing therapeutic abortion are forced to suffer from painful, frightening and life threatening conditions.

The bottom line is this: my opponent tries to use the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights in his favor, but the UNDHR overwhelmingly favors pro-choice legislation. In a newly released report from United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, the conclusion is clear - reproductive rights are crucial to achieving gender equality worldwide. To uphold the rights of women and achieve gender equality worldwide, Ban states U.N. members must "realize women’s reproductive health and rights" [5]. Ergo Pro's standard can be used against him.

Finally on this point, Pro says that "Consent to sex is consent to pregnancy as it is a basic biological fact." I have explicitly negated this. I repeat: If I consent to sex, it's not consent to aggressive sex or all sexual acts. If I consent to sex and contract an STD, it would be ridiculous to suggest I must be forced to live with this STD forever (or for a certain period of time) against my will. Instead I should be able to treat it however I would like, because it's my body and therefore my choice. If the STD had achieved a level of sentience, that would be different. But until then it would just be an unintended consequence of my actions. Just because we accept the risk doesn't mean we have to live with the risk.

==

Throughout this debate, my opponent has not denied that pregnant women have rights. Instead he's argued that fetuses also have rights.

1. I have explained why that is morally not the case (lack of sentience).
2. I have explained why legally that is not the case, domestically or internationally (U.N.)
3. I have explained that even if we accept a fetus has rights, they don't trump the mother's rights.

3A. The mother has the right to privacy and bodily autonomy; if fetuses can live outside of her body on their own, fine. If not, they do not have the right to put her body in jeopardy and use someone else's body.

3B. We don't force people to use their bodies to sustain other people's life, even if it is their "fault" the other person needs help. And Pro hasn't proven that fetuses undoubtedly qualify as people (only humans).

==

I'm honestly not sure if based on the debate structure, I am allowed to re-cap my arguments. Therefore I would like to ask the audience to please refer back to Round 2 in particular. That's where I made 9 points in my favor on why abortion ought to remain legal. Please extend those points.


[1] https://www.uscis.gov...
[2] https://www.law.georgetown.edu...
[3] See, e.g., Human Rights Committee, Concluding Observations: Mali, para 14., U.N. Doc. CCPR/CO/77/MLI (2003); Human Rights Committee, Concluding Observations: Poland, para. 11, U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/79/Add.110 (1999); CAT Committee, Concluding Observations: Chile, para. 7(m), U.N. Doc. CAT/ CR/32/5 (2004).
[4] Human Rights Committee, General Comment No. 20: Replaces general comment 7 concerning prohibition of torture and cruel treatment or punishment (Art. 7), (44th Sess., 1992), ch. II, para. 5 at 200, U.N. Doc. HRI/GEN/1/Rev.9 (Vol. I) (2008).
[5] http://www.bustle.com...
Debate Round No. 4
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by Ragnar 8 months ago
Ragnar
@Jerry
Let me guess, you read this debate with strong feelings on the topic, and are glad you could voice them in a vote?
Posted by Jerry947 8 months ago
Jerry947
The fact that anyone thinks that Con won this is ridiculous.
Posted by tejretics 8 months ago
tejretics
Pro's offense all hinges on the notion that the fetus has a right to life which trumps a right to autonomy. This link fails because (a) Con shows that a ban on abortion would be meaningless in practice since the availability of abortion doctors (which Pro concedes) means there won't be a reduction in abortions after a ban, and (b) Pro's citing various already-existent laws isn't sufficient because that's merely an appeal to what is, not what ought to be; Con shows that fetuses cannot perceive harm, so don't merit rights. To the extent that constitutional rights apply, Con points out that the SC is the only authority that can interpret the constitution.

Con wins on bodily autonomy alone lacking a proper FW that allows a right to life for the fetus, and also wins that psychological harms are caused to women who are denied abortions, keeping the child following rape causes severe harms, and that research from aborted embryos save lives - concerns that trump a fetus's RTL. Pro doesn't respond to mental suffering or rape, and the response to research is only that there are alternatives (which doesn't touch upon issues like accessibility). Vote goes Con. Feel free to ask questions - I'm willing to clarify this RFD.
Posted by Ragnar 8 months ago
Ragnar
@Wylted
That is an option I do like in the 7point system, to which the Select Winner has no means to incorporate. Granted some conduct violations are bad enough to make me discount their arguments (such as plagiarism).
Posted by Wylted 8 months ago
Wylted
Honestly it may not seem right but sometimes I intentionally sacrifice a conduct point to gain an advantage. That is probably not what happened here, but I would do it if I felt it helped me win. Sacrifice one point for 3 is a no brainer.
Posted by NothingSpecial99 8 months ago
NothingSpecial99
If you are reading this Danielle, we can work together to alter the debate structure and ensure you don't lose conduct points in this debate
Posted by NothingSpecial99 9 months ago
NothingSpecial99
Danielle, you have violated the debate structure. Rebuttals aren't due until Round 3.

"Round 3: Pro rebuts Con's case and vice versa"
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by Jerry947 8 months ago
Jerry947
NothingSpecial99DanielleTied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro won this hands down. See link for RFD... http://www.debate.org/forums/miscellaneous/topic/88662/
Vote Placed by tejretics 8 months ago
tejretics
NothingSpecial99DanielleTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments
Vote Placed by missbailey8 8 months ago
missbailey8
NothingSpecial99DanielleTied
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: http://www.debate.org/forums/debate.org/topic/88348/