The Instigator
natoast
Pro (for)
Losing
3 Points
The Contender
The_Chaos_Heart
Con (against)
Winning
7 Points

abortion

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
The_Chaos_Heart
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/21/2012 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,182 times Debate No: 28514
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (11)
Votes (3)

 

natoast

Pro

This isn't your typical abortion debate. Because I've never had the 'opportunity' of being a pregnant lady, nor do I have the privilege of remembering my fetus days, I don't consider myself fit to actually judge as to whether abortion is OK or not. This is a debate as to how the morality of abortion should be judged. In other words, I will be debating that the morality of abortion should be determined by whether or not a fetus is sentient, while con will do something along the lines that the morality of abortion should be determined by deciding whether a fetus is a person or not.
Go ahead and except. Unless your rationalmadman.
The_Chaos_Heart

Con

I accept. As my opponent stated, they will be arguing for why the sentience (or lack there of) should be how we determine the morality of abortion. I will argue that this should not be the case, and shall propose my own criteria.

Begin your argument.
Debate Round No. 1
natoast

Pro

Lots of people say that abortion is murder, because it is directly causing the death of a human. I would like to note that anyone who tries to refute that fetuses are human are idiots. I point this out because I want to clarify that this debate is about the morality of abortion, not the definition of it. So,
Even though the fetus is a human, that does not mean it is a person in the same sense as you or me. Unless, of course, you are a fetus. I believe that what makes a person the most terrible sort of living thing to kill is not that it is inherently wrong to kill a human because humans are sacred, or because the are of the same species as you, but because people are self aware, because they are intelligent. If weren't for this, killing a person would be no worse then killing an animal. Really, it would be killing an animal. A fetus has had no opportunity to learn, or develop a personality. Regardless of how anatomically similar it is to a person, a fetus could be have more in common mentally with an animal then a mature adult. And it is the mental state of the living thing that determines the morality of killing, not the anatomy. If spiders where sentient and intelligent, it would of course be considered immoral to kill them, just like if a human was as intelligent as a spider it would not be considered particularly terrible to kill a person. So in conclusion, it is the mental development of a fetus that determines the morality of killing it, not the species.
The_Chaos_Heart

Con

Let me begin by stating that nobody wishes to suffer. Not a single soul. Even those who take pleasure in their own suffering, only desire a certain kind of suffering; not what we would call "true" suffering. Given this, all moral decisions should occur under the over encompassing shadow of this moral guideline: Since nobody wishes to suffer, we should focus on maximizing freedoms, while limiting harms, so as to bring about the best possible reality for everyone.

Now, my opponent raises several good points as to why sentience is more important than species existence. However, there is a greater power at play when it comes to abortion; the issue of bodily sovereignty. Compared to this, sentience is entirely irrelevant. Allow me to explain.

Let us presume that there is a man, dying, due to a failing heart. In order to live, he must obtain the heart of another. Let us now presume another man, who has just such a heart. The dying man can ask, beg, plead, and bribe the living man for his heart. But at no point does he have a right to forcibly take the living man's heart against his will. Why? Because this would violate the living man's bodily sovereignty. Forcing someone into a physical state against their will, when they have done no wrong, is a violation of liberty, and a great harm. It fails both premises of the greatest form of morality.

But there is something else, upon closer observation, one will notice. In such a situation, though the dying man is dying, he is still, in that moment, a living, fully functional, mentally strong individual. In other words, the dying man is sentient. Yet this sentience does not give the man justification to violate the bodily sovereignty of the other. Therefore, we can see that sentience does not supersede bodily sovereignty; just the opposite.

In the same way, when it comes to abortion, sentience is irrelevant. In fact, whether the fetus is human or not is irrelevant. Because both these things are superseded by the issue of bodily sovereignty. Bodily sovereignty is more important. Therefore, sentience is not the best means by which to determine the morality of abortion, because it does not take into account the same level of freedom and harm prevention as the issue of bodily sovereignty does.
Debate Round No. 2
natoast

Pro

I feel that your hypothetical situation fails to demonstrate how bodily sovereignty is above sentience. The man who is dying can't take the other man's heart because the other man is sentient as well, and has an equal right to life, a right that I agree the dying man can't violate. But say that the dying man could take a heart from a monkey of some sort. Would you suggest that the dying man can't take the heart without the animals permission? I feel the man has the right to do so, because the monkey is not intelligent in the same way as the man. And this can be applied to abortion as well. If a fetus is not self aware in the same way as a living human, then why does it have the right to destroy the life of an intelligent living human? If the fetus was sentient, then the mother could not abort it because, as a self aware, sentient being, it has the same right to life. But only a sentient being has bodily sovereignty, or at least to the extent of a human. Just look a the meat industry.
The_Chaos_Heart

Con

I agree with your claims that sentience is important to understanding bodily sovereignty, but you are flawed in saying it is above such sovereignty. Allow me to explain why.

In your example with non-sentient life, I would agree that such life is okay to utilize. The problem with your proposition is that, much like how being born into a country means you are to be subjected to it's laws, being sentient requires you to follow certain rules. And just like how being a citizen in a country does not put you above the law, being sentient does not put you above certain regulations and moralities.

You state that, if the fetus were sentient, the mother would have no right to abort it, for the fetus would have ever right to life the mother has. This is not so though. Even if the fetus were sentient, the mother would still have every right to abort the fetus. Because in being sentient, the fetus is subject to the rules and regulations regarding human interaction. One of those being that it has no inherent right to the mother's body, because of her bodily sovereignty. If the fetus were indeed sentient life, it would have no such right to the mother's body. Just like how the dying man had no right to the living man's body. Sentience does not guarantee you a right to live at the expense of other's bodily sovereignty. Which renders it inferior then to bodily sovereignty, as bodily sovereignty overrides it.


If the fetus is not sentient life, it is not held to such regulations, but at the same time, there should be no qualms about killing it.

If the fetus is sentient life, it is required to be held to such regulations, therefore, permitting abortion despite it's sentience and right to life, for it has no inherent right to the mother's body; it would violate her bodily sovereignty.

Therefore, while sentience is required to bodily sovereignty to become a relevant factor, it does not trump bodily sovereignty; it is constrained by it. Making bodily sovereignty the more relevant criteria when deciding the morality of abortion.
Debate Round No. 3
natoast

Pro

Bodily sovereignty:
You said "in being sentient, ... it has no inherent right to the mother's body, because of her bodily sovereignty. If the fetus is not sentient life, it is not held to such regulations...". This would suggest that a being only is subject to bodily sovereignty if it is sentient, only reinforcing my point that it is sentience that is the determining fctor in the morality of abortion. You also said "If the fetus is not sentient life, it is not held to such regulations, but at the same time, there should be no qualms about killing it". This would again suggest that a being is only subject to bodily sovereignty if it is sentient. Also, you said so yourself, if it is not sentient, that there is nothing wrong with killing it, therefore determining the morality of it.

free will:
Say that you ignore my previous point, and still assume that a fetus must observe bodily sovereignity regardless of it's intelligence. There is one key dfference between your dying man scenario and pregnancy. The fetus did not choose to be born out of it's own free will, so you can't argue that the fetus, as a sentient creature, must observe bodily sovereignty of it's mother, as it has no choice but to be in it's mothers womb. A more accurate example would be if the man willingly gave his kidney to the dying man, and then one day changed his mind and killed the previously dying man to get his kidney back. After gifting someone with something as valuable as life, the healthy man is moraly obligated to allow the other man to keep the kidney. It just seems unreasonable to say that , if it is sentient, a baby has no inherent right to be inside it's mothers womb. It was created without it's own consent.
The_Chaos_Heart

Con

1. Sentience

My opponent seems to think that requiring sentience for bodily sovereignty somehow makes it the more relevant factor. Interesting that he does not even reference any of my previous examples, detailing how this is not so. In any case, I will re-iterate. Bodily sovereignty supersedes sentience in that sentience in of itself cannot justify allowing pregnancy. If sentience were the relevant criteria, it should be able to be argued that in being sentient, the fetus should be allowed to be born. But that position cannot be soundly argued, because of the issue of bodily sovereignty. Bodily sovereignty overrides sentience's power when it comes to the issue. Just like, again, the other examples I provided. Sentience does not permit one to violate bodily sovereignty; this proves bodily sovereignty holds power over sentience, not the other way around. Making bodily sovereignty more important, and therefore, more relevant, than sentience. My opponent has failed to give any form of argument for how sentience overrides one's right to bodily sovereignty, thereby conceding it is inferior to it.


2. Free Will

It matters not if the child was created without it's own consent or not. According to the ideas behind bodily sovereignty, the mother's body belongs to no one but herself. No one can claim a right to or ownership of her body other than herself. No one. To claim anything less is to not support the idea of bodily sovereignty. Therefore, the fetus, whether it was put their by it's own choice or not, has no right, and can never have a right, to the mother's body. Sentient or not. Chosen or not. It is incapable of having a right to her body.

So yes, even without free will, it still must observe the idea of bodily sovereignty, because the idea is not concerning it, but the mother.


So let us review. My opponent has stated that sentience is key to determining the morality of abortion, and is the most important factor. I claim that it is not sentience, but bodily sovereignty. My opponent claims that bodily sovereignty cannot exist without sentience, and while I agree, I show how bodily sovereignty overrides one's sentience when determining morality. My opponent never argues this point. They never attempt to show a situation wherein one's sentience allows one to violate another's bodily sovereignty. I take this as a concession to the fact that bodily sovereignty will always override sentience. Thereby making bodily sovereignty the more relevant criteria by which to determine the morality of abortion.


Therefore, my opponent has failed to affirm the resolution, by never arguing that sentience overrides bodily sovereignty. Vote Con.
Debate Round No. 4
11 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by The_Chaos_Heart 3 years ago
The_Chaos_Heart
"The inclusion of the mother's body when discussing bodily sovereignty of the fetus pulls attention away from how one should evaluate the morality of abortion."

Uhh...I was never discussing the bodily sovereignty of the fetus to begin with. It was always about the mother. The fetus is violating the bodily sovereignty of the mother. If that is true, then she is justified in aborting it, even if the fetus is sentient.
Posted by natoast 3 years ago
natoast
*that
Posted by natoast 3 years ago
natoast
in response to mak-zies vote, I didn't say that a fetus and spider where the same, I said hat if they had the same level of intelligence, then the morality of killing them would be equal. if.
Posted by DoctorDeku 3 years ago
DoctorDeku
Con was winning this debate, pretty thoroughly too until he brought in the issue of the mother's body. The inclusion of the mother's body when discussing bodily sovereignty of the fetus pulls attention away from how one should evaluate the morality of abortion.

I fail to understand Con's argument when the mother's body is such a strong issue of discussion, as it places a conflict between whether the mothers' life is more valuable or the fetus's. This undermines the con's overarching premise of bodily sovereignty.

Furthermore, when pro brings up the example of one man giving a kidney to another, I begin to buy into Pro's advocacy more and Con's less. I buy the argument that once the gift of life has been given it is morally reprehensible to take it away.

Given this moral framework I cannot buy the argument of bodily sovereignty when a conflict is placed between the life of the mother and the fetus.

PM me if you want further clarification. I think I've elaborated quite a bit here, but if not I'll gladly explain further.
Posted by The_Chaos_Heart 3 years ago
The_Chaos_Heart
What sources would we have used? This was a philosophical debate. There's nothing to source.
Posted by lannan13 3 years ago
lannan13
You should have had sources to back up your arguements.
Posted by fulltimestudent 3 years ago
fulltimestudent
If the level of intelligence is the basis for whether or not one is worthy of living, then i guess chimpanzees r more wprthy of life than mentally retarded ppl, those on a coma and definitely fetuses. Nice argument
Posted by RyuuKyuzo 3 years ago
RyuuKyuzo
except what?... except what!??
Posted by RationalMadman 3 years ago
RationalMadman
At least I am sexier than you
Posted by Zaradi 3 years ago
Zaradi
Because you're a troll?
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by Mak-zie 3 years ago
Mak-zie
natoastThe_Chaos_HeartTied
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro didn't affirm his resolution and made weak arguments, stating that a fetus and spider were the same because they had low mentality. Con had good arguments, but neither had sources.
Vote Placed by DoctorDeku 3 years ago
DoctorDeku
natoastThe_Chaos_HeartTied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: Comments
Vote Placed by Chuz-Life 3 years ago
Chuz-Life
natoastThe_Chaos_HeartTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Con's counter argument is already supported by the reality that no sentient 'persons' have been deemed to be entitled to the protections of our laws. (Children born with only a brain stem, persons in a coma, etc.) Pros argument that a human fetus doesn't have rights until it somehow breeches our ability to deny them anymore is a tired argument that doesn't work logically in a debate. So, Con never had a chance.