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


Do you like this debate?NoYes+0
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/16/2014 Category: Health
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 846 times Debate No: 44122
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (2)
Votes (1)




Brain activity DOES NOT define a person. A person is a person no matter how small. Have you ever thought of the other point of it? What if you were the one in the situation? How would you solve your mistake? i hope not by scraping your baby out of your body. I bet you'd fix it some other way. Thank you.


Opening Statements

I thank my opponent for offering this debate. I hope for a good one.

As I have already made a debate for abortion, with no rebuttal to my first round, my first arguments will closely resemble that of my former debate. For reference, it's here:

To start off, i will be supporting the proposition that abortion should be legal until the point of brain activity within the fetus, which occurs at approximately 8 weeks gestation.

I will define two words that will come up later in my arguments.

Human: (n.): A member of the genus Homo and especially of the species H. sapiens. (adj.): Having or showing those positive aspects of nature and character regarded as distinguishing humans from other animals. (1)

Person: A human or organization with legal rights and duties. (2)


Human vs. Person

In order for my arguments to make sense, there must first be a distinction between what is human and what is a person. This may seem counterintuitive, as the term human is generally considered equivalent to a person, but it's actually more complex than this.

First, a human who ceases to have brain activity is no longer a person, even if the non-brain parts of the body are still functioning, using life support. Once a person stops having brain activity, the person is considered officially dead (3).

Next, various things that are human are still not persons. Individual cells, DNA, and body parts are human in nature, but are not protected as people under law. These things make up a person, who would be protected by law.

Finally, sperm cells and egg cells are not people. They are human, and have the potential to create a person, but are not protected under law individually.


With these terms clarified, we can now discuss what ought to be considered a person. There are many thresholds which people have come up with to determine when personhood begins, but it is still very much in debate today. You believe abortions should be illegal because "a person is a person no matter how small." I can infer from this that you believe the point of conception, or the fusion of gametes to initiate the development of a human, is the beginning of human personhood, and therefore entitled to the right of life.

So, why not choose fertilization as the starting point? My argument for brain activity as the beginning of personhood is founded on the fact that the brain is the only irreplaceable organ in the human body, and in turn is essential for life. The brain is a requirement for all organ systems to function properly. It is what gives us our individuality, consciousness, characteristics, and livelihood. These things are not simply attached to the genetic and cellular foundations from fertilization. An active brain is needed for us completely fulfill these ideas of being a person.

Not only does brain activity make a good indicator for when we are living people, but it is consistent with our definition of when we are dead. As I explained earlier, our definition of death is dependent on when brain activity ceases. If this is when we consider someone dead, why not be the determiner of when someone is alive? The most reasonable thing to do is to have a consistent set of ethics and make brain activity the beginning of personhood. When viewed in this way, personhood may be seen as a continuous spectrum between the onset of brain life in utero, until the occurrence of brain death.


"Brain activity DOES NOT define a person. A person is a person no matter how small."

On what reasoning do you base this on? So far this is a warrantless claim. I hope you will grounds to this claim.

"Have you ever thought of the other point of it?"

I'm not sure what you mean by "it". If you mean the idea of personhood at conception, then yes. I have detailed above on what I think of it when compared to brain activity.

"What if you were the one in the situation? How would you solve your mistake? i hope not by scraping your baby out of your body. I bet you'd fix it some other way. Thank you."

Well first off, I'm not a woman, and I can't speak as one. I do not know how I would deal with an unintended pregnancy. But, I wouldn't judge those that have abortions unless I know in what circumstances it happened. This is not the topic of the debate though.

What is being debated here is not whether one should or should not get an abortion. This is a debate over whether or not brain activity should be the starting point of personhood, and hence the start of the legal right to life.

You bring up the idea that at any stage of the pregnancy, the fetus should be considered a baby. I will contend this, as a baby must require brain activity in order to be alive. Without an active brain, a baby could not exist as we know it. And if we accept this as true, a single celled zygote is no longer equivalent to a baby just after birth in terms of being defined as a person. This is a realistic and consistent view of life and personhood.


For all the ideas of when personhood should begin, brain activity is be the most reasonable. To quote a doctor named John Goldenring, "By accepting a functioning brain as a medical definition for (personhood), one can achieve a very reasonable, scientifically grounded and consistent view of human life. Such a definition allows us to look at all of life from the development of a single cell to the death of the last cell in a body in the same way. We need not encounter any logical dilemmas if we apply a brain-life test and we can use it as an instrument to aid policy and ethical decisions."(4)

I look forward to your response.






Debate Round No. 1


ejb2018 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2


ejb2018 forfeited this round.


Don't waste someone's time by challenging them then leaving the site forever afterward.
Debate Round No. 3
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by Valladarex 6 years ago
Ughh... Should have known this was going to be one of those noobs that leave the site after round one. Why do I even bother.
Posted by Valladarex 6 years ago
Looking forward to some excitement on this site after a few months hiatus. Thanks for challenging me, ejb2018.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by iamanatheistandthisiswhy 6 years ago
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:07 
Reasons for voting decision: Not sure what to say really, all that work for nothing. Full points to Pro.

By using this site, you agree to our Privacy Policy and our Terms of Use.