The Instigator
Pro (for)
7 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
12 Points

Abortion should be illegal in the United States except when both mother and child might die.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/2/2013 Category: Society
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 4,451 times Debate No: 41573
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (28)
Votes (4)




Revive DDO Tournament: Abortion should be illegal in the United States except when both the mother and child's life is endanger.

Round One: Presentation of cases. No rebuttals.
Rounds Two - Three: Rebuttals
Round Four: No new arguments or responses.

Side: Pro

Person: noun
:a human being, whether man, woman, or child.
:a human being as distinguished from an animal or a thing.(1)
:human, individual "sometimes used in combination especially by those who prefer to avoid man in compounds applicable to both sexes(2)

Person: noun
As defined by the Legal Dictionary:
:In general usage, a human being; by statute, however, the term can include firms, labor organizations, partnerships, associations, corporations, legal representatives, trustees, trustees in Bankruptcy, or receivers.(3)

everyone: pronoun
:every person; everybody.(4)


Premise I: Roe V Wade Conclusion

In the conclusion of Roe V Wade, the court determined that if the personhood of a fetus is determined, the case for abortion falls apart. In support of this, they outline at length and in detail the well known facts of fetal development. If this suggestion of personhood is established, the appellant's case, of course, collapses, for the fetus' right to life would then be guaranteed specifically by the Amendment.” -Mr. Justice Blackmun [45]

If personhood can be determined, as is stated in the courts decision, the case for Abortion in Roe V Wade collapses.


Premise II: UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights

The UDHR (Universal Declaration of Human Rights), signed and ratified by the United States, states the following…

Article II
Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.

Article II is saying that everyone is entitled the rights labeled in the declaration. Not one person, for any reason, may be refused these rights. The Article is very specific to include the phrase “without distinction of any kind… birth or other status.” If a fetus is determined to be a person, then the fetus may not be refused the rights granted under the UDHR.

Article VI
Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.

According to Article VI, everyone is a person, as is their right to be one. This means all humans, so if a Fetus is human, it must be recognized as a person, and granted all rights, including the following..

Article III
Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.

If a fetus is a human, and thus a person (as stated by Article VI) then the fetus must be recognized as a Person by the law. This means that the fetus has the rights of all humans, including Right to Life. If the fetus is human, it's legally a person. Con must prove that the Fetus is not Human, because (as stated by Mr. Justice Blackmun) if the Fetus is a person (human), it is guaranteed the Right to Life.

6: (

Argument I: Is the Fetus Human?

To be human requires only one thing. Human DNA. You do not need to look human, sound human, or think like a human in order to be human. All an organism needs to be human is the DNA of one (7). Of course we call it a Human Fetus, but is it human? The sperm and egg both carry 23 human chromosomes, and when they combine to form a Zygote, that Zygote has 46 human chromosomes (23 pairs)(8). Even though the Zygote is unicellular, the DNA is human. By extension, the Zygote is also human. Obviously we have human DNA, making us human, and we had that exact same DNA as a Zygote, so we were human even as Zygotes.

Because the fetus is genetically human, it is a person, as determined by the above definition of Person. This mean the fetus must be recognized as a legal person, as stated by Article VI of the UNUDHR, stating everyone (all persons, which a human fetus must be by definition) has the right to legal personhood. The Declaration is very clear (in Article II) that ALL HUMANS are granted the rights (including personhood and life) without distinction “of any kind”… That includes status of birth, number of cells, level of development, or any other distinction…

The Fetus' DNA is also completely unique from it's mother, meaning it is a seperate organism, and is not apart of the mother's body.

7: (Scientific American)

8: (Healthline)

Argument II: Is a Fetus alive?

While a fetus simply has to be human to qualify as a person, it's important to cover bases. The debate rages on regarding if a fetus is alive. The answer can be found in Biology. Biologists have as many as 10 characteristics of life. An organism doesn’t have to account for each characteristic right away. As long as, somewhere in its development, it possesses each characteristic, it’s a living organism. Much like how a baby can’t reproduce. It’s still alive because someday in its development, it can reproduce.

For the sake of debate, we'll restrict the area of "someday" to before it's born. The fetus does, throughout its unborn stage, possess the following characteristics:

1- Homeostasis
The placenta helps most in Homeostasis by providing the baby with oxygen-rich blood, while hormones and body functions are handled by the fetus’s body (9). The placenta is created by the fetus’s cells, meaning it’s a part of the fetus’s body. Even as a Zygote, the organism must maintain an internal environment.

2- Organization
The cell of a Zygote has organized Organelles inside it. Since the early stages of being a Blastocyst, (usually 4-5 days of conception) the fetus is composed of 100+ cells (10).

3- Metabolism
The fetus takes in a supply of nutrients through the umbilical cord, placenta, and amniotic sac (11). Where the fetus gets its nutrients is irrelevant. Everyone takes in an external supply, including humans. Few living things produce their own food internally. The fetus does produce a great deal of hormones on its own, including Insulin and Glucagon (12).

4- Growth
The fetus starts growing from day one to the time it's born (13).

5- Response
A fetus will react to its environment like any other human. A study by K.J. Shaw revealed that a baby will move in reaction to noise. This is sign that a baby shows response to its environment.(14)

6- Adaption
Another study later found that, after a while, a fetus would start to remember the noise, and would stop reacting to it.(15) Another study also found that a fetus will adapt to stress (16).

7- Reproduction
A baby is part of a species that can fully reproduce. A baby itself cannot reproduce much like a 3 year old child can't. It's not that it can't, it's that it's too young in its development to.

8- Excretion
A baby does get rid of waste the normal way... While their waste is a little different than ours, it comes and goes the same way and for the same reason.

Although a baby will usually hold in anything that isn't urine until birth, it can, and commonly does defecate inside the womb.(17)

9- Movement
A baby is known for moving. Within a relatively short period, they are kicking and twisting inside the womb.(18)

10- Respiration
A fetus breaths the fluid around it. The lungs do not process the fluids, but the breathing is important to a fetus. The actual respiration (intake of oxygen) comes from the blood through the umbilical cord. The process of respiration is clearly found in the fetus.(19)

9: (American Pregnancy)

10: (Euro Stem Cell)

11: (Livestrong)

12: (Reproduction Online)

13: (Baby Center)

14: (


16: (

17: (Fit Pregnancy)


19: (Livestrong)


Because the Fetus has human DNA, it is very much human. DNA is the determining factor in finding what species someone is. We can also conclude that the Fetus is alive.
Using the definitions above, and the arguments, we conclude that...

A) Everyone has Personhood and Right to Life.
B) Everyone = Every person
C) Person = A Human
D) A Fetus is a Human
E) A Fetus is a Person
F) A Fetus is apart of Everyone
G) A Fetus has Personhood and Right to Life

Since a fetus is genetically a human, it's a person. That means that when the UDHR says that Everyone has each right, this includes a fetus. This is WITHOUT ANY DISTINCTION... That includes it's amount of developement or it's birth status or even if it's alive yet. No distinction of any kind. Claiming the fetus was concieved through rape is merely a distinction, and doesn't even begin to stop it from being a human.

Any definition or case the Con may use to determine a fetus is different is pointless, as each difference is merely a distinction, and is completely irrelevant. Com must completely disprove that the fetus is Human. As Mr. Justice blackmun stated, if the Fetus is a person (and we can conclude it is because it's human) then it's protected by the 14th Admendment and abortion should be illegal.

It should be stated that the Law must run off facts, not philosphy (in case Con tries to use a philosphical definition of Human.) Objective Biology determines if you're human, not Subjective Philosophy.

A) A Person is protected by the 14th Amendment.
A) A Human = A Person
B) A Fetus = A Human
C) A Fetus = A Person
D) A Fetus is protected by 14th Amendment.

I pass it on to Con.



Revive DDO Tournament: Abortion should be illegal in the United States except when both the mother and child's life is endanger.

Round One: Presentation of cases. No rebuttals.
Rounds Two - Three: Rebuttals
Round Four: No new arguments or responses.

Side: Con


I will address the resolutional framework and then present my case. Thanks to DK and to Subutai for making this round possible.


Should - indicates desirablility. For example, if i were to say "you should take out the trash," I am expressing what is desirable.
Except - indicates an exlusion. For example, if I were to say "take out those bags except the blue one," I am saying that the blue one is excluded from "those bags."
Abortion - Is externally induced termination of the pregnancy designed to result in the destruction of the embryo or fetus.

Also, since Pro offers several definitions of "Person," it may become confusing as to what it means, so I would like to present a competing, straightforward explanation of my own:

1. Persons are human. I think it is a stretch to try to apply rights of personhood to corportations; i.e., no corporation would ever have an abortion so it is pointless to discuss the potential for a corporation to have a right to this.
2. Persons are living. A corpse is human, but clearly it is pointless to grant it rights under the personhood rationale. It has no autonomy, no ability to feel pain or pleasure, therefore we cannot talk fruitfully about the corpse's rights as a person because it does not need protection against infringements of its personhood such as violations of free will or bodily integrity.
3. Therefore, persons are living humans.


The resolution poses a relatively clear question to begin with: should abortion be illegal. However, the second half of the topic imposes an important qualification: "except when both the mother and child's lives are endangered." This qualification is crucial insofar as it says "both" the mother and fetus's lives must be imperiled. If only one of their lives are in jeopardy, it would still be illegal to abort within Pro's world.

Thus, Pro has the burden to show that abortion should be ILLEGAL in all situations other than the explicity stated exception. In other words, Pro must argue that such things as the "Rape Exception" are illegal, and that abortion should remain illegal even when only the mother's life or only the fetus's life is in danger.

Con--I--have the burden of showing that abortion should be LEGAL in, at the very least, more cases than that one exception. In other words, all that I need to do to negate the resolution is to provide one more addtional exception in which abortion will be allowed. Of course, I will attempt to do more than that, but that is the minimum I have to do to win.

Final note about the topic: this is not a resolution about rights. I don't have to show a right to abort, all I have to show is that abortion should be legal in more cases than that one exception.


Now that I am done with my lenghty lead-in, I will construct my arguments. I will offer several contentions that are independant of one another--showing various additional exceptions to the resolution that should be permitted. Any one of these is sufficient to negate. I will conclude with a final argument about why abortion, in general as opposed to in specific cases, should be legal.

Contention One: The Rape Exception

Judith Thompson, in her famous essay, "A Defense of Abortion," uses the following analogy in her argument: "You wake up in bed one morning and find yourself next to an unconcious violinist...He has been found to have a fatal kidney ailment, and the Society of Music Lovers has canvassaed all the avalible medical records and found that you alone have the right blood type to help. They have therefore kidnapped you and plugged his circulatory system into yours so that your kidneys can filter blood for both of you. You call the doctor and he tells you how sorry he is that you were kidnapped. He tells you that in 9 months they will have what they need to heal the violinist, but if you choose to unplug before then, the violinist will die."

Sure, it would be nice if you remained hooked up to the violinist, but should the law compel you to be so? In the foregoing example, you were forced into an outrageous position whereby your person has been egregiously invaded. You should have the choice to unplug yourself from the violinist. I will present two reasons why this is so:

Sub-point A: The State cannot justifiable compel you to save someone.

The State cannot compel you to give organs, to donate blood, to fly across the country to perform a surgery, etc. Your ability to excersize your autonomy in these matters outwieghs, legally, the right of the person in need. So, from a legal perspective, the mother can choose simply to "not save" the fetus. In the first 9 weeks for instance, she is not killing it directly, but by aborting it she does deprive it of what it needs to live, just as someone who refuses to give organs is depriving the person in need of a transplant of what they need to live. This is the case when discussing the abortion pill, which resembles an "early miscarriage" except that it is medically induced. [1] If we wish to use another of Thomson's examples to clarify the point, let us use this one (it's a bit updated though; Thomson originally use Henry Fonda): You are ill. The only way you can be cured is if Matt Bomer (or Kim Kardashian if you prefer) kisses your fevered brow. Can the government compel Bomer or Kardashian to fly across the country to come and kiss your fevered brow? Can your friends travel to wherever they live, kidnap them, bring them to you, and force them to kiss your fevered brow? No, obviously not. At this point, we concede that you cannot be compelled to give people what they need to live, and that this is different from murder or like offenses.

Sub-point B: The Mother has the right to choose what happens to her body.

Why is that your sovereignty over your body is suddenly curtailed by the fact that someone else might die? The law, in Roe v. Wade, asserted that you have a right to privacy, and you cannot get more private than what lies underneath your skin. The UDHR grants you a right to bodily integrity as well [2]. What if the doctor came back and said, "Oh, I misspoke. You need to be connect 19 years, not 9 months." Surely, you could diconnect yourself from the violinist at some point before those 19 years were up. The law cannot ask or compel you to live with such an invasion of privacy and bodily integrity for that length of time--it is an unreasonable violation of your rights. If we grant that, then by what rationale can we deny that you have the right to disconnect from the violinist before 9 months? Yes, it is a shorter timespan, but if time is the deciding factor, then where do we draw then line--after how long can you disconnect? If that question cannot be answered fairly and non-arbitrarily, then we must either (1) permit you to disconnect at any time, or (2) deny that you have any right to disconnect at all, which seems, on face, extreme. Then, if we accept (1) as our answer, we must also permit the analgous situation of abortion in cases of rape.

Contention Two: Saving the Mother's Life

We have here two competing rights--the right of the Mother to live, and the right of the fetus to "live." The question in this case is what are the range of options open to the mother in this instance. I think it is a bit ridiculous to suggest that a mother must sit passively by knowing that she will die if she does not abort but is unable to do so. Thomas provides yet another example to expound on this dilemma: There is a child in a home that is growing at a rapid pace. Soon he will become so huge that he will push the parents against the walls of the home and so crush them to death. The mother cannot get to the door, but she can use a needle to poke the child and deflate him, but doing so will kill the child. Must she simply let herself be crushed to death? No--the mother can exercise a right to self-defense and can deflate the child. As Thomson writes, "In our case there are only two people involved: one whose life is threatened and one who threatens it...a woman surely can defend herself against the threat posed to her by the unborn child, even if doing so involves the death of the child."

Contention Three: Abortion, in general, should be legal.

Sub-point A: The fetus is not "alive" in its own right; more so it is simply part of the mother's body because it users her body's functions.

The most obvious reason for this claim is the the fetus is dependant on a single human in a parasitic relationship. Human beings are independantly functioning, yet a fetus is not. Some might make the counterclaim that, "born human beings can be entirely dependent on other people too, but the crucial difference is that they are not dependent on one, specific person to the exclusion of all others." [3] Another key point is that a fetus resides in side someone, which is not the cases with humans who live as individuals. The fetus is also incapable of acquring nutrients on it own, unable of disposing of waste on its own, unable of maintaing homeostasis on its own, and it cannot respirate on its own.

Sub-point B: Illegal abortions are dangers to the public health

Unsfae abortions are incredibly dangerous [4] and, if there are few safe, legal facilities with expert staff to perform them, the incidents of unsfa abortions will rise. The government therefore has a vested interest in keep abortion legal.


1 -
2 -
3 -
4 -
For more on Thomson, see:

Thank you! VOTE CON!
Debate Round No. 1


Thank you for the speedy reply.


Also, since Pro offers several definitions of "Person," it may become confusing as to what it means, so I would like to present a competing, straightforward explanation of my own:

I feel I should have explained better. I often used the definition you gave. The other uses were in reference to legal personhood. Although the two should be one in the same, and by law of the UNUDHR, they are.


Rebuttal I: The Rape Exception

As I had prior said, the UNUDHR stated no distinction may void a human's right. Rape is simply a distinction without a difference. Rape held a painful impact on the Mother, but no Abortion will chance that. Nor does rape change the very genetics or humanity of the fetus.

This isn't about saving someone's life, but upholding human rights. Life is a fundamental right, and must be upheld. Appling rape to the argument is quite literally only an Ad Populum that doesn't truly change anything. Nobody is less human because of the way in which they were conceived.

Con has, by no means, provided evidence that suggests rape makes a fetus less than human. Con has only listed off a distinction without a difference, pulling on emotional strings, but nothing to show that the fetus is no longer human. Since the fetus is still human, rape does not void the UDHR's protection, and the fetus is still protected, without distinction.

Rebuttal Ia:
"Why is that your sovereignty over your body is suddenly curtailed by the fact that someone else might die?"

I hope Con see's the inhumanity of that statement. Con is acting as thought the fetus will naturally die unless you save it. That is a grave misrepresentation of what is happening. The reason it's curtailed is because it is literally you calling the hit on the fetus's life. In this case, it's your choice that the fetus needs saving from. If someone is naturally dying, you are not ordered to save them... But when they are naturally living, and you are calling for them to die, the situation changes gravely.

Con is acting like the fetus must be saved, but the fetus isn't dying, hoping the mother will save it. Con is wrongfully twisting the phrasing of the scenario in his favor.

Rebuttal Ib:

Con explains that the UDHR grants bodily integrity. However, it's not your body you are deciding over, but a completely unique human body. The child's DNA is completely unique, and thus its body is unique and separate. He is right that the UDHR grants bodily autonomy, what he forgets is that it's granted to all humans, even to the fetus. This is a case of two equal rights conflicting, and when two rights of equal status conflict, one must be void. The right voided must be the right that causes the least harm when voided. In one corner, the mother goes through labor, and may give the child away if she doesn't want it. In the other corner, the child will lose its life. In reality, it is one important right vs two important rights (one being gravely more fundamental) If a right must be voided, it must be the Mother's. The Mother's right to Bodily Integrity is not above both the Child's right to Bodily Integrity AND Right to Life.

The mother may have full right over her body, but not the fetus'. So long as the UDHR stands, the fetus's is protected. A right stops where it steps on another more valuable than it, and the Right to Life is the more valuable of the two. Even if that is up for debate, the fetus is losing two rights, as opposed to the Mother's one.

Rebuttal II: Saving the Mothers life

There is no need to argue this. I'm surprised this got brought up. Con isn't arguing against the resolution here... If the mother's life is at risk, then logic says the fetus' life is also at risk. There is hardly such a thing as "only" the mother's life being at risk. If the pregnancy will kill the mother, it'll kill the fetus.

Con's contention doesn't argue against the resolution.

Rebuttal III: Abortion, in general, should be legal.

Con has gravely broadened his ground here. Let's see if he can defend such a vast contention.

Rebuttal IIIa:

Being alive is not about whom you depend on or how much you depend on them. Surely even the Remora is alive.

...more so it is simply part of the mother's body because it users her body's functions.

A terrible misconception. The fetus' DNA is entirely unique from the mothers. If you took a sample of DNA from a fetus, and tested it to see who it belonged to, the mother wouldn't be the one who showed up (technically, no one would, because the fetus is entirely unique from anyone). The Fetus has a body to itself, connected only through the placenta (1). The Fetus' body also performs a surprisingly large amount of its own functions (proportionate to how many it needs at that stage.) As my (rather unmentioned) Argument II shown, science is completely backing the claim that the fetus is alive.

It must be understood that the law doesn't choose whose alive. That is a matter of biology, and biology says the fetus is fully alive, and DNA shows it has a unique body of its own.

All of Con's arguments continue to be distinctions, which are void in the face of the UDHR. The only argument so far that wasn't a distinction was Contention III Sub-point A. The problem is that science is not on his side. Con used the argument that the fetus is dependent to attempt to dispute the whole of scientific research I have displayed, even though independence has never been a notable Characteristic of Life. I have visited many essays and pages to compile a list of these Characteristics of Life, and being independent isn't one of them.


Rebuttal IIIb:

Breaking the law is risky in many ways... It's not really a playing factor in the issue of legality. How one chooses to break the law is not a determining factor in whether or not that law is right. But this is a common argument, so it's only right to discuss it.

If made illegal, the rate of unsafe abortions wound rise, but not nearly enough to outbalance the scale. At the present, Abortions end slightly over 1,300,000 life's a year in the US(2). Unsafe Abortions, with a death rate of 0.002% (47,000 deaths (3) to 19,000,000 unsafe abortions (4) including third world nations) would have to rise drastically to outmatch the number of human deaths occurred while abortion is legal. It's nearly impossible to find the number of illegal abortions in the US, so I can't provide an exact number on how much Unsafe Abortions would have to increase, but if the ratio is at 0.05% in developed countries (by doing math (3)), than the number of unsafe abortions would have to increase by 1800 percent.

The number would actually have to be higher, as the US's unsafe abortion ratio is much smaller than most developed nations, accounting for it not being on any UN, WHO, or Guttmacher reports because of the small number. Con must remember, as well, that illegal abortions are not always unsafe abortions. Con has to prove that the number of unsafe abortions would increase nearly enough to suggest more human life might be saved by keeping Abortion legal.


Argument I: Without Distinction

Distinction, Noun:
1. The act of distinguishing; differentiation.
2. The condition or fact of being dissimilar or distinct; difference:
3. A distinguishing factor, attribute, or characteristic. (5)
: a difference that you can see, hear, smell, feel, etc. : a noticeable difference between things or people
: the separation of people or things into different groups. (6)

Article II:
Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status....

Con must prove that the fetus is not human. Con has broadened his resolution to "Abortion, in general, should be legal." This resolution cannot be defended unless Con can void the protection of the UDHR. The only way to do this is through proving the fetus is not human. So long as the fetus is human, it's a person (as Con, himself, defined in R1) and therefore protected by Article VI, Article II, and Article III.

Being conceived of rape is merely another distinction, one that affects very little of the fetus, if any. A man may not be held to the sins of his father. Abortion will not salvage a woman's happiness, legalizing it for her does her no good. Abortion has even been known to leave rape victims with a sense of guilt.

The UDHR is very specific to say that no distinction, what so ever, voids these rights. Rape is implicit.



In this round, Con must rebute each of my arguments from R1. He himself has defined what a Person is...

"Therefore, persons are living humans."

A fetus is human... And biology and scientifically alive. A fetus is a person. My argument I and II have explained through harden science that a fetus is a living human. As Judge Blackmun stated, if a fetus is determined a person, Roe's case for abortion crumbles.

In support of this, they outline at length and in detail the well known facts of fetal development. If this suggestion of personhood is established, the appellant's case, of course, collapses, for the fetus' right to life would then be guaranteed specifically by the Amendment.” -Mr. Justice Blackmun [7]

The premise of Roe's argument was on the premise of privacy. This was defended by claiming that abortion was a matter between a woman and her body. It's implicit that if a fetus is considered a person, that case falls apart because it is no longer a matter of her and her body anymore. As Mr. Blackmun implies, her Bodily Integrity ends where the fetus' begins.



Thanks to DK for what is proving to be a fun debate. I will use this round to rebut DK's case--I will defend my own case next round. So, without further ado, I will present my refutations.



A. The resolution poses a question of what "should" happen--not what can happen. Please keep in mind that, regardless of whether or not you belive in the feasibility of legal abortion, that resolution is not concerning itself with such issues as viability of implementation. Arguably, Pro has yet to assert why it is not desirable to legalize abortion except to rely on the pershood rationale.

B. Pro's Premises are design to show that persons have rights. These premises therefore rest on the validity of both of his arguments (insofar has Pro must show a fetus to be "a living human.) If either one or both of Pro's arguments fall, his premises must also fall because they will lack any foundation on which to rest.

1. Roe v. Wade:

Pro asserts that it is the opinion of the Court that if the fetus were to have "personhood" than abortion would be illegal. For the ake of argument, let us assume--momentarily--that the fetus is a person. Why does this mean that an abortion is impermissible?

If you swing a machete at me, and I am forced to strike you down in self-defense, I have done nothing wrong. Yes, I have killed a person, but the threat posed to my life was justification enough for me to employ lethal action in response. Even the Supreme Court recgonizes the right of self-defense, including the right to use lethal force in defense of others. Being a person, therefore, does NOT mean that you cannot be justifiably killed .

2. UDHR:

It is important to note here and now that the UDHR is NOT legally binding, and so it does not impose any postivie burden upon the U.S. to do anything. [1]

A. DK has agreed that a woman has a right to bodily integrity, and if we were to take the UDHR on face, she would have that right regardless of a "disinction of any kind," including, seemingly, pregnacy status. In other words, the fact that the woman has a right to control what occurs within her body, as well her own physical integirty, is not obviated by the fact that she is pregnant.

If we grant that the fetus is a person for the time being, we should also grant the a fetus is wholly dependant on the mother for nutrients, etc. However, as per her right to bodily integirty, a woman has the right to control what goes on in her body. Therefore, she should be able to decide whether or not to continue to support the fetus inside her. If she does not want to continue to support the fetus, than she can abort it and deny it a home inside her. She has made a decision about her privacy and physical integrity.

B. Just as the victim of a kidnapper can kill his captors to escape, just as a torture victim can kill his interrogators, and just as a homeowner can use lethal force against many intruders to protect their space, so too can the mother abort. There does not need to be any imminent threat to someone's life to exercise deadly force legally--in all of the foregoing examples, it is not clear that there is any imment danger of death, but the deprivation of the individuals' freedoms, physical integirty, and privacy was sufficient justifcation for the deadly actions.

C. Finally, Pro discusses security of person and liberty as being rights. If a woman is forcibly impregnated, or is denied the liberty to control the goings-on and processes of her own body, are not those very rights being violated? Pro has not provided an answer for this. Even if we give the fetus those rights as well, why does the fetus's claim to those rights somehow outwiegh the mother's claim to those rights?

D. I would also like to point out that the human rights status of abortion is hardly definitive or clear-cut. The Euopean Court on Human Rights, for instance, has established the "right to a private life" which permits women to pursue safe abortion where abortions are legal. [3] The Court has also consistantly failed to assert that abortions violate any entity's rights.


1. Is the Fetus Human

First, I would like to make a brief point about semantics. When "human" is used as an adjective, it refers to things made by, of, or belonging to humans. Clearly, an embryo can be described a human because it is made by and of humans. Yet, "human" when used as a noun has a different denotation: any individual member of the species Homo Sapiens. [2]

A. As a fetus is not fully formed, it is not a fully-fledged member of the species anymore than a President-elect is not a fully-fledged President. In both cases, the former is still developing the traits/abilities that will make it the latter, but it is not there yet. A fetus has potenital humanity, at the very most, but that is not the same as actual humanity.

B. Consider also the notion of the "individual." Is a fetus an individual? It is not clear that a fetus is an individual for the simple reason that it cannot survive without the host, and has never existed separate from the host. Just as a mitchondria is not an individual cell, though it has its own genetic material, so too is the fetus not an individual person. Again, it has the potential for individuality, but that is not the same as having individuality in the present.

C. Finally, a human implies that someone possess the full-range of capacities that make them alive. A corpse is not a human, it was a human. It lacks the full-range of physical traits that make someone a human. An adult has all of his or her organs presnet, has a skeletal structure and so on, making them a human. A zygote does not; it could be human, but until it develops those components that would allow it to survive outside the womb, it is not, in fact, a human.

So, an embryo or zygote could become a human, but niether is a human, and this is an important distinction to make.

2. Is the Fetus Alive

A. Many of these characterisitcs--like excretion and respiration--do not fully develop until later in the embryonic, zygotic, or fetal life. This brings up the question of WHEN does the fetus become fully "living." If it is only alive once all of these traits are realized, then it can, logically, be aborted before then, because it would not be a person.

B. Moreover, let's look at the virus example for a moment. It is not considered alive because it fobs off reproductive and other functions onto other living cells--i.e., it is only capable of carrying out the functions of life vicariously. Because of this, it is not considered to be alive. A fetus is similar in that many of its life functions must be carried out vicariously throught the mother. In the same way that a virus is not alive, a fetus is not alive.

I will discuss the question of whether a fetus is alive more in the next round, when I move into the defense of my own case.


It is now more in doubt than ever if the fetus is really alive, and whether it truly is a "person." If it is not a person, the case for abortion stands because Pro's premises rely on this one point. On the other hand, even if a fetus is a person, that does not mean that abortion should be illegal in all the cases that it would be in a Pro world. Therefore, Pro has much ground to traverse in order to effectively win this debate. First, he must demonstrate the personhood of the fetus, and then he must convince you that even in the exceptions I offer, abortion is never allowable.

Thank you. I will be defending my case in my next speech, and I look forward to responding to DK's arguments. Thus, I urge you all to VOTE CON!


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Debate Round No. 2


Overview: The Person-hood contention is all I need. Judge Blackmun himself stated that abortion itself must not be legal if personhood is established. I've also turned his Bodily Autonomy argument into my own.

Rebuttal I: Roe Vs. Wade:

Con is making a false analogy. He dares to compare a fetus to a person swinging a machete. Homicide is only legal in self-defense (1) so unless the mother is without a doubt dying, which also implies both will die, Abortion must follow the same principle. Even then, a fetus is hardly comparable to a man swinging a machete.

The words of Judge Blackmun that I posted wasn't just his sole opinion. It was the actual final decision of Roe v Wade. The court concluded that if personhood is established, the entire case for abortion drops because the fetus is then guaranteed the Right to Life.


Rebuttal II: Universal Declaration of Human Rights:

Ratify: verb
sign or give formal consent to (a treaty, contract, or agreement), making it officially valid.(2)

Con fails to mention that his source is an Australian government site. While not legally binding there, it is in the US as the US both singed AND ratified the document. While Australlia doesn't consider it valid, the UDHR is a valid document in the US Government, with the US even releasing a report on how important the document is to the Government (3).

A: Con is purposefully disregarding my words, cherry-picking what I said to fit his argument. I said the fetus also has Bodily Integrity. This isn't a matter of "distinction" as the voiding of the woman's right in this case has nothing to do with a distinction. To make abortion illegal disregards the woman's bodily autonomy, while to legalize it disregards the fetus's bodily autonomy AND his right to life, giving him priority in this discussion. This is not a matter distinction. If it were, con might have been on to something.

And the woman's bodily autonomy ends where the fetus's body begins. She may do all things with her own body... but the fetus is not apart of her body (nor is it an intruder, as that area of the body was made specifically to hold it.) I've already explained this. Con has been disregarding my arguments as though I never made them in order to carry on his.

B: Con is once again making a false analogy. An innocent fetus is hardly comparable to any of those scenarios. Even then, it does not void the fetus's rights. The fetus is more comparable to an annoying child that's costing you money and convenience, but surely you can't kill him.

C: This is a matter of which right comes first. When two rights conflict, the more fundamental right must come first. The Right to Life is the most fundamental of each of those. These is another case where the fetus has a lot more to lose. In one corner, the women uses security of person, in the other corner, the fetus loses his security of person, liberty, and right to life.

That's one thing Con keeps ignoring to make his case... Who has more to lose if their rights were put last for the other.

D: Con must understand that this debate is about the US... Not the EU. Courts have let to conclude anything because Abortion has been seen favorably every year until the previous decade. Until recently, Abortion has held a very pro-choice majority. Since then, Abortion has seen many defeats in courts and congress.


Rebuttal III: Is A Fetus Human.

Con is reverting to word play and semantics to win his argument. I have stuck completely to science. Being human is genetic, it is Human DNA that makes us Human (4).

A: Many humans aren't fully formed after birth. Many are born without formed arms, or even fully formed bones. They are still human. This is, again, making irrelevant distinctions in an attempt to void the fetus's humanity. Being human isn't about how formed you are. The fetus has human DNA, it is human.

B: An individual is defined as "Of or relating to an individual, especially a single human:" by the Free Dictionary (5). Since the fetus is a single human, it's an individual.

C: Even a corpse is human (i.e. Human Corpse.) Ones humanity stays after death. This is why they cannot use your body parts without your permission after you die. For the sake of debate, I've fully explained how a fetus is alive.

Con has started to depend on semantics and twisted word meanings to win his case.


Rebuttal IV: Is The Fetus Alive.

A: A fetus also can't reproduce... Much like a 3 year old child. Characteristic of life are not called upon immediately. They are more a guideline of what a living organism will develop over time. A child can't reproduce, and many people are born not able to feel pain or react, but they are all living. A fetus will, in time, develop each characteristic, making it alive.

You don't become a living organism when you hit puberty and your body is fully developed to reproduce. You are already a live because when you fully develop you will acquire each characteristic.

B: A fetus is not a virus. Not scientifically or logically. Nothing could reasonably turn a fetus into a virus either. Con is again using faulty analogies to dehumanize the fetus.

I have already described, in full depth, how a fetus develops each Characteristic. The fetus is fully alive because it will develop each Characteristic before birth. Much like how a child is still human because he will develop the ability to reproduce, the fetus is a live because it will develop each of its characteristics. Although the unicellular Zygote cannot be held to the full requirements of a full grown organism.

To be alive, a unicellular organism must have cell division. Scientists find out it a one celled thing is alive by putting it in the right medium, and seeing if it reproduces (cell division.) Although the long list some use is eating, maintaining an interior environment, and growing. All of which a Zygote does. It is illogical to assume the Fetus was alive as a Zygote then suddenly not a live until birth.

Argument I: Parasitic Relationship?

In case the argument is brought up. The concept of a Parasite is that it isn't supposed to be there. The woman's body was literally made to host it, and to create it. Because the woman's body was designed to host the fetus, the fetus cannot be considered a Parasite. it is a Mutual Relationship(6), and not a Parasitic Relationship. In fact, the mother actually gains a lot from the relationship.

The definition of Parasite is too broad, and doesn't fully pinpoint or describe the complexity of a Mother-Baby relationship. One of the many benefits the Woman receives is Fetal Cell Microchimerism. What research has found is that cells from the Pregnancy is left behind, and helps prevent the woman from later issues like autoimmune disorders.(7,8)

"More recent studies suggest that fetal cells may actually protect women against autoimmune disorders, such as rheumatoid arthritis." - Scientific American

Like all things natural, there are a few messed up cases, but the natural relationship is beneficial, not parasitic.

Also, the Woman's body gives the Baby nutrients. The Child doesn't just 'take' the nutrients and support, it is given it by the mother's body. The body ultimately has final say, which is why your heart beats without you making it.



Con has reverted to extremely faulty analogies and wordplay to win his case. Both of which are known fallacies: False Analogy and Equivocation. Con's own definition of personhood has trapped him. A fetus is, without a doubt, human. It's in it's DNA. And even as a Zygote, it's alive.

Much of Con's arguments exist by ignoring numerous of mine. Con even cherry-picked my R2 argument on Bodily Autonomy. Ignoring my entire argument and taking only the part where I agreed about the women's autonomy. He never discussed my argument, in fact.

Con has dropped my argument about the Fetus' bodily integrity. The entire argument rest on if the fetus is alive, as its humanity is absolute. Of course, it's questionable still as seen in the definitions I gave in R1.
This is also poor conduct on Con's behalf. I gave a definition of "Person" from two respected dictionaries, and then in Con's argument, he gave his own view of what being a person was, ignoring my prior set definitions and going with his own subjective view of it.

Being alive was not a premise in either of the definition. Con simply ignored my dictionary definitions, and set his own personal definitions that included being alive, trying to wrongly change the requirements in his favor. Although I have still shown that a fetus is alive. This was poor conduct on Con's behalf. The definition of person was already set.

Unless Con can show that the fetus is not a human, the fetus is legally, and by definition, a person. Killing may only be done in self-defense. If the women is at risk, so is the baby, thus upholding the resolution. Taking a human life is only legal in that scenario. This means that unless the women might die, abortion is not justifiable homicide. Also, anyone under 10 cannot legally break laws.

Homicide: Verb
The killing of one human being by another human being.(9)

I have established that a fetus is scientifically living and genetically human. By both my definitions and Con's definition, the fetus is a person. The conclusion of Roe v Wade makes clear that if a fetus is defined as a person, the case falls apart, as the fetus is protected by the 14th Amendment and has the Right to Life. The UN also then protects the fetus, WITHOUT DISTINCTION. The fetus has all human rights, and may only be legally kiled in self defense. If the mother is at risk, so is the child.


Only if both mother and child is at risk does abortion become justified homicide. The Resolution is Upheld.


Thanks to DK for his replies. I will defends my own case at this time.


Extend the DROPPED definitions of should and except.Also, since Pro does not attack the logic of my syllogism, and says that he "often used the definition [Con] gave," you should prefer my single definition of person. Also, having just onedefinition for the term adds clarity to the debate.


This is all DROPPED. Please extend it. The impact here is this: that Pro must show abortion to be wrong in ALL CASES except when both the mother's and fetus's lives are imperiled. If Pro cannot do that, or if I can show additional exceptions, then a Con vote is in order.


Contention 1: The Rape Exception

Again, the UDHR has no formal legal force. To quote my source directly, "it is not legally binding." [1]

Pro argures that rape is a distinction without differece, but this is clearly a faulty argument for sevral reasons. Let's refer back to Thompson's analogy of the violinist. When one is forcibily violated in such an extrme and traumatizing fashion, one should be able to unplug oneself from the violinst. There is no obligation to spend your life hooked up to someone else. This particular example is DROPPED by Pro and links directly to the rape exception.

Pro also asserts that the mother's right to bodily integrity is second to the life of the fetus. But, by this logic, we could force people to be organ donors--we could preform nonconsensual surgeries on them, extract nonvital organs, and use them to save others. Your right to boidly integrity, to be free from that type of invasion, would be less valuable than the right of someone in need of a kdney to live. Clearly, there is something deeply disturbing and wrong about forcing someone to undergo such a procedure, yet it would be justified under the rationale Pro gave.

Sub-point A: No compulsion to Save

Pro appeals to the "inhumanity" of my argument, but if you look at the foregoing example of the forced surgery, you can see that Pro's world could be just as "inhuman." Pro tries to claim the the fetus does not need saving--however, since the mother is the sole source of the fetus's nutrients, by denying the fetus those things, she permits it to die. This is "not saving" insofar as it is someone not doing something that would keep someone else alive.

The DROPPED analogy I provided was if the only way to keep me alive was to have Matt Bomor (or Kim Kardashian) kiss my fevered brow, you still could not go to LA or wherever they live, kidnap them and drag the across the country to kiss my forehead. It would be an unnaceptable violation of their rights, even though it would save my life. They have a right not to be compelled to save me, or, to use my earlier phrasing, they are free to not do something that would keep someone else alive.

Since Pro utterly fails to attack the logic in the example, this point should be extended.

Sub-point B: Mother's Bodily Integrity

I argued that if you had the right to bodily integrity, by what rationale can we deny that you have the right to disconnect from the violinst? Con's response was that the harm to the violinist was greater. But again, by that rationale we could forcibly extract someone's organs in order to save a patient of dialysis. It would justify huge invasions in privacy akin to a wolrd like that constructed bu Huxley in a Brave New World. At what point do things simply go to far?

Contention 2: Saving the Mother's Life

Pro DROPS the self-defense arguments I present. His only argument is that if the mother's life is at risk, so too is the child's. Therefore, if I can show cases wherein only the mother's life is at risk, this contention becomes UNREBUTTED OFFENSE for me.

I have two examples to cite here. The first one is a personal example. My friend has a heart condition that prevents her from doing a variety of physical activies and so on. Her doctors have told her that she could likely sustain a child up until birth, but that the act of labor would probably kill her. In the cases of people with serious heart conditions, babies pose a serious, imminent, and lethal threat. Therefore, mothers have the right to exercise self-defense and to abort the fetus.

The second example I will cite are ectopic pregnancies. While usually fatal, a small portion of them prodcue viable fetuses. [2] If a doctor realizes that a pregnancy is ectopic, he faces this dilemma: the pregnancy will likely kill the mother, but there is a much smaller chance that nothing bad will happen. Clearly, the threat to the mother is imminent, real, and lethal--she should be able to exercise her right of self-defense.

Since Pro's only argument here has been shown to be void, you can extend my argument.

Contention 3: Abortion in general

Pro asserts that I have widened the ground. In fact, I have always asserted that I only need to win ONE of my contentions or sub-points to win this debate, as per the DROPPED framework analysis.

Sub-point A: The fetus is no a person

The arguments I provided against Pro in previous speeches, and which I will be summarizing next round, speak to this point more fully. I will make just two quick points now though:

A Fetus is not A human. A finger nail can be desribed as human, because it is "of" us. Yet, we would not give it the fully panoply of rights simply because of that. A thing must not merely be human, it must be A human for it to count.

1. Pro never addressed my example of the mitochondria. The mitochondria has its own, separate genetic material, but it is not considered its own cell. It requires the host cell to survive, it feeds off of, and gives back, to the host, but it is not an individual per se. Apply this DROPPED point to the fetus. It may have its own genetic info, but that does not make it an individual. It cannot survive separate from the mother. It is not an "individual."

2. Pro makes the argument that a corpse is not a human, but yet, it clearly isn't the same as you or I. It was a human, but it no longer is. And, if you concede that we cannot use a corpse's body parts then your argument about the right to life seems hollow. If your rationale flows through, then society should be able to use the dead's body parts ot help others live good, healthy lives. Pro's point is contradictory.

Sub-point B: Public Health Risks

Pro argues that unsafe abortions are outwieghed by the lives saved by prohibiting abortions. Yet, in countries where there are no safe locations to conduct abortions--primarily developing nations--unsafe abortions account for 55% of all abortions. [3] Women have the right to expect to be able to control their own bodies, and to be able to do so in a way that is safe and controlled.

Cross-application: The UDHR

Pro again hinges all of his points on the UDHR and on the Personhood rationale wit his concluding argument. The UDHR is not legally binding, and--even if fetuses were persons--they would not retain the right to life in all cases. Just as an assailant can be killed in self-defense, even though they are indisputably a person. Therefore, even if you buy Pro's premises, that does not mean he has won this debate.

Concluding Note: Since no new arguments or responses are permitted following this speech, Pro may not address any arguments he dropped during this debate. Therefore, all dropped examples, claims, and so on form a body of clear offense unique to Con in this round.


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Thank you! Please VOTE CON!
Debate Round No. 3


Me and con discussed the rules for the last round. "We can do rebuttals, so long as we don't make new points in them." This means I may only make Rebuttals, and not making additional Contentions and Arguments. As for not being able to refute dropped cases, that wasn't in the argreement. I may refute any case made. I'll only refute cases brought out in R4 (including the Mitochrondria argument.)

I gave two straight definitions from three dictionaries. One was the definition, the other was the legal definition. I only used those two usages, same meaning, difference only in who recognizes it (the dictionary, or the government.) My definitions were set a head of time, and Con rudely disregarded them, instead changing the requirement of personhood to meet his needs.

Rebuttal I: The Rape Exception.

The UDHR has vast legal influence in the US. While the UN can not punish a nation for ignoring the document, to ignore it is still a human rights violation. That's where the question comes in. Should the US do it if it is a humans right violation: short answer, no.

Going against the basic rights in the UDHR is still a human rights violation, even if the UN can't punish you (although they have punished places before.) The US ratified the UDHR, meaning the US recognizes those rights, and that breaking them is still a human rights violation.

Rape is completely irrelevant to whether or not abortion is right. It's completely irrelevant to the case all together. How the fetus is conceived isn't important. Only an attempt to make others feel for Con's case. Being unhappy with how someone was born is not an excuse to end their life. Only two people are involved in rape... The rapist and the victim. The fetus is absolutely not involved in the scenario.

Thompson's analogy is a faulty analogy. The baby is not the violinist. The rapist is. The baby didn't violate the woman. She may seek to separate herself for the baby after birth, but not kill it before birth. The analogy is blaming the wrong person, and is a terrible rendering of the situation that gravely misinterprets it beyond recognition.

Sub-point A: Con claims my case is inhumane. Con is again misrepresenting my entire case. Forcing someone to save a life is wrong, but forcing someone to not kill a person isn't. If someone is being killed, you don't have to save them, but when you are the one killing them (or having them killed), it changes.

Sub-point B: The fetus is a body all it's own. The fetus will have its own bodily integrity separate of the mothers. To ignore the fetus' right would be to ignore many of his rights. Con has failed to prove that ignoring the fetus's right to bodily integrity would be less of a violation. Ignoring the mother's right would violate her Bodily Integrity, while ignoring the fetus' would violate his Bodily Integrity, and Right to Life. Violating the fetus' would be a much more grave violation.

Clashing rights are always a sensitive topic, but in this case, the Fetus loses out most if ignored.

Rebuttal II: Saving the Mother's life

Key-point... Many things are illegal because the misuse of them would be more grave than the benefits if legal.

“Today it is possible for almost any patient to be brought through pregnancy alive, unless she suffers from a fatal illness such as cancer or leukemia, and, if so, abortion would be unlikely to prolong, much less save, life.” – Dr. Alan Guttmacher of Planned Parenthood.

While not every live can be saved without Abortion, the number that actually require abortion without any other option is microscopic. This is a case of having a bad option (abortion) and a good option (proper medical attention) and picking the bad option. The law specifically states that if there is a way preserve life without killing, it must be taken. Killing in self defense must only be the last resort. Con might bring up that medical attention costs more money, but following the law is never cheaper. Just because something costs less doesn't mean it should be legal.

So why then shouldn't abortion be legal for the mothers who truly do require it to live but the child's doesn't? Legalizing it would cause more misuse than benefits. The number of people saved wouldn't increase, while the number of death from misuse of the broad exception gravely outnumbers it. Women who didn't actually need abortion would still wrongly get them because of the broad definition of "self-defense." A similar case of this happening is the vast misuse of legalized Marijuana.

The biggest reason why making Mother only abortions legal will lead to more causalities is this. Legal or illegal, one person dies each case. But wen illegal, only those few die. If legal, the same number dies, plus a death count from misused cases. Making cases where mother and child is at risk illegal leaves two causalities each case. Since the requirements are that both are dying, it'll be harder to wrongly claim one. Making those abortions legal will actually save somebody.

The difference is the ratio of lives saved compared to the ratio of lives wrongfully lost in the misuse of the legalization. This is always taken into consideration when legalizing something or keeping something legal. When something wrong is done while illegal, it's the person's fault, but when done while legal, it's on the Governments shoulders.

Rebuttal III: Abortion in General

Sub-point A: Con has continuously spent his time making false analogies. A fingernail isn't a human because its DNA isn't unique from its host. The host is human, the fingernail is only an add on. A mitochondria is also not comparable, as the mitochondria is grown as a part of the plant cell, and is not it's own cell. It is also only an addition. Although there are exceptions, like the Virus, con never begin to prove the fetus is one. A fetus actually starts as a cell. A mitochondria isn't a cell, or any form of organism, and is only an addition. The fetus is fully unique and matches all the characteristics of a unicellular organism from conception. Con's comparisons are not accurate in the least.

I said that a human corpse is still human, which is why it has bodily integrity even through it isn't alive anymore. My full quote can be found in R3, Rebuttal III.

"C: Even a corpse is human (i.e. Human Corpse.) Ones humanity stays after death. This is why they cannot use your body parts without your permission after you die. For the sake of debate, I've fully explained how a fetus is alive." Pro in R3

I do not understand how Con came to this conclusion that I said a corpse is not a human. Con lied about my own argument, and claims I made an argument I never claimed. I said quite the opposite of that, and my argument do not contradict. Con's do, however.

"C. Finally, a human implies that someone possess the full-range of capacities that make them alive. A corpse is not a human, it was a human." -Con in R2.

Con made the claim that a corpse is no longer human, and now he is claiming they are. He has contradicted his own argument, lied about mine, and made a claim that further proves my actual argument.

Sub-point B: While a few nations, like Canada and the UK, are similar to the US, most nations aren't. You can't compare the US to most the world. Nations in Asia, East Europe, and Africa fit con's reference, but are nothing like the US. Most, if not all, nations that have large rates of illegal abortions also have, a) poor police efficiency, b) much higher pregnancy rate than the US. Some nations with high illegal abortion rates also have twice the pregnancy rate, and c) more poverty facing women.

Rebuttal IV: Cross-Application

My logic abides to the accepted form of Human Rights. While the UN can not enforce the UDHR, the US has signed it, acknowledging those as human rights. To violate them is to violate the US-accepted Human Rights. Con has missed the very reason I brought up the UDHR. It's an accepted list of rights that each nation, specifically the US, follow. Just because it can't be enforced deosn't mean you aren't violating human rights by ignoring a right explained in it. You very much are.

My personhood rationale was the actual part of the court decision on Roe v Wade. The court specifically claimed that their decision only stands if the fetus is not a person. The fetus is human, making it a person. That is the legal definition of person: A human being (4). Being alive isn't even required, much like how a corpse's body can not be violated even though it isn't alive. This wasn't my rationale, but the official Federal Court decision.

My "rationale" that a fetus is a person was based solely on hard science and biology.



Most of con's arguments are fallacies and misrepresentation of my arguments. Con ignored my offical definitions of Person in order to replace it with his own. Con lied about my argument regarding the corpse, and contradicted his own argument. Con made false analogies and comparisons.

The legal definition of Person is human. Nothing more.

A) A fetus has unique human DNA.
B) A fetus is human.
C) A fetus is a person

Since a fetus is human, it is guaranteed right to life by the 14th Amendment, as is the offical decision of the court. Abortion is then the killing of a human, makig it homicide, which is only legal as a last resort self-defense. However, the benefits of legalizing Abortion in cases where only the mother is at risk is gravely outmatch by negative use. Since legal or illegal, the same number of people are saved, while more would die in misuse of the broad legalization. While the number saved in the more numerious cases where both are at risk would outmatch the losses of life from misuses (since it'll be harder to wrongly get one with a less broad legalization.)

Unless both mother and child are at risk, Abortion should be illegal. Keeping it legal for cases where only the mother dies will have a larger causalty rate then if made illegal. Any other exemptions does not legally justify the violation of the unborn's rights.


Thanks to DK and Subutai! This has truly been an exemplar of the sort of high-quality discourse this tournament was designed to elicit. I will review all the main arguments in this debate and then I shall concluded with some reasons to cast a Con ballot today.


Rules: Pro asserts that he can rebut dropped arguments. However, that is a violation of the rules, which state that no new arguments or responses are permitted at this stage. To present a wholly new rebuttal is to make a rebuttal with new points--there is no valid distinction between them. Insofar as something is new, it is prohibited. Therefore, any such new points must be disregarded.

Definitions: Again, the only definition in dispute is that of personhood. Pro accuses me of "rudely disregarding" his points.Merely, I pointed out that the fact that he used two definitions was confusing. How should we evaluate personhood under his argument--using the general or the legal definition? Pro never says. I also pointed out that Pro never contested the logic of my syllogism. For those two reasons, please prefer my single definition of personhood.

C1: The Rape Exception

Pro basically concedes that the UDHR has no legal force. Pro then argues that "to ignore [the UDHR] is... a rights violation." Yet, if the document is not legally binding, why is Pro's assertion true? The UDHR does not construct any legally enforceable rights, and so no rights are actually violated by ignoring it. Since much of Pro's arguments are predicated on the fact that the UDHR gives the fetus rights, when in fact the UDHR does not, Pro's argument has been very much weakened.

Pro then makes the wild claim that rape makes no difference; yet, not once in this debate has he contested the violinist example except for his illicitnew point in R4. He claims that the violinist is not the baby, the rapist is. But, that is not what the example says. The rapist is the group of music lovers who hooked you up to the violinist (the baby). The example doesn't blame the violinist, but it does assert that because you were taken advantage of and violated against your will, you do have a right to disconnect. Pro's new points completely misconstrue the example.

Sub-point A: Firslty, Pro states "forcing someone to save a life is wrong." Next, as I noted in my last speech, "since the mother is the sole source of the fetus's nutrients, by denying the fetus those things, she permits it to die. This is 'not saving' insofar as it is someone not doing something that would keep someone else alive." It is just like the potential organ donor refusing to donate organs. He is refusing to save someone. Therefore, using Pro's own words, we can negate the resolution here and now.

Sub-point B: Pro argued earlier that the reason the person could not disconnect from the violinist was that the harm to the violinist would be greater. I pointed out that, using Pro's rationale, society could forcibly extract someone's organs in order to save a dialysis patient's life. Pro has DROPPED this point--he has failed to respond to this concern. Therefore, since that kind of "Brave New World" state is clearly undesirable, the person can disconnect from the violinist. This is sufficient to negate the resolution.

Pro's only claims here revolve around bodily integrity, but as I just showed, in situation where the bodily integrity conflicts (mother vs. fetus), the mother should have priority because of the dangerous precedent the reverse could set. Therefore, Pro's point is a non-argument. Additionally, Pro has to prove personhood before he can extend integrity rights to the fetus.

C2: The Mother's Life

Let me point out that Pro's source says abortion would be "unlikely to prolong" the life of a mother in danger of death from pregnancy. Yet, the source does not say "impossible." Pro also says self-defense must be a "last-resort" and in the case of an ectopic pregnancy discovered late, it may well be the last recourse.

There are cases, such as heart conditions and ectopic pregnancies (which I mentioned earlier and which were DROPPED by Pro), where the mother's life is in danger, but not the fetus's. Even if these cases are unlikely, they do occur. Therefore, there should be a self-defense exception for mothers in those situations.

I pointed out that Pro never attacked the validity of the self-defense rationale, merely, he asserted that it would never be needed in abortions. Insofar as I have shown that self-defense is needed, and that it is a valid legal and moral reason to take action, I have negated the resolution.

Pro then makes a totally new and illicit argument about how self-defense would lead to a slippery slope. This argument should be disregarded on face as a breach of the rules. It can also be rejected because Pro contradicts himself. He state in R3 that "The fetus has all human rights, and may only be legally killed in self defense." Now he is saying that self-defense is an insufficient reason. There is a clear contradiction here. Moreover, I have, throughout this debate, maintained self-defense to be a right.Yet Pro is making utilitarian arguments, not right-based arguments, against it. Unfortunately, the issue is not one of utility (rights are not a numbers game).

C3: Abortion in General

Sub-point A: Pro is misconstruing my argument. I said that a fingernail was human, not a human. For example, I can say "that fingernail is human," but it would not make sense to say, "that fingernail is a human." It's the adjective vs. noun difference. Therefore, my point was that a fingernail could not be given rights simply because it was human. It has to be a human before it can be given rights. I am glad that Pro agrees that a fingernail should not have rights.

Extrapolating from this, I asserted that a fetus was human, but not a human. Because it was not a human, it--like the fingernail--could not have rights.

1. Pro makes a new, and hence an illicit, argument in response to my mitochondria example. But, even if you accept his impermissible argument, it's still incorrect. He describes the mitochondria as simply an "add on." Is not a fetus that same thing? A mitochondria has separate and unique genetic material, it even has its own membrane like an individual cell. Yet, it is still not a fully-fledged cell; it is an "add on." Why do we consider it an add on? Because it is totally reliant on the mother cell and has never existed outside of it. Now, let's look at the fetus. It has its own genetic material, and its own unique outer layer. Why should we consider it an add on? Because it is totally reliant on the mother and has never existed outside of her. Insofar as these examples parallel each other, my argument still stands. To use Pro's own words, the mitochondria (like the fetus) is merely an "add on" not a fully fledged-cell. Therefore, a fetus is not a fully-fledged person. My example, as I have always presented it, clearly destroys the idea that a fetus is a person.

2. I think this point as become rather convoluted. I will try to bring some clarity to it. I claimed that a corpse was a human, but it is no longer a human. Pro then stated, "even a corpse is human." I was using "human" as a noun, and Pro was employing it in adjectival form. Yes, a corpse is human, but it is not a human; it was a human.

Pro also stated, society "cannot use your body parts without your permission after you die" I responded by positing, "if you concede that we cannot use a corpse's body parts then your argument about the right to life seems hollow." My point was that if Pro says we should be minimizing harms when rights conflict (e.g. "the fetus loses out most if ignored"), then we should be able to harvest a dead person's organs to save a living person. Yet, Pro's own remarks contradict his claim to want to minimize harms because he would grant the corpse sovereignty over its organs. In the corpse scenario, Pro would have us NOT minimize harms, unlike in the abortion example. Yet, he provides no reason why these case should be treated differently. My extrapolation is that Pro is making conflicting deontological and utilitarian arguments throughout his case that contradict one another. This is a reason to prefer Con in this debate.

If you buy either of these points, you must also accept, going off of my R2 analysis, that a fetus is NOT a person. This utterly destroys Pro's case because it rests on the personhood rationale.

Sub-point B: Pro misses the point. If abortion is illegal, there won't be safe facilities to abort even in the U.S.

Cross-Application: I already have addressed the UDHR points. Pro then says the following:

1. The fetus has unique human DNA
2. The fetus is human
3. The fetus is a person

You could use the same syllogism in this way:

1. The fingernail has unique human DNA
2. The fingernail is human
3. The fingernail is a person

This should illustrate the ridiculousness of Pro's claim. It is not merely enough to show that a fetus is human (adjective), it must be shown to be a human (noun). Pro has failed to do that, as I argued in C3, SA, points 1 and 2.


The BOP for this round is this: "Pro must show abortion to be wrong in ALL CASES except when both the mother's and fetus's lives are imperiled. If Pro cannot do that, or if I can show additional exceptions, then a Con vote is in order." Pro never contested this analysis. Therefore, if I win even ONE argument listed blow (or made elswhere in the round), I have won the debate.

1. No Compulsion to Save
2. Self-Defense
3. Pro makes contradictory Utilitarian and Deontological claims
4. A fetus is not a "fully-fledged" person

Thank You! Please, VOTE CON!
Debate Round No. 4
28 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by GWL-CPA 7 years ago
Just slightly won? What does that mean? Why didn't you vote?

Again, who do you think would have won if the 4 voters were devote Catholics that were anti abortion no matter what. Devote Catholics that believe that mothers should carry babies to term and then give up the babies for adoption. Who would have won then?

Again, winning debates is about confirmation bias, which can't be beaten.

Now assuming that both debaters have good evidence and arguments. use spell check and are not rude, who wins?

It will always boil down to who had the most voters pre-debate that agreed with that person's position, as in this debate where 3 out of 4 were pro abortion.

The debates in this "The Revivied DDO tournament" were supposed to rise above this by having more voters that met certain qualifications that were abandoned. But, it would not have mattered.

It might have if the debate topics were selected in advance by the tournament director and they were not too controversial, e.g., should foreign aid be given to South America, then maybe there would have been less confirmation bias.

Unless debates are judged by professionals who are at least 18 years old, preferably 21, the outcomes will most likely prove nothing but confirmation bias, and in-group/friends bias.

But, it is hard to get honest judging. Look what happened in the recent Olympics in ice dancing.
Posted by Fox-McCloud 7 years ago
Why? I am pro-life, yet I think con (just slightly) won...
Posted by GWL-CPA 7 years ago
I think you missed my point.

I believe a woman has a right not to carry a child to term if she wants to abort within the first trimester.

My point was on confirmation bias. No matter what Pro said, he could never win given the limited number of people that voted, most of whom were Pro Abortion.

If there would have been 4 voters that were devote Catholics, Pro would have won; it is that simple.
Posted by Fox-McCloud 7 years ago
The right to life trumps the bodily right. Is it really that easy? Yes, it is that easy.

That being said, I still think bsh1 won. Con really took advantage of arguing on the extreme cases, which was allowed by the setup of the debate. While pro was convincing in arguing against cases of general abortions, con took the upperhand in the 'hard' cases, like rape. This is what I noticed a lot in debates, therefore I think the hard cases should be excluded, since they only make up less than 5% of all abortions.
Posted by GWL-CPA 7 years ago
There were only 4 voters, none of whom were on the original list of 8 voters, which included Subutai, who for some unknown reason did not vote on this debate:

This debate is another example of where confirmation bias cannot be beaten.

See my link to this forum I created: Confirmation Bias Cannot Be Beaten!

Why do I say that? Well look at the facts:

Bullish is pro Abortion.
YYW is pro Abortion
Dtaylor971"s account is now closed; but he had two debates where his was pro Abortion:
1.a debate "Abortion" where he was Pro and stated:
"I will be arguing that under certain scenarios, and in 1st and 2nd trimester, abortion is O.K."
2.He also had this debate where he was pro " "Abortion is O.K. in the very worst case scenario.

So, 3 of the 4 people that voted were Pro Abortion; there was no way that Donald.keller could ever win this debate.

It is not clear why Mikal, who is also Pro Abortion, voted for Pro, but she only gave him 3 points for arguments and said everything else was tied.

Two out of four people gave "Used Most Reliable Sources to donald.keller and one called it a tie. Only YYW thought Bsh1"s sources were better, which in itself is funny and raises serious issues about voting in general, IMHO.

Fact of life, whatever debaters have more voters that agree with their beliefs pre-debate, will win the debates on any subjects, including abortion, regardless of arguments or evidence.

No arguments or evidence could have been presented by Donald.Keller to convince Bullish, YYW, or Dtaylor971 that a women"s right to have an abortion in the first trimester should be illegal, unless the mother"s or baby"s life is in danger.

YYW and Bullish, what arguments and evidence could donald.keller have presented to convince you both that abortion should be illegal unless the mother and child might die?
Posted by bsh1 7 years ago

I just have one question about your RFD. You said I dropped the point about the mother but not the fetus's life being at risk, but I feel like I spent a siginifcant portion of my final speech addressing this self-defense rationale.

For example, "There are cases, such as heart conditions and ectopic pregnancies (which I mentioned earlier and which were DROPPED by Pro), where the mother's life is in danger, but not the fetus's. Even if these cases are unlikely, they do occur. Therefore, there should be a self-defense exception for mothers in those situations."

Could you just explain your thoughts on this? Thanks!
Posted by Mikal 7 years ago
con focus more on the angel of when taking a life is justifiable. Pro had a hit home case for why a fetus is actually a living, breathing, person. Instead of con taking the route and showing why it can be justified in murdering one and focusing hard on this, he went with the argument that you are killing something that is not fully developed. Just because of that I feel pro had a slight edge in this

Great debate though guys, this was extremely hard for me to vote
Posted by Mikal 7 years ago
Note : I am pro abortion

I really have to say this was probably the hardest debate to judge that I have voted on in a long time. Just off the resolution this is what I was looking for.

For Pro to defend his case, he must show that abortion is a violation of human rights and should be illegal. The issue with this is that abortion in the cases where it dangers the mother. Does the right to self defense outweigh the right to human rights. Thankfully the resolution disallowed this part of the debate. So I was looking for pro to focus on why abortion is a violation of human rights

For Con I was looking for him to show, why abortion should be legal. Are there situations in which could trump the right a fetus has to be alive and essentially tackle it from this angle.

One failure I noticed in pros arguments was that, he claimed that almost in every circumstance where it was needed to save a mothers life, both the child and mother would die. I don't really believe this to be the case, because there are rare circumstances in which a fetus can be aborted and the mother can live. Especially in ecoptic pregnancies, but Pro is right by saying most result to this. He was boldly almost claiming all.

I feel Con could have won the debate at this point had he focused on this. He could have easily shown their are cases where the fetus could be aborted to save the mother but the point was almost entirely dropped.

So the main point after this was determining whether the fetus was an actual person. Pro starts this out by giving a multitude of reasons as to why the fetus is in fact living, almost ten strong contentions in his opening argument . This is where I feel con dropped the ball. He went with the angel that a fetus is a potential life or has the potential to become what we considered living. This is a slippery slope. I would have liked to see
Posted by bsh1 7 years ago

Please do not award conduct points solely on the basis of the new arguments clause.

Thank you!
Posted by donald.keller 7 years ago
I'd like to pick 2... But I'll leave it up to you. 2 or 3. The conversation should be considered, but I'll leave it up to you to decide how much.
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by Bullish 7 years ago
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Total points awarded:23 
Reasons for voting decision: Arguments: For me, the fact that Pro never properly addressed (or understood?) the violist example has cost him the debate. Although Pro asserts that the personhood of the fetus is the only thing he needs to prove, Con countered that with both justifiable homicide, and dependency; Con successfully argued that abortion doesn't necessarily count as killing at all. I really see no merit in voting based on whatever UN resolution, since this is not a debate bound by laws, but one that seeks to change it. Pro had more and better sources.
Vote Placed by Mikal 7 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments
Vote Placed by dtaylor971 7 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments.
Vote Placed by Anonymous 7 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: A fairly typical abortion debate but for the fact that PRO cited Roe v. Wade in considerable error. Roe established the trimester framework for balancing the states' interest in preserving human life with women's right to medical privacy. Thus, it is rather the case that a considerable line of reasoning which PRO adopted in favor of his side, rather has the more substantive benefit for his opponent -and consequently because of this error CON takes source points because of the considerably better way that PRO used evidence in stark contrast to PRO's error. The arguments, however, both for and against this were highly typical even if the examples employed by both sides tended to deviate beyond the scope of the resolution. Nevertheless, CON was more compelling in principle that there are more permissible exceptions to abortion than only imminent threat of life to both mother and child. PRO failed to sustain his case against CON's attack. Outcome is patently clear.

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