The Instigator
Pro (for)
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The Contender
Con (against)
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Abortion should be made illegal

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Voting Style: Open Point System: Select Winner
Started: 3/12/2015 Category: Society
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 704 times Debate No: 71590
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (6)
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Okay, this debate has some rules. First of all, first round is acceptance to the debate and rules and stating your stance in one sentence, but no arguing until second round.

Rules are that, because this debate is formal, no insulting will be allowed, and to only exchange information.

My stance on abortion is that it should be made totally illegal unless it poses a threat to the mother's life.


I accept the debate.

My stance is that all abortions during the first trimester should be legal.
Debate Round No. 1


Oh I almost forgot to mention just in case, you don't need to cite anything unless you directly copy a quote or want to show evidence.

the premise of my argument is that because murdering a person is wrong, and because a fetus is a person, abortion is wrong.

There are different stages of human life that you develop through until death. It is accepted that the fetus stage is just one stage of a persons life. A 75 year old man is no more of a person than a 9 year old boy. That argument is invalid and does not work. So how is a fetus, essentially a person who isnt developed enough to live by themselves, not human enough to the point where you can kill them if the woman so chooses.

It is not a woman's right to have an abortion. They can always put the child up for adoption, although I know the process of pregnancy is tough. But in my opinion, it isnt right to punish the baby for doing nothing. You are denying a person life. While it may seem like nothing to us, because we can't see the baby, it is a cruel process that involves pulling apart human parts and scraping them out of the woman. There is no humane way to perform an abortion, considering they just dump the bodies out after they're done.

While a first trimester abortion is not as cruel as a third trimester, any stage is still life. It doesn't seem right to me to deem a certain stage of development "not human enough" for life. Besides, what's the difference of one week between first and second or second and third trimesters. That is why abortion is wrong to me, and should be eliminated to allow people life.


I don't have much time, so I'll just give a short rebuttal.

Pro claims that a fetus is just as much a person as an adult is.
However, this is easily refuted with a couple simple observations:

1. Human death is defined by the cessation of brain activity

2. Therefore, human life is defined by the presence of brain activity

3. Fetuses don't develop brain activity until long after the first trimester

4. Therefore, the fetus is not truly a living human being until long after the first trimester

Conclusion: Abortions in the first trimester are not comparable to murder, and thus Pro's case fails.
Apologies for the rushed argument. I'll do a more thorough job next round.
But for now the resolution is negated.
Debate Round No. 2


Con makes several factual mistakes here that throw off the entire argument.
First of all, the premise of your argument is false, human death is defined by the cessation of heart activity. This is why a person who is brain dead can still live. It is the heart that keeps you alive, not the brain. Fetuses develop heart activity during the first trimester.

Also, i would consider the fetus alive as soon as it is conceived. After all, if you can kill isomer hung, that means it's alive. A fetus is just an early stage of human life, and I consider in cruel and unusual punishment to deny someone life because a woman doesn't want to have the baby, even though she had sex, knowing the potential outcomes.

In conclusion to my second statement, I would say that a fetus is really always alive. It is not dead in any way before it "comes alive", so it must always be semi alive or active. The cells of the baby are working and developing after concieved, and again are not dead. I find it to be very wrong to punish the baby for not being developed enough.


Pro claims that human death is defined by the cessation of heart activity, but that is patently false; that is what is known as cardiac arrest, and many people have survived that, since it can be reversed via CPR or defibrillation. Pro's definition of death leads us to believe that thousands of people are resurrected from the dead every year, which is absurd. "Brain-dead" people actually *do* have brain activity; it is just so limited that they appear to be in a vegetative state [1]. It is obvious that the cessation of brain activity is the more accurate definition of human death.

Pro says that a zygote is biologically alive after conception, but simply being alive does not carry moral significance; bacteria are also biologically alive in that sense, yet we have no moral qualms over killing them en masse. What matters is whether or not the fetus is a living *human* being, and I've shown that they do not meet the criteria to be considered such. Pro's case is nothing but appeals to emotion, referring to the fetus as a "baby" to make abortion seem cruel, yet what he fails to realize is that the fetus is *not* a baby-- it doesn't even qualify as a person until several weeks after the first trimester.

The resolution remains negated. Pro has not shown that abortion is equivalent to the murder of a living human being.

Debate Round No. 3


I'm not sure what to say to you. Brain activity is not the source of life. Your heart beating keeps you alive. This isn't a debatable thing, it's the truth. Your brain is directly affected by your heart. While your brain can shut off conscienceness, it is your heart that pumps blood to your brain and your body to keep it functioning.

Plus, that doesn't necessarily matter. Con is twisting the situation. Being alive, and being conscience are different things. While a fetus develops a brain, it does not actually become conscience until birth, so your brain activity matters little. Like I said before, if you can kill it, that means it IS alive. The brain activity of a fetus is so little that it makes no sense for you to use that as your reason for determining life.

Also, for this lets acknowledge the fact that all fetuses brains starts developing early in the first trimester. Accordingly, a persons brain does not stop growing until well well into life. So your brain, starting there, is constantly growing and changing. There is no point during pregnancy where the fetuses brain is "done" developing. Brain activity increases the entire time. And some people are different. Some barley develop brain activity, and they have mental disorders, but that doesn't make them less of a person. All you're doing is trying to place a point in on brain development, and declaring that that is the point at which brains function, when in reality it doesn't fully function unlil well after birth.

Therefore, the entire premise of cons argument is invalid. Con also fails to understand the concept of human value. We have no problem killing bacteria because it is bacteria and has no value to us. We don't kill our own because we are different. We here, using sanity, have concluded that it is wrong to kill other people. Cons referral to bacteria is off topic and totally useless.

My argument does not only appeal to emotion, it appeals to the simple idea that it is wrong to place a marker on human development and declare it "the line of full humanity".


Well, this debate is pretty much over, as Pro seems to have given up on rationally refuting my case...

Re: "Brain activity is not the source of life."

Pro's claim is utterly false. When a person undergoes cardiac arrest, he is not automatically declared dead; doctors wait until brain activity has died out before doing that. The brain can continue functioning for several minutes even after the heart has stopped beating; meanwhile, the heart, as well as the rest of the body, immediately shuts down the moment the brain stops functioning, because it is the governing organ of the body-- it is what grants us life. Thus, that which does not possess brain activity cannot really be considered alive from an ethical standpoint.

Re: "Being alive, and being conscience are different things."

I'm not saying that *either* of those things are valid criterion for moral significance. I'm arguing that the presence of brain activity is the best criterion for moral significance because the cessation of that activity is what marks the end of a being's moral significance (i.e. death). Pro seems to believe that simply being biologically alive grants ethical relevance, but like I stated last round, that would require us the recognize even bacteria, grass, and insects as being valuable moral agents, which is absurd.

Re: "all fetuses brains starts developing early in the first trimester"

That is just plain wrong. Scientists have shown that no notable brain activity develops until the 24th week, which is towards the end of the second trimester [1]. Also note that contrary to Pro's claims, I am not equating the level of brain development to the level of moral significance a being has; I am simply saying that the presence of brain activity is necessary for any sort of moral significance to be granted. Other factors come into play for determining the extent of that significance. Pro is straw-manning my argument.

Re: "We don't kill our own because we are different."

Pro isn't making any sense. Why does being biologically human grant moral significance? That sounds like a very baseless criterion. Furthermore, it excludes all other sentient species from being ethically relevant, including other advanced mammals and intelligent life on other planets. My criterion is clearly preferable because 1) I actually warranted it with the corollary to death, and 2) it encompasses all sentient beings, rather than just humans.


The resolution remains negated. There is no reason to believe that a fetus qualifies as a morally significant being; it does not have any real brain activity until after the first trimester, and I have shown that brain activity is absolutely essential for something to truly be considered ethically relevant.


Debate Round No. 4


Are you serious? If you want to claim victory for yourself after not proving anything go for it. Also follow the rules. We're not 4 years old. Try to keep it a little more formal.

As someone in the comments section pointed out, the brain and heart rely on each other. The heart pumps blood to keep the brain going, and the brain tells the heart to pump blood. So you could say we're both half right. PLUS, cons logic is irrelevant. Your brain begins developing early first trimester, and continues developing until you reach full adulthood.
So what con is doing is placing a marker on a certain point of human development, marking it the "human level". What constitutes significant brain activity? Also, because something is constantly developing from the point of conception, I would call it wrong to say a certain level of development is not good enough. The child to teenager argument is very applicable here. That a toddler is not less valuable than a teenager due to its lack of development.

Again here con doesn't seem to understand how human life is more valuable that bacteria or grass. The only point I'm proving with the alive statement is that the person is alive, just not conscience or fully developed. So, we are killing something. And it's not just any thing. It is something that will be a fully grown person. Just on a side note also, we do know that second trimester abortions do cause the fetus to feel pain. So if you want to discuss moral significance that should be a talking point.

Here con displays a lack of knowledge on the subject. He has probably heard somewhere that a fetus has fully functioning brain activity around and after 20 weeks. Which is the case. But, the brain does start developing during the first trimester. That's not debatable.
. Gov website, week 5 the brains begin to develop. At this point the fetus begins to develop a brain that is continuous until adulthood.

Con again doesn't understand that humans are more valuable that your average bacteria or flower. Very baseless? Take the least educated 10 year old in the us, and he'll be smarter than any other mammal you can pit him against. And yes, I am saying knowledge makes us valuable. Not that we should kill other animals, but being human does increase value from, say, a squirrel. By saying intelligent life, I hope you aren't comapring any animal to us. Intelligent might be a stretch.

Cons arguments have been refuted. Brain activity does start in the first trimester, and it continues to develop. Hearts and brains rely on each other, which we both were technically wrong on, and being human does increase the value of a being. It is better to lose a lion and gain a person than vise versa, and I'm not sure who would disagree with that. Other than a lion of course.


Thanks to my opponent for the debate.

Re: "the brain and heart rely on each other."

Yes, but as I explained last round, the heart is far more dependent on the brain than the brain is on the heart. The fact is, that thousands of people survive cardiac arrest every year, while not a single person has ever come back from neurological death. Thus, the cessation of brain activity is the proper criterion for determining when a human dies, and the presence of brain activity is the proper criterion for human life. Since a fetus lacks this brain activity before the first trimester, it is not a living human being, and so abortions in the first trimester are morally permissible. It is really very simple.

Re: "[the fetus] will be a fully grown person."

That does not matter. In the same way that a bowl of batter is not a cake until it has been baked, a fetus is not a human until it has developed the brain activity which is necessary for it to be considered one. Simply having the *potential* to turn into a morally significant agent does not automatically mean *being* a morally significant agent. A fetus may be biologically alive, and it may be genetically human, but as I've repeatedly explained, that is not enough to be considered a living human being; only once it has developed brain activity can it be considered such.

Re: "the brain does start developing during the first trimester."

Pro cites a source showing that the fetus begins developing brain cells around week 5, but simply having brain cells is very different from having true brain activity. My source shows that the fetus does not feel pain until the 24th week of its development, which implies that until then it does not have even basic brain function. Thus, Con's claim is blatantly false; a fetus does *not* really have brain activity until quite a while into the second trimester, and cannot be considered a living human being until then.

Re: "knowledge makes us valuable."

With this, Con has conceded the debate. No fetus has any knowledge whatsoever, so by Con's reasoning, they are not valuable. A fetus in the first trimester is actually even less intelligent than the average bacterium, so Con's own claim completely negates the resolution.


Firstly, even if you do not buy my corollary-to-death argument, Con has completely neglected to uphold his own burden of proof; he has not given any compelling criterion for personhood with which we can reasonably call a fetus a person and make abortion illegal. Secondly, Con inadvertently concedes the debate by saying that the possession knowledge is what defines moral value, as that leads us to the conclusion that a fetus is *not* morally valuable, which fully undermines his entire case. Thirdly, my corollary-to-death argument does remain standing, as explained in the first reply of this round.

The resolution is resoundingly negated. Vote Con.
Debate Round No. 5
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by WillYouMarryMe 3 years ago
oh well. my argument was pretty bad anyways.
Posted by WillYouMarryMe 3 years ago
you've got to be fvcking kidding me. Three day voting period -_-
Posted by bluesteel 3 years ago
>Reported vote:: CentrisX // Moderator action: Removed<

Voted for Con. {RFD = Reasons for voting decision: Con made more convincing arguments. I think Pro would have been able to win this debate had he provided better evidence and more convincing arguments.}

[*Reason for removal*] This RFD fails to explain *why* Con was more convincing; it merely states *that Con was more convincing.
Posted by n7natnat 3 years ago
But on the whole morality part, that's abstract. Abortion isn't inherently good or bad. We just say it is. The universe didn't come with a handbook saying it's bad (and if you tell me that the bible did I'm gonna laugh my butt off). Moral nihilism. So people can do whatever they want, or whatever the government of your society decides. It's all abstract and bias. I don't care honestly. But, the funny thing is though, when I was conceived, my dad didn't want me. He wanted to abort me. I wasn't fully considered a human being yet, but I was life in the making and my birth father want to stop that because he didn't want a child. I was lucky that my birth mother decided to give me up for adoption instead, or else wise I might not be here to comment today. But my point remains: it's not inherently wrong or right to "kill" or to stop the reproductive process, but at the same time your stopping the creation of a life form. A living organism. Do what you want, I do not care. But just know your stopping a process that is creating life. That's all.
Posted by n7natnat 3 years ago
Plus technically, the heart and brain both are source of life. The brain tells your heart to keep beating. If you don't have brain activity your heart doesn't pump blood. Your heart pumps blood to your brain so that it works. If the heart stops beating, then your brain won't get any oxygen from the blood to keep it going. Sooooo technically they're co-dependent.
Posted by n7natnat 3 years ago
God did abortions. Hosea 9:11-16 Hosea prays for God"s intervention. "Ephraim shall bring forth his children to the murderer. Give them, 0 Lord: what wilt thou give? Give them a miscarrying womb and dry breasts. . .Ephraim is smitten, their root is dried up, they shall bear no fruit: yea though they bring forth, yet will I slay even the beloved fruit of their womb." Clearly Hosea desires that the people of Ephraim can no longer have children. God of course obeys by making all their unborn children miscarry. Is not terminating a pregnancy unnaturally "abortion"?
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