The Instigator
BertrandsTeapot
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
AKMath
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

Legalized abortion has done more good than harm

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/28/2018 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 515 times Debate No: 116088
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (2)
Votes (0)

 

BertrandsTeapot

Pro

Looking forward to a good debate!
AKMath

Con

Sorry for the long wait Bertrands. I was away in Helsinki for work. Anyway...

Exhibit A: Fetal personhood

Fetuses are persons because they would become sentient in the future unless interrupted, which is the same reason it is wrong to stab coma patients. The notion that coma patients are persons because they were once sentient in the past and desired future sentience is baseless since someone in a coma who had never thought of the topic specifically would still have personhood in a coma.

Exhibit B: Bodily autonomy

Bodily autonomy is comparable to control over one's property in their own country. If someone, let's call him Joe, owned his own space station and terrorists rigged a bomb in and said the station that would blow up New York if he opened the door, he would not have the right to do so since it was his responsibility to keep his property safe in the first place. [3] This is more comparable to abortion in cases of rape than agreeing to donate a kidney, because, with abortion and the above situation, the person forfeiting bodily autonomy had bad luck which led to the other person's problem, rather than the other way around.

Exhibit C: Harm vs. Good

Since infanticide does not cause more good than harm, if the above exhibits are seen as convincing, then abortion should likewise be viewed as a net loss for society. While abortion was arguably responsible for lowing crime in the US, the number of abortions required for this vastly outnumbered the benefit. [2] Many people born in poor situations also came to benefit society (ex: Beethoven). [1] If killing people to benefit society is morally okay, we may as well kill poor people.
Debate Round No. 1
BertrandsTeapot

Pro

No problem at all, thanks for the response. I will do my best to counter your points in order.

Exhibit A: Fetal Personhood - Defining when life begins is perhaps the most important portion of the abortion debate. Con contends that it is at the point where sentience first becomes possible, if unimpeded.

You claim that fetuses are persons because they would become sentient in the future unless interrupted. Can't the same be said for the all the sperm that do not fertilize a given egg? The sperm expelled during masturbation is another story, but surely a sperm destined for an egg, uninterreupted, would likely fertilize that egg and eventuallly become sentient. Does this mean that every single one of these spermatazoa are "persons" and thus a life is being foregone.

I think it is safe to say that this is not a sound definition for when life or "personhood" begins and thus needs to be redefined.

Exhibit B: Bodily Autonomy

This is simply a fallacious analogy. It immediately breaks down because there are many cases where a birth will kill the mother if the baby is not aborted, without collateral damage such as the entirety of New York City. This example would, perhaps be applicable if Joe invited the terrorist over for dinner, a game of chess, and to watch Breaking Bad. However, if the terrorist, as terrorists often do, forced his or her way into the space station and used violence to place this bomb in Joe's hand, surely it would not be fair to force him to die over this.

Exhibit C: Harm vs. Good

The first sentence of this argument is straight up beggining the question and presupposing your conclusion as your premise and, thus, must be disregarded. Now, a few quotes to combat this 'Exhibit' from scholarly sources:

- Compared to states that support women’s health, those states that oppose safe and legal abortion spend far less money per child on a range of services such as foster care, education, welfare, and the adoption of children who have physical and mental disabilities (Schroedel, 2000).

- The states that have the strongest laws against safe and legal abortion are also the states in which women suffer from lower levels of education and higher levels of poverty, as well as from a lower ratio of female-tomale earnings. They also have a lower percentage of women in the legislature and fewer mandates requiring insurance providers to cover minimum hospital stays after childbirth (Schroedel, 2000).

- Following the legalization of abortion, the largest decline in birth rates were seen among women for whom the health and social consequences of unintended childbearing are the greatest — women over 35, teenagers, and unmarried women (Levine et al., 1999). Today, 26 percent of the abortions in the U.S. are provided to women over 35 and to teenagers (CDC, 2014).

- Today, less than 0.3 percent of women undergoing legal abortion procedures at all gestational ages sustain a serious complication requiring hospitalization (Boonstra et al., 2006; Henshaw, 1999; Upadhyay, et al., 2015). Among women undergoing legal first-trimester aspiration procedures, the percentage sustaining serious complications drops, with recent studies showing major complication rates ranging from 0.05 percent to 0.16 percent (Upadhyay, et al., 2015; Weitz et al., 2013).

- About half of all pregnancies in the U.S. each year are unintended, and four in 10 of these are ended by medically safe, legal abortions. In 2011, an estimated 1.1 million abortions took place, a 13 percent decline from 2008. The abortion rate in 2011 was the lowest rate since 1973 (Jones and Jerman, 2014). From 1973 through 2011, nearly 53 million legal abortions occurred (Guttmacher Institute, 2014).


AKMath

Con

a) Fetal Personhood

>a sperm destined for an egg, uninterrupted, would likely fertilize that egg and eventually become sentient. [Edit: Grammar]

There is a difference here. The sun's rays allow people to survive, so since the rays would hit the earth unless interrupted, it is illegal to stop them. However, the sperm in this case are competing for a common resource they would all need to become sentient (ex: people competing for food) and don't automatically have the right to it in the way that people do with the sun's rays. In one case something is naturally developing whereas in the other one a sperm is actively taking a resource for itself. There's a difference between 'a coma patient would naturally develop sentience' vs. 'uninterrupted, a robber would naturally steal medicine from a hospital, allowing them to continue their sentience by extending their lifespan'. The first is utilizing their own resources while the second is utilizing a common resource. In other words, since the sperm all depend on fertilizing the egg in order to become sentient, it's not immoral for them to fertilize it. If a bunch of starving people each need food, it's not immoral for one of them to take it, since they all need it. If there is excess food and one person hoards it all to themselves, it is immoral. It wouldn't really matter if what the sperm are doing is 'moral', since in this example they aren't sentient (yet) but still have the rights of babies. They aren't responsible but still have moral value.

However, what is your definition of when moral value begins? (Flowers are "alive," so "when life begins" might not be the exact issue here. "Person" also has many definitions and doesn't necessarily correlate to moral value.)

b) Bodily Autonomy

>This is simply a fallacious analogy. It immediately breaks down because there are many cases where a birth will kill the mother if the baby is not aborted, without collateral damage such as the entirety of New York City.

Pro provides no reason that bodily autonomy would break down other than in cases which would kill the mother unless an abortion takes place. Pro also notes the scale of the difference (one person vs. New York). However, it's the principle of the matter that counts, so for the sake of agreement, let's say the bomb will blow up one person.

>if the terrorist, as terrorists often do, forced his or her way into the space station and used violence to place this bomb in Joe's hand, surely it would not be fair to force him to die over this.

I'm not sure what Joe's hand has to do with this, but I already said the terrorist forcefully attaches the bomb to Joe's door. Pro says that the example would be applicable if Joe invited the terrorist into his house, which would mean women could not get an abortion in cases where they consent to sex. In fact, Pro has only defended bodily autonomy in the case of rape where it means either the mother or the fetus will die. Perhaps he (or she) feels confident in their defense of personhood, of which they provide no definition.

>It would not be fair to force him to die over this

And it would not be fair to force someone to get blown up when they have 0 responsibility in the matter. I'm pretty sure it would be illegal for Joe to open his door if he knew it would blow someone up. But Pro insists that this wouldn't be fair if Pro would die otherwise (a sort of 'ends justify the means') philosophy. The problem is that the ends and the means are exactly the same. (One person dying vs. one person dying.) It simply isn't ethical to kill someone else in order to save yourself. So even if Joe was having an asthma attack and his inhaler is right past that door, he can't kill someone to do it.

Saying Joe is allowed to do this is basically saying it's fine to allow terrorists to set up bomb triggers on your property and then set them off yourself, so long as the reason you're killing someone is to save your life.

c) Harm vs. Good

>The first sentence of this argument is straight up beggining the question and presupposing your conclusion as your premise and, thus, must be disregarded.

I said 'if abortion is as bad as infanticide, and infanticide results in a net loss, then so will abortion'. Please tell me how that was 'begging the question'.

>Compared to states that support women"s health, those states that oppose safe and legal abortion spend far less money per child on a range of services such as foster care, education, welfare, and the adoption of children who have physical and mental disabilities

So they're saving money? Isn't that a good thing? It could also be that conservatives tend to oppose abortion and also tend to spend less on social programs. This really has nothing to do with whether abortion is allowed though.

>The states that have the strongest laws against safe and legal abortion are also the states in which women suffer from lower levels of education and higher levels of poverty, as well as from a lower ratio of female-to-male earnings. They also have a lower percentage of women in the legislature and fewer mandates requiring insurance providers to cover minimum hospital stays after childbirth

Again, conservatives spend less on handouts. [3] You say women have less education, spend less time in the legislature, but that would be expected if they were stay at home mothers. And why would they be stay at home mothers? Possibly, because these states have high marriage rates, meaning more stable families. (Utah for example.) [1]

>Following the legalization of abortion, the largest decline in birth rates were seen among women for whom the health and social consequences of unintended childbearing are the greatest " women over 35, teenagers, and unmarried women (Levine et al., 1999). Today, 26 percent of the abortions in the U.S. are provided to women over 35 and to teenagers (CDC, 2014).

Yes, abortion lowered birth rates. Imagine that.

I frankly don't see how your last two points are relevant to an argument. You argue that abortion only endangers the lives of 5/1000 women and that it decreased. You also say that Guttmacher Institute considered abortions to be safe 4 years ago. I will happily give you those points. (Although maternal death from giving birth is .0264%, a lower rate than what you provided for abortion complications.) [2]

So in summary, I don't see how lowering poverty is any excuse for killing people.
Debate Round No. 2
BertrandsTeapot

Pro

**NOTE TO VOTERS**

AKMath is currently engaging in this exact same debate with another user (http://www.debate.org...) and copying and pasting the arguments from one to another. He/she is barely using original arguments and is acting with no regard for the sanctity of this forum. Those arguments that are his/her own are generally fallacious and misleading.

That said, AKMath has also moved the goal posts of this debate (though I must admit, I got caught up in it a bit as well), focusing a lot on when life begins and the viability of fetuses rather than the issue at hand - whether legalized abortion has done more good than harm. As such, despite AKMath's blatant plagiarism throughout this debate, I will still do the service of going through their arguments on this point.

"I said 'if abortion is as bad as infanticide, and infanticide results in a net loss, then so will abortion'. Please tell me how that was 'begging the question'."

You are assuming that abortion is as bad as infanticide in your argument which is the key premise that your conclusion relies upon. That is practically a textbook definition of begging the question.

"So they're saving money? Isn't that a good thing?"

Yes, they are saving money by not providing a range of services such as foster care, education, welfare, and the adoption of children who have physical and mental disabilities. Isn't that a good thing? I suppose that's up to you or the voters. Perhaps you also think it's wise to save money by not funding research and development into the cure of deadly diseases. Who am I to judge?

" And why would they be stay at home mothers? Possibly, because these states have high marriage rates, meaning more stable families. (Utah for example.) [1]"

This is so clearly plagiarised as the [1] citation doesn't reference anything. Nor does the [3] earlier in that paragraph.

"Yes, abortion lowered birth rates. Imagine that."

If you are going to be sarcastic, perhaps be sure you are properly reading the quote you are attempting to refute. The statistic stated that the decline in birth rates was among women for whom the health and social consequences of unintended childbearing are the greatest. Even if you already knew this statistic, it's possible voters did not, and that doesn't change the relevance to the topic.

"I frankly don't see how your last two points are relevant to an argument. You argue that abortion only endangers the lives of 5/1000 women and that it decreased. You also say that Guttmacher Institute considered abortions to be safe 4 years ago. I will happily give you those points. (Although maternal death from giving birth is .0264%, a lower rate than what you provided for abortion complications.) [2]"

You don't see how the points are relevant to the argument even though you admit that legalized abortions are now safer than ever? That's a bit strange. Also, where is your statistic coming from here. I believe it's from a 2015 study. Again, you've cited [2], but not told us what that refers to.

All arguments notwithstanding, I don't feel that Con deserves or merits votes in this debate due to his sheer disrespect of this community.

AKMath

Con

>AKmath has also moved the goalposts of this debate (though I must admit, I got caught up in it a bit as well), focusing a lot on when life begins and the viability of fetuses rather than the issue at hand - whether legalized abortion has done more good than harm.

I think this is very relevant, given how BertrandsTeapot, claims there is no basis for equating abortion to infanticide, which they think is begging the question. However, I was simply pointing out that if abortion was morally equivalent to infanticide, their pros/cons would be roughly equal. I did this by showing how fetuses have moral rights. I could see how "bodily autonomy" might be irrelevant if we're looking at "the most good for the most people." Since BertrandsTeapot seems to be focusing on the easiest points to refute, I will spend some time solidifying my uncontested arguments and then move on to those.

Fetal Personhood - Future sentience determines moral value, which is pretty much why it's immoral to kill people in a coma. If Pro is going to start making excuses like, "past sentience also determines moral value," then what about dead people? I'm pretty sure it's not murder if you stab a corpse. I guess I win this point by default since Pro didn't even try to counter me.

Bodily Autonomy - Since women (although indirectly) are responsible for fetuses' dependence on them, they are responsible for keeping the fetus alive until they are no longer independent. Basically, since Joe was responsible for protecting his property, he can't open his door in good moral standing no matter the reason. Pro has not differentiated the situations or given a reason that Joe can open his door. I guess that means I win this point by default.

Good vs Harm

Last two points: Abortion is safe for women. Okay, so is infanticide.

>I believe it's from a 2015 study

Whoops, 3 years ago. However, the citation said 2014.

Even though these points say abortion isn't as horrible as it could be if it put women in danger, it's still basically killing people, which Pro apparently agrees with since they didn't counter either of my points on fetal personhood and bodily autonomy. So my points aren't "changing the argument". Killing people is harm, or at least I would think so, and the topic is "does legalized abortion cause more good than harm". The fact that Pro doesn't think it matters whether or not fetuses are people makes it look like (I assume) they wouldn't care if lots of people were being killed because it's "not relevant" and "shifting the goalposts". I assume Pro would counter that fetuses don't have moral value, but they've done a pretty bad job of defending that by ignoring the point altogether.
Debate Round No. 3
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by BertrandsTeapot 3 years ago
BertrandsTeapot
I would request that someone vote on this debate, either on its merits or based on the fact that AKMath copy and pasted arguments from another debate (see comment by chrmon2).
Posted by chrmon2 3 years ago
chrmon2
Hey AKMath you are debating 2 people at once and stealing their arguments. Basically I am debating BertrandsTeapot and you get to win no matter which of us wins. This is like that ol' chess trick where you play one person as white and the other person as black. This explains why you said you were pro-life on that other debate too.
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