Instigator / Pro
Points: 9

Resolved: Abortion should remain legal in the US

Finished

The voting period has ended

After 2 votes the winner is ...
semperfortis
Debate details
Publication date
Last update
Category
Politics
Time for argument
Two weeks
Voting system
Open voting
Voting period
One month
Point system
Four points
Rating mode
Rated
Characters per argument
15,000
Contender / Con
Points: 14
Description
Intro
Many thanks to semperfortis for agreeing to this debate. Since his opponent forfeited the other debate, I thought I could give him a nice challenge to his arguments.
Definitions
Abortion - the deliberate termination of a human pregnancy, most often performed during the first 28 weeks of pregnancy.
Should: used to indicate obligation, duty, or correctness, typically when criticizing someone's actions.
Legal: permitted by law.
Rules
1. No forfeits
2. Citations must be provided in the text of the debate
3. No new arguments in the final speeches
4. Observe good sportsmanship and maintain a civil and decorous atmosphere
5. No trolling
6. No "kritiks" of the topic (challenging assumptions in the resolution)
7. For all resolutional terms, individuals should use commonplace understandings that fit within the logical context of the resolution, the reality of the US political landscape, and this debate
8. The BOP is evenly shared
9. Pro must post their arguments in R1 and waive in R4
10. Rebuttals of new points raised in an adversary's immediately preceding speech may be permissible at the judges' discretion even in the final round (debaters may debate their appropriateness)
11. Violation of any of these rules, or of any of the R1 set-up, merits a loss
Structure
1. Opening
2. Rebuttal
3. Defense
4. Closing
Round 1
Published:
I would like to thank my esteemed opponent for accepting this debate.
 
I. Overview
 
I first would like to establish what this debate is and what this debate is not about. The resolution states that abortion should be legal in the United States. This debate centers around the legality of abortion and not necessarily the morality of abortion. With that said, let’s begin.
 
II. Pregnancy is risky and dangerous
 
P1: If there is significant risk, then there must be a choice
P2: Pregnancy is significantly risky
C1: Therefore, there must be a choice.
 
I’m sure my opponent would have no problem accepting P1. If there is a significant risk, then the government must allow a choice. As an example, organ donation is risky, therefore the government has no business forcing people to donate their organs, despite the fact that we could save countless lives by doing so.
 
Premise 2 states that pregnancy is risky. Not only that, but pregnancy is also extremely painful for the woman and expensive. Indeed, Elizabeth Raymond and David Grimes found that abortion is markedly safer than carrying a full pregnancy to term. They found that between 1998-2005 the pregnancy-associated mortality rate among women was 8.8 deaths per 100,000 births and the mortality rate to induced abortion was 0.6 deaths per 100,000 abortions. [1]The United States has the highest pregnancy-related mortality rates in the developed world.[2]Criminalizing abortion would make things a lot worse.
 
The conclusion thus is unavoidable. The government must allow women to have a choice to terminate their pregnancy.
 
III. Abortion is often needed
 
P1: The government ought not criminalize procedures that are sometimes necessary
P2: Abortions are sometimes necessary
C1: Therefore, abortions ought not be criminalized
 
Premise 1 is fairly obvious. To illustrate, heart surgeries are often needed, thus it would be wholly immoral of the government to criminalize this procedure.
Premise 2 states that abortion is necessary. Indeed, the sad reality is that abortion is a necessary evil. Let’s list a few examples.
 
A. Child pregnancy
 
There are many cases of 10-year-olds being raped and impregnated by older men. A whole list on Wikipedia shows that the youngest mother ever was a 5.5-year-old and there were many children as young as 9 and 10 who became pregnant.[3]The risk factors in C1 are much more pronounced in young children. Children should not be forced to become young mothers because they are immature and should be allowed to enjoy their childhood.
 
B. Fetal anomalies
 
Fetal anomalies are far more common than one might think. For example, anencephaly is a birth defect where the baby is born without parts of the brain and skull. On average, anencephaly will occur 3 out of 10,000 pregnancies each year[4]The condition is nearly always fatal with 75% of cases being stillborn and the rest surviving only days or weeks.[5]Another, more common issue, is stillbirth. Stillbirth is the death of the fetus before or during delivery. The CDC lists the following classifications[6]:
 
An early stillbirth is a fetal death occurring between 20 and 27 completed weeks of pregnancy.
late stillbirth occurs between 28 and 36 completed pregnancy weeks.
term stillbirth occurs between 37 or more completed pregnancy weeks.
 
The CDC further notes that each year, about 24,000 pregnancies end in stillbirth. In states such as Texas, women are often forced to carry such fetuses to term due to abortion bans after 20 weeks[7].
 
In summary, abortions are often necessary and thus should never be criminalized by the government.
 
IV. Conclusion
 
To conclude, I believe I have given two solid reasons why abortion must remain legal in the United States. To deny women the right to choose will put women at risk and deny abortions that are medically necessary.
 
Thank you. The resolution is affirmed.
Published:
Prologue
Thanks for the debate, Virt. Good luck.  
 
 
== NEG ==
 
My case is outlined by the following:
 
1. Abortion is the unjust extermination of a human life and is prima facie morally objectionable
2. Humanity extends to the unborn
3. At the moment of conception, there is no sound criteria to determine that the unborn are less important/human than those already born
 
All can be extended to the following logical iterations:
 
C1.
P1: Living humans ought to have rights and liberties enforced by judicial laws
P2: If humans come into being at the moment of conception, they ought to have rights and liberties enforced by judicial laws
P3: Humans come into being at the moment of conception
C: Humans ought to have rights and liberties enforced by judicial laws at the moment of conception
 
C2.
P1: It is prima facie morally wrong to kill an innocent human being
P2: If abortions end the life of an innocent human being it should be illegal
P3: Abortions kill innocent human beings
C: Abortions should be illegal
 
C3.
P1: Already born humans have rights and liberties enforced by law
P2: If there is no sound criteria to show that the unborn are less important/human than the already born, they should be seen equally in the eyes of the law
P3: There is no sound criteria to show that the unborn are less important/human than the already born.
C: The unborn should be seen as equals in the eyes of the law
 
==
 
C1. Premise One
The importance of upholding our rights and liberty are quintessential in a fair and equal society. I am sure my opponent and I both agree that laws are crucial to affirm human rights and liberty which are fundamental to any modern society. Moreover, I believe it is fairly reasonable to assert that any unjust killing of another is morally wrong. Hence, it would follow that the killing of an innocent human being is prima facie wholly immoral. This argument can be outlined more objectively by the Non-Aggression Principle.
 
C1,1 The Non-Aggression Principle (NAP)
P1: The NAP ought not to be violated
P2: Abortion violates the NAP
P3: If an agent violates NAP then it should be prohibited by the government
C: Abortion should be prohibited
 
 
C1,1 Premise One
The NAP is a political axiom deeming all initiation of aggression of any individual and their property as inherently wrong [1]. This is a fundamental pillar of any successful society, so much so, I would be surprised if my opponent didn't accept this as a truism. If Pro does disagree I will support this in the next round.
 
C1.1 Premise Two
Abortion contravenes the NAP by the forceful initiation of aggression towards it and is therefore forbidden per the NAP.
 
C1.1 Premise Three
From premise one, I believe my opponent, the voters and I would all agree that the NAP is a crucial facet of any institution and that would entail that anything that contravenes the NAP should be prohibited by the government.
 
C1.1 Conclusion
Hence, the conclusion logically follows.
 
 
 
C1. Premise Two
If the right to protect human life is upheld, it would intuitively follow that if it is proven that human life begins at conception, they should possess the same inalienable rights, any other member of the community has.
 
 
C1. Premise Three
 
This premise is valid via a posteriori. Scientific consensus provides evidence that life begins at conception in earnest. It can be observed in Patten's textbook, Human Embryology:
 
"It is the penetration of the ovum by a spermatozoan and resultant mingling of the nuclear material each brings to the union that constitutes the culmination of the process of fertilization and marks the initiation of the life of a new individual." (2)
Moreover, this is corroborated by another scholarly entry by Dr. Michelle M. Mathews-Rohs, from Harvard Medical School, who states:
 
"It is scientifically correct to say that an individual human life begins at conception” (2)
Furthermore, when conception first occurs the single celled 'zygote' already possesses the DNA blueprint for the unique new human. Characteristics including, sex, eye and hair colour, race etc. are all harmoniously included in this blueprint. (3)
 
The scientific consensus regarding the nature of the beginning of human existence ratifies this premise and renders it egregious to classify a zygote or any later rendition anything less than human. The lack of physical development is not valid criteria to rebuke the inalienable rights it ought to possess, as a human never stops developing, even after birth. Moreover, although the unborn are contingent upon a mother to survive, their unique independence and right to life ought to be preserved, as a man's life is preserved when he is contingent upon a life support machine.
 
 
C1. Conclusion
Hence, the conclusion is logically entailed
 
 
==
 
 
C2. Premise One
This is fairly axiomatic and I commend its veracity to my opponent. Anarchy would ensue if all had the right to end another's life.
 
 
C2. Premise Two
Again, it's reasonable to deduce that if an activity holds the intent of killing innocent humans, it should be illegal.
 
 
C2. Premise Three
Abortion is the extermination of a foetus. Hence, it intuitively follows that abortion is in violation of one's rights and ought to be illegalised.
 
 
C2. Conclusion
Hence, the conclusion is valid via modus ponens.
 
 
==
 
 
C3. The indifference between the unborn and the born
 
P1: Already born humans have rights and liberties enforced by law
P2: If there is no sound criteria to show that the unborn are less important/human than the already born, they should be seen equally in the eyes of the law
P3: There is no sound criteria to show that the unborn are less important/human than the already born.
C: The unborn should be seen as equals in the eyes of the law
 
 
C3. Premise One
This is axiomatic.
 
C3. Premise Two
This is a premise very similar to the lines of reasoning that led to the abolishment of slavery. Since there was no sound criteria to objectively reduce the importance/humanity of different races we ought to consider them as equals.
 
C3. Premise Three
 
Here I argue there are no discernible criteria that can distinctively under class an unborn baby from the unborn.
The only differences that separate the unborn and the born are:
1.     Consciousness
2.     Development
3.     Experience
I will prove that none of these would successfully undermine the livelihood of the unborn relative to the born.
 

C3.1 Consciousness
An argument could be made that as an unborn baby is not conscious of itself and its surroundings it is morally acceptable to kill it. This would rest upon two cruxes:
-Killing is justified as it is currently unconscious
or
-Killing is justified as it has never experienced consciousness before
 
Here, I justify my counter-argument by comparing a zygote to one in a coma. I assert both are non-sentient beings.
According to Merrion-Webster, sentience is defined as: “the capacity to feel, perceive or experience subjectively” [4].
 
I concede the fact that at conception, a zygote does not possess sentience, but only if it is also true for those in a coma. Those who are in a coma can be described as having “no consciousness at all” and are “completely unresponsive” [5]. Cleary the zygote and those in a coma are effectively indistinguishable in terms of capacity. Here, I posit that if one in a coma will emerge from the coma in a specifically finite period of time (let’s say 9 months), then it would be unfair and immoral to kill that person in a coma because they have the capacity for sentience.
 
As such, my argument in logical formulation:
 
C3.1.1 Capacity For Sentience 
P1: If X has the capacity for sentience, it is prima facie morally wrong to kill it
P2: Both foetuses and coma patients (at least some)  have the capacity for sentience
C: It is prima facie morally wrong to kill foetuses and coma patients (that have capacity for sentience)
 
P1: P --> Q
P2: P
C: Q
from P1 and P2, Modus Ponens.
 
 
C3.1.1 Premise One
I believe this premise should be fairly axiomatic in light of the coma analogy – especially when you consider medically induced comas. If one is in a medically induced coma for an operation, their importance/humanity is unchanged. If this premise were untrue then it would be okay for me to kill whoever is getting their wisdom teeth removed.
 
C3.1.1 Premise Two
Again, I believe this premise is fairly axiomatic. Foetuses will become sentient (excluding miscarriages and complications at birth), and those in a medically induced coma will emerge from their coma post-operation.
 
C3.1.1 Conclusion
Hence, the conclusion logically follows from the premises
 
 
C3.2 Development
This is incoherent as humans continue developing their whole lives, hence the argument would have to deduce why a life that is rapidly developing is less valuable than a life that is more developed and continuing to develop more slowly.
 
 
C3.3 Experience
Similar to development, this is incoherent as humans continue their experience throughout their whole lives, some with less experience than others. None of which accurately compares the value of one life to another.
 
 
==

 
Summary
My argument is contingent upon the notion that human life begins at conception and that human life ought to be protected through law. I have provided a cumbersome amount of evidence that affirms this position, accompanied by the framework that there is no way to under value an unborn child over one that is already born. Hence the resolution is negated.
 
Over to you, Pro.
 
 
References



Round 2
Published:
Thank you for your speedy response! With that, let’s tear down your arguments bit by bit. To keep things easy to follow, I will copy and paste your syllogisms in my argument and use the first premise as the headline.
 
C1) Living humans ought to have rights and liberties enforced by judicial laws
 
P1: Living humans ought to have rights and liberties enforced by judicial laws
P2: If humans come into being at the moment of conception, they ought to have rights and liberties enforced by judicial laws
P3: Humans come into being at the moment of conception
C: Humans ought to have rights and liberties enforced by judicial laws at the moment of conception
 
The obvious flaw in this reasoning is no 2. Although it is scientifically sound to say that human “life” begins at conception, legal personhood does not start at the moment of fertilization and thus cannot be given any legal rights. Rights are never absolute. Indeed, we do not grant a 2-year-old the right or grant him the right to go into a store and purchase a gun. When it comes to the fetus, the legal personhood status with a right to life cannot be given for the following reasons: First, a zygote/fetus/embryo is dependent on the body of the mother to survive. Judith Thomas made the famous analogy of the famous violinist [1]:
 
“You wake up in the morning and find yourself back to back in bed with an unconscious violinist. A famous unconscious violinist. He has been found to have a fatal kidney ailment, and the Society of Music Lovers has canvassed all the available medical records and found that you alone have the right blood type to help. They have therefore kidnapped you, and last night the violinist's circulatory system was plugged into yours, so that your kidneys can be used to extract poisons from his blood as well as your own. The director of the hospital now tells you, "Look, we're sorry the Society of Music Lovers did this to you--we would never have permitted it if we had known. But still, they did it, and the violinist is now plugged into you. To unplug you would be to kill him. But never mind, it's only for nine months. By then he will have recovered from his ailment and can safely be unplugged from you." Is it morally incumbent on you to accede to this situation? No doubt it would be very nice of you if you did, a great kindness. But do you have to accede to it? What if it were not nine months, but nine years? Or longer still? What if the director of the hospital says, "Tough luck, I agree, but now you've got to stay in bed, with the violinist plugged into you, for the rest of your life? Because remember this. All persons have a right to life, and violinists are persons. Granted you have a right to decide what happens in and to your body, but a person's right to life outweighs your right to decide what happens in and to your body. So, you cannot ever be unplugged from him." I imagine you would regard this as outrageous, which suggests that something really is wrong with that plausible-sounding argument I mentioned a moment ago.”
 
Does the woman here have the right to unplug the famous violinist? I would argue that she does. Let’s draw another analogy. Let’s say the woman volunteers to hook herself up to the famous violinist, but later, for whatever reason, decides she does not want to go through the entire 9 months with the violinist. In this case, I argue that she still has the right to unplug this famous violinist. The reason for this is pretty obvious. An entity cannot be considered a full legal person unless they are at least: (1) conscious and (2) can survive independent of the woman’s body.
 
Consider the following: Over 1 MILLION IVF clinics create and destroy millions of embryos each year [2]. Is it immoral to create millions of embryos with the hope of being able to give a couple a child knowing that millions of other embryos will need to be destroyed? The answer, to me, is obviously no. It is not immoral to create or destroy these embryos.
 
C1.1) Non-Aggressions Principle
 
P1: The NAP ought not to be violated
P2: Abortion violates the NAP
P3: If an agent violates NAP then it should be prohibited by the government
C: Abortion should be prohibited.
 
Con claims the NAP a political axiom, but never defines what “aggression” means. For this argument to hold weight, there needs to be an objective criterion as to what constitutes aggression. Indeed, the non-aggression principle is so deeply flawed that it ought to be rejected as a moral framework. Let’s look at a few examples:
 
Case 1: Allergy to smoke
I hate the smell of smoke and have allergic reactions to smelling the smoke of cigarettes. In the NAP world, should smoking be banned? If not, then clearly the NAP fails.

Case 2: Pollution
The NAP would suggest that all forms of pollution such as that emitted by cars and factories should be banned by the government. Because these pollutions are significantly harmful to the life and environment on Earth and the medical well-being of the population, the NAP would require us to ban these things. This is rightfully absurd.
 
However, even if I concede P1, it is arguable that forcing a woman to carry to term violates the NAP, thus undermining con’s own arguments! As I have shown in my opening statements, pregnancy is inherently risky and poses significant dangers to the mother’s well-being, thus forcing her to carry to term is, by definition, aggressive!
 
C2) It is prima facie morally wrong to kill an innocent human being
 
P1: It is prima facie morally wrong to kill an innocent human being
P2: If abortions end the life of an innocent human being it should be illegal
P3: Abortions kill innocent human beings
C: Abortions should be illegal
 
There are many issues with this argument. First, this argument is structurally invalid. The conclusion does not follow from the premises. P1 and P2 do not follow. When we say something is prima facie immoral, it means that there are one or more moral strikes against it “at first glance.” There are many such cases where being prima facie immoral does not equate it to being totally immoral and thus should be prohibited. Wars and the death penalty are such examples. Wars are sometimes necessary, but they are prima facie immoral. The death penalty is also prima facie immoral but is often times the only punishment that is just.
 
The second premise is flawed for the same reasons that I highlighted in my response to C1.
 
C3) The indifference between the unborn and the born
 
P1: Already born humans have rights and liberties enforced by law
P2: If there is no sound criteria to show that the unborn are less important/human than the already born, they should be seen equally in the eyes of the law
P3: There is no sound criteria to show that the unborn are less important/human than the already born.
C: The unborn should be seen as equals in the eyes of the law
 
Question for con: What is meant by “less important/less human” in this response? Having a definition for this would be a bit helpful!
 
I pretty much highlighted the flaw in P2/P3 in my responses above. However, I will go further than I did in my responses above. The human embryonic development is quite fascinating; however, it is clear that there is a clear criterion to show that the unborn are “less important” than the already born.
 
There was an ethical dilemma posted a few years back on this question. Suppose you are in an IVF clinic and there is a freezer with 1,000 embryos and 1 child. If you are forced to save one, everyone would agree that you save the 1 child and not the 1,000 embryos. It is clear that the life of 1 child outweighs 1,000 embryos because they are certainly far “less important” and “less human.”
 
3.1) Capacity for sentience
 
P1: If X has the capacity for sentience, it is prima facie morally wrong to kill it
P2: Both foetuses and coma patients (at least some) have the capacity for sentience
C: It is prima facie morally wrong to kill foetuses and coma patients (that have capacity for sentience)
 
I highlighted the issues associated with prima facie immorality in my response to his C2. But I think there’s a reductio ad absurdum that we could place here. Let’s say that we have a computer or a robot that has the potentiality for sentience. Would it be prima facie immoral to kill it or prevent it from becoming sentience? The obvious answer is no.

4) Conclusion
 
As I have shown, embryos do not have the criteria for what it takes to be considered a legal person and that not all rights are absolute (including the right to life). I have also shown that the NAP is a deeply flawed framework.
 
Thank you.

Sources
Published:
Thanks for the response, Virt! I will refrain from addressing my opponent’s rebuttal until round three. Here, I will rebut my adversary’s opening case.
 
== Rebuttals ==

== Affirmative ==

II. Pregnancy is risky and dangerous
If there is significant risk, there must be a choice
In Pro’s first argument, he professes that if there is a significant risk, then the government must allow a choice. However, this is conflated and ambiguous, as this logic can be used to affirm controversial conclusions. -- reductio ad absurdum. If we accept this premise, I would have the governmental right to drive intoxicated.
 
P1: If there is significant risk, there must be a choice
P2: Driving intoxicated is significantly risky
C: Therefore, there must be a choice
 
Clearly, the first premise (although appearing plausible) isn’t justified to affirm such a conclusion. Hence, if one were to advocate this argument, there would be two views:
1.       Choice in significantly risky situations is an absolute right (as Pro enforces)
2.       Choice in significantly risky situations is a right, but is subjected to reasonable parameters

Clearly, the latter is more attractive since I presume Pro and I would both agree that driving intoxicated should remain illegal. Therefore, I assert that a reasonable parameter would be that the decision doesn’t adversely impact another’s rights and liberties. As such, this right would prevent people from forcefully being made to work dangerous occupations or perform dangerous tasks. However, this liberty would not be extended to the point that it harms others; to quote Abraham Lincoln:

“your right to swing your fist ends where my nose begins” [6]

Therefore, such an argument would be inapt in legalizing abortion, because such an action contravenes a foetus’ right not to be murdered (which I have argued it should have). Hence, this argument fails in legalising abortion for the same reason it fails to legalise driving under the influence of alcohol.
 
Mortality Statistics
Pro provides a study that found the pregnancy-associated mortality rate amongst women to be 8.8 deaths per 100,000 births and the mortality rate with induced abortion to be 0.6 deaths per 100,000 abortions.
If my argument stands, that a foetus ought to have rights and liberties, then we are encountered with the following scenario with two possible outcomes:
 
1. 100,000 alive + 8.8 dead      *without abortion*
2. 1 dead (rounded from 0.6) + 100,000 dead    *with abortion*
 
Since Pro is affirming this argument it would be Pro’s burden to show that the latter is more palatable than the former, sans abortion.
 
Pregnancy is ‘relatively’ safe
There is the counter-argument that pregnancies are relatively safe (the majority of the time). According to healthtalk.org, complications that women face during pregnancy that directly risk the mother’s life account for “less than one in every hundred giving birth” [7].  This is complimented by Pro’s source providing that 8.8/100,000 die due to complications at birth, which is simplified to one-in-ten-thousand.

This damages Pro’s argument for the legality of abortion, since it has been depicted that the *vast majority* of pregnancies are delivered safely. Now, Pro has the additional burden to prove that abortion should be legal on balance when only a negligible portion match the criteria he listed to why abortion is necessary in the first place.
 
 
Painful and Expensive
Pro attempts to justify the legalization of abortion due to pregnancy being extremely painful and expensive.  This is ultimately refuted by the fact that we are not justified in killing others to improve our health and financial situation. For example, bringing up young children i.e toddlers can cause anxiety and stress, yet it does not follow that the mother has the liberty to kill her toddler in pursuit of better health.
Moreover, it is noted by pregnancystatistics.org that:

 “about 95 percent of Americans agree that being a parent is worth the cost and the challenges” [8]

As it can be seen, the vast majority of parents feel that the expense and challenges that are faced with parenthood are justified and thus shadow the justification for abortion.
 
 
 
Appeal to Extremes Fallacy
As this argument stands as a whole, I argue it would be insufficient in forcing the legalization of abortion. This is because Pro’s criteria fails to apply to the other 999,991.2 women who safely birthed their baby; and likewise the other ninety-nine women out of one hundred who give birth without life threatening complications.
In fact, I’d extend this and argue that Pro’s argument incorrectly affirms legalization of abortion and more accurately affirms the illegalization of abortion (not including extenuating circumstances).
 
This is a more accurate depiction of Pro’s argument, because the criteria he has provided to why abortion should be legal only applies to a statistically negligible portion of pregnancies and is further shadowed by the monumental amount that are safely delivered.
 
 

III. Abortion is often needed

A.     Child Pregnancy

Before I address this argument, I assert such is insufficient for legalization of abortion on balance as it is another appeal to extremes. Pro, over-reaches by stating that there are “many cases of 10-year-olds being raped and impregnated by older men” and provides an entire list from Wikipedia. This list is a global account and includes cases that date back as far to the 1700s, where there are barely any instances where there exists more than one case per year.  To put this into perspective, there were around four million live births in the USA in 2015 alone [9] . Imagine how many births there are on a global level per year. Now, imagine how many pregnancies there have been since the 1700s; these are astronomical figures; to which this portion of child pregnancies would provide an infinitesimal contribution towards. Whilst it is true that there are many cases of child pregnancies, they are statistically incalculable in light of the total amount of pregnancies that there has been in the same time frame.
 
In my negative case, I highlight the necessary equality between the unborn and the born. Hence, if this is upheld, in the context of child pregnancies (and forced pregnancies due to violence), Pro would have the burden of proof to prove why it is necessary to kill the unborn child in this situation. Pro might restate that the prudency is demonstrated as the mother is at greater risk of health complications throughout pregnancy, but it would then be Pro’s burden to explain why this would supersede one’s right to life.
 
Pro would still have the argument that in cases of rape, it would force the woman to carry the baby to term, even though she didn’t consent to it. However, David Reardon interviewed over 200 women who suffered rape induced pregnancies and found that the majority of those who decided to carry the baby to full term thought it was the right thing to do. Contrastingly, the interviewer found that 80% of those who chose to abort their baby felt that it increased their pain [10]. This further demonstrates Pro’s lack of justification in how abortion is necessary, where clearly in the vast majority of cases abortion was unnecessary.
 
Nonetheless, I extend my contentions from Pro’s first affirmation to this; insofar as, if we were to accept Pro’s argument, it only affirms abortion in extenuating circumstances and would be insufficient for the categorical legalization of abortion.


 
B.      Foetal Anomalies
 
Anencephaly

Pro notes the very sad condition of anencephaly; an almost always fatal condition where the skull and brainstem are malformed. However, Pro makes an unwarranted leap that these children necessitate being aborted. Why?
Pro’s argument can be formulated as such:
 
P1: Some children have birth defects
P2: ???
C: Children with birth defects ought to be aborted
 
The argument is a non-sequitur and it is commended that Pro justifies the conclusion.

As such an argument would stand, it would also provide a case for infanticide; Pro would have to further explain why the abortion of a foetus with defects is necessary but the killing of an already born child with defects is unnecessary.
 
Moreover, it is suggested that delivering the baby and allowing it to live its – albeit – short life can be beneficial for honouring itself and the family:

“Many hospitals offer perinatal hospice care. A perinatal hospice approach walks with these families on their journey through pregnancy, birth, and death, honoring the baby as well as the baby's family. Perinatal hospice is not a place; it is more a frame of mind. It is a way of caring for the pregnant mother, the baby, the father, and all involved with dignity and love.” [11]

Indeed, none of this could have been achieved if the baby was forcefully aborted once it was found to possess such a defect in the womb. This continues to shadow the justification of the necessity of abortion.
 
 

Stillbirths
I am confused to what Pro’s intentions are with this argument. Aborting a stillborn baby is a logical contradiction; analogous to killing a dead person.
 
According to the NHS, a stillbirth can be described as:
“when a baby is born dead after 24 completed weeks of pregnancy” [12]
 
Furthermore, the denotation of “pregnant” is:
“(of a woman or female animal) having a child or young developing in the uterus”  [13]
 
A stillborn child lacks the capacity to develop and thus cannot be aborted. Moreover, the baby described in Pro’s source (source [7]) wasn’t even stillborn. The baby’s birth was premature; so much so it wasn’t able to survive for very long after it was born.
 
Ultimately, Pro has failed to demonstrate the necessity of abortion in these circumstances, as he has just listed that stillbirths occur and makes the unwarranted leap that abortions are necessary.
 
 

== Summary ==
Pro’s affirmative case essentially rests upon two cruxes:
1.       Pregnancy is inherently dangerous, therefore women ought to have the right to abortion
2.       Abortion is necessary, therefore it should remain legal
 
The first argument I have shown to lack coherent restriction, because if the argument were left untouched I would be justified in committing a number of tremendously risky acts that could physically hurt and detriment innocent people. Therefore, it is incumbent to provide reasonable parameters for this right to be limited by. I reasonably opined that a viable parameter would be one that prohibits their choice from infringing upon another’s rights and liberties. However, under such a parameter abortion would necessarily be unjust, because it would entail the killing of an innocent human being. Moreover, I showed that it would be intellectually dishonest to assert that pregnancy as a whole is dangerous when the vast, vast majority of pregnancies are safely delivered – ultimately refuting a crucial premise of Pro’s affirmative case.
 
In Pro’s second affirmation, he lists the possible (yet inherently extreme) cases of pregnancy which necessitates abortion. He notes two examples where abortion is necessary: in cases of rape (superset of child pregnancies) and foetal abnormalities. However, the inherent necessity for abortion is unclear, especially when there is alarming statistical evidence suggesting that the vast majority of people who are in the situation of carrying a rapists’ baby feel that keeping it is the right thing to do and that aborting the baby only increases their pain. Moreover, he doesn’t posit any justification that foetal abnormalities necessitates abortion and is thus a bare assertion. Lastly, if my arguments are to withstand, Pro's burden of proof is greatly extended, as he would have to justify the necessity of abortion by proving that all of the aforementioned situations outweigh one's right to life.  
 
Inadequate Affirmation of Resolution
As aforementioned, I argue that Pro’s affirmative case incorrectly affirms the legality of abortion, but more accurately affirms the prohibition of abortion not including cases with extenuating circumstances. Pro’s criteria for abortion cited in round one only accounts for a small portion of pregnancies; hence, the legality of abortion isn’t demonstrated. It is analogous to the illegality of murder and the legality of capital punishment. In states where capital punishment (a form of murder) is legal, does not mean that murder as a whole is legal. This is because, the vast majority of people fail to match the criteria needed for the justification of capital punishment (for example committing treason). Hence, just because there are extreme cases where murder is permitted does not mean murder on balance is legal. In contrast, it would still be correct to state that murder is illegal. For this reason, I assert that Pro’s argument (even if it were to be considered fully sound) fails to affirm the resolution for the same reason that the legality of capital punishment doesn’t infer the legality of murder as a whole.
 
Over to Pro.  
 
 
 
References
(10) David C Reardon, Julie Makimaa, and Amy Sobie Victims and Victors: Speaking out about Their Pregnancies, Abortions, and Children Resulting from Sexual Assault (Springfield, Illinois: Acorn Books, 2000)
(13)  Google dictionary, “define pregnant”
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 





Round 3
Forfeited
Published:
I had my response already written up -- but I will refrain from posting in case Pro is around for the next round. 
Round 4
Forfeited
Published:
Pity to see a good debate go unfinished. Hopefully have a redo in the future.

Added:
--> @Dr.Franklin
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>Reported Vote: Dr.Franklin // Mod action: [not Removed]
>Points Awarded: 1 points to con for conduct.
>Reason for Decision: "1/2 forfiet, neither side convinced me”
Reason for Mod Action>vote is sufficient
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#15
Added:
--> @Trent0405
*******************************************************************
>Reported Vote: Trent0405 // Mod action: [Removed]
>Points Awarded: 7 points to con.
>Reason for Decision: "Description states how you can't forfeit, meaning PRO conceded.
Reason for Mod Action> Source and S&G points are not explained and thus this vote is not sufficient.
While the rules of a debate maybe used to produce conduct; and the rules here explicitly state that conduct can be considered meriting a loss meaning arguments could be awarded- this does not equate to the debate being unmoderated.
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#14
Added:
--> @Alec
It is to compensate for veing weak debaters. The more they can control their environment and see the exact same thing over and over, the easier it is to grab wins. I saw BSH1 beg an opponent to allow the debate to end in a tie once because he argued something he didn't like. When he refused, the next debate bsh1 made a rule to make people assume "normative ethics". It is just pussy like behavior.
#13
Added:
--> @Virtuoso
What if you break on of your own rules accidentally? Then you would be a hypocrite, plus you would lose the debate.
#12
Added:
--> @Alec
Then that's their problem, not mine.
Instigator
#11
Added:
--> @Virtuoso
It's like reading the terms of service to things. Most people don't read them thoroughly enough and as a result, it would not be the best way to grab a win.
#10
Added:
--> @Alec
To post what we would expect of the other player.
Instigator
#9
Added:
--> @Virtuoso
Why do your debates and Bsh1 debates have so many rules?
#8
Added:
--> @Virtuoso
Ireland didn't outlaw it. They previously just had it restricted with the life of the other as the exception.
#7
Added:
--> @Alec
European countries are very diverse. In some countries it is easier, while some countries (Ireland) it is much harder. Ireland completely outlawed abortion until recently.
Instigator
#6
Added:
--> @Alec
Argumentum ad populum is "The fallacy of attempting to induce acceptance of an unexamined or unproved conclusion by arousing the feelings, prejudices, or interests of a political party, mob, or any large group of people."
https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/bandwagon
It's like saying "Europe has free health care, why shouldn't we?" It's a fallacious argument.
Instigator
#5
Added:
--> @Virtuoso
What does that mean?
#4
Added:
Evidence Incase Omar asks for it: https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.theatlantic.com/amp/article/278350/
#3
Added:
--> @Alec
Argumentum ad populum
Instigator
#2
Added:
--> @Virtuoso, @semperfortis
If Europe heavily restricts abortions beyond 12 weeks, why should America be more lenient?
#1
#2
Criterion Pro Tie Con Points
Better arguments 3 points
Better sources 2 points
Better spelling and grammar 1 point
Better conduct 1 point
Reason:
Conduct - goes to con for the forfeit.
Arguments. I was pleasantly surprised for this one. Pros affirmative case dances around the true issue of personhood and rights. I find that the benefits of abortion only follow once you have established that the affording of personhood is not clear cut: on all counts, I felt that con made a good rebuttal in this vein: the benefits of abortion as laid out by pro were all pretty well covered by con, with most boiling down to the issues of taking a life and personhood.
To be fair; this portion of the debate could have been thrown away, as its inherently justified or not based on the other arguments presented.
Pro: you should really have started off with why killing is okay in this situation. Anything else is avoiding the elephant in the womb.
Cons case starts out strong and rigid appeal to human life. There’s a lot of syllogisms - too many imo - which makes it a little harder to weigh everything
Pros attack on whether judicial rights should be given was excellent by pointing out rights are no universal, but tend to be acquired by age.
I felt the NAP response was a little poorer - as con could easily say all those things should be banned: pro opened the door to a potential argument by trying to turn the NAP principle by arguing impacts on the woman - but it was a throwaway and lacking in enough detail:
Pro simply cast doubt on the moral impermissibility of killing a human - this was weaker imo, but could have had legs in subsequent rounds. The idea that we’re all pro choice - we just differ in who we feel it’s okay to kill - could have been pushed, but the issue is that innocent vs innocent comes into play.
Finally born vs unborn: pros example of embryos and fire is excellent at showing less vs more important humans - I would have liked to have seen this go further.
The abrupt end here stifled the debate: and imo on arguments alone, as con did not subsequently rebut, he didn’t leverage the forfeit to win arguments.
Thus far, the arguments were fairly well balanced as presented; however as the forfeit from pro inherently terminated the debate, and given the rules, I feel it unfair to penalize con for not posting the debate round as he was waiting for pro to return.
As a result: I will invoke the forfeit rule to merit the loss. Arguments to con, but this was a good debate by both.
Note: I would be interested in seeing what the types replies were!
#1
Criterion Pro Tie Con Points
Better arguments 3 points
Better sources 2 points
Better spelling and grammar 1 point
Better conduct 1 point
Reason:
1/2 forfiet, neither side convinced me