The Instigator
dollydo
Pro (for)
Losing
5 Points
The Contender
J.Kenyon
Con (against)
Winning
94 Points

Woman's Choice to "House" her Unborn.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/5/2010 Category: Health
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 13,657 times Debate No: 11049
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (299)
Votes (16)

 

dollydo

Pro

A woman's body is her own. Yes, there are times that her body has and can be used as a means to an end, but it should be her ultimate choice to decide whether or not that "means to an end" be the use of her body to produce a child. In China, for example, with the population rates soaring, the One Child Policy enforced laws that prevented women from having more than one child per family. Women that were expectant with their second child were forced into abortions or in some instances made to pay large fines. The One Child Policy also has created a preference towards boys because boys could take care and provide for their parents in old age, more so than the girls. This is the normal attitude especially throughout the rural areas, where boys are needed to work in the fields. Thousands of first born girls were killed by their parents so that they could get another chance to have a boy. Thousands of women were forced into assisted abortions. Thousands of other children were taken from their families and put into orphanages, where they suffered under terrible conditions. Another example, is female genital mutilation (also known as FGM). FGM is practiced, still today, in 28 countries worldwide. This practice is the removal of a woman's clitoris to prevent her from being promiscuous, and also is a symbol in many African countries of a girls progression from childhood into womanhood. This ritual is performed on girls of all ages, by the local witch doctor, and can have some devastating affects on these young women. Women who have had this procedure experience pain, bleeding, and scarring of the genital region. In later years women experience discomfort during intercourse, difficulties during labour, and in some situations death. This is all made possible because the government and/or society has put control on a woman's rights and/or choice to reproduce, and also have enforced laws that are against a woman's basic human rights, which are the rights to her own body. I am grateful to live in a country where these basic human rights are protected by the Constitution. And after the Roe v. Wade case the courts deemed that the Constitutions Rights to Privacy Act encompassed a woman's rights to abortion. I don't necessarily agree with the ethics of abortion, but I do agree in the protection of women's rights to their own bodies(including their reproductive organs).

How then can the government and/or society force a woman to have a child? If an expecting mother didn't want her unborn child she could inflict pain and/or harm to her womb, resulting in a miscarriage, she could starve herself, flee to the black market and have the surgery done illegally by a butcher, commit suicide, etc. No person, or persons, not even the law, can stop her from performing any one of these acts mentioned above. Most women can hide their pregnancies up until about the 3rd trimester by wearing loose clothing, staying at home, not telling anyone, when asked women can lie about their condition, etc. How then can the government and/or society enforce women to have children, when the fetus is unknown? The only way the government and/or society can force a woman to carry a fetus to full term is through drastic measures that would be unconstitutional and against women's basic human rights. Therefore it is a woman's choice to "house" her unborn. And no person, persons, or even the law can prevent her from going to any extreme to terminate her unborn. What then is our duty in protecting the mother? Abortions are made necessary because it allows women to be in a safe, clean, professional environment without putting the women's health or life in jeopardy. Without abortions being performed some women would lose their lives trying to self-abort, and many others would wind up being hospitalized, where doctors would have to perform the abortions anyway because of the damage the women self-inflicted.

It is true that we have placed value on life. But it is also true that not all life is valued the same. Human life is valued above all other life forms. All other animals (sentient beings) are valued above other life. Plant life is not given much moral consideration, only when it directly relates in aiding our own species. What value then have we placed on unborn human life? Should unborn life be taken into moral consideration? And why? Let's not argue that life begins at the moment of conception, for it is obviously clear. Or even argue the point of "person hood". Let's say, life and person hood begin at the moment of conception. We have already established that not all life is equal, and that some life is valued more than other life. Some life can be sacrificed, like the cow that sacrifices its life to be served at the dinner table. Or the life that can be sacrificed when you have to make a choice. Like, an expecting mother who will risk her health or life if she goes through with the labour process. Who then decides who lives or dies? Why is the mother saved and the child not? Saving the mother's life (who would have naturally died in the process) and intentionally killing an unborn child seems absurd if you want to argue the value of life. Both should have the right to life; both should should be taken into consideration; both deserve happiness. Why then is a choice made between the two? In instances of rape and/or molestation women were never given a choice of whether or not they wanted to use their bodies to "house" an unborn child. But it is ultimately their choice to host a child for 9 months, or even raise and nurture the child after birth. Some Pro Lifers agree that in instances of rape and/or molestation abortion is sometimes necessary. I am confused with Pro Lifers that have this view. How can the unborn life in a rape and/or molestation case be valued less than the life of another unborn? Both unborn life should have equal rights to life, unless of course we have come to determine that some life is valued more than other life.

Consider this scenario if abortions were illegal: A young, sexually active girl becomes pregnant with child. After her first missed period she confronts her mother with her situation. She tells her mother that, she is scared and she doesn't know where the father is; she is afraid of how this will affect her schooling; or her future down the road. She is terrified of the labour process, and she is just not ready to take on the role of a mother so soon. Her mother responds that she could give the child up for adoption; or the family will help raise the child. She has options, and that everything will be okay. A few months pass and the young girl's belly begins to show. Panic sets in, and the young girl decides to take matters into her own hands. In her bathroom she decides to self-abort. Soon the mother arrives home to find her daughter laying on the bathroom floor, unconscious in a pool of her own blood. Medics arrive on the scene and try to revive the young girl, but it is too late. She dies and so does the child she is carrying.

This graphic story is the reason why I believe abortions are necessary. If one life could have been saved, that counts for something. It is our moral responsibility to protect human life. And in these situations the mothers life should be valued more than the life of her fetus. Also because these situations can not be prevented ,it is our duty then to provide clean, safe, and professional environments where abortions can be performed. I would personally not have an abortion, but that is the choice I have made. Every women is different and each have their own unique and individual reasons for proceeding through with an abortion (like rape victims). Women who have abortions suffer from sadness, depression, guilt, anger, and some may not even be able to conceive in the future because of the procedure. In my opinion, these are the consequences for their actions. What other consequences would Pro Lifers like to see the mother suffer?
J.Kenyon

Con

===> INTRO <===

The sole legitimate purpose of government is to prevent and punish acts of violence initiated by one person against another. This stems from the deontological non-aggression axiom. Simply stated, it should be legal for anyone to do anything he wants, so long as he does not threaten or initiate violence against another person or their rightfully owned property.[1]

The 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution states that "no person shall be deprived of LIFE, liberty, or property, without due process of law." My opponent has conceded the crucial point that life begins at conception. If this is true, unborn child is entitled to such 14th Amendment protection.[2] The killing of an unborn child through abortion is morally equivalent to murder. As such, I hold that it is prima facie, deontologically wrong. It is a criminal act of aggression that ought to be punished by law.

Before moving on to the body of the case, I will address my opponent's seriously misguided attempt at a legal defense of abortion. The "right to privacy" that Roe applied to the abortion issue is nonexistent in the constitution. It is a construct derived from the "emanations of the penumbra" of the 9th Amendment by the activist majority in Connecticut v. Griswold (1965).[3] In any case, even assuming such a "right to privacy" exists, it is hardly justification for infanticide, assuming (as my opponent has admitted), that the unborn child is a human life. Such a right to privacy could be used to justify virtually anything, so long as it is done in privacy.[4]

===> AFFIRMATIVE ARGUMENTS <===

PRO has laid out a largely consequentialist argument for abortion. As the affirmative, in order for her to win the debate, she will have to win a majority of these points AND refute my legal arguments for criminalization.

----> "[N]o person, persons, or even the law can prevent her from going to any extreme to terminate her unborn."

This could be said of virtually any violent crime; is not in any way unique to the abortion issue. Moreover, enforcement problems do not negate the moral imperative to outlaw murder.

Furthermore, to assume that overturning the Roe decision would not result in ANY reduction in abortion rates is naive and wholly unfounded. Statistics from the pre-Roe era show an average of 98,000 abortions performed each year, compared to the 1.3 MILLION abortions performed each year since.[5] That's an increase of over 1,000%. The clear majority of Americans are law-abiding citizens who would obey measures to criminalize abortion.

----> "Without abortions being performed some women would lose their lives trying to self-abort, and many others would wind up being hospitalized."

This is a baseless assertion. Prior to Roe, 90 percent of illegal abortions were done by physicians, with the remainder being done by nurses or midwives. The term "back alley" abortion refers not to where abortions were performed, but to how women were supposed to enter the doctor's office.[6]

Additionally, the widespread availability of abortion procedures and subsequent increase in total abortions have lead to FAR more maternal deaths than ever occurred in the pre-Roe era. In 1972, there were only 32 deaths related to illegal abortion. Today, several times more women die from LEGAL abortions than they did previously.[6]

----> "It is true that we have placed value on life. But it is also true that not all life is valued the same."

This reminds me of the famously chilling line from Animal Farm: "All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others."

I want to first point out that the 14th Amendment plainly sets out that no state shall "deny to any person within its jurisdiction the EQUAL PROTECTION of the laws."[7]

Second, the worth of a human being is NOT dependent on whether or not others think his life is valuable. Blacks, Indians, Jews, and women have all in the past had their lives declared unmeaningful. Those in power have decided that their own economic, political, or personal goals are more important than the lives of others. Randy Alcorn writes: "Personhood is not something to be bestowed on living human beings, large or small, by an intellectual elite with vested interests in ridding society of undesirables. Personhood has an inherent value--a value that comes from being a member of the human race"[9]

----> "[T]he mother arrives home to find her daughter laying (sic) on the bathroom floor, unconscious in a pool of her own blood."

This is an example of scare tactics and pure emotional appeal. I have already shown that maternal death rates were LOWER when abortion was illegal. Additionally, I can just as easily counter with my own deeply disturbing story about abortion, which, unlike my opponent's, has the virtue of being TRUE.

From "The Revolution: A Manifesto" by Ron Paul. The following is an experience from his residency at the University of Pittsburgh.

"Residents were encouraged to visit various operating rooms in order to observe the procedures that were being done. One day, I walked into an operating room without knowing what I was walking into, and the doctors were in the middle of performing…an abortion by hysterectomy. The woman was probably six months along in her pregnancy, and the child she was carrying weighed over two pounds. They went ahead with the delivery and put the baby in a bucket in the corner of the room. The baby tried to breathe, and tried to cry, and everyone in the room pretended the baby wasn't there. I was deeply shaken."[8]

----> Mother's Life is threatened/Rape/Incest

Hard cases such as these account for less than 3% of all total abortions.[12] At best, PRO might make a case for certain exceptions to abortion laws.

===> THE NEGATIVE CASE <===

As PRO has stated, women who have abortions suffer serious consequences, including, but not limited to, sadness, depression, guilt, anger, infertility, and even death. In addition to those mentioned, there are plenty of utilitarian arguments against abortion.

For example, while it is often claimed that abortion saves would-be mothers from a life of poverty, there is significant evidence that the opposite is true. "Women repeating abortion have…been found to have lower net household income and poorer level of housing conditions, compared with women aborting for the first time. Many women report first using drugs or alcohol in an attempt to overcome nightmares or insomnia in response to the abortion experience. It is clear that as women repeat abortion there is increasing evidence of personal, social and health deterioration. Women are in less stable social situations and are more likely to be divorced as abortion is repeated, which is associated with greater levels of family poverty for women. The repeated utilization of abortion appears to lead not to economic prosperity or social well-being for many women, but to an increasing ‘feminization of poverty.'"[10]

In today's society, pregnancy can be easily avoided through proper condom usage, birth control pills, emergency contraceptives, IUDs, etc. In the rare cases where precautions fail, adoption is a far superior alternative. 1.3 MILLION couples are currently waiting to adopt a child while 1.3 million children are being killed each year by abortion, and less than 50,000 are put up for adoption. For every child put up for adoption, 30 are killed. For every couple that adopts, another 40 wait in line.[11]

----> Conclusion:

I agree with PRO that each individual has a right to their own body. To that end, it is unethical to violate the CHILD's right to self ownership. PRO states that: "If one life could have been saved, that counts for something. It is our moral responsibility to protect human life." Again, I wholeheartedly agree. I have conclusively shown that legalized abortion does NOT accomplish this. It results not in the preservation of life, but its wholesale destruction.
Debate Round No. 1
dollydo

Pro

I conceded that life begins at the moment of conception, stating that it is obviously clear. I did not concede, as you would like to suggest, that "person hood" begins at the moment of conception. In my argument I stated that let's say, life and "person hood" begin at the moment of conception. This was to be used as a hypothetical statement to explain the different value we have placed on life. For the point of "person hood" can not be determined by either side of the argument. Therefore my argument is not based on this claim, neither is it based on the ethics of abortion. But it seems in your rebuttal, that this is your sole argument.

My argument consists of 3 major points: Women's rights to bodily autonomy (including reproductive organs); necessity for abortions (in instances of saving the mother and/or rape victims); and the different value we have placed on life ( human life valued over all other life). I believe that you have not addressed any of these 3 major points, and therefore not proved my argument to be invalid.

You first begin by quoting the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution. "No PERSON shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law." I would like to refute this claim by pointing out that pre-natal "person hood" can not be determined and the Constitution makes no reference to unborn human life, therefore the use of the 14th Amendment does not support your claim. In his majority case, Justice Blackmun states, "The Constitution does not define "person" in so many words...But in nearly all these instances the use of the words is such that it has application only postnatally. None indicates with any assurance that it has any possible pre-natal application."

In regards to the Roe v. Wade case, Justice Blackmun agrees that, "the constitution does not explicitly mention any right to privacy. In a line of decisions, however,...the court has recognized that a right of personal privacy, does exist under the constitution." Therefore in regards to the Constitution, because there is no mention to prenatal rights but there is mention to certain rights to privacy, my support for the 14th Amendment rights to privacy is a stronger argument than the 14th Amendments rights to prenatal life.

Second, in my defense for women's rights I state, "No person, persons, or even the law can prevent her from going to any extreme to terminate her unborn." You argue this point by stating, "This could be said of virtually any violent crime, is not in anyway unique to the abortion issue. Moreover, enforcement problems do not negate the moral imperative to outlaw law." You still haven't addressed the point that it is still a CHOICE that can be made. Also, in order for your statement to be true you would have to prove that the unborn is a "person" and that that person suffered under a "violent crime". For if "person hood" can not be determined neither can abortion be deemed a "violent crime".

I stated that SOME women would lose their lives trying to self-abort, and many others would wind up being hospitalized. You stated that "this is a baseless assertion." In support of my statement I will provide evidence from a Gynecologist's personal account. Waldo L. Fielding, who worked at two of the largest municipal hospitals in New York, between 1948 to 1953. He referred to the Pre-Roe era as the "bad old days". In his experience he "saw and treated almost every complication of illegal abortion one could conjure, done by either the PATIENT HERSELF or by the ABORTIONIST." He also recalls some of the tools used by women to abort. He states, "Almost any implement you can imagine had been and was used to start an abortion, darning needles, crochet hooks, cut-glass salt shakers, soda bottles, sometimes intact, sometimes with the top broken off." I have provided evidence that supports the claim of women who self-abort, and also proved that abortions took place illegally by doctors "BACK ALLEY" abortions, if that is what you want to refer to them as. Either way, my argument still stands. In your rebuttal, you have come to agree with me that many other women face hospitalization. By stating that "Prior to Roe 90% of illegal abortions were done by physicians, with the remainder being done by nurses or midwives"...all "BACK ALLEY". But in this statement you did not mention anything in regards to the percentage of women who tried to self-abort. Or the fact that women who usually started to self-abort seek medical attention because of the resulting damage they had inflicted on their bodies.
Abortions performed in early stages of pregnancy are fairly safe, uncomplicated, fast procedures. I have not anywhere in my argument addressed late term abortions, that is another debate all in itself. Yes, the graphic story I provided is a fictional story and based on an appeal to emotion. Although this story is fictional, it is still based on similar factual stories, and still supports my argument for the necessity of abortions, especially when the mother's life is at risk (even if self-induced). Fielding makes this point. "What Roe said was that ending a pregnancy could be carried out by medical personnel, in a medically accepted setting, thus conferring on women, finally the full rights of first class citizens, and freeing their doctors to treat them as such." The story you provided, on the other hand, is also an appeal to emotion, and refers to late term abortions which is irrelevant to this debate. In another one of the statistics you supplied as evidence, you attempted to prove that after the Roe v. Wade case death rates increased, but you did not include in the evidence how many of these deaths were related to late term abortions. Therefore both these points are irrelevant to the argument. The state should be held responsible for the mothers health, and I do disagree with any unnecessary medical procedure that would ultimately put the mothers health and/or life at risk. Justice Blackmun states, "With respect to the State's important and legitimate interest in the health of the mother, the "compelling" point, in the light of present medical knowledge, is approximately the end of the first trimester. This is so because of the now established medical fact, referred to above, that until the end of the first trimester morality in abortion is less than morality in normal childbirth. It follows that, from and after this point, a State may regulate the abortion procedure to the extent that the regulation reasonably relates to the preservation and protection of maternal health."

My argument:

1. Women's right to bodily autonomy (including reproductive organs)
2. Necessity for abortions
3. Different value we have placed on life

Your response:

In regards to rape and/or molestation pregnancies, you provide evidence that "Hard cases such as these account for less than 3% of all total abortions.[12] At best, PRO might make a case for certain exceptions to abortion laws." You also agree with me that the necessity for abortion in these cases might be a valid point. So, therefore you agree that "certain exceptions" can and/or should be made.

If you agree with the above claim, you argument holds no ground. For if some life can be sacrificed, then you have supported my claim for the different value we have placed on life.

Also in your rebuttal you agree with a women's rights to bodily autonomy by stating, "I agree with PRO that each individual has a right to their own body." But you follow this statement by arguing, "To that end, it is unethical to violate the CHILD's right to self ownership." You still haven't provided evidence to support the claim that abortion is unethical. Like I have mentioned previously, because "person hood" can not be determined, arguing the ethical value of abortion is irrelevant to the claim.

I believe, in your response, you have conceded to the 3 claims I have presented.
J.Kenyon

Con

===> INTRO <===

I thank my opponent for deciding to organize her case into coherent points, however, I must admit, after reading her rebuttal, I am somewhat baffled. I can't help but wonder if she could put her hands to better use than covering her eyes and ignoring the SPECIFIC points I have raised against every contention. Say, finding citations to support her unfounded claims, perhaps?

My opponent claims that I have not answered three arguments: right to bodily autonomy, necessity for abortions, and the different value placed on life. I want to first point out that nowhere in her first round were these three points made clear. As such, her case is clearly not prima facie and she should lose by default.[1] Second, I have indeed answered all three, and not only these but several others, which I won't take the time to list as my opponent has apparently dropped them in her rebuttal.

===> AFFIRMATIVE ARGUMENTS <===

----> Different Value Placed on Life

PRO claims I did not answer this, leading me to question whether or not she actually read my argument in its entirety. I will reiterate: "the worth of a human being is NOT dependent on whether or not others think his life is valuable. Blacks, Indians, Jews, and women have all in the past had their lives declared unmeaningful. Those in power have decided that their own economic, political, or personal goals are more important than the lives of others. Randy Alcorn writes: ‘Personhood is not something to be bestowed on living human beings, large or small, by an intellectual elite with vested interests in ridding society of undesirables. Personhood has an inherent value--a value that comes from being a member of the human race'"

Ironically, PRO's conception of positive (rather than negative) rights eliminates altogether the notion of intrinsic values, thus negating both the "right to privacy" and the "right to choose!"

PRO claims that rights are derived from "personhood," without giving even giving a definition or explanation.

Personhood: (n.) The state or condition of being a person, especially having those qualities that confer distinct individuality.[2]

Person: (n. law) a human being (natural person) or a group of human beings, a corporation, a partnership, an estate, or other legal entity (artificial person or juristic person) recognized by law as having rights and duties.[3]

An unborn child easily meets these criteria. The immediate product of fertilization is genetically already a boy or a girl. It is not just a "mass of cells;" embryos are capable of growing, maturing, maintaining a physiologic balance between various organ systems, adapting to changing circumstances, and repairing injury. Mere groups of human cells do nothing resembling this under any circumstances.[4]

Obviously, we are discussing the rights of the HUMAN fetus. This topic does not address the rights belonging to a rat fetus or a donkey fetus. Thus, PRO is guilty with her zoological analogy of equivocation.[5]

She claims that "personhood" cannot be determined by either side. She has committed here two fallacies: the argument from ignorance and the false continuum.[6] I have given excellent evidence supporting my contention that life and personhood begin at conception, however, If PRO is willing to concede to uncertainty, the best course of action obviously is to err on the side of caution, since we may well be killing a human entity with the full right to life.[7]

----> Necessity for Abortions

Allowing for exceptions to abortion law is not, as my opponent claims, incompatible with a pro-life position. In the instance of rape, the child is an unwanted trespasser on the property of the mother. This is consistent with the view that a property owner has a right to remove (or even to shoot) a trespasser. Although I think the lives of both the child and the trespasser have value, and this is not necessarily ethical, I DO recognize that it ought to be legal. I agree that the state cannot (ethically) force the mother to carry such a child to term, though clearly adoption is a better solution and this can hardly be said to make abortion "necessary."

PRO claims that I did not address self-induced abortions. I can only conclude that she misread my statement. I explicitly said: "90 percent of ILLEGAL abortions" were performed by physicians, with the remainder done by nurses or midwives. Since ALL abortion was illegal in the pre-Roe era, this necessarily includes ALL the abortions that took place, including the self-induced ones. I stated specifically that an average of only 32 abortion related deaths occurred on average pre-Roe, which again includes self-induced abortion. PRO has not addressed my (fully sourced) claim that several times this number now occur, other than to object that I have not given a specific number. Since this has been her only objection, the argument clearly belongs to CON.

In any case, I don't think any of this relevant. What PRO's argument basically amounts to is this: some people are going to murder other people anyway, so we might as well make it safe and legal for them to do so.[8]

----> Woman's Right to Choose

In an attempt to defend the Roe ruling, she begs the question by citing Justice Blackman's application of the "right to privacy" without addressing my criticism of how this "right" came into existence. I caution my opponent that if she continues to argue around in circles, she is apt to grow dizzy.

Later in her argument, PRO claims that the debate is not centered on late term abortion. First, this is yet another example of her failure to present a prima facie case; nowhere in the first round did she state this. Second, it is CRUCIAL to point out the rationale of the Roe decision makes NO distinction between the two cases. If she concedes that a third trimester baby has rights, her arguments regarding "choice," "reproductive freedom," and "right to privacy" are effectively negated.

----> Conclusion

PRO lacks an objective case for the existence of rights. I have provided one on the basis of the axioms of personal ownership non-aggression. I have also given clear arguments for their consistent application to the unborn. Her failure to provide such a universal framework for her own ethical standard undermines her ability to effectively argue for the women's rights that her case relies on.

What reason can we possibly we left with for allowing abortion? I have easily negated all the utilitarian arguments my opponent has put forward, and given my own explanation as to why abortion invariably does more harm than good, which PRO has conveniently declined to answer.

By her own admission, all three of PRO's arguments hinge on the notion that abortion is not the violent crime that I have shown it to be. I have effectively proven that an unborn child is a human person. In light of this, her entire argument crumbles.

BIBLIOGRAPHY (For rounds 1, 2, & 3)

http://www.debate.org...
Debate Round No. 2
dollydo

Pro

A woman's body is her own. It is unethical to take away her rights to bodily autonomy (including reproductive organs), by using her body as the means to an end...whatever the motives might be. Therefore, forcing a woman to carry a fetus to term without her consent, is using her body (means) to produce a child (end). Human Activist, Tom Head said it best, "The most basic right we have is the right to live in our bodies. Our bodies are the most fundamental instruments we have to interact with the world. Governments can legislate or take away our homes, our food, our weapons, our books--but when governments begin to legislate or take away our bodies themselves, or to allow them to be taken away by others, they arrogate the power to control our very identities." Previously, in my argument, I provided supporting evidence by giving examples of the One Child Policy and Female Genital Mutilation. Other examples include male circumcision. Which now, is not strongly considered a medical necessity, but more as a cosmetic procedure. Benjamin Spock M.D states that, "approximately half of all male babies in this country are still circumcised. But doctors are questioning whether or not routine circumcision is necessary, given the pain the baby experiences, the risks involved in performing the procedure, and the questions being raised about whether circumcision actually prevents disease." Another example, is the governments use of rape as a means of terrorism. In some instances, soldiers have been instructed to rape and kill women as a tactic to force the enemy into surrendering. Amy Zalman, ph.D. claims that, "associating systematic rape during armed conflict with terrorism draws attention to the fact that it is not simply a by-product of war but a strategy of armed conflict, one that is not acceptable under the rules of war." Using rape as a means of terrorism has severe negative consequences on the women involved, their families, and the community. From physical/psychological trauma of the victims, to the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, to the overall moral disintegration of a community and it's people. I believe I have provided enough evidence to support the claim that women should have rights to bodily autonomy (including reproductive organs). Proving that by not allowing women these rights through either force and/or control, it is not only unethical, but also destructive to society as a whole.

We place different value on life. To reiterate this claim,...In a situation of life or death an expecting mother's life is saved over the life of her fetus. Unless of course the mother makes the choice to sacrafice her life for the life of her fetus. Society has come to deem that the value of the mother's life is valued over the life of the fetus. Her life is valued more because of what she can provide towards the common good of society. The expecting mother might have prior children who need to be cared for; her job might be of importance, she might be an honest taxpayer, she might be an investor, she might have a large family, and many good friends. Therefore society deems her life as more valued than the life of the fetus, which can not, and has not done any of the things mentioned above. I agree that a mother's rights then should be valued over the rights of her fetus. I do agree, at some point, the fetus is entitled to certain rights. But I am unsure at what extent the fetus' rights should outweigh the rights of the mother. Because that point (the point of "person hood") can not be defined, it leaves room for open interpretation by both sides. I don't have to give the definition of "person hood" in order for any person to understand that a human zombie (if there was such a thing) lacks the human faculties of a person i.e., moral reasoning, processing information, known self-existence, capability to communicate, and relate to others, etc. Con has supported the argument that a fetus is a human being, an argument I also support. But he has not provided adequate evidence to support the claim that a fetus is a "person". If "person hood" can be scientifically proved, abortion would surely be outlawed, for the fact that a fetus would then be entitled to the rights given to us by the Constitution.

In regards to choice, the rights to privacy act allows families to live under their roofs without intrusion by the State, unless in some extreme instances. This right also allows women, therefore, to bring on a self-induced miscarriage in "private", by not eating healthy, excessive working out, heavy lifting, self-medicating with drugs and/or alcohol, smoking, inflicting constant pain and/or pressure to the womb, and of course the use of the well known coat hanger as an implement, etc. How does the doctor determine between a self-induced or natural miscarriage and a self-induced abortion? Who is the one to judge the mother's intentions? Who decides what mother deserves medical assistance and what mother should be refused? I also disagree with the criminalization of abortion, for what punishment should the women receive? And what punishment then would the mothers that abuse their bodies with drugs and alcohol receive? And what about the mothers that smoke? Or mother's that aren't eating healthy? All of these inflictions are done by the mother, with intention, and ultimately harm the fetus.

Therefore because a woman should have rights to her body, and because a woman's rights is of more value than the rights of her fetus, I believe abortions to be necessary. Our society has apparently deemed this to be true because abortions are considered legal by the State. Either way, women are going to abort an unwanted fetus if they chose...whether it is illegal or legal. Abortion practices have been in existence long before the laws for and/or against them. Abortion practices will continue to take place in our society regardless of State's laws and/or regulations. Like I have proved, women do try to self-abort on their own...sometimes going to extreme measures to terminate a pregnancy. It is because of this very reason (that a woman would put her life and health in jeopardy), that it is the State's responsibility to provide medical attention to insure that once the process is started...it is finished in a clean, safe, professional environment, where the woman is treated as a patient and not a criminal.

In my argument I have not taken an ethical stance on abortion. I urge the readers (whether Pro Life or Pro Choice) to look at the evidence I have provided, in support for women's rights, and make an unbiased choice to "house" the claims I have presented. This was merely a debate to bring 3 main claims to light. First, the claim for women's rights to their bodies. Second, the claim to the different values we place on life. Third, the claim that abortions are necessary.
J.Kenyon

Con

===> INTRO <===

I thank my opponent for her highly amusing "arguments" which I will proceed to refute shortly, but first, a few general points.

PRO has apparently taken the approach of ignoring all of my arguments and repeating her own ad nauseum without addressing a single point I have raised against them. Therefore, I will be brief in going over the points raised throughout the debate.

===> AFFIRMATIVE ARGUMENTS <===

----> Necessity for Abortions

PRO has completely ignored all my arguments and merely repeated herself with no evidence to support her outrageous claims. Her entire argument seems to be an empty and shamelessly emotional attempt to win the audience over with a fictional story of a foolish girl behaving very selfishly. Excluding the hard case exceptions, which I have fully refuted, there is absolutely NO necessity for abortion given the high demand for adopted children.

I have clearly refuted her contention regarding back alley abortions, self-induced abortions, etc. The stubborn fact remains that abortion related deaths were far lower back when fewer abortions were being performed.

She has presented one new argument: what if the mother's life is in danger? These cases account for less than 1% of all abortions, but I will address it nonetheless.[3] I apply the same rationale as I do in the rape instance; if the child poses a clear threat to the life of the mother, it is a criminal aggressor and can ethically be removed. It is absurd to suggest that within a pro-life framework, that if the child poses a threat to the mother both lives must be lost. The mother should not be forced to sacrifice herself in order to save the child, though obviously she is free to do so if she should so choose.[4]

----> Right to Bodily Autonomy

Whence is this right derived? PRO makes some vague attempts to link it to the will of society. If this is the case, a clear majority of people in America are currently pro-life.[1] If rights are based on utilitarianism (what is best for the most), I have already given several reasons why abortion is harmful to society (which PRO has, again, completely ignored). If rights are based on personal ownership, as I have argued, then there exists good reason to apply it equally to the unborn.

Without a coherent basis for the existence of rights, PRO's entire case is reduced to arguing from a non-existent right she claims exists in the Constitution and begging the question of the legal status of the fetus.

PRO has, however, raised one valid point: what are we to do with mothers who drink, or smoke, or otherwise harm the fetus? Though problematic, this is not nearly the issue PRO seems to thinks it is. In the legal context, something can be a crime if and only if it is done with the "specific intent" to break the law.[2] Thus, if a mother's action is done with the specific intent to harm the fetus (attempting to poison it with alcohol, drug overdose, etc.) it should be handled the same way as any other form of abortion.

----> Different Value Placed on Life

PRO has done little more than repeat herself…I refuted this TWICE already, the fact that one person's life is INCONVENIENT for another person (or society) does not justify taking it. This same rationale could be used to justify killing anyone whom society terms "undesirable." I can think of more than one mass murderer who enthusiastically embraced my opponent's line of "reasoning." PRO has not raised a SINGLE objection to this point, therefore I hold it to have been conceded.

I have to say I was somewhat amused at my opponent's argument that rights are inherent in a being that possesses "moral reasoning, processing information, known self-existence, capability to communicate, and relate to others, etc." An infant does not yet possess these faculties, nor does a person who is unconscious, or a patient with a temporarily flat EMG, or even someone sleeping.[5] Does this justify murder in these cases? In all of these examples, as well as that of the unborn child, the POTENTIAL ability to perform these actions exists. Functionalism as a rights criterion can safely be called defunct.

PRO claims that "If ‘person hood' can be scientifically proved(sic), abortion would surely be outlawed" while completely ignoring my definition of personhood, the reasons I gave why an unborn child ought to be considered a person, and my use of the equal protection clause. She has disregarded my contention that in the event of uncertainty, we should err on the side of caution. As such, the argument should go to CON. I will reiterate what I have said in earlier rounds; this is the central argument of the debate. If a fetus is a person deserving of the right to life, then abortion is murder and all of PRO's other points are irrelevant.

----> CONCLUSION

PRO has done nothing in this last round but repeat herself. Virtually all of my arguments have gone unrefuted, and PRO has not given a definitive source for a single one of her claims. I can safely say that I have won arguments, sources, and grammar. I thank my opponent and the audience and strongly urge a CON vote.

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

http://www.debate.org...
Debate Round No. 3
299 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by ProHobo 7 years ago
ProHobo
It would seem whether you agree with Dollydo or J.Kenyon - as far as the debate went, J.Kenyon won hands down.

The problem with this topic (while an excellent one) is that people will vote based on their moral belief, not whether one made a more convincing argument.

If I were Pro-Choice (and fully agreed with dollydo) - I would still have to give J.Kenyon the win.
If I were Pro-Choice - I would NOT want dollydo defending that position. I would actually like to see J.Kenyon take the other side of this debate, for I would bet that he could equally make a strong argument for the other side.

My mother, who was a speech and debate coach, once said her prize students could always win both sides of the argument - that is a difficult task - no doubt.

I do think that J.Kenyon made a few unwarranted jabs - but they were no doubt humorous.
Posted by dollydo 7 years ago
dollydo
To yayawhatever,

That seems like a good solution, but when you think about it, "taking a *child* out of the woman," is still violating a woman's rights to self-ownership. Forcing a woman to proceed through surgery while a fetus is abstracted from her body is taking away her rights to her own body. So you either agree that women should have rights to their bodies or that fetus' should have rights their bodies. You can not have both because you will be violating one or the others rights. So, my conclusion is that a woman has more rights to her body than a fetus because a woman is conscious, aware of own existence, can experience pain and/or suffering, can communicate, has the ability to reason and make logic decisions, etc. An early fetus is not conscious, nor aware of it's own existence, it can not experience pain and/or suffering, can not communicate, etc. Only until the later stages of pregnancy can the fetus somewhat experience these things. That is why I believe late term abortions to be unethical. If we are so concerned with an embryos rights, why are we not concerned with the rights of a fly? For it is likely that a fly knows of it's own existence and can experience pain and/or suffering on a higher degree than an embryo.
Posted by dollydo 7 years ago
dollydo
To J. Kenyon,

Murder is wrong, but first you have to prove that a fetus is a "person." Murdering a human zombie would be considered justified by most. You have to ask yourself why? If a human being lacks most of the faculties that make it a "person" then how can one determine whether or not the human being is in fact a human, besides it's genetic composition. And if genetics are the only determining factor in concluding that this human is worth saving, then why isn't this consideration given to all living creatures that have a genetic code. Why do we get to determine what genetic codes are worth saving and which ones aren't? I have come to believe that there is no justification.
Posted by yayawhatever 7 years ago
yayawhatever
J.Kenyon said: I agree with PRO that each individual has a right to their own body. To that end, it is unethical to violate the CHILD's right to self ownership
I say: I agree with that. Everyone has a right to their own body, everyone includes preggy women. If a woman wishes to terminate something that leeches off her, it is her body to do so. Take the *child* out of the woman and let it have its self ownership as the woman has hers.
Posted by tBoonePickens 7 years ago
tBoonePickens
Grazie, grazie!
Posted by Demosthenes 7 years ago
Demosthenes
A Goodfellas cameo in an abortion debate?!

tBoone, I applaud you sir.
Posted by Anacharsis 7 years ago
Anacharsis
I would be curious about the source of the following excerpted assertion. It seems to confuse correlation with causality, though it's hard to say without the full context of the citation. The interest is academic in terms of quality of argument. I'm with you on the conclusion.

"For example, while it is often claimed that abortion saves would-be mothers from a life of poverty, there is significant evidence that the opposite is true. "Women repeating abortion have…been found to have lower net household income and poorer level of housing conditions, compared with women aborting for the first time. Many women report first using drugs or alcohol in an attempt to overcome nightmares or insomnia in response to the abortion experience. It is clear that as women repeat abortion there is increasing evidence of personal, social and health deterioration. Women are in less stable social situations and are more likely to be divorced as abortion is repeated, which is associated with greater levels of family poverty for women. The repeated utilization of abortion appears to lead not to economic prosperity or social well-being for many women, but to an increasing ‘feminization of poverty.'"[10]
Posted by J.Kenyon 7 years ago
J.Kenyon
None of those are fallacies. The first one didn't beg the question because I established earlier that murder is wrong and a fetus ought to be considered a human person. The other two weren't red herrings; they were direct responses to PRO's vague utilitarian justifications and claim that abortions are "necessary."
Posted by Freeman 7 years ago
Freeman
"The 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution states that "no person shall be deprived of LIFE, liberty, or property, without due process of law." My opponent has conceded the crucial point that life begins at conception. If this is true, unborn child is entitled to such 14th Amendment protection.[2] The killing of an unborn child through abortion is morally equivalent to murder."

Begging The Question

"For example, while it is often claimed that abortion saves would-be mothers from a life of poverty, there is significant evidence that the opposite is true. "Women repeating abortion have…been found to have lower net household income and poorer level of housing conditions, compared with women aborting for the first time. Many women report first using drugs or alcohol in an attempt to overcome nightmares or insomnia in response to the abortion experience. It is clear that as women repeat abortion there is increasing evidence of personal, social and health deterioration. Women are in less stable social situations and are more likely to be divorced as abortion is repeated, which is associated with greater levels of family poverty for women. The repeated utilization of abortion appears to lead not to economic prosperity or social well-being for many women, but to an increasing ‘feminization of poverty.'"[10]

In today's society, pregnancy can be easily avoided through proper condom usage, birth control pills, emergency contraceptives, IUDs, etc. In the rare cases where precautions fail, adoption is a far superior alternative. 1.3 MILLION couples are currently waiting to adopt a child while 1.3 million children are being killed each year by abortion, and less than 50,000 are put up for adoption. For every child put up for adoption, 30 are killed. For every couple that adopts, another 40 wait in line.[11]"

2 Red Herrings
Posted by tBoonePickens 7 years ago
tBoonePickens
"There is no justification for why humans are 'above' other species." There is and I have shown it to you time & time again.

"The only reason I can give is our own personal preference towards our own kind." I love it! Personal prefference! Humans are just 'really specist animals'! Bad humans!

Only "we're not animale!" -Goodfellas.
Well, at least most of us aren't!
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