Instigator / Pro

Resolved: Pregnancy prevention by sterilization is the best choice compared to traditional contraception or abortion.


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Contender / Con

Both contraception and abortion are popular, but are fraught with failure rates that should give pause to carelessly engaging sexual intercourse when neither partner wants the responsibility of having and raising a child. Since Roe v. Wade was decided by the Supreme Court in 1973, roughly 1M women per year have settled for abortion to resolve the unwanted pregnancy. Most of these women attempted contraception first, and failed.

The solution seldom discussed by either side in the furor to retain or overturn Roe v. Wade [1973] is sterilization. Let the furor begin anew; eugenics and all having been hopefully relegated to the past. No, I am not talking coercion; this is a pro-choice, and perhaps even a pro-life matter; another private [if you will], individual choice. As it happens, about 30% of the male population engages sterilization as a “permanent” contraception. However, only 11% of females choose sterilization as a contraceptive option. Perhaps the issue with women and this choice is the percentage of women who plan for childbirth, but wish to postpone it for a later in life, and want want the option of abortion, just in case. The argument from at least one pro-lifer, me, is that such a reason for abortion appears to invade the camp of those who claim inconvenience, which more than half of abortion-minded women choose as their #2 reason for abortion.

Therefore, it is resolved: Pregnancy prevention by sterilization is the best choice than compared to traditional contraception or abortion.

Definitions: [all according to]

Pregnancy: the quality of being pregnant [impregnated] ; containing a developing embryo, fetus, or unborn offspring within the body.

Prevent[ion]: to keep from happening by taking action in advance.

Choice: the power, right, or opportunity to choose; as in alternative presented choices

Contraception: the deliberate attempt to prevent conception or impregnation.
Sterilization: to render sterile by surgical means.

Abortion: the termination of a pregnancy accompanied by, resulting in, or closely followed by the death of the embryo or fetus.

Debate protocol:

The definitions will be held inviolate once a Contender has accepted the debate. A prospective Contender may lobby for differing definition[s] prior to acceptance via comments, subject to Pro’s agreement with the proposed change[s].
Rounds 1, 2, 3: Argument, rebuttal, defense

Round 4: No new argument. Rebuttal, defense, and/or conclusion only.

All argument, defense, rebuttal, and sourcing [referenced citations] will be listed within the context of each debate argument round, except sourcing may alternatively be listed within comments within the debate file, coincident with filing each round of argument to conserve maximum space for argumentation if needed, but only during the argumentation phase. No other external reference may be made within the context of the debate argument rounds.

No religious or secular moral grounds will be considered as valid arguments in this debate. This is strictly a science argument of effectiveness of the various procedures available to prevent the birth of unwanted offspring.

No waived rounds. No more than one round may be forfeited, or forfeiture of entire debate will result. Concession in any round is a debate loss.

No declaration of victory will be allowed except in the last round.

Arguments, rebuttals, defenses, or conclusions may not address voters directly for voting suggestions beyond statement of validity of arguments, et al, made in all rounds.


2 ibid

3 I have added the parenthetic “impregnated” as understanding “pregnant” and the parenthetic term to be synonymous.

4 Note: “in advance” as used in the definition of prevention relative to abortion is a stretch of the intent and accomplishment of abortion in that, clearly, impregnation and pregnancy have already occurred [like closing the barn doors after the cows and horses have left the barn], or abortion would not be a necessary procedure. Therefore, the definition is offered for abortion is with a nod to absurdity.

Round 1
Thank you, TXHG, for accepting this debate, and welcome as a new member of the site. I note that I’ve erred in the assignment of number of rounds, saying in the set-up three rounds [in which only the first two would contain argument, and a third for rebuttal, defense, conclusion], but the description says four rounds, or three with argument, and a fourth with r, d, c. Dart has indicated 3 rounds. So be it.
I Argument: Current reasons for abortion
I.a Currently in the United States, over 1M abortions are conducted annually for various given reasons:[1] The top seven are: 
1 Financial – 56% [affordability] 
2 Inconvenience – 54% [want to postpone childbearing]
3 Immaturity – 52% [too young] 
4 Have children already – 47% 
5 Contraceptive failure – 47%[2]
6 Risk to maternal health – 11%[2]
7 Rape/Incest – 1.5%[3]
The reason why these numbers exceed 100% is that women are offered to provide, and usually give second, third and more reasons for having an abortion.[4]
I.b The abortion frenzy in the U.S. is divided into two combating camps: Pro-Choice, and Pro-Life. But neither camp gives much credence to any other options for a women to prevent childbirth than two: abortion [the pro-choice camp] and contraception [the pro-life camp]. Contraception is the umbrella for use of “the pill,” condoms, diaphragms, and other medication and devices, “the rhythm method,” and abstinence. 
II Argument: The best abortion can do
II.a Abortion is a default choice rarely employed as a first choice. More frequently than assumed, as the chart in argument 1.a shows, 47% of abortions were due to a first choice of failed contraceptives. 
II.b Abortion cannot be said to truly preventhuman life since it is an engaged procedure only after impregnation occurs. As said in the Description, the application of preventionvia abortion is a nod to absurdity, because the impregnation has not been prevented at all. As noted above in argument II.a, the abortion choice is made in nearly one-half of cases wherein a first choice of contraception failed. However, as this debate is accepting the definition as applicable to abortion as well as contraception, and because Pro accepts the definition of personas defined in Title 1 U.S.C. §8[5] as being applied only upon live birth, Pro accepts prevention even for abortion for purposes of this debate.
II.cOther than the charges of murder plaguing the pro-choice camp from pro-lifers [this debate will not engage this argument – it’s been debated ad nauseam, and I happen to agree with pro-life, just so that’s known if it isn’t already - abortion failure is the one detraction for the pro-choice camp, which result is an unintended live birth. Data on this occurrence is difficult to collect, because the attempt to rectify a failed abortion by finishing the intent post-birth is illegal by definition of personhood, and, therefore, subject to the rights of a person in the U.S. Constitution’s 4A, via Title 1 U.S.C. §8.[6]
II.d However, abortion failure is known to occur by the commentary of Virginia Governor Ralph Northam, who declared in a radio interview while a bill in State Legislature was debated earlier this year, “…the infant would be resuscitated if that’s what the mother and the family desired, and then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and the mother.”[7]  
II.d.1 Questions are begged, however, by just what Gov. Northam says in this comment. First, why would resuscitation be necessary but for reaction by dosage of medication intended to end fetal life so the fetus is not born alive in the course of labor that has already begun? Second, on what subject is the discussion since the fetus was born alive, and meets, therefore, the legal definition of a human person, and therefore is subject to the rights of the 4A[8] per Title 1 U.S.C. §8? Third, given these questions, can one assume Gov. Northam is hinting at legalizing infanticide? Just the questions beg discussion in pre-legislative debate before any legislature should to act boldly in a brave new world of suspended medical ethics where the law drags woefully behind technology.
II.d.2 The failure in the pro-choice camp is the incident of contraception failure of all types listed above, argument I.a, the #5 reason for abortion, and the incident of live birth as noted in II.c, above.
III Argument: The resolve, the best that contraception can do
III.a Contraception, while at least appearing to be a true prevention of impregnation, the major problem with this procedure in its several manifestations is its frequent failure to prevent impregnation. As noted in the Description, the failure to prevent impregnation is the fifth most common reason [47%] women choose abortion as a consequence of the failure. Therefore, typically chosen contraceptive methods are nowhere near 100% effective. See the referenced chart of relative effectiveness according to the CDC.[9]
III.a.1 The CDC chart indicates a variety of contraceptive medications [injectable, pill, patch, spermicide]. The best of these [injection] still allows 6% impregnations per 100 women per year. All other methods of medication or devices are worse than that threshold, including spermicide, allowing 28% impregnations per 100 women per year. Of the variety of devices available, one of the most commonly used methods, a male condom, allows 18% impregnations per 100 women per year; a pathetic failure rate for such a widely used device. 
III.b Thus it will be demonstrated that the various sterilization techniques are the best choices for true prevention of impregnation, as the resolution suggests.
IV Argument: Sterilization is the best choice
IV.a The resolve that to prevent a pregnancy, sterilization is the best choice over previous choices is simply a matter of recognizing that both abortion and contraception have alarming failure rates. 
IV.b As a practical matter, sterilization for both males and females, the surgical procedure is considered permanent. In the case of males, both left and right vas deferens[flexible ducts conveying sperm from testicles to urethra] have a short length, a section, removed. The two ends are tied. Scar tissue seals both cuts to block passage of sperm.[10] For females, both left and right fallopian tubes [flexible ducts conveying ova from ovaries to uterus] have a similar section cut from the tubes, which are then tied and scar tissue seals both ends, preventing the passage of ova.[11]
IV.b.1 Both procedures can be reversed, but successful fertility, assuming it was had in the first place, is not always restored. Therefore, both men and women considering this contraceptive surgical option must consider that it may truly be permanent. Having the procedure done strictly to delay impregnation may have unfortunate, disappointing results.
IV.d The cited CDC chart of contraceptive failure rates, indicates that of all contraceptive methods, a permanent male vasectomy sterilization, allowing 0.15% impregnations per 100 women per year, is the number one best option of all types of contraceptives. The second best options are permanent female abdominal, laproscopic, or hysteroscopic sterilization, all allowing just 0.5% impregnations per 100 women per year. 
IV.e Therefore, of all impregnation preventive measures, sterilization presents not just better, but the best method, short of successful abstinence, which, itself, is only 100% effective if abstinence is endured until wanting to be impregnated. 
V Argument: What the future anticipates
III.a It must be recognized that the entire concepts of “birth” and “born alive” are being challenged in their traditional, legal perspectives as being strictly understood to mean a completely postpartum organism; a human person. With the now common procedures of in-vitro surgery and an on-the-horizon artificial womb, these concepts challenge the current legal definition of personhood,[12] and will challenge the current understanding of what constitutes both a legal abortion and a contraception. Such arguments are beyond this debate, but must in short order be considered if, for once, we can develop legality along with technology rather than it trail behind, as legality historically has demonstrated capability.

Thank you Fauxlaw for making this debate.

Pro's arguments

Abortion - Ceded

Due to the phrasing of this debate regarding "preventing pregnancy" and the fact that pregnancy ends pregnancies but does not prevent them from occurring in the first place, I will be focusing my argument on contraceptives being superior to sterilisation. Regardless of whether the case can be made for pregnancies being a superior way of ensuring a pregnancy does not occur and come to term, it cannot be said to prevent pregnancies.

Contraception - Reveral of Pro's argument

Pro's argument on contraception comes down to a single point: Sterilisations have a higher success rate than any other form of pregnancy prevention, as proven by official CDC figures, therefore they are superior. More words are used, but that is the argument made.

The problem with this argument is that Pro has misread his own source and the CDC graphic provided actually shows there is a form on contraception with a success rate three times more effective than vasectomies and ten times better than female sterilisation. [1] If you check the top left, you will see that the best rated form of contraception is actually the implant.

"The contraceptive implant (Nexplanon) is a small flexible plastic rod that's placed under the skin in your upper arm by a doctor or nurse. It releases the hormone progestogen into your bloodstream to prevent pregnancy and lasts for 3 years." [2]

The criteria which Pro has argued should decide this debate is whichever method is most effective and due to Pro misreading their own source, their own evidence actually indicates the most effective method is contraception.

Further arguments in support of Contraception

Pro's argument boils down to a single point. I think if they had read their source correctly and the evidence had supported them then this could have been a wise move, to try and only consider one aspect of the issue and hinge everything upon it. That's because of course there are severe limitations to the method that aren't found in other contraceptives.

1. Permanence and actual implementation
Pro admits that "As a practical matter, sterilization for both males and females, the surgical procedure is considered permanent" and "Both procedures can be reversed, but successful fertility, assuming it was had in the first place, is not always restored. Therefore, both men and women considering this contraceptive surgical option must consider that it may truly be permanent."

Let's then apply this to the millions of horny teenagers throughout the world. There seems to be two possible options for implementation:

- If teenagers wish to engage in sex before looking to start a family, they need to engage in a permanent medical procedure that could stop them ever raising a family. Raising a family is so essential to humanity that it is viewed as a universal right human right, so this is a massive impact on the person's life. [3]

- The teenagers must simply abstain from sex/engage in fertility awareness method until they find a loving relationship where they want to start a children. In this case PRO is not actually arguing for sterilisation, but rather sterilisation AND one of two very ineffective methods for an interim period of potentially a decade or more. If this is the case then the implementation of sterilisation would need to be reassessed with the inadequacies of either of those methods available.

Pro needs to clarify how they see sterlisation actually being implemented - whether they are depriving people of the ability to have a family in the future or whether they are relying on abstinence/fertility awareness method to try and avoid pregnancy for however long is necessary until they are ready to stop having children. I will present evidence reviewing these points once Pro clarifies this matter.

2. STDs

A child is not the only consequence of sex. It is also possible to spread a range of STDs. [4

"Although it is extremely effective for preventing pregnancy, vasectomy does not offer protection against acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) or other sexually transmitted diseases. Consequently, it is important that vasectomized men continue to use condoms, preferably latex, which offer considerable protection against the spread of disease, in any sexual encounter that carries the risk of contracting or transmitting infection." [5]

Alternatively, condoms are 98% effective against most STIs. [6] Therefore although according to Pro's own sources, sterilisation is 17.5 - 18% more effective at preventing pregnancy, sterilisation is also 98% worse at protecting against STIs. This is a factor that is very relevant when people are considering what choice to make and one where on the overall balance sterilisation falls far behind, especially in countries with high HIV prevalence. 

3. Difficult to arrange
Say you have really hit it off with someone and you are going to have sex with them tonight. How long will it take you to arrange and recover from a vasectomy? Over a week. [6] Vasectomies simply won't work. Meanwhile, you can pick up a condom very easily, often with no more than a minute or two of effort. In many circumstances, sterilisation just isn't feasible.

Round 2
Pro has forfeit and his only relevant R1 argument is one that I've shown he misunderstood the evidence for and actually supports my side of the debate. I'll therefore just state that I believe my R1 argument handily wins this debate, absent some new argument from Pro.
Round 3
I apologize for having forfeited round 2. I simply let it pass my mind; there was no intention to do so. However, I will remind my opponent that, according to the agreeable rules of this debate, while I am allowed a single forfeit in the debate, and that this is in line with Dart Voting Policy, under section “Vote Bombs, Special Circumstances.” However, the debate rules established in Description specifically prohibit declaring victory before the last round, whereas, Con violated the rule by declaring in R2, “I believe my R1 argument handily wins this debate.”  Voters, take note.
I will also note that in this third round, no new argument may be made; just rebuttal, defense, and conclusion. Therefore, I will stand on my R1 arguments as complete and engage defense, rebuttal, and conclusion. 
I Defense: My “…only relevant R1 argument”
I.a My R1 did not “boil down to,” nor did it contain just one argument. No, it was not one, but five arguments: 
I: Documented reasons for abortion,
II: The best abortion can do, 
III: The best contraception can do, 
IV: Sterilization is the best choice [the single argument Con rebutted], 
V: What the future anticipates. 
Note that these arguments do not “boil down,” but drill down from general to specific, from an outer ring of a target to its bullseye. That Con ignored my R1 arguments I, III, and V constitutes drops. My individual argument defenses are as follows:
I.a.1 In argument I, the various reasons for abortion were cited, with relative percentages given, to indicate that the first five reasons, all at 47%, or greater per 100 women per year, by admission of abortion-seeking women, included no personal responsibility in the risk of consequence of pregnancy by engaging sexual congress with little regard to adequate prevention. Con did not address this argument in R1, nor R2.
I.a.2 In argument II, I argued that abortion cannot be considered prevention, because it is a choice made only after unwanted pregnancy has occurred. Con agreed with this argument in R1. No further defense necessary; the argument carries.
I.a.3 My R1, III argued that contraception, in all its manifestations, have risk of failure, even in his suggested insert. Con did not address this argument in R1, nor R2.
I.a.4 My R1, IV argued that of all contraceptive methods, sterilization is the best choice. Con argued in R1 that the insert has a lower percentage of risk than sterilization. On the surface, that appears to be true, but Con's rebuttal misses a fine point. My defense: Con ignores a note given on the far right of the CDC chart:[1] “After procedure, little or nothing to do or remember.”  While that is true of sterilization, Con’s cited source argues that the insert “…releases the hormone progestogen into your bloodstream to prevent pregnancy and lasts for 3 years."[2] Meaning a user is required to remember to replace it in three years. Given the numbers of women who poorly depend on other typical contraceptive devices with less preventive success, would it be a stretch to expect perfect memory to women who choose the insert for ongoing protection? Or does the choice of sterilization protect loss of memory, making it, therefore, a better choice?
I.a.4.A I will add a secondary defense to Con’s rebuttal of my 4th argument: Con argues against the immediacy of sterilization effectiveness, and his rebuttal has partial merit. However, Con must answer for a delay of effectiveness of the implant. According to Planned Parenthood,[3] timing of having the insert procedure accomplished varies in its resulting effectiveness. If implanted during the first five days of an average 28-day menstrual cycle [18% of the full cycle], it is immediately effective. Outside of those five days, a waiting period of one week must be imposed to achieve effectiveness. 
I.a.4.B There is a third defense against Con’s R1 argument that the insert is the most effective of the contraceptive methods, and he states it clearly in his R1, section 1, even quoting my R1 argument: “’As a practical matter, sterilization for both males and females, the surgical procedure  [sterilization] is considered permanent" and"Both procedures  [sterilization for males and females] can be reversed, but successful fertility, assuming it was had in the first place, is not always restored. Therefore, both men and women considering this contraceptive surgical option must consider that it may truly be permanent.’”  I have rebutted Con’s argument in I.a.4 and I.a.4.A, and Con has admitted in R1 that my suggestion of greater effectiveness by sterilization is actually true by his own quote of my argument that sterilization “may truly be permanent,” whereas Con’s suggested insert must be periodically replaced, or it loses effectiveness, rendering the device a failure.
I.a.5 Con dropped my 5th argument concerning future expectations. No defense needed.
II. Out-of-bounds Con argument: STDs
II.a While Con raises an interesting point relative to STDs, the subject is entirely outside the confines of the resolution, which speaks only to prevention of pregnancy and not other consequences of potentially careless sexual activity. It is not a germane subject to the debate, and therefore requires no rebuttal.
III. Not-so-fast Con argument: Arrangement difficulty
III.a Con argued for the horny urgency of a must-have-sex-tonight scenario and the brief delay imposed by sterilization. But, as noted in I.a.4.A, above, sterilization is not the only contraceptive method imposing a delay. If not implanted early in the menstrual cycle, the horny-got-to-have-it must be likewise controlled by some other preventive method. In Con’s eager-beaver argument, a condom is chosen to be used instead, ignoring that, even under the best of circumstances of proper use, a condom has an 18% failure rate of reliable performance. So, let’s allow our gotta-have-sex-right-now individual to use that condom. In the rush, is it the right fit? Was it applied correctly? Is the resulting act a slow, methodical, pleasure-building experience? Or is it, excuse my French, “Slam, bam, thank you, Ma’am,” resulting in a higher probability of failure?
IV. Conclusion: Con’s handy argument* and my more methodical patience
IV. a I’ll suggest that, having forfeited my R2, Con dismissed opportunity to press further argument. Frankly, I would have, considering that Con effectively dropped 3/5 of my R1 arguments in his R1. Having addressed Con’s singular R1 rebuttal, and the two Con R1 arguments as effectively non-sequiturs in this R3, and having defended my three dropped R1 arguments, and having reached agreement on one argument [II] I refute Con’s R2 declaration of victory. As noted above, the declaration was premature according to the rules. 
IV.b Further, I have demonstrated by Con’s own admission in his R1 that sterilization “...may be truly permanent,” it should therefore be considered more effective in prevention of pregnancy, the stated objective of the resolution.
I rest my case and declare victory. 
Please vote for Pro.
* Sorry, couldn’t help the proffered opportunity for a ponderous innuendo.