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

The option to abort should be the mother's choice

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/19/2017 Category: Politics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 1,164 times Debate No: 103251
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (5)
Votes (0)




For the resolution "The option to abort should be the mother's choice" I will be arguing the Neg position (against).
In the first round, both participants will begin with Constructing Arguments
Since challenger will be taking the Affirmative position, they will start the first round and will include:
1) Thesis statement and its relevance
2) Definition of terms
3) Present at least 3 constructing arguments, each with a reason and sited evidence to support it
4) Summary
First Neg Con response will include the same and also include responses to Aff arguments.
Second round will be 2nd Constructing argument round (following format of 1st)
Third Round will be 1st rebuttal round. NO NEW ARGUMENTS MAY BE INTRODUCED
Forth Round will be 2nd rebuttal round and will end with overall summary conclusion

Crossex questions that are relevant can be asked at end of body of two Con rounds only, no crossex questions allowed during two rebuttal rounds.
Crossex questions can only be non-rhetorical questions no statements permitted. Crossex questions are for clarity, expanding scope, exploring nuances etc.
Answers to previous crossex questions need to be posted as first item on next reply before beginning the body of response.

Conduct Rules: No ad hominem, abusive, or otherwise inappropriate language
Argue the points concisely and avoid tangential responses
Responses must clash with previous arguments made,
Any responses not addressing previous opponents arguments will be
considered conceded
Conceded points will NOT be allowed to be mentioned again in later
No trolling
All supporting evidence need citations in the form of a hyperlink



The UN Declaration of Human Rights established in 1948 manifests the idea of how people ought to be treated globally. Articles 2 and 3 are worth examining for the resolution. Article 2 states that all the rights established in the law are to be applied equally regardless of gender, color, religion etc. Article 3 says that everyone has the right to life, liberty, and security of person (2). This international doctrine needs to be followed as there was no specific wording in the resolution that implies that this should only apply to any specific country. The importance of this document has not gone unnoticed by medical ethicists. When making decisions medical ethics guarantees that one must balance the importance of autonomy, or the liberty to make decisions, against the general good that occurs. For instance, while restricting travel of infected people will certainly restrict their liberty of movement, it is generally considered just since the rest of the population benefits (3). The weighing mechanism is Rule Utilitarianism, or establishing rules and regulations for the benefit of the population. Thus, I must show that the benefits of keeping women’s decision in the case of abortion, thus I would be able to show that the UN Declaration of Human Rights is extended to the medical practice of abortion and win the debate. Thus, we need to examine what harms or benefits done by allowing women to have the autonomous decision in the abortion process. I do not need to prove that abortion needs to not pose harms, just that women making the decision has favorable effects for the rest of the world. When looking at allowing women to have abortions the clear answer is that there are more benefits than harms.


Abortion should be defined as the following through the Cambridge Dictionary:

“The intentional ending of a pregnancy.”

Mother’s, for this debate since the mother would be the person getting the abortion and thus not really have offspring in some cases, would be any prospective person who would want an abortion.

C1: Harms from restricting medical autonomy

  1. A. Rape-related abortions

While there seems to be confusion on the amount of rape-related pregnancies in the US, the number generally given is anywhere from 3.1% to 5% in the time-period from 2004-2005 in the US alone, which is over 1,600 people conservatively estimated. This number was determined by estimating the probability of pregnancy through first intercourse by observing datasets from previous research, finding out how many people were raped, and applying the probability of pregnancy to the population suffering from abuse after subtracting the infertile population (4). This is only in the US, of course, and does not consider rapes that were not reported, which is an astronomical number. The Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault uses the Bureau of Justice Statistics numbers from 1994 to 2010 to determine that anywhere from 15.8% and 34% of sexual assault cases, much of which is rape, is not reported due to fear of the justice system, reprisal, or not being considered seriously by the police (5). In other words, in the US alone there is plenty of opportunities to be forcefully inseminated which violates women’s rights. Globally, roughly 1 in 10 women, or 120 million women have experienced forced sexual conduct, including forced intercourse (6). Worldwide we then can expect this number to be more than in the US, with less rights for women in the Middle East, Africa, and parts of Asia that muddle the ability of nations to penalize rape. This problem becomes worse when my opponent wants to limit the choices that women can make without approval from another party. Because the perpetrator of rape has restricted the liberty of the victim by forcing them into motherhood at young ages, the right of the affected party needs to be able to restore autonomy by undergoing abortion. In fact, it’s the most widely used option. The NCBI in a 1996 study analyzing rape-related abortion concluded 50% of the affected parties, hundreds of people in the US, underwent abortion as opposed to other options available (7). This choice is a coping mechanism when you consider rape and subsequent pregnancy has serious effects on mental health. Dean Kilpatrick of the Medical University of South Carolina shows that women who were raped were 5.5 times as likely to suffer from PTSD currently, and 6.2 times as likely to develop PTSD. Compare this with the mental effects of unwanted pregnancies, which the NCBI studied from 2008 to 2010, and realize that there is a 20-22% increased likeliness of maternal depression as well (9). The ability to provide this option to people affected, without the influence of others, will help those who choose it. The Guttmacher Institute concludes this in September 2013, showing that those who were denied abortions expressed more anger, resentment, etc. and harms one’s psyche (10). Under my opponent’s position, we would leave whether these people could have an abortion to other people, not the women in question who suffers these harms.

  1. B. Regression of women’s rights

The NCBI in June of 2016 furthers, has concluded that women in lower-income or developing countries have less autonomy to make medical or financial decisions, especially in Nepal, India, and Bangladesh (11). By further restricting the right of the women worldwide to making medical decisions, no matter how reprehensible my opponent thinks the action is, we further subjugate the world population and set a precedent for future inadequacy in women’s rights. This limit to decision making and liberty also is coupled with things like honor killings, which is basically the killing of women when they “bring the family to shame.” 5000 of these killings occur per year from the date provided at the Honor Based Violence Awareness Network (12). If the international community would further restrict the autonomy of women, we are only allowing the patriarchal society to dominate in the world and justifying the inferiority of women in decision making that developing countries seemingly uphold. Regardless of the idea of abortion that my opponent seems to think is abhorrent, realize the international reaction if this were done worldwide and affirm.

C2: Illegal abortion

Regardless of the party chosen to allow for abortions, the party is going to be more restrictive than the people who need the abortion on principle. After all, the people consenting to the procedure who don’t want influence from any other party are the ones who advocate for the option the most. This restriction to legal services to provide abortions leads to the rise of illegal abortions. 42 million abortions are done a year, and roughly half of them are not done by a medical practitioner according to estimates from the NCBI in spring of 2009. This lead to over 60,000 deaths due to the lack of safety in these abortion (13). Thus, restricting autonomy kills people who undergo unsafe abortions. This brings undue harm to people simply because of the restrictive nations in which many of these women live. Regardless of the justness of abortion I am sure the death of women is not just. Women would be restricted from the party involved that allows women to have abortions, since the woman has no choice.

By observing the harms to society that disallowing women to choose their abortion we would allow, realize that we must extend the right of the women to have an abortion to fall under the UN doctrine and allow for the liberty to choose to have an abortion.

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Debate Round No. 1


First I would like to thank my opponent accepting this debate, I look forward to further rounds.

Definitions: I accept my opponent's given definitions on 'abortion" and "mother"

The affirmative side has stated in their thesis that they will be arguing to show that allowing mothers the choice of abortion will have "favorable effects". I also agree with the statement of the UN Declaration of Human Rights and feel it can apply to the world's populations. I also will show that my position adheres to the mentioned UN declaration consistently well. My opponent also goes on to state that this would yield more benefits than harm. I reject the 'more benefits than harm' utilitarian criteria my opponent will be arguing and instead will be advocating that the UN declaration protects the rights of life, liberty, and security of person that all humans are entitled to. Article 3 also goes on to say "Everyone has the right of recognition everywhere as a person before law." Utilitarianism is an ethical philosophy, and I do think that ethics and morals are the bedrock which underpin this debate. So to be clear this is a debate on what the best moral decision would look like when considering the controversial topic of abortion. Is making abortion illegal the best moral decision or is keeping abortion legal while allowing the mother the choice? However, on that note, I put forth that there is a significant moral factor that my opponent has not weighed in on yet in this debate. The moral considerations of terminating the life of an innocent human child, which necessarily comes with choosing abortion. This can not be ignored or dismissed if we are trying to have an honest discourse on what the moral answer is to this topic.

My argument will be structured in the following manner: Premise 1: All humans are entitled to human rights which include
the right to life.
Premise 2: The unborn is a human life which starts at conception
Therefore: The unborn is a human life entitled to the human
rights all people enjoy which includes the right to life.

1. All humans are entitled to human rights (including the right to life)

Not only does the Declaration of Independence backed by the US Constitution state this for all American human lives but this applies elsewhere too. The "UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights" in Article 3 states that "Everyone has the right to life, liberty, and security of person." However, when a conflict between life and liberty occurs ,life will always trump liberty if one's liberty threatens or denies the right to life of another. Without life, there is no liberty. Liberty is only meaningful when the right to life is respected and honored above liberty. Life is always valued over liberty. If you don't possess the right to live, what good does liberty grant to such a valueless (and I imagine very shortened) life? To conclude my first premise, it is important to keep in mind that liberty is not absolute...where the right to life is. One's liberty ceases at the point when that liberty endangers the life or health of another. The liberty of being able to drive my car ends at the point where you are standing in front of it. (My liberty was suddenly curtailed by your right to life which would have ended if my liberty wasn't checked accordingly)

2. Human life begins at conception

This premise is usually the most contested. Let's first explore what the experts say on the matter.
"In that fraction of a second when the chromosomes form pairs, the sex of the new child will be determined, hereditary characteristics received from each parent will be set, and a new life will have begun." (Kaluger, 1974)
"Governments own definition attests to the fact that life begins at fertilization. According to the National Institutes of Health 'fertilization' is the process of union of two gametes where by somatic chromosome number is restored and development of new individual is initiated." (Erlelt, 2013)
"Although it is customary to divide human development into prenatal and postnatal periods, it is important to realize that birth is merely a dramatic event during development resulting in a change of environment." (Moore 1993)
The reason that conception is the point human life starts is because once the full 23 pairs of necessary chromosome pairs unite, development begins and continues into a person's 20's. Once the blueprints are assembled there exists a complete separate genetic fingerprint belonging to a separate individual. Arbitrarily drawing the beginning of life at any other point after conception is merely bench-marking different developmental milestones (heartbeat, brain activity etc) with no warrant for why that particular line of demarcation is where life begins.
When a mass-shooter kills a 58 year old, a 12 year old, and a 1 year old, we don't consider any of these deaths more or less tragic due to age, they are equally tragic due to them being human. So age is irrelevant in determining human value and by extension the right to life they have. The age of a human technically should be measured back to conception, the actual start of its life, not to the birth (birth merely being a dramatic movement), so this still applies to the unborn in the womb who is indeed a human being possessing the right to that life.
3. Therefore , Once conception occurs, human life begins and is entitled to the same human rights (including right to life)
The take away is that abortion is indeed murder and considering 320,000 occur every year and 59,627,558 since Roe v Wade ( we unfortunately realize the moral gravity of abortion being legal. My opponent has framed my position as "wanting to limit the choices that women can make", which I want to address further in the next round.
Summary: The conclusion that was derived from this syllogism can be logically deduced down to a simple moral truth. All humans have the right to live. To violate that is murder, just like it would be if it was perpetrated against any other person. Murder has very heavy legal and moral considerations...being that it is considered one of the worst human rights violations (next to rape) and violent acts that can be inflicted upon a person. It earned this reputation because it always results in the permanency of death. A person doesn't have the liberty to deprive another of the right to their own life. All liberties and personal autonomy that a person has...reach their limit when they threaten another's life. This point will be critical to remember moving forward in the second round of constructive arguments in the debate.

Cross-ex questions: What assumptions do you have regarding the unborn having human rights? If you reject this idea, on what warrant? Do you believe in the situational ethics that utilitarianism espouses or do you assume moral realism?
Can rights be taken away or overridden in certain circumstances? Which is more absolute, the right to life or right to liberty?



What assumptions do you have regarding the unborn having human rights?

The one thing that a human and all living things in the environment have is sentience. Merriam-Webster defines “sentience” as feeling or sensation as distinguished from perception and thought (8). This is something that the fetus takes a while to develop. The Scientific American in September of 2009 shows that the neural networks needed to perceive and think are not developed until the 24th and 28th week of pregnancy (8). Thus, it is unjustified to give human rights to something that has no way to even perceive these rights over those of the mother’s.

Do you believe in the situational ethics that utilitarianism espouses or do you assume moral realism?

For the judges who may be unaware, moral realism is the idea that there are moral truths and facts (9). Utilitarianism needs to be applied as bioethicists do in their decision-making process. This was mentioned beforehand, but the World Health Organization explains this by offering examples when restricting rights is needed. For instance, the SARS disease prompted a response by the US and Asia to shut down social events and quarantined people. In hindsight, these actions were not necessary and people’s rights were violated, yet it is still justified because the outcome was potentially catastrophic and had to be contained. The spread of harm to others based off the decision of a few is also a moral qualm that needs to be considered too, and maximizing good for people must be contained by the granting of rights. All I claim is that there needs to be shown a net benefit to restricting the rights of women to choose abortion, or the restricting of the mother’s right to liberty is not justified.

Can rights be taken away?

Certainly, if there is justification for them that results in the betterment of society for the whole. The social contract is a good model here then, since people give up certain rights to live in a civil society with protection from the government. This idea means that if one lives in a society, laws are necessary to restrict liberty in some cases which is measured against utility to the people.

Which is more absolute, the right to liberty or life?

I don’t see why we can’t achieve both under the resolution, so since both can be achieved I will say that both are equally important.

C3: Abortion affects women disproportionately

The idea that women should not decide the medical operations that she undergoes is ridiculous, but that is the resolution.

For the resolution "The option to abort should be the mother's choice"

He is saying that mothers should not be the ones given the option to abort, not that the practice should be banned. This has nothing to do with the moral implications of aborting a pregnancy. What the resolution is asking me to prove is that when abortion is available, should it be the patient that gets the right to the option of abortion, or another party? In the US, where abortion is legal, the right of the women to determine whether to undergo the medical procedure is waived, and determined by some unknown party since my opponent did not specify it. I have proven the practical effects of abortion denial, since that will likely happen if the women are not given that right, yet there are problems in relation to denying women the option to it in place of another party. Since undergoing abortion will have dire impacts to the patient’s social standing due to stigma, clearly the person who is most affected, the patient, should be deciding whether to have the procedure. The University of Chicago in 2011 offered a survey that studied the effect that stigma plays in abortions, and concluding that nearly 60% of women feel the need to keep their abortion a secret from friends and family, and 17% of women believe that their medical practitioner would treat them differently if they knew about the abortion (1). This is not helped by events such as the recent Planned Parenthood shooting in Chicago which killed three people as USA Today reports last year (2). Consider these effects in the rest of the developing world which is already entrenched in sexism and realize the effects are manifold. In countries like Yemen, where women have no protection under the law, you are further withering away their ability to make medical decisions by my opponent’s case. By giving this right to another party, you are substantially reducing the right to autonomy in making medical decisions for no good reason, proving a harm under the Utilitarian standard, and thus my opponent’s case.

C4: Medically needed abortions

Despite popular claims from people like Joe Walsh who believe that there isn’t “one instance” in which an abortion will save the mother’s life, the Annenberg Public Policy Center in 2012 fact checked this statement and found absolutely no basis for its claims, while also citing information from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists which concluded that 600 women die a year due to complications in childbirth, and the number would be much higher if access to abortions didn’t save people’s lives. This information is furthered by the Guttmacher institute in 1998, which after conducting a study on 1,773 women, found that 2.3% of them did so because of potential danger to lives. Examples of a condition that necessitates abortion could include Ectopic pregnancies, where a fetus develops outside of the uterus where it is supposed to (3). The amount of these pregnancies has increased even with medical technology becoming incredibly refined in recent years. In Northern Europe and the US there was increased prevalence, with Ectopic pregnancies being roughly 5 times as prevalent in 2000 than 1970 according to the NCBI in August of 2000 (4). Ectopic pregnancies are classified by the National Institute of Health as life threatening and an instance in which the fetus will not live either (5). The sort of uneasiness in providing abortions has put a significant burden on health care providers who provide the service. One Wisconsin provider told Rewire Magazine in 2012 that physicians typically struggle in allowing for abortions when it threatens the mother’s life. “Should an abortion be considered when there is only a 20% risk of death to the mother?” The provider asks (6). If there is a risk to a mother’s life, not only should she ought to know, but the idea that physicians face significant moral boundaries to performing an abortion shows that even if a woman is likely to die, there might still be problems in allowing abortions. If a woman has the right to an abortion, this problem is averted as she could undergo the medical procedure by consenting to the operation. Since this is taken away by my opponent, the violation of the mother’s rights is at risk.


Why would the resolution only specify that women couldn’t make these decisions if you want to outlaw abortion as opposed to just saying Resolved: Abortion should be banned?

How would allowing unsafe abortions to become more prevalent via the taking away of rights from women be a benefit to the fetus anyway if it dies with the mother?

Why should we value the baby over the mother in the case of life-threatening abortions?

What is the benefit of reverting to “moral facts” in this debate if there is literally no right to liberty for women to be choosing their own procedure anyway?

What party, if not women, would be determining who gets an abortion since women will not receive the option?

Could this unknown party force women to undergo abortions if there are population growth spikes as the right is seemingly not given to women, but not established to be illegal?

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Debate Round No. 2
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Debate Round No. 3
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Debate Round No. 4
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by blamonkey 2 years ago
If you don't have time to post, just post "skipping this round due to time constraints" or whatever and I'll skip my R32 as well and go right to the last round. If you wait for forfeiture, there is a glitch that prevents the debate from going forward.
Posted by blamonkey 2 years ago
I would recommend posting soon.
Posted by missmedic 2 years ago
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.
Posted by missmedic 2 years ago
All things being equal, men should pay 1/2 of all costs associated with causing an unwanted pregnancy.
Posted by canis 2 years ago
And the fathers choise..Or he should not have to pay anything...
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