The Instigator
Oishya
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
Strangelove
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

The fetus is not worthy of legal protection

Do you like this debate?NoYes+0
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 0 votes the winner is...
It's a Tie!
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/5/2013 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 540 times Debate No: 32147
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (2)
Votes (0)

 

Oishya

Pro

I am hoping this argument can be with a particular user on 4chan...please don't enter unless you are that person. ...yea...you...from /lit/....
Strangelove

Con

Preface:
(First off, I want to say that I'm arguing a devil's advocate position [pro bono!] as I believe that abortion is morally and legally correct in the vast majority of cases. I'll not go the easy route of debating from a religious position, to make it more interesting. Making a purely legal case about the legality or illegality of abortion, however, eventually requires the intense study of particular U.S. court cases which I'll get into only if the argument strays that way. I believe this debate should focus on whether abortion is a moral action or not, and, subsequently, should be declared legal or illegal as a result. That said, let's get into it.)

Argument 1:

One does not have to be widely-read or even well-educated in order to understand that abortion is immoral. All of us, even the so-called "pro-choice" advocates, know that at some point in fetal development what once was a cell becomes a human being and is endowed with basic human rights. For example, it is illegal in all U.S. states to perform an abortion after the onset of the third trimester.

So the argument is transformed: at what point does the fetus become a mere coupling of cells become human? At what point is it objectively morally reprehensible to commit an abortion?

My position is that from the moment fetal brain waves are detectable the human being is formed in every meaningful way. All abortion past this point is morally reprehensible and should be illegal. The first sign of detectable brainwaves occurs from 6 to 8 weeks into the pregnancy. Spiritual explanations aside, the brain is the center of what makes us human beings unique. From consciousness, to knowledge and memory, everything that makes us different from every animal on earth develops during this time period. Once an abortion is performed after this point, everything that makes a human life meaningful is snuffed out along with it. Once you kill the thought process, no matter how crude, one commits an act that is inherently immoral.

Another argument against the entire process is as follows: the fetus has a fully genetic makeup that allows the formation of a living, breathing human being. By stopping the process, one effectively kills the potential for human life. In the same way that murder is wrong because it ends the potential for human experience (living a life, having children, going to the movies, etc.) abortion is, in fact, much worse because one does not even experience birth in addition to the infinite possibility of human interaction. Imagine how many people would have enjoyed or benefited from the presence of this unborn human. Imagine the sheer possibility for interaction that is shut off because the mother feels at the time that she doesn't want the child.

Finally, abortion is morally wrong because there now exists, in modern society, multiple ways in which said baby can be taken care of without the mother's continual oversight, thus making abortion an needlessly cruel option. Adoption agencies across the U.S. serve as a viable alternative for abortion, leaving the argument that the mother cannot handle raising a child in the dust.

I feel like I must address a few other issues: in the case where the mother's life is threatened by the birth of a child, then an abortion may very well be necessary. One should not be forced to have to risk ones own life for the sake of another. In addition, contraception and other methods to prevent pregnancy are also acceptable and prevent needless abortions from taking place. My focus in this argument is not enforcing rules on sexuality, but advocating for the life of unborn children.

Even with all this in mind, however, abortion (in the vast majority of cases) is a reprehensible moral action. The fetus, past the development of brain activity, deserves the right to think. It deserves the utmost legal protection.

The main source of the claims about fetal brain-wave development, along with other aspects of the second point comes from "Ethics: Theory and Contemporary Issues" by Barbra Mackinnon.
Debate Round No. 1
Oishya

Pro

First off I'd like to apologize for how belated my response is. I hope you haven't been bent over your keyboard, fingers tensed and ready to strike, just waiting for my arguments.

I am pleased you have chosen to sidestep the legality issue as the moral question is indeed hefty enough on its own to fill, as it has, bookshelves full of arguments. I will try and address your arguments one by one, in a very contrarian manner, and then present my own. To be open and honest I think both sides of the argument have their flaws an I will be trying to present a morally coherent argument... hopefully you will see what i mean.

First off I want to point out that your original premise is flawed. First you say we will be putting the legal question to one side and concentrating on the moral question to try and derive what the law should be from that, but then you say "...it is illegal in all U.S. states to perform an abortion after the onset of the third trimester. So the argument is transformed: at what point does the fetus become a mere coupling of cells become human? At what point is it objectively morally reprehensible to commit an abortion?" This presume the law approximates morality, and since it is the basis for your questioning of the ethics of abortion, you have accidentally undermined yourself right away. The only argument that can be made for "The law approximating morality" is either ad populum (since we live in a democracy) or an appeal to authority.

An argument you put forward, and one that is widely held in too high esteem, I believe, is "My position is that from the moment fetal brain waves are detectable the human being is formed in every meaningful way. All abortion past this point is morally reprehensible." However this seems to me to be as arbitrary as the birth in defining a human being. First off, the obvious objection is that the fetus is not developed mentally anywhere near where it will be at birth, and thus is quite literally sub-human. We do not grant chickens the same rights even though their mental capacity far exceeds the fetuses, when its brain is first forming.

I foresee an objection, which brings me to my next point. "By stopping the process (pregnancy), one effectively kills the potential for human life," and thus we are forced to "Imagine how many people would have enjoyed or benefited from the presence of this unborn human. Imagine the sheer possibility for interaction that is shut off because the mother feels at the time that she doesn't want the child." An argument from chaos theory will quickly show that we are probably stopping potential human beings from existing all the time, inadvertently. Furthermore, we have never been in the habit of granting rights based off future possibilities. Children do not get to write prescriptions because we think they will become doctors nor do we want children buying houses. "But," you may object, "the certainty that this fetus will become a child, and the importance of the outcome are what matter." However, if the fetus was fostered in the womb of a reluctant mother I am not sure society would want that child to be born.

Which of course brings me to your final point, basically: Why not just adoption? I think this is one of the more callous arguments that can be made. This is straight from the wikipedia on Foster Care:

-One of every 10 foster children stays in foster care longer than seven years, and each year about 15,000 reach the age of majority and leave foster care without a permanent family"many to join the ranks of the homeless or to commit crimes and be imprisoned

-Three out of 10 of the United States homeless are former foster children. According to the results of the Casey Family Study of Foster Care Alumni, up to 80 percent are doing poorly"with a quarter to a third of former foster children at or below the poverty line, three times the national poverty rate.

"Devil's advocate", indeed, opponent (No personal offense intended, since you are here for the sake of argument, and I applaud that). If you were to see all the horrors of the foster care system, plus what would it would be like if fetuses that would have been aborted were tossed in, I fear your shoes would get soggy with your own tears.

My argument, I hope, is something of a unique contribution, or at minimum a less heard one. A human life, I do not believe, has an innate value. Our value comes, not from our contribution to society, but from the value we have put upon us. For example a child is a precious thing indeed as its parents love for it have no bounds, and thus society should treat it as such. However, an unwanted fetus is near valueless. An interesting example for this model is a homeless man with no acquaintances. It may seem as if I am cruelly saying he has no worth, however, as long as he values himself, his own being, than he too has value and therefore rights. Again, the unwanted fetus does not fit this pre-requisite. Human beings are to be caring, and cared-about if we are to put any value on their lives, and a fetus does not do either.

I look forward to having to defend my position, as I have never formally debated it with someone. I am glad I do not find myself arguing against a religious nutter, and I am looking forward to my opponents response.

Also, sorry i have no real sources except the Wikipedia... One of my arguments (children aren't doctors) I believe is from a textbook called Contemporary Moral Problems... not sure..
Strangelove

Con

Strangelove forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
Oishya

Pro

I won't post an argument here. I hope you can return to the debate before your next turn is forfeited.

Also, I recognize that i posted a complex philosophy at the end of my last argument. I do not expect you to debate my own moral philosophy (though you certainly can if you want). I was hoping you would at least address my objections to your previous arguments.

So far this has been a well reasoned debate, and I hope you can find the time to continue it.
Strangelove

Con

Strangelove forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
Oishya

Pro

Oishya forfeited this round.
Strangelove

Con

Strangelove forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
Oishya

Pro

Oishya forfeited this round.
Strangelove

Con

Strangelove forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by Oishya 4 years ago
Oishya
That is fine. Very strange that you didn't get the email. Waste of a round...
Posted by Strangelove 4 years ago
Strangelove
I don't know what it was, but I didn't get the e-mail saying it was my turn to respond. Oh well. I just assumed you left. I'll have the argument by tomorrow.
No votes have been placed for this debate.