The Instigator
Pro (for)
The Contender
Con (against)

Should abortion be legal in the United States?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/22/2018 Category: Health
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 1,083 times Debate No: 106987
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (7)
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Although there is a large amount of controversy surrounding abortion, with 'pro-choice' advocates claiming it's a woman's right to choose, and 'pro-life' advocates fighting to protect what they see as innocent people being murdered, I feel there is a conclusive study on abortion that sets all else to rest, and can settle the debate.

According to a study by the World Health Organization, abortion rates are the same, if not higher, in countries where it is illegal. The only difference is the safety of the women involved. When abortions are illegal, women turn to people to give them abortions who are far from qualified to perform such a medical procedure. They then end up getting becoming sick and even dying from the ensuing complications.

To conclude, making abortions illegal would only increase the amount of suffering. Legal abortion satisfy both sides, providing both a choice for women and a prevention of suffering.


Saying that "abortion rates are the same, if not higher, in countries where it is illegal" and citing one study as evidence is a gross oversimplification.

Let's start by examining some quotes from Pro's own article:
"Experts couldn"t say whether more liberal laws led to fewer procedures"
"Sedgh said it is difficult to get an accurate number for unsafe abortions and described their estimates as modest."
"Almost all unsafe abortions were in developing countries, where family planning and contraceptive programs have mostly levelled off."

So we see in these three quotes from Pro's own evidence that experts can't even draw a direct conclusion, the data is roughly estimated, and there could be many other factors at play here, such as poverty, culture, and access to contraception. This hardly "sets all else to rest" as Pro claims.

After doing some very basic research, it's clear that the Lancet study is hotly debated and far from conclusive. One problem is the data itself. Collecting world-wide abortion data is woefully unreliable. Health records are scarce, and researchers often had to extrapolate from small surveys or deduce rates from models based on data from other countries. In addition, one can find reverse trends in individual countries. The U.S. abortion rate actually increased by 70% in the first 6 years after Roe v. Wade. Conversely, when many Eastern European countries restricted abortion, there was a 25% decrease in the abortion rate. The countries with some of the most liberal abortion laws, Sweden and Norway, also have the lowest rates of abortion. This is likely due to the high levels of education and contraception access [1]. In fact, the Guttmacher Institute, one of the world's leading abortion advocacy organizations, published a paper that concluded "High levels of unmet need for contraception help explain the prevalence of abortion in countries with restrictive abortion laws." [2]

So as we can see, we cannot say with any certainty that stricter abortion laws lead to increased abortion rates. There are many, many factors at play here, and it seems that the strongest predictor of abortion rate is access to modern contraception.

But, let's play devil's advocate and pretend Pro is correct, and making abortion illegal actually does increase abortion rate and maternal death. Does this justify legalizing abortion? It depends...

Pro is assuming a particular value system, utilitarian ethics (minimizing suffering), and placing it on a pedestal as the supreme ethic. Legal abortion (allegedly) provides the greatest good for the greatest number of people, and therefore it is to be preferred over illegal abortion. But who says utilitarian ethics should rule supreme in this case? There are a number of objections to utilitarian ethics, such as:
- how do you define what the greatest good is? How do we define suffering? These are subjective terms that could have many definitions.
- why should we always seek good for the majority? This would mean that minority population interests are always ignored, resulting in a tyranny of the majority.
- Maximizing good is not necessarily the only consideration in ethics. For example, if you had to torture a terrorist in order to save 10 people, would you do it? Some say yes and some say no because other values are at play here - justice, human rights, beliefs about the wrongness of torture, etc...

There are numerous ethics systems, such as deontology, virtue ethics, egoism, natural law, moral relativism, etc... There are many ways to view abortion, and Pro has yet to justify why we should accept utilitarian ethics over the others.

So, in conclusion, saying that "the only difference [between illegal and legal abortion] is the safety of the women involved" is patently false and grossly oversimplified. There are many, many differences depending on which ethics you apply.


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Debate Round No. 3
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by sengejuri 3 years ago
Posted by sengejuri 3 years ago
How does the mere agency of a woman acting as the carrier of a fetus give her more rights? Is it the physical act of carrying? If so, would that mean whenever I give someone a piggy back ride they surrender their rights to me? Or is it because the fetus is physically dependent on the woman? If so, then can a mother kill her 5 month old infant? An infant is just as equally dependent on others for survival.

Federal Law actually confirms a fetus has equal rights to the mother. The 2004 Unborn Victims of Violence Act (UVVA), Section 1841, says that any person who injures a child in utero can be punished as if they injured the mother herself, even if the offender acted unintentionally or had no knowledge she was pregnant. Furthermore, UVVA says, "As used in this section, the term 'child in utero' or 'child, who is in utero' means a member of the species homo sapiens, at any stage of development, who is carried in the womb." []Incredibly, this means that if a pregnant woman on her way to the abortion clinic gets hit by a texting driver, survives, but loses the baby, then that driver can be charged with manslaughter. This contradiction borders on insanity and cannot be justified with logic.

Finally, if we assume the sex was consensual and the pregnancy is healthy (aka, the vast majority of all abortions), then there are no "obligations" or "unwilling women." The woman voluntarily participated in an activity where pregnancy is a well-known consequence. I see no forced duty or unwillingness in this equation. I think a more accurate term would be "unwanted," and no one should lose their life merely because they are unwanted.
Posted by missmedic 3 years ago
Using law enforcement to impose antiabortion laws would involve the suspension of the mother's rights. The two main issues to tackle are:
1) does the fetus have rights, and
2) if so, does it also have the right to remain in the womb against the mothers wishes.
As long as fetus needs a women to carry it, the women's rights will matter more. So could you please explain how you would force the obligation and duty of pregnancy onto an unwilling women? How would do that?
Posted by cuckboi 3 years ago
The argument that people make against abortion is the decision to end a pre decided life based on whether it is convenient or if it is not. The desicion to end the life of an innocent HUMAN BEING is morally incorrect on so many levels. Democrats do not see this argument as valid because they think it has something to do with womens rights, and it is about a LIFE HERE, NOT A GROCERY BAG. I am sick and tired of their NIGGEE claims because tis is both pollitically and morally incorrect. Thank you very much for reading this.
Posted by sengejuri 3 years ago
@missmedic - you might be right, but once again the data is far from conclusive. It is not at all clear whether stricter abortion laws lead to higher abortion rates. Also, you are assuming utilitarian ethics to evaluate what would be "best." But it's not necessarily true that merely reducing abortions is or should be the primary concern. There are lots of ethical issues at play here, and different value systems will measure things differently. You cannot assume the supremacy of utilitarian ethics without providing justification.
Posted by John_C_1812 3 years ago
Abortion is not a woman"s United States Constitutional right. It was a declaration of Independence made on behalf of a self-incrimination to a crime made publicly. A woman only has a legal constitutional right to Gender Specific Amputation. No woman can insist that all woman, men, and doctors confess to a felony crime in order to insure medical care.

Abort means to official stop a process. If a person aborts a process then refuses to agree with the formality of authority which in fact officially started, in this case pregnancy. There was never an abortion the process is a termination end, not abortion stop. This is a civil battle to assume control of a form of public execution. Again a woman"s constitutional right of gender specific Amputation is not a religious claim to control of birth to all life.
Posted by missmedic 3 years ago
When you make something illegal you lose control of it. It"s ironic that abortion laws are motivated by a desire to limit abortions, yet one of the best ways to reduce abortion is to liberalize or repeal anti-abortion laws. That"s not the only factor of course. The real key is to promote women"s rights, with particular attention to their reproductive rights. Most countries in western Europe enjoy a more pragmatic attitude towards sexuality and contraception, and strong support for women"s equality. Also, most abortions occur because women can"t afford to have a child, so governments can significantly reduce abortion numbers by building a more stable, prosperous society and making child-rearing economically feasible. There is no need for societies to defend fetal interests directly, as the best way to protect fetuses is to provide resources directly to pregnant women. When a pregnant woman is safe and healthy, so is her fetus.
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