Instigator / Pro
3
1424
rating
10
debates
15.0%
won
Topic

Is abortion wrong?

Status
Finished

All stages have been completed. The voting points distribution and the result are presented below.

Arguments points
0
3
Sources points
2
2
Spelling and grammar points
1
1
Conduct points
0
1

With 1 vote and 4 points ahead, the winner is ...

SkepticalOne
Parameters
More details
Publication date
Last update date
Category
Science
Time for argument
Two weeks
Voting system
Open voting
Voting period
Two weeks
Point system
Four points
Rating mode
Rated
Characters per argument
10,000
Contender / Con
7
1543
rating
6
debates
66.67%
won
Description
~ 0 / 5,000

No information

Round 1
Pro
Introduction
Is abortion wrong? Some people may think yes, while others think no. But, is it wrong?
 
Statement of fact
It’s a scientific fact that human life begins at conception, not at birth. And that the unborn child has its own different DNA, blood type, etc.
 
Proof for my claim

"Development of the embryo begins at Stage 1 when a sperm fertilizes an oocyte and together they form a zygote."
[England, Marjorie A. Life Before Birth. 2nd ed. England: Mosby-Wolfe, 1996, p.31]



 

"Human development begins after the union of male and female gametes or germ cells during a process known as fertilization (conception).
"Fertilization is a sequence of events that begins with the contact of a sperm (spermatozoon) with a secondary oocyte (ovum) and ends with the fusion of their pronuclei (the haploid nuclei of the sperm and ovum) and the mingling of their chromosomes to form a new cell. This fertilized ovum, known as a zygote, is a large diploid cell that is the beginning, or primordium, of a human being."
[Moore, Keith L. Essentials of Human Embryology. Toronto: B.C. Decker Inc, 1988, p.2]



 

"Embryo: the developing organism from the time of fertilization until significant differentiation has occurred, when the organism becomes known as a fetus."
[Cloning Human Beings. Report and Recommendations of the National Bioethics Advisory Commission. Rockville, MD: GPO, 1997, Appendix-2.]



 

"Embryo: An organism in the earliest stage of development; in a man, from the time of conception to the end of the second month in the uterus."
[Dox, Ida G. et al. The Harper Collins Illustrated Medical Dictionary. New York: Harper Perennial, 1993, p. 146]

 
 
Refutations
 
You are pro-life because of religious reasons!”
Strawman, and it just shows that you never investigated the pro-life side. Also, it seems you don’t what secular pro-life is as well.

“If you were in a burning building, you get to choose between a child or 100 embryos, and if you chose the child, then you think that 100 embryos aren’t human!”
This is just an appeal to emotion at best.
 
“The genetic existence of a human may begin at conception, but it’s not a person yet!”
This is not based on any scientific facts or evidence. This just ad hoc then anything.
 
Conclusion
Abortion is wrong.

Con
I first want to thank Dynasty for instigating this debate on such a non-contentious issue! (That last part said with tongue firmly in cheek!) Nevertheless, I am pleased to participate in this debate.

Definitions

Wrong:
1. incorrect
2.Unjust, dishonest, or immoral. [1]

Human: (scientific) A member of the species Homo sapiens; a human being. [2]

Person: meaning of any Act of Congress, or of any ruling, regulation, or interpretation of the various administrative bureaus and agencies of the United States, the words "person" human being", "child", and "individual", shall include every infant member of the species homo sapiens who is born alive at any stage of development. [3]

Inalienable: Unable to be taken away from or given away by the possessor. [4]

Abortion: The deliberate termination of a human pregnancy, most often performed during the first 28 weeks of pregnancy. [5]




********Arguments*********

The proposition of this debate asks “is abortion wrong?”. My goal in this debate will be to show that abortion is not wrong. My opponent will attempt to persuade us that it is wrong. At the core of this debate is whether it is wrong for a woman to end a pregnancy at any point before birth. Dynasty will tell you that abortion is wrong because it allows humans to die. He might even say that it is wrong to kill humans. Either way, this is simply incorrect. Humans are often removed from life sustaining support or killed with justification such as self-defense, war, capital punishment. The reasoning that ‘abortion is wrong because the unborn is human’ is simply insufficient justification as demonstrated by these examples.

1. Personhood

In these examples, the subjects are persons – meaning they all meet the definition of personhood provided above. The unborn (especially at the developmental period where most abortions occur) are very different from any of the individuals who may be involved in any of these scenarios.  Humanity isn’t special because of our cells or DNA, but because of our consciousness or, at the very least, our capacity for consciousness. Conception doesn’t instantaneously yield some type of homunculus (a fully formed miniature human).  It is merely the joining of gametes to form a cell with a distinct DNA.  At this stage, there is no brain and, more importantly to this debate, no consciousness. The capacity for consciousness does not come about until necessary components of the brain exist and critical connections made.  In short, the very thing that makes humanity special is absent when most abortions occur. Thus, in consideration of these facts, abortion is not about one human killing another, but a singular person making decisions over their personal domain.

2. Equality

Is it wrong for a person to have sovereignty over their body?  No, of course not. However, this is fundamentally what is being suggested when reproductive freedom, which includes abortion, is argued against. It is reasonable for a female to expect the same liberties as a male. Equality gives us two choices: free women or restrict men. Rights being irrevocable leaves us only with the first option. Abortion allows women the freedom to control their biology and avoid circumstances which can prevent education, damage career opportunities, disrupt the body/mind, or cause death - none of which is necessarily a concern for men which contribute to conception. Some women are stronger, smarter, and better leaders than some men. It is simply not reasonable to deem these potential strengths forfeit by virtue of unchosen biological functions. Equality demands this. Is it wrong to deny equality? No.

3. Reasonable Exceptions

Note: Pro has allowed no exceptions for abortion.

If abortion is wrong in all cases, then a woman dying in child birth is necessarily right. I don't believe that to be the case. An absolute "abortion is wrong" is a position which cannot stand when we consider the broader implications. Regardless of where you fall on the abortion issue, we all should be able to agree there are some circumstances where abortion is necessary and correct. A mother's life endangered by pregnancy is one example where the conditions make abortion the correct choice – the right choice. It is better to save one life rather than lose two. Another circumstance to be consider is when a fetus is not viable due to anomalies. It is understandable that a woman would not want to endure further trauma to her body and mind by birthing a dead or dying child. It is wrong to mandate stillborn births or short tortured lives of infants that were incapable of living outside the womb. In these cases, abortion is right. On this alone, the proposition is defeated.

4. Inalienable rights

It was John Locke who held that a just government's role to protect ‘life, liberty, and the pursuit of property’ (paraphrased by the US founding fathers as "the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness"). If Rights are to mean anything, then they should never be taken away. The pro-life position seeks to grant rights to the unborn. If this affected no other group’s rights there would be no problem. However, for the unborn to have rights, the rights of the body they reside in must fall away. Essentially, the woman is told to give up her bodily autonomy, equality, and potentially her right to life (re: abortion exceptions) so that another entity can use her body whether she consents or not. Pro-Life proponents are effectively seeking to grant special rights to one group at the expense of another’s common rights.

Long story short - no being has the right to utilize the body of another without permission.  “Abortion is wrong” is another way of saying “rights are revocable”. Either everyone has permanent irrevocable personal sovereignty or rights are conditional and meaningless. When rights can be withdrawn, what difference does it make if the unborn are granted rights? All rights would be on dubious foundation simply by granting rights which necessarily subjugates the rights of others.
Does this make abortion right? Yes, most definitely. Abortion is one strategy which allows a person to determine how their biology is used rather than be a slave to it.

5. Unborn Rights?

Assuming there were a way to grant rights to the unborn and not revoke a woman's rights, this would still not disallow abortion.  In any situation where one person attempts to use the body of another without consent, self-defense is appropriate. Given that pregnancy undeniably stands to affects a woman’s body, mind, career, education, and future abortion can be viewed as a type of self defense. Pro might suggest that the unborn is innocent and isn't deserving of death, but this rebuttal would fall short for multiple reasons. If I innocently wandered onto private property and was perceived as a threat, I might be subject to loss of life. Being innocent, doesn't prevent the perception of the potential for harm or measures taken on that assumption. Secondly, in the case of pregnancy it is more than perception - it is an actuality.

“A pregnancy to a woman is perhaps one of the most determinative aspects of her life. It disrupts her body. It disrupts her education. It disrupts her employment. And it often disrupts her entire family life.” Sarah Weddington – Wade Attorney 



Round 2
Pro
It took you a long time. No, I'm saying abortion is wrong because of scientific reasons. In fact, if you have the quotes have I have cited you would know this.

"Development of the embryo begins at Stage 1 when a sperm fertilizes an oocyte and together they form a zygote."
[England, Marjorie A. Life Before Birth. 2nd ed. England: Mosby-Wolfe, 1996, p.31]


"Human development begins after the union of male and female gametes or germ cells during a process known as fertilization (conception).
"Fertilization is a sequence of events that begins with the contact of a sperm (spermatozoon) with a secondary oocyte (ovum) and ends with the fusion of their pronuclei (the haploid nuclei of the sperm and ovum) and the mingling of their chromosomes to form a new cell. This fertilized ovum, known as a zygote, is a large diploid cell that is the beginning, or primordium, of a human being."
[Moore, Keith L. Essentials of Human Embryology. Toronto: B.C. Decker Inc, 1988, p.2]


"Embryo: the developing organism from the time of fertilization until significant differentiation has occurred, when the organism becomes known as a fetus."
[Cloning Human Beings. Report and Recommendations of the National Bioethics Advisory Commission. Rockville, MD: GPO, 1997, Appendix-2.]


"Embryo: An organism in the earliest stage of development; in a man, from the time of conception to the end of the second month in the uterus."
[Dox, Ida G. et al. The Harper Collins Illustrated Medical Dictionary. New York: Harper Perennial, 1993, p. 146]




Con
Thank you for your speedy response, Pro!

Refutation

My opponent's entire case rests on one contention: the unborn are human. I do not disagree with the unborn being human.  However, if merely being human were sufficient justification to label abortion wrong, then we would necessarily need to consider the removal of life support or loss of life due to self-defense wrong as well. Perhaps, my opponent also objects to the eradication of 'human' cancer? I say that half-jokingly, but it cannot be denied much weight is myopically being placed on the label "human". In all seriousness, Pro must necessarily be inconsistent in his reasoning, or disallow the right to defend oneself from harm (for example). Perhaps, Pro will explain how abortion is wrong in all cases while, presumably, self-defense is not.

In round one, my opponent implies the personhood of the unborn is based on scientifically substantiated facts or evidence:

“The genetic existence of a human may begin at conception, but it’s not a person yet!”
This is not based on any scientific facts or evidence. This just ad hoc then anything.
Pro has made claims on behalf of science which are in error. Scientific consensus does not endorse Con’s scientific claims as "it was concluded that biology alone is not able to determine the point at which personhood is established” [6]   This was the conclusion of the participants at the Human Life Symposium: An Interdisciplinary Approach to the Concept of Person. I know of no scientific consensus which states otherwise. That being the case, my opponent is appealing to his interpretations of scientific statements to substantiate his views while scientific consensus points in a different direction. This is a massive problem for Pro as he has built his entire case on a scientific foundation.

Defense

I extend arguments.




Round 3
Pro
Forfeited
Con
I extend all arguments.