The Instigator
Pro (for)
3 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
2 Points

Abortion is Wrong

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/22/2013 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,061 times Debate No: 42814
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (1)
Votes (1)




I will be arguing that abortion is the death of a human life; therefore it follows logically that abortion is murder and it is wrong. First round post your argument.



Abortion- The deliberate termination of a human pregnancy, most often performed during the first 28 weeks of pregnancy [1].

Coming from Latin word abioriri, aborior, abortus meaning miscarry, be aborted, pass away [2].

Human Being/Person- A man, woman, or child of the species Homo sapiens, distinguished from other animals by superior mental development, power of articulate speech, and upright stance [3].

Murder- The crime of deliberately killing a person [4a]. The unlawful premeditated killing of one human being by another [4b].

Involuntary Manslaughter- The act of unlawfully killing another human being unintentionally [5].

Miscarriage- Loss of an embryo or fetus before the 20th week of pregnancy [6].

Life- The condition that distinguishes animals and plants from inorganic matter, including the capacity of growth, reproduction, functional activity, and continual change preceding death [7].

Rape- The crime, typically committed by a man, of forcing another person to have sexual intercourse with the offender against their will [8].

Realistically, we cannot call abortion "murder." In order to be murder, the fetus would have to be alive. There is a dispute on whether or not the fetus has been alive, and scientists have not found the moment in which a fetus is alive. However, if we call a fetus alive, that does not mean it has the right to continue living.

Consensual Sex, Rape and Unplanned Pregnancies

On the topic of abortion, many people bring up consensual sex and rape, rape most commonly used as the special circumstance many Pro-Life advocates allow for abortions. Now, I am no one to interfere on their continuity, but I do not believe rape is a special case, I believe it is an extreme case that should follow under any allowances given to any other woman- to get an abortion. According to Guttmacher Institute, about half of the estimated 6.7 million pregnancies in the US are unplanned [9]. Also, about half of the female population will experience an unplanned pregnancy by the age of 45 and about three in ten of these women will end up terminating their pregnancy [9]. Do we have the right to force the mother to keep the baby solely because she consented to participate in these sexual activities? Do we have the right to take away another’s right as we continue to fight for other rights? Why do we take away the rights of a woman because she has the potential to have a baby?

In the case of rape, I believe that both sides have come to a blurry agreement that rape may be the exception to the “No Abortion” preaches of Pro-Life advocates. If some do not believe that rape is not an exception, an occurrence undeserving of abortion, why do we not allow the mother to get rid of a pregnancy that is a reminder of what someone forcefully had done to her? More of a thought-provoking question, If we do not force the woman to keep an unwanted baby from rape, why do we not allow her the same opportunities to get rid of an unwanted baby? Keep in mind, the sex was consensual, not the baby.

When it comes to unplanned pregnancies, we cannot overlook the boom in teenage pregnancies that are glorified by shows like Teen Mom or 16 and Pregnant. shows that 3 in 10 teenage girls get pregnant before the age of 20 and that less than 2% of these teen mothers get college degrees before the age of 30 [10]. Do we force these teens to give birth to their babies, even if they do not want the babies for reasons unknown? If we expect them to give birth to the baby, do we then expect the mother to keep the baby? If we do not expect them to keep the baby, what do we suggest is done with the baby? If we expect the baby to go to an adoption center, do we neglect the consequences that the parents may have to face emotionally? The questions are endless and often unanswered. But with statistics like these, we cannot neglect this topic.

Additional Fact: Guttmacher Institute states that 99.9% of women use contraceptives at least once in their sexual life and about 62% of the women currently use contraception [11]. It is clear that a majority of the population uses contraceptives to prevent any unwanted pregnancies, and although we all know we run the risk of pregnancy even with contraceptives, we cannot hold women accountable for a condom breaking or a pill not functioning properly. (I realize these are incomparable, but a condom breaking has the same, although extremely less severe, consequence as rape- unwanted pregnancies.)


When talking about abortion, morals often, if not always, play a part. Some see the fetus as an innocent creature that, because it is dependent on the woman, the woman had the obligation to keep it alive. Well, let’s parallel this to something that we are familiar with- euthanasia. When someone is on life support and dependant on a machine for oxygen and life, there is a time in which morals allow us to pull the plug, thus ending that person’s life. Now, if someone can pull the plug as a way of relieving the other, then how is getting an abortion different? To use the “a fetus is unborn” angle would be illogical because what makes the ending of someone’s life more ethical than ending something before it experiences life? Now, if you are against both euthanasia and abortion, then I commend you for being consistent. However, if you believe in one and not the other, I must question your consistency. Euthanasia, one may say, is the abortion of someone alive, instead of a fetus, having not a 100% chance of being born.

Bodily Autonomy

Bodily autonomy is defined as the right for a person to control what they do to their bodies without the interruption or force of someone else. It is a right that is given to everyone and is one of the reasons why it is illegal to take organs from the deceased that have not signed off permission. If we continue this right after life, why do we strip it from a pregnant woman? We cannot morally, or legally (in my opinion), strip away the rights that we grant to the deceased, and to go against this argument would be irrational. Why would you grant a dead person a right that you wouldn’t give to someone that is alive.
I’ve read something that rings true, that if someone needs something donated that you have, you are not legally obligated to donate anything. This parallels to pregnancies because a fetus does need these resources, but the mother is not legally obligated to keep giving this baby her resources. Denying to give someone a body part is not illegal, so terminating a pregnancy should not be illegal.

If you want to argue that the fetus is alive, I believe that my "Euthanasia" point is to be read. However, let me parallel this again. Humans kill millions, if not billions, of pigs, cows and chickens a year for food. You may think, What do animals have to do with abortion? Well, these animals are alive, they are driven by their desires, they are conscious, they depend on themselves to live- a fetus does not. A fetus isn't driven by desires, it isn't conscious and it depends on the woman to live. So if abortions are wrong, why is it acceptable to kill animals?














Debate Round No. 1


Thank you very much con for accepting my debate, and my apologies for the late response.

First, I'd like to start by saying I agree with all your definitions, but there are many problems in the arguments you've posted. In your first argument, you said, "Do we have the right to force the mother to keep the baby solely because she consented to participate in these sexual activities? Do we have the right to take away another"s right as we continue to fight for other rights? Why do we take away the rights of a woman because she has the potential to have a baby?"

Well you speak about rights, but only under the right of life do we have all of our others. We know this; therefore, we will strip away rights from people if they threaten the rights of others, especially if that right is our right to life. This is not a new concept: when a murderer threatens the life of anyone, we will take away his right to live in normal society and put him in jail. We may then later take his right of legally owning a firearm because he has shown he can't be trusted. This is why women don't have, "the right to choose", because their right to choose to end the life inside of her would be compromising the right to life the baby has. I understand this argument will be dependent on the fact that the fetus inside of her is two things: 1. Alive
2. Human

Now we move on to proving the baby meets both the conditions above.

To prove the baby is alive, using your definition, we have to see that it meets the requirements of "capacity of growth, reproduction, functional activity, and continual change preceding death." I will argue that the baby has/ will have all of these and therefore is alive.

The baby inside of the mother has the capacity of growth, reproduction, functional activity, and continual change preceding death. From the moment of conception, there is growth, I think we can agree on that. And though the fetus is not at that moment capable of reproducing, it will in the future. If that diminishes its value, then it will diminish the value of a girl under the age of 12 (roughly). A girl at that stage in her life is just as incapable of reproducing as a fetus is, but no one will ever argue that we have the right to kill her or give her less value. Functional activity is another one, if we gain our value from being able to move and function, we are stripped of our value once we cannot function. That means when we are sleeping, or if we are put into a coma. But certainly we do not propose we can kill anyone that is sleeping. Now you might say that the heart is still breathing and lungs are still moving, and the fetus does not yet have those capabilities, but once again, it does not have them YET. The value of life is not contingent on a life's level of development, otherwise a 15 year old will have more value than a 14 year old because he is more developed. Lastly, the fetus is changing and will soon die, hopefully about 80 years later, but it will die. So it meets all of the requirements of life.

Moving on to the question of the baby's humanity.

From the moment of conception the fetus has all 46 chromosomes of a human being. It also has its own unique set of DNA making it a completely separate body from its mother: not an extra organ. So when you talk about bodily autonomy: "Bodily autonomy is defined as the right for a person to control what they do to their bodies without the interruption or force of someone else," you neglect the fact that the baby is a separate human, apart from its mother. Therefore the baby has the "right... to control what they do to their bodies without the interruption or force of someone else." So I'm not taking away rights as much as I am giving them to the right person.

Next, you say "Do we force these teens to give birth to their babies, even if they do not want the babies for reasons unknown? If we expect them to give birth to the baby, do we then expect the mother to keep the baby?"

My answer is yes, and then I don't care. We force these teens to give birth to their babies because any reason, known or unknown, is not reason enough to take the right of life away from the baby inside of them. Their choice to have sex at that age was irresponsible whether they had protection or not. If they didn't want a baby, they shouldn't have slept around. And next, if we expect them to give birth, do we expect them to keep him or her? I don't think this matters, if they keep the baby or give them up for adoption, it doesn't matter as long as the baby is given life. I don't want to talk too long about emotions because it'll take up space (I want to keep these short), and it comes second to the act of abortion itself. But my point is, women have had much more traumatic emotional challenges after they have an abortion, than after they've given a child up for adoption. One ends life, the other relays the life to someone else.

Euthanasia. I haven't given it much thought but I think it's alright. You talked about the fetus' dependency on the mother is a parallel to the patient's dependency on the doctor or whomever. I don't think that's a good parallel, that patient is usually known to be in an extreme amount of pain or some other condition that makes death look more appealing, than life with that pain/condition. In contrast, a fetus is in no pain, and has no known condition. (There are statistics, but I'd argue you can't kill it because of the stats.) Anyways, I don't want to spend much more time on this, it doesn't follow our topic of debate.

To refute your last statement of killing animals versus people: We kill animals to feed ourselves and keep ourselves alive. We don't kill humans to keep ourselves alive because we have value. Humans have value simply because they are human. We have given this value to ourselves consistently throughout our entire existence, in every generation of every culture. I am constantly disappointed when I have to argue people on whether or not we have intrinsic value, when they themselves agree that we do. No one disagrees with that, they just don't know from where our value comes from. So we kill animals because they don't have as much value as humans and we need to survive.

So the main point: The fetus is alive and human. Because it is human, we have no right to kill it.


First, I would like to apologize for adding the definition of life. I am writing a paper on abortion and copied my arguments from my paper. The reason I did not mean to copy the definition was because neither scientists nor philosophers have decided on when life starts, so I do my best to keep it out of formal debates.

But the question isn't really "Is it alive?" then, is it? What separates a fetus from a pig, then? I guess that the fetus is less developed and human, but we still find it moral to slaughter animals because "we have the right to." Because we have the right to kill what we didn't hold for nine months or birth, but women do not have the right to "kill" what she has carried, the thing that is using her resources to live, not their own.

Now, my opponent argues that the fetus has all the qualifications of life, as set by my definition.
Yes, this is true, and I am not going to devalue your rebuttal because of my accidentally putting the definition of life. While all you say is true, the fetus is not breathing, and although the heart is beating and the brain shows activity, this brain activity does not, in this stage, mean consciousness. Yes, you said that the fetus will be able to, WHEN THEY'RE BORN. When they're born, they can sufficiently live independantly, obviously needing to be fed and washed by its parents. However, because it is not able to do anything before it is born, if it is born, then why is it wrong to terminate it? Because it has the potential to live or be birthed?
You also mentioned value quite often in your rebuttal. Specifically, you mentioned sleeping and being in a coma. You neglected to mention that you can move and function in your sleep, and your dreams are a result of your unconcsious mind. But when you're in a coma.. well, we'll get to that in Euthanisia, won't we?
And when talking about development, we aren't talking about deeper voices, starting your period, or any other miniscule development you would see between a 14 and 15 year old. We are talking about the capabilities to survive independantly, well... at least breathing independantly, showing consciousness.

The baby is a human, my opponent argues.
Simply put. yes it is. That does not qualify it to live if the mother does not want it to. That does not qualify it to live if it is a second daughter in China or other Asian cultures. You see, yes, the baby is a human being, but that does not automatically give it rights, especially rights over the mother. The mother is the host for this fetus, the mother has all authority over her own body and whatever may be inside of it.

My opponent argues that teenagers were being irresponsible and deserve to give the baby life for their actions.
1. Will you please talk about other women that have unplanned pregnancies. I am sure that teenage pregnancies do not add up to the 3.35 million unplanned pregnancies.
2. We are always told to face the consequences of our actions, and that seems to be your route. But, realize that getting an abortion IS facing the conequences of our actions. It may not be the route that "Pro-Lifers" want, but it isn't anyone's choice but the mothers.
We cannot force the mother to keep the baby solely becaue she consented to having sex. Why would you force them to keep the baby if they used contraceptives, like the other 62% of women in the US, to prevent the baby? It is clear that they are using contraceptives for either STDs or baby prevention. This would be like if someone knocked on your door and gave you their child. You didn't consent to the child, but it was given to you, so let's force you to deal with it for nine months or so.

My opponent argued that Euthanasia was acceptable but stands that Abortion is not.
See, this is relevant. If life was that important, why would you end it, even if it looked more appealing. By this, you find it more acceptable to kill someone that has developed, but you would rather save the fetus. And why? Because of pain? Because the woman doesn't feel pain in the nine months that she is pregnant? So we can directly take the pain from someone's life by killing them, but we cannot directly take the pain out of the other's by terminating the pregnancy?

Opponent argues that we can kill things with less value than us.
I'm assuming, by us, you mean humans? If so, I don't want to be valued with the unruly authoritarians our past has experienced. If you want to talk value, let us talk value. Let us take the value from the woman, her rights, and her body and give it to the developing, dependant body of the fetus. Without the woman, the fetus cannot live, not the other way around. So, it would be logical to say that the woman holds more value than the fetus. At least in relation to the fetus.
Debate Round No. 2


We've established 2 things: 1) That the fetus is alive. 2) The fetus is human. So if the fetus is a living human, why do you still say it doesn't have the right to remain alive? You ask, "What separates a fetus from a pig, then? I guess that the fetus is less developed and human..." The answer is quite simple: the pig is a pig, the human is a human. We humans have an innate sense that humans are more valuable than other animals, therefore we kill pigs and chicken and cows.Then you say "... but women do not have the right to "kill" what she has carried, the thing that is using her resources to live, not their own." Are you proposing simply because you use the resources of others that they have the power to decide whether you live or die? You also said that "When they're born, they can sufficiently live independantly, obviously needing to be fed and washed by its parents." What you are saying here is that once the baby moves 8 inches down the birth canal, it is all of a sudden independent, and therefore has enough value to be kept alive. First, it is very far from being independent: you can't leave a baby alone without it dying. But anyways, the fact that the baby is born shouldn't give it new value, it was a simple move from one place to another. If moving life different places changes it's value, then you would gain or lose value based on your movement from work to home, school to work, kitchen to bed etc. We all know that's not how it works. Humans do not derive their value from their location.

"However, because it is not able to do anything before it is born, if it is born, then why is it wrong to terminate it?" You once again are naming the value of the embryo due to its level of development: an argument I have already refuted. I will do it again. A 6 year old girl and a 20 year old girl are very different from each other. The 20 year old has gone through many small changes in her life to make her more of a developed woman. The 6 year old has not had these changes yet, she cannot reproduce, she doesn't have the increased breast size or hip width, and she is considerably shorter. Likewise, an unborn fetus is not as developed as the 6 year old. But if the 6 year old has more value because she can run and think, then the 20 year old has more value than the 6 year old because she can reproduce. Now when you say we are talking about our capabilities to "survive independently,*" I'd like to point out that no newborn can survive by itself and none of them show self-consciousness until much later. Even when you say breathing independently will exclude those with iron lungs from the right to life: yes euthanasia, but for sake of argument, let's say I find euthanasia wrong. So saying people gain their value from their development is also flawed. Humans do not derive their value from their level of development.

You also talked a bit about independence, making it a deciding factor of your value or your right to life. This is flawed logic as well. An embryo is dependent on its mother like a paraplegic is dependent on a wheelchair, like an injured soccer player is dependent on crutches after his leg breaks. No one in those situations have less value based on their dependency. But maybe you say that the embryo is dependent on the mother to actually LIVE, therefore we can kill it. Well likewise, there are plenty of patients in the hospital who will die if the nurses don't come to their aid. But they all have their rights. Humans do not derive their value from their level of dependency.

I want to quick speak on Euthanasia. It was foolish to even have this topic in our debate. You can't solve an equations with 2 unknown variables. I should have realized this earlier before commenting on the topic. So, not knowing enough about that, I'm not going to say much more about it. I do think however that when you say, "...but you would rather save the fetus. And why? Because of pain? Because the woman doesn't feel pain..." We are not talking about the woman's pain just like we aren't talking about the doctor's pain when he's treating his patient who might be killed. We are talking about the fetus' pain. -There are about to be graphic scenes described, but they are all 100% true- We are talking about the pain of forceps piercing your skull and a vacuum collapsing your head while your brain is extracted. We are talking about the pain of a chemical that burns you alive for hours until your body dissolves. We are talking of being dismembered and being literally torn to shreds. We are talking about abortion. Now like I said, I am afraid of speaking more about it, I think if I researched it more, I would come to find that it depends on certain situations.

In your closing statement you said, "Let us take the value from the woman, her rights, and her body and give it to the developing, dependent** body of the fetus."

Let's be clear. I am stripping the right of the woman to murder; our legal system does it all the time. And if you'd read my previous arguments, you would see I've already addressed this: The baby is not the woman's body. The baby has its own unique DNA, completely different from its mom. The baby is not the woman's body, nor is it her property.

In short, the fetus inside the mother is 100% unique, it is 100% alive, and it is 100% human. Don't let women take the rights away from these babies.

*- I changed dependantly to dependently
**- I changed dependant to dependent

Con, you've given arguments that I haven't heard before, so it made this fun. Thanks for your time and interest in the subject.


"You can sufficiently live independently...*"
*I changed independantly to independently

Also, to simply refute 75% of your argument, you are not a biologist who has determined that the baby is alive. If you are, please do not waste time on Please submit your thesis to Harvard so they can declare that the baby is alive, I said earlier that all aspects of life considering the fetus cannot be proven, therefore you cannot conclude that abortion is murder.

And yes, if the things I depend on to live, oxygen, food and water, if those decided that I should die- good argument you put here- decided I should die, then they decide I should die.

Your development "rebuttal" actually helps my case, and you clearly did not read my entire argument if you think I said they can survive completely independently.

You went to talk about how crippled people don't show less value, but who are you kidding? They cannot work as efficiently as others, they cannot perform tasks like others, so yes, their value has decreased. And you talked about hospital patients, what rights do they have? The nurses are legally obligated to save the person, or to at least try, because that is their job. A woman is not legally obligated to give life to a fetus.

And no, when talking about euthanasia, we are talking about the person in pain. The woman is in pain. And if you have agreed, whether directly or by not refuting it, the baby does not show consciousness, but you think it feels pain? And you think the baby feels more pain than the mother in an abortion? To say this would be ultimately sheer insanity and I am sure you cannot even convince yourself of this.

And, once again, you are trying to convince people that the fetus is alive without any concrete proof. Let's go murder this rock. Why can't you do that? Because it's not alive. Okay. Done.

Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by whiteflame 6 years ago
This one was closer than most that I've seen, but it still seemed like a solid win for Pro. What you guys are arguing here is whether abortion is wrong, and that comes down to two major concerns - that for the child, and that for the mother. There might be societal impacts, but none of those were really elucidated in either Pro's or Con's argumentation. You both provided a lot of corollary examples, and perhaps there was something there about how we regard human and animal life, but I couldn't really factor that into whether abortion, by itself, is wrong.

So that leaves me with the two perspectives. From the child's perspective, I see enough here that convinces me that it's wrong to terminate the pregnancy from the perspective of the fetus. I don't think that's the whole reality, but I don't see argumentation of birth defects, abuse, and difficulties with the adoption system. I don't see nearly enough in Con's argumentation to explain what specific harms are being done to the mother and how they could ever hope to outweigh the harms to the child. It seems to me that arguments about mental and physical trauma, enduring the death of a child in and outside the womb, difficulties regarding a number of crippling disorders, and many classism arguments could have been used here, but I just didn't see them.

So, on balance, when I look at this, I can see only one solid wrong, and that is the wrong done to the child. Hence, I end up voting Pro on convincing arguments. But as he doesn't cite anything, I give Con sources, despite the fact that most of them are for definitions.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by whiteflame 6 years ago
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