The Instigator
Pro (for)
8 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
0 Points

Abortion in the embryonic period should be legal

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 2 votes the winner is...
Voting Style: Open with Elo Restrictions Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/11/2016 Category: Society
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 835 times Debate No: 88074
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (2)
Votes (2)




! Round 1 is for acceptance only, no arguments to be presented in round 1. !!

!!! Fourth round for rebuttal and closing statements, no new arguments. !!!


Abortion - is the end (termination) of a pregnancy. A low-risk surgical procedure called suction aspiration or suction curette is generally used for first trimester abortions. Medical (non-surgical) abortions using medications such as mifepristone (RU486) are available in some clinics.

The embryonic period in humans begins at fertilization (penetration of the egg by the sperm) and continues until the end of the 10th week of gestation (8th week by embryonic age).

If you have any problems with the debate, use the comments section so we can agree to terms before we start the debate.


I accept the position of negative for this debate and am willing to make arguments however necessary.
Debate Round No. 1


I thank EmperorDao for accepting the debate.

Freedom not restricted unless justified

I think this is axiomatic. It's not just an issue of being free or wanting freedom or arguably freedom being necessary for well being, even if rejected on those grounds to argue otherwise is self defeating, since you presuppose the freedom to argue as your starting point if you were to even try that non freedom should be the starting point rather than freedom.

Bodily rights argument (the violinist analogy)

Judith Jarvis Thomson asks us to consider the following...

"You wake up in the morning and find yourself back to back in bed with an unconscious violinist. A famous unconscious violinist. He has been found to have a fatal kidney ailment, and the Society of Music Lovers has canvassed all the available medical records and found that you alone have the right blood type to help. They have therefore kidnapped you, and last night the violinist's circulatory system was plugged into yours, so that your kidneys can be used to extract poisons from his blood as well as your own. The director of the hospital now tells you, "Look, we're sorry the Society of Music Lovers did this to you--we would never have permitted it if we had known. But still, they did it, and the violinist is now plugged into you. To unplug you would be to kill him." [1]

Even if we grant violinist the right to life, the question is thus, do you have the right to unplug ? should you be forced to be kept plugged in if you choose you don't want to ? I know of no anti abortion person who has argued that you can't unplug your self, even if it means certain death for another person.

Like wise it is argued, a pregnant women can unplugged the embryo inside of her, she should not be forced to continue with her pregnancy anymore than some one plugged into the violinist to keep them alive, such is yours & hers bodily rights.

Pregnant Women vs Billionaires (Dis-proportionality argument)

The pro life/forced continuation of pregnancy advocates insist their cause is just & noble as they are out to save lives. But notice these people themselves don't justify anything and everything when it comes to saving lives, lives of post born humans who can think, feel and are self aware.

You would be hard pressed to find such a person who would demand that we force billionaires to give up nearly all their wealth leaving them with say a few million dollars (still leaving them richer than most on the planet) and using those funds to save people lives.

So here is the logical point, if rights and freedoms are such that we can't force the billionaires of the world to give up all their wealth except a few millions to save thinking, feeling, self aware humans, then it would be laughable to then argue that we are justified to force women to give up more, their bodily rights and the dangers of pregnancy in order to save non thinking, non feeling, non self aware, human embryos.

Human 3 day is not morally equivalent to a human 5 year old child

Consider the following, you arrive at a burning building, behind one door are 100, 3 day human embryos, behind another a 5 year old child. Who do you try to save first ?

Most if not all will try to save the girl, if a 3 day human embryo is morally equivalent to say a 5 year old child then it is simple arithmetic, try to save the 100 hundred all things being equal before you try to save the 1.

But as I argue they are not equal, the 5 year old child not only trumps one 3 day human embryo, it even trumps one hundred. But why ? It is kind of hard to pin down but it has something to do with the fact that the child can feel pain, is self- aware, can think, things that do not apply to a 3 day human embryo.

If abortion is murder (reducto argument)

If it is the case that abortion in the embryonic stage is equivalent to murder as some anti-choicers assert then that means all women who have had an abortion in that period should all be in jail doing sentences for murder, maybe even the death penalty, as well as any future women who will have an abortion in the embryonic period. Think about it, Charles Manson, Ted bundy and next to them endless row cells of women who had an abortion in the embryonic stage.

So there are two possibilities.......

1) Be logically consistent, and start locking up all those woman and future women who have had such an abortion.


2) Reject such a conclusion based on the realization that abortion is murder in the embryonic stage is false premise to begin with.

I argue that this shows that the abortion is murder in the embryonic stage is untenable and should be rejected as such.

The right to life & Personhood

Consider the following argument..............

1) Only a person has a right to life
2) If X does has none of the characteristics [1-5] it is certainly not a person.
3) The human organism in the embryonic stage has none of the [1-5] characteristics
C) Therefore the human organism in the embryonic stage is not a person
C2) Therefore the human organism in the embryonic stage is has no right to life

[1-5] refers to the following characteristics....

1) Consciousness (of objects and events external and/or internal to the being), and in particular the capacity to feel pain;

2) Reasoning (the developed capacity to solve new and relatively complex problems);

3) Self-motivated activity (activity which is relatively independent of either genetic or direct external control);

4) The capacity to communicate, by whatever means, messages of an indefinite variety of types, that is, not just with an indefinite number of possible contents, but on indefinitely many possible topics;

5) The presence of self-concepts, and self-awareness, either individual or racial, or both.

We can be extremely flexible to the Pro life/anti choice position under Warrens personhood criteria and it still would not matter as Warren argues..."All we need to claim, to demonstrate that a fetus (for my purposes in this debate the human organism in the embryonic stage)is not a person, is that any being which satisfies none of (1)-(5) is certainly not a person. I consider this claim to be so obvious that I think anyone who denied it, and claimed that a being which satisfied none of (1)-(5) was a person all the same, would thereby demonstrate that he had no notion at all of what a person is-perhaps because he had confused the concept of a person with that of genetic humanity." [2]

Consider the characteristic of self awareness...""This sense of self is critical to our status as persons. In fact, philosophers often use the terms self and person interchangeably: a capacity for self-awareness is necessary for full personhood. One has a sense of self if one is able to entertain first-person thoughts, and if one possesses first-person knowledge." [3]

Consider we are visited by intelligent aliens, can we kill them cause they are not persons based on their non humanity ? No. Rather we would recognize them as persons because of various characteristics 1-5 they possess.

Characteristics that don't exist in the human organism in the embryonic period.

I look forward to Cons opening argument.






Holy sh*t.

Alright, I would first like to commemorate the affirmative for literally decimating nearly any argument before it has a chance to come up. So, holy hell... congrats.

However, allow me to present the argument of life. In each scenario, my opponent has presented that the embryonic period of a child results in them not being a child. Every analogy formed was to prove such a claim. Yet, it isn't what something is right at that moment that should determine our immediate decisions. A child in the embryonic stage is still a child, be it that they are unborn, and yes, unfeeling... Yet, even if something cannot feel the pain of its life ending, that does not mean it was not alive. A fetus in the embryonic stage is the beginning of life, a human life. While it has not yet reached full humanity, that is where it is going. That is what the child will be, a person. I agree with bodily autonomy, but we are not forcibly hooked up to individuals such as the violinist analogy, rather, women are connected to the very thing that makes life continue on. To end such a thing is to deny even the chance at the world, a chance to experience what is real and what isn't. Just because something isn't conscious does not mean it isn't truly alive. The embryonic stage of a child is the beginning and development of another individual in our societies, even if the mother does not wish to care for the child, they should not be allowed to end the child's life before it has begun. instead, they should give birth to the child, once it has passed the stages and processes that will lead it to being a person, then the child should be taken and placed in the care of the individuals who wish to care for them. For, no matter the stage, from cell to baby, that is still life.

I would also like to present an argument of morality
For example, expanding a bit off my previous argument, a child in the embryonic stage will soon be a child. The morality of the reason why a mother would not want their child can be judged in numerous ways, and each way can be justified. Yet, does it still make it right to end a life simply because it cannot feel? The embryo will soon become a baby, and once it has reached the point of birth, they are another human being. The very thing that we say is wrong to kill, and many would agree. However, if a man could not feel anything, his nerves are dysfunctional and he has no sense of touch anywhere on his body, then he would not notice if his caretaker stabbed him in the back. It's only wrong then because the man was conscious. Yet, let's go back to the embryo, the embryo is the predecessor to what we are now. It cannot feel, that is agreed upon, but it will. The mere fact that, in its future, it is known and accepted that it will be a person. Ending it when it cannot feel does not and should not remove the guilt of ending a life, it does not matter if it had no feeling, it is still death. The ending of life before it had a chance to live a life. Morally speaking, many would consider it wrong to leave the child after birth, but there are many who would be willing to take the child in and raise them, to give them the opportunity to be a part of the world. Abortion removes any possibility of that. The reason many get it done in the embryonic stage is because it is an accepted fact that the embryo cannot feel... but no one stops to realize that it is still alive. And that it is still the denying of that life to get an abortion simply because they do not feel they have responsibility or ability to care for the child. Let them be born, and then walk away. In that way, at least they were given the chance to live, and when compared to the morality of each decision, this one would be the most correct. Simply because it is allowance of life to proceed, regardless of ourselves.

Argument of equality
I agree that 100 embryos do not equal 1 five year old child. The child is yes, breathing and conscious. In the analogy my opponent presented, a burning building resulted in the individual picking the lesser of the two evils. And I agree, the 5 year old takes precedence. But in that situation, we choose what can feel and understand the current situation. In the clinics, that is not the case. Humans that alive and conscious right now take precedence over an embryo if a dilemma forces a decision of which survives right at that point. But when the only factor is your own guilt or irresponsibility, then where does the real situation exist? The situation that is forcing you to pick whether the embryo should be removed. The situation where abortion is the only logical choice. The embryo may not be conscious or able to reason or think or anything at the moment, but when there is nothing that is forcing a person to decide whether it is worth saving or not, then there exists no reason to abort it. The embryo is not equal to a conscious person when put in a situation of which is more important at the time, but when time is not a factor, then it should have the equal opportunity to experience life as a conscious being. Be it under the mother who gives birth to the child, the mother who adopts the child, the house that takes in the child, or the place that shelters the child. When no dilemma exists, then equality of life exists. But if something dire forced anyone's hand, then the embryo is the least destructive decision. But it's only in those situations, the situations that have yet to truly exist or be brought to light.

The murder argument
Abortion should not be legal, even in a stage of lack of consciousness. Not because it is murder on the degree of human brutality, but because it is the prevention of life. While in the embryonic stage, a person has yet to exist. So no, ending the possibility to become a person is not murder on the person. It is murder on life itself. It is murder in the most basic sense. Almost like the mindless squishing of an insect or the removal of a tree because it does not provide any shade. It is the ending of a life, regardless of how intellectually far it is, it is still life. And it is still death when that life is ended. Aborting a child in the embryonic stage of development is equivalent to throwing the egg of a chicken away. The bird inside is not conscious or developed to feel the pain, but it will never reach that point now. Same goes for the embryo of a human child, they may not feel the pain, know they are being killed, or ever find out. But that is only because we denied them the opportunity to ever become a person, to ever experience the feeling of life, to discover their own meanings. To abort an embryo is to deny the progress of life, it is to murder the opportunity and the future of the undeveloped child.

I wish myself better luck in the rebuttals, and would again, like to comment my opponent. I await round 3.
Debate Round No. 2


I thank Con for their reply.

Con attempts to present arguments to justify that woman should be forced to continue pregnancy but how did they do ?

Prevention/potentially of self-aware intelligent life does not justify forced continuation of pregnancy

Con points out that allowing abortion in the early stages of pregnancy stops a potential of a self aware, intelligent human existing later on. Obviously this is true, but Con never made any CLEAR argument that this justifies forced continuation of pregnancy in the embryonic state.

Also I think this line of justification is untenable, consider all the men & woman who use contraception, also consider the men and woman who refrain from having sexual intercourse. Such acts and non acts are all stopping a potential self aware, intelligent human existing later on, yet no one seriously believes therefore we are justified to force people to perform sexual intercourse whether they like it or not.

Likewise we are not justified to force a woman to continue with a pregnancy in the embryonic period on such a justification.

Actuality vs Potentiality

Con does make the point that the human organism in the early states neither feels or is self ware, but later on (maybe) something will exist that will.

This once again conflates actuality with potentiality and leads to absurdity. Con later on even admits a person doesn't exist yet, thus to talk about killing or even murdering a non existent person is nonsensical.

Cons The murder argument

As pointed out before Con does seem to agree that killing/murdering a non existent person is non sense yet they claim..."It is murder on life itself."

I think this is a categorical error ? Con has claimed murder/killing of a concept, like killing the number 2, again it's non sense.

Con also alludes to various killing of life, but this doesn't justify the forced continuation of pregnancy of a woman against her will.

The right to life as an absolute is untenable

The right to life, that is to say say the right not to be killed is often invoked as justification for not allowing abortion. Notice those who advocate it don't really believe it them self at least not as an absolute, the most common view where intentional killing is justified is self defense (or some variation of). Then we have issues of drone strikes, war, dropping the A bomb, etc etc.

The point is, not even the pro-life-anti choicer believes in such a simplistic absolute right to life and to selectively apply it in the case of women & abortion is a double standard and hypocritical.

Freedom not restricted unless justified

I take it Con agrees here.

Bodily rights argument (the violinist analogy)

Con doesn't dispute you can unplug and I maintain you can't force an act (eg forced continuation of pregnancy/forced sexual intercourse) just because a self aware, intelligent life won't exist in the future unless such an act is forced.

Pregnant Women vs Billionaires (Dis-proportionality argument)

Recall how I pointed out..."here is the logical point, if rights and freedoms are such that we can't force the billionaires of the world to give up all their wealth except a few millions to save thinking, feeling, self aware humans, then it would be laughable to then argue that we are justified to force women to give up more, their bodily rights and the dangers of pregnancy in order to save non thinking, non feeling, non self aware, human embryos."

I think the point stands.

Human 3 day is not morally equivalent to a human 5 year old child

Con does seem to agree they are not equal, and the relevant morally factors at play include, self awareness, intelligence, ability to feel pain.

If abortion is murder (reducto argument)

Con didn't seem to dispute that if we assume that abortion is murder in the embryonic period it leads to absurdity, thus we are justified to reject the premise as false in the first place.

Personhood & the right to life

Con didn't seem to dispute that only persons have a right to life, and seems to agree that no such person exists in the embryonic period.

The argument stands.

I look forward to Cons reply.


EmperorDao forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3


Extend arguments.

As per rules no new arguments in the last round.

That be all folks.


EmperorDao forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by illegalcombat 2 years ago
I understand, things happen.
Posted by EmperorDao 2 years ago
I greatly apologize about the lack of response in the third round. I was surprised with a vacation and was away from internet access in the time I was gone. I accept a defeat for the debate for the unwarranted and unannounced leave. It was not right of me to accept something that I was unable to finish, regardless of excuse or reason.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by fire_wings 2 years ago
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:--Vote Checkmark3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:10 
Reasons for voting decision: ff
Vote Placed by Valladarex 2 years ago
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:70 
Reasons for voting decision: Forfeit.