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Topic

THBT: Abortion is, on balance, immoral.

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Science
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THBT: Abortion is, on balance, immoral.

BoP:
Bones = Abortion is, on balance, immoral.
Contender = Abortion is, on balance, moral.

Definition:
Abortion = a procedure to end a pregnancy. It uses medicine or surgery to remove the embryo or fetus and placenta from the uterus.
Moral = A behavior, conduct, or topic that is based on valid principles and/or foundations

RULES:
1. No Kritik.
2. No new arguments are to be made in the final round.
3. The Burden of Proof is shared.
4. Rules are agreed upon and are not to be contested.
5. Sources can be hyperlinked or provided in the comment section.
6. Be decent.
7. A breach of the rules should result in a conduct point deduction for the offender.

Round 1
Pro
Thx for accepting this debate

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Contention I: Inconsequential differences 

The lives of newborn children are protected by the law. The lives of fetuses are not. This inductively suggests that there is some point between conception and birth that conveys moral agency. However, a comparison of fetuses and newborns reveals that their differences are not so drastic, in fact, they only differ in the four categories; size, level of developmentenvironment, and degree of dependency. Let us inspect each of these differences. It should be clear that size is not a good criterion for converting rights. Smaller people are no more or less human than those who are bigger. Fetuses are smaller than newborns, just as newborns are smaller than toddlers, just as toddlers are smaller than adults, yet no one argues that the killing of a baby is more justified than the killing of a toddler. What about level of development? It is true to say that fetuses are less developed than newborns, however, it is unclear why this is morally significant. Children are generally less developed than adults yet this does not mean that children are morally inferior to their parents. Some people with developmental disabilities are also less developed than children, yet society never argues that these conditions are a reason for them to be executed. Environment does not seem to be a satisfactory answer either. Where someone lives surely has nothing to do with the essence of who someone is. Just as how moving from the garage to the bedroom does not affect one's moral worth, moving from inside the womb into the delivery room shouldn’t either. The last difference between a fetus and a newborn is degree of dependency. Pro-choicers often state "as a fetus is reliant on a separate entity, it has no serious right to life”. However, this argumentation can be applied to all human beings. No person isn’t reliant on some external entity, whether it is food, water, or oxygen, it just so happens that fetuses are also dependent on their mothers. Fetuses which rely on an umbilical cord in the womb should be as human as those who rely on a feeding tube outside the womb. Thus, it can be seen that the differences between a fetus and a newborn are nonconsequential. There is no stage between conception and birth that allows for people to prescribe moral agency. It appears that the only appropriate time to establish the rights of a human is the moment it comes into existence, i.e conception. 
 
-
 
Contention II: Scientific testimony

The argument from scientific data takes the form of the following syllogism. 

p1. If abortion is killing and it is unjustified, it is unjustified killing. 
p2. Abortion involves killing. 
p3. Abortion is unjustified. 
c1. Abortion is unjustified killing. 
Ergo. Abortion is immoral. 

p1.

This should be uncontroversial and tautological. 

p2.

To kill is to deprive of life. Is the fetus alive? 

According to 96% of biologists, human life begins at fertilization. Furthermore, a fetus satisfies the scientific criteria used for judging  the properties of life:

  • Cellular organization
    • At the moment of conception, a fetus is made of at least one cell.
  • Reproduction
    • An obvious truism. The zygote can reproduce by dividing into more cells to create a baby. 
  • Metabolism
    • From the moment of conception, a fetus converts fuel into energy. Glands in the uterine lining secrete glucose, which it stores as glycogen - the only nourishment the fetus receives in the first 8 to 12 weeks. 
  • Homeostasis
    • A human embryo performs operations such as waste removal, energy transformation, and absorbing nutrients through constructs such as the sodium-potassium pump.
  • Heredity
    • A truism. From the moment of conception, the zygote divides into multiple cells and passes copies of its DNA into other cells. 
  • Response to stimuli
    • The zygote will perform tasks such as extracting nutrients into itself through active transport and maintaining an internal environment responding to any change therein.
  • Growth and development
    • It is truistic that the fetus grows and develops from the moment of conception.
  • Adaptation through evolution
    • The zygote is a member of the homosapiens and thus was prior subject to evolution. If not killed, it will contribute to the gene pool in the next generation. 
As we can see, from the moment of conception a zygote fulfills every single one of the characteristics of life and is therefore alive. Furthermore, this finding is corroborated with the scientific testimony:
 
"Human development begins at fertilization… when a sperm fuses with an oocyte to form a single cell, the zygote... marks the beginning of each of us as a unique individual."
-  The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology, 10th edition. 
 
"Development begins with fertilization, the process by which the male gamete, the sperm, and the female gamete, the oocyte, unite to give rise to a zygote."
- Langman’s Medical Embryology, 13th edition. 
 
“Human life begins at fertilization”
- The developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology, 7th edition

As the fetus is alive, and killing involves the deriving of life, abortion is clearly killing. 

p3. 

When assessing whether a form of killing is moral, people investigate the reasons for why people kill and consider if they are valid. Self defence can be justified because we believe that one's right to defend themselves against a life threatening aggressor allows them to kill to their assailant. This naturally leads to the question, do the reasons for abortion trump one's life? According to the Guttmacher institute  the two most common reasons for having abortions were "having a baby would dramatically change my life" and "I can't afford a baby now" (cited by 74% and 73%, respectively). Obviously, if I were to kill my 1 month old child on the grounds that "I can't afford him", this defence would do next to nothing in court.

c1.

As the resolution of this debate requires that I prove abortion, on balance, to be wrong, and, on balance, the reasons for having an abortion do not justify killing, abortion is not moral. 

--

Conclusion: 

With the two arguments that I have provided, it should be conclusive that abortion is, on balance immoral. I look forwards to CON's argument. 

Con
Before i respond to anything you say, i believe it is necessary for me to outline my own position. I'm aware you have seen this argument before, this is however more for the readers. A foetus is a life. Not many people deny that, Except a few screeching blue-haired women. The nature of the question is more, "what type of life is a fetus? " Is it a life more like any other micro-organism, Or is it a life more like a human because it one day has the potential for consciousness? A foetus is unquestionably a human being, But is it one who deserves to have rights and be protected by the law in the same way as any other human being? No. The difference between killing someone in a coma and killing a foetus is that the person who is in a coma has had a previous conscious experience. What I mean by that is that they have been alive as a conscious experiencer of the world and they have in no way asserted a preference to die.
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Unless they have written a form outlining that when they die they do not want to be resuscitated, Then you will not be resuscitated. A fetus has not had a previous conscious experience, Therefore it is much more similar to a plant in its form of a fetus. I imagine your argument against abortion will be an argument to potential. It's understandable if you hold that position. However, I do hope you're a vegan. As through convergent evolution, When you choose to kill an animal, You snuff out a conscious life (more than a fetus), And these animals may one day also be capable of self-awareness, Like a human. You may have prevented an entire future species from becoming sentient by eating your pork chops and chicken nuggets. Now that is murder. In fact, By this definition of murder, Millions of humans are being genocide in petri dishes in fertilisation clinics all around the world. My god. This is truly a genocide! We're murdering people that don't even exist as conscious entities yet! Is murdering a plant murder, is me letting out my orgasm upon my carpet a murder? It is your challenge now to tell me why I should care about the potential for consciousness when they have yet to have one. Your argument is like saying, " a building is going to be built here, So you ought to treat it as a building, As if the building has already been built. "

Contention I: Inconsequential differences 
I do not necessarily agree with what you said in this section. It is right to a degree, but the levels of development are quite drastic if we are to consider whether the killing could be a "humane" killing in terms of the foetus being aware of its pain and surroundings. Which is what really matters. I do not necessarily agree with what you said in this section. It is right to a degree, but the levels of development are quite drastic if we are to consider whether the killing could be a "humane" killing in terms of the foetus being aware of its pain and surroundings. A simple definition of consciousness is sensory awareness of the body, the self, and the world. The fetus may be aware of the body, for example by perceiving pain. It reacts to touch, smell, and sound, and shows facial expressions responding to external stimuli. However, these reactions are probably preprogrammed and have a subcortical nonconscious origin. Furthermore, the fetus is almost continuously asleep and unconscious partially due to endogenous sedation. Conversely, the newborn infant can be awake, exhibit sensory awareness, and process memorized mental representations. It is also able to differentiate between self and no self touch, express emotions, and show signs of shared feelings. Yet, it is unreflective, present oriented, and makes little reference to concept of him/herself. This is an extract from the national library of medicine, which you can find here. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19092726/ By outlining the differences between a foetus and a newborn, you are yet to overcome the proposition which I raised in the first section. Why should I care for the life of an entity which does not even exist as a conscious experiencer of the world yet?

Contention II: Scientific terminology
There isn't much for me to say on this part, as i myself view a foetus as human. That however is irrelevant as just because you are a human does not necessarily grant you rights equivalent to another, this is also a perfect Segway into why we don't always grant a foetus rights while we do with a newborn baby or a person not attached to another person.
 
Contention III Bodily autonomy rights
The right too abortion is protected under the 4th amendment right to private property. If something, absolutely anything, should be owned by you and you alone, that should be seen and protected by the government, that must be someone's right to their own body as their own. The argument against this constitutional right in relation to abortion Is the idea that an individual, (the fetus) has a right to due process, also constitutionally defended. I also agree with this, but the foetus is not an individual until it has had a conscious experience, as a conscious experiencer of the world. Before that, it doesn't exist as an individual, no different than a human who was born with a brain missing, except for a brain stem. As my father sometimes says about me, "the lights are on, but no one is home."
Round 2
Pro
Thx Exanimaa for your speedy reply. 

--

Rebuttals: 

Within my opponents rebuttals, one key proposition ought to be highlighted. They state. 

A foetus is a life. Not many people deny that, Except a few screeching blue-haired women.

Though I appreciate my opponents willingness to assert this so plainly, it ought be noted that the fetus is not just a life - it should be more specifically categorised as a human life (my opponent agrees, and later states "a foetus is unquestionably a human being".) My opponent, however, asserts that the distinction between PRO and CON's position is that CON believes the answer to the question "what type of life is a fetus?" is "one that does not have a right to life". Admittedly, the question in hand is quite grim - it admits that the fetus is a human life yet attempts to undercut the importance of such a status by implicitly implying that some lives are worth less than others. I believe that I need not point my opponent to moments in history where this ideology was rigorously indoctrinated into people, resulting in death, destruction and war. 

Though my opponent does not explicitly state it, I believe their proposition is as follows: A fetus is a human life but is not one with a serious right to life. Though it is alive, it has not gone through the stage where it becomes a moral agent

In the abortion debate, this acquisition of moral agency is often referred to as "personhood". However, this term is quite problematic. 

The first observation that can be made is that this term has no bearing on the scientific world. Unlike terms such as human-being which can be objectively studied, the term personhood seems to have been conjured up with the sole purpose of justifying abortion. Such would be akin to me creating the word "superior human-being", and asserting that though X group of people are human beings, they aren't superior human-beings and therefore do not have rights. Such term hasn’t come from scientific observations, nor does it further our understanding of biology. Its lack of a scientific foundation renders it discardable via Occam's razor, which stipulates that entities should not be multiplied without necessity. As our understanding of biology and embryology function perfectly without personhood, the word is nothing more than an ontological burden.

If my opponent wishes to further the term "personhood", it is their obligation on two grounds. 

  1. Hitchens Razor stipulates that "what can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence". Therefore, if my opposition wants to use the term personhood, they must 
    1. show when it is applicable. 
    2. why it is applicable when it is applicable. 
    3. why it holds more veracity than the scientifically sturdy term "human-being". 
  2. Russell's teapot stipulates that the philosophic burden of proof lies upon a person making empirically unfalsifiable claims, rather than shifting the burden of disproof to others. In layman terms, the burden of proof lies on the proponent of X as opposed to the contender. 
Thus if my opponent wishes to state that "personhood" is necessary, they must first rebut my argument from Occam's razor, and tell me 

  1. exactly when personhood can be applied. 
  2. why this criteria is valid.
  3. why it holds more veracity than the scientifically sturdy term "human-being". 
This is not rhetorical by the way. 

--

Affirmations: 

Contention I: Inconsequential differences 

My opponent provides an excerpt from an article titled: The emergence of human consciousness: from fetal to neonatal life, however, I am unsure of its purpose. Consciousness cannot be a consequential difference, as such would mean that unconscious people would have less rights than conscious people. CON poses the question: 

Why should I care for the life of an entity which does not even exist as a conscious experiencer of the world yet?

Such can be said for temporarily unconscious people and also people in a comatose state, who we would obviously agree have rights. My opponent offers a response: 

The difference between killing someone in a coma and killing a foetus is that the person who is in a coma has had a previous conscious experience.

Such statement is incongruent with our understanding of the wrongness of killing. When one is killed, it is the deprivation of life which is a misfortune. If I die tomorrow, or live another 30 years, my past life will be no different - it has occurred and cannot change. What does change when I kill is my inability to live the rest of my life. The "immoralness" of killing comes from the fact that it deprives us of the future to live, and not the fact that we have lived. 

If what CON asserts is true, and the "immoralness" of killing is a result of killing only those who have a previous conscious experience, then killing a baby with anencephaly should be perfectly moral, as people with that condition are usually born unconscious, yet in our society this would possibly the most horrendous crime that could be committed. 

To recall, this is the argument from inconsequential differences and though I have drifted off into the realms of the Future like ours argument, I wish to return to the original contention. If my opponent wishes to contend this contention, I request that they point to me what the consequential difference between a fetus and baby is. 

--

Contention II: Scientific testimony

Recall that though this argument is called the scientific testimony, it came with a syllogism.  

p1. If abortion is killing and it is unjustified, it is unjustified killing. 
p2. Abortion involves killing. 
p3. Abortion is unjustified. 
c1. Abortion is unjustified killing. 
Ergo. Abortion is immoral. 

My opponent agrees that a fetus is a human, thus premise 1 and 2 are confirmed. However, notice that there are further premises, which lead to the conclusion that abortion is immoral. As the response I received was minimal, I will elaborate on premise 3. 

As CON agrees that a fetus is a human life, and as abortion terminates a fetus and the definition of kill is to deprive life abortion is therefore killing. The question now becomes is abortion justified? 

In order to determine whether a reason for killing a life is sufficient, we ought apply to different types of killing to gauge an even result. Thus, consider the following: 

Let X be the act of killing. 

Abortion = X 
Killing a baby on the operating table = X. 
Thus, by Aristotle's law of identity, 
X=X
∴ Abortion = Killing a baby on the operating table

I am aware that this analogy is not perfect, however CON has already conceded that a fetus is a life, therefore, the example holds. Thus, when we now inspect the most common reasons for having an abortion, I invite voters to consider X, that is, abortion as well as killing a baby on the operating table:

Which of these reasons justify X? I will leave my opponent to decide. 

--

Contention III Bodily autonomy rights

Before we begin, it appears that this is not a rebuttal and is a contention by my opponent. Next time, I invite them to clearly separate arguments and rebuttals - something as easy as labelling rebuttals as "Rebuttal: Scientific testimony" and your own arguments as "Contentions" will greatly help. As this is CON's first debate here, I ask voters not to think much of it. 

The right too abortion is protected under the 4th amendment right to private property.
The legal argument fails as I can retort that slavery was also once legal, though immoral. 

If something, absolutely anything, should be owned by you and you alone, that should be seen and protected by the government, that must be someone's right to their own body as their own.
In the millions of abortions which occur, none of them have resulted in an aborted mother. The reason for this is because the mother is a distinct being who is seperate from the fetus. So when my opponent states that a being ought be able to protect their own body, I am in agreement - a fetus should not be nonconsensually killed for the convenience of a second party. 

I also agree with this, but the foetus is not an individual until it has had a conscious experience, as a conscious experiencer of the world.
Again, I can introduce the idea of an unconscious person or a baby with anencephaly. 

Back to CON. 

Con
Contention I: subjectivity of a life's value
I doubt we will find resolution on abortion. We just hold different axioms on when a life should gain value and therefore rights. Neither is actually wrong, as they are both consistent. A foetus is a human life. Something being human, however, is not justification for moral worth in my eyes. In fact, this same ideology you say leads to the dehumanisation of other humans, I argue, has led to the dehumanisation of animals that share traits with us, far beyond any fetus. Yet we do not view that as wrong. I have more in common with many animals than I do with a 2 week old fetus. I don't value humans for being humans, i value humans for our consciousness, emotions, and pain. I hold this same belief for animals. I don't give  plants moral worth because they do not have this. Neither does a fetus. I simply find the idea of valuing a being after having its first conscious experience to be a much more pragmatic one, with fewer overlaps where you may contradict other beliefs that you may have. It is more consistent. It's a hard pill to swallow, but humans are not born equal. We have specific laws to defend the rights of those who may be less talented, such as the disabled and elderly.  I believe laws, should be given based on consciousness, not the meat-mecha of the human genome. Human life begins at conception, but the potential for conscious existence existed long before conception. The potential for consciousness exists within all biological life forms. It is simply more immediate in a fetus. This, however, is irrelevant because, as I just said, every biological life has this exact same potential.  All you can do is put an arbitrary time stamp on a life when it is ok to kill and when it is not.
 
 
Rebuttal I: Personhood
You bring up this idea of personhood, and the subjectivity of it. Its really not subjective, there's only two ways it can be coined. Personhood can either begin at conception or it can begin when a being is able to relate things to its own existence.  Again, both are valid interpretations. I simply argue gaining personhood when you're capable of awareness of your own existence is more consistent. The idea of valuing a life when it can show it is capable of awareness, is just as valid as valuing a life and is just as empirically provable as a term as, "humanity" existing. Nowhere in science does it say you ought to value a human life once it is known to be a human. Science does not and cannot make moral prescriptive claims, that part of your argument was fallacious for that reason.

Rebuttal II: Difference between unconscious individual and a fetus
You quote me where I say that someone who has had no previous conscious experience, but then you say, "the same can be said for an unconscious person." No, It cant. I specifically said someone who has had no previous conscious experience. You may ask why I value a previous conscious experience and not someone in a coma, simply because it is more consistent. Once we regress our morals this far, we really see how subjective they are. It's more consistent because everything has a life. My sperm has life. I don't value humanity for simply being humanity. It's absurd. Bacteria may have life one day, through convergent evolution,  the could capable of consciousness like a human. By killing these beings, you just mass genocided an entire species that may have existed. Therefore, valuing humanity for simply being humanity is less consistent as a prescriptive ought. Why should I care about the potential for consciousness? i imagine we will go round in circles about why I should care for the meat-mecha that is the human body. Consciousness is either actualised or not. Killing a baby with anencephaly would not be immoral in my eyes. I believe it registers emotionally as immoral because it appears to be like us, so we project ourselves onto the baby. Yet this baby, it has more in common mentally with a plant than I do. A pig has more in common with me. It is your argument now, to tell me why caring for the meat-mecha, which is the human body, and how it is more consistent than caring for consciousness. Humans may be actualised at conception, yet consciousness is not. I believe laws, should be given based on consciousness, not the meat-mecha of the human genome. Human life begins at conception, but the potential for conscious existence existed long before conception. The potential for consciousness exists within all biological life forms. It is simply more immediate in a fetus. This, however, is irrelevant because, as I just said, every biological life has this exact same potential.  All you can do is put an arbitrary time stamp on a life on when it is ok to kill and when it is not.

Rebuttal III: scientific testimony
Your syllogism assumes that killing a foetus is immoral. Is killing a plant immoral? That's how I view killing a fetus, like killing a plant. Is killing a plant ever unjust? I don't care if something is a human, i don't value that. I value consciousness and conscious experience. All those reasons justify x if the foetus has not developed consciousness.

Rebuttal IV: bodily autonomy rights
"in the millions of abortions that have occurred, none have resulted in an aborted mother." True, except that's not what bodily autonomy means. It simply means someone having the right to do with their own body what they will. There was an interesting law case where this man had bone cancer in America. He could survive if he got someone else's bone marrow. The problem was, no one except his cousin had the blood type compatible to have the surgery be workable. His cousin, however, denied it. He did not want to do the painful bone marrow extraction to save his cousin's life. His cousins then took him to court to force him to give him the bone marrow. The court ruled in favour of the guy without the cancer, saying that he doesn't have to give his bone marrow or let him borrow any part of his body, as it is his and his alone. Was it a horrible thing not to save his cousins' life? Yeah, I'd say so. Yet it was his constitutional right to deny him that. Therefore, even if killing a foetus were immoral, it doesn't mean it should be illegal.
 
Round 3
Pro
Thx Exanimaa, 

Affirmations: 

Contention I: Inconsequential differences 

You quote me where I say that someone who has had no previous conscious experience, but then you say, "the same can be said for an unconscious person." No, It can't
Actually, in response to your declaration that it is moral to kill someone if they have not had prior conscious experience, I stated: 

Such statement is incongruent with our understanding of the wrongness of killing. When one is killed, it is the deprivation of life which is a misfortune. If I die tomorrow, or live another 30 years, my past life will be no different - it has occurred and cannot change. What does change when I kill is my inability to live the rest of my life. The "immoralness" of killing comes from the fact that it deprives us of the future to live, and not the fact that we have lived. 

If what CON asserts is true, and the "immoralness" of killing is a result of killing only those who have a previous conscious experience, then killing a baby with anencephaly should be perfectly moral, as people with that condition are usually born unconscious, yet in our society this would possibly the most horrendous crime that could be committed. 

CON then introduces the following straw man:

It's more consistent because everything has a life. My sperm has life. I don't value humanity for simply being humanity. 

Scientifically something very radical occurs between the processes of gametogenesis and fertilisation, the change from a simple part of one human being (i.e. a sperm cell) and a simple part of another human being (i.e., an oocyte ), which simply possess "human life", to a new, genetically unique, newly existing, individual, whole living human being (a single-cell embryonic human zygote).

Upon fertilization, parts of human beings are  transformed into something very different from what they were before; they have been changed into a single, whole human being. During the process of fertilization, the sperm and the oocyte cease to exist as such, and a new human being is produced. To understand this, it should be remembered that each kind of living organism has a specific number and quality of chromosomes that are characteristic for each member of a species. For example, the characteristic number of chromosomes for a member of the human species is 46. Every somatic cell in a human being has this characteristic number of chromosomes. Even the early germ cells contain 46 chromosomes; it is only their mature forms - the sex gametes, or sperms and oocytes - which will later contain only 23 chromosomes each. Sperms and oocytes are derived from primitive germ cells in the developing fetus by means of the process known as "gametogenesis." Because each germ cell normally has 46 chromosomes, the process of "fertilization" can not take place until the total number of chromosomes in each germ cell are cut in half.

This is necessary so that after their fusion at fertilization the characteristic number of chromosomes in a single individual member of the human species (46) can be maintained otherwise we would end up with a monster of some sort. To accurately see why a sperm or an oocyte are considered as only possessing human life, and not as living human beings themselves, one needs to look at the basic scientific facts involved in the processes of gametogenesis and of fertilization. It may help to keep in mind that the products of gametogenesis and fertilization are very different. The products of gametogenesis are mature sex gametes with only 23 instead of 46 chromosomes. The product of fertilization is a living human being with 46 chromosomes. Gametogenesis refers to the maturation of germ cells, resulting in gametes. Fertilization refers to the initiation of a new human being. These a very different process which are not to be conflated.

As my opponent has failed to provide a consequential difference a fetus and newborn, the argument from non consequential differences ought be considered as sound. As such, Vote Pro. 

Contention II: Scientific testimony

Your syllogism assumes that killing a foetus is immoral. 

No, it does not "assume" such a fact, it arrives at it through logical steps formulated by a syllogism. 

I value consciousness and conscious experience. 

Which one do you value? Valuing consciousness is rendered void from the existence of temporarily unconscious people, and valuing conscious experience is void because of people who have anencephaly. Furthermore, I have already shown that the wrong of killing comes from removing one's right to their future, not past. As CON has not identified an erroneous premise in this argument, this argument ought be considered as valid. Vote Pro. 

--

Rebuttals

Subjectivity of a life's value

Exanimaa stated: 
  • I doubt we will find resolution on abortion. We just hold different axioms on when a life should gain value and therefore rights. Neither is actually wrong, as they are both consistent.
I have shown through two avenues that the human life begins at conception and ought to be protected then. My opponents criteria, that is, consciousness, as already been refuted multiple times. 

  • A foetus is a human life. Something being human, however, is not justification for moral worth in my eyes.
CON has made an assertion but failed to up hold it. Why do humans not have moral value? CON forces voters to simply trust what they have to say. I have upheld my burden by showing that the assertion that life begins at conception is congruent with our understanding of the wrongness of killing 

  • I don't value humans for being humans, i value humans for our consciousness, emotions, and pain.
Notice the subjectivity of CON's position. They value consciousness, emotion and pain. Attributing value in this way leads to a superabundance of inconsistencies and disagreement. A mother who has finally conceived a child after many years of effort would certainly value their unborn, underdeveloped bundle of cells. Compare a zygote with a born child. Almost everyone would assert that the born child has more value. But what if the unborn child were to be your own child, brother or sister, would they still not be valued – or be seen as less valuable to another fully born baby? Does consciousness outweigh the value one would place on the unborn, be it that they are a part of one’s family? How can we quantify and measure the value of the different properties?

Let’s examine the two scenarios I just mentioned:

  • A values a baby possessing properties such as consciousness etc. 
  • B values a zygote as having more moral value, because that zygote is their own child, brother, sister etc
Who is correct? Do properties like consciousness entail more value than the intrinsic value a family member places on another? How can these be compared? If we choose to see moral value in consciousness, it would alienate the comatose and negate them of rights.  If we were to see moral value found in family, we would alienate those who are not in our family. Clearly, inconsistencies and unjustifiable differentiation are ubiquitous in assigning value this way. This is why the framework I provide is superior - it avoids subjectivity and judges actions purely based on rational and empirical criteria. 

  •  I believe laws, should be given based on consciousness, not the meat-mecha of the human genome. 
From this, it is evident that life at conception ties seamlessly with legal certainty, as it is set a criteria that is judged objectively. 

CON then introduces a real life example of the violinist thought experiment, to which I object on 2 grounds. 

  1. The thought experiment doesn’t take into account the fact that the mother, in certain cases, is responsible for the existence of the fetus in the first place. The fetus is not a stranger, the fetus is the mother’s own child, and therefore, her responsibility.
  2. In the scenario where the violinist will die unless I donate blood or bone marrow, I am not obligated to help him, because I was not involved in how he became ill. Likewise, if I’m the one who’s been kidnapped in Thomson’s violinist scenario, the reason the violinist is dying has nothing to do with me.
    But why is the fetus connected to a woman’s body in pregnancy? Ninety-nine percent of the time, it is because the woman willingly engaged in sexual intercourse, which is known to create dependent people.
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Conclusion: 

Throughout this debate, I have introduced 2 arguments which were unsuccessfully refuted. CON never directly addressed the scientific testimony syllogism, and did not provide a single consequential difference between the fetus and newborn. Furthermore, the case that CON provided was thoroughly refuted. Furthermore, I invite voters to consider rule 3 from the description of this debate, that the burden of proof is shared. CON has dedicated much of their round to rebutting my case without spending much time on their own case. Even if voters believe that PRO's case has been unsuccessful, the ought compare the veracity of PRO's case against CON's. 

Vote Pro. 
Con
Rebuttal I: Conclusion
If you re-read the debate over, i did address your syllogism, i said it was wrong because i don't agree with the premise that killing something automatically makes it immoral, or even killing a human for that matter. I've asked you over and over again, why i should care for potential. Which you've finally addressed in this round. Thank you for that. I also addressed the difference between a newborn and a fetus, the big difference being one is capable of conscious experience, the other is not, Huge difference.

Rebuttal II: inconsequential differences
I don't believe we should give rights to someone who has never existed as a conscious entity yet. In my round 1 argument, i put forth the argument that that's similar to saying you're going to build a building here, but you must treat it as if the building has already been built. Sadly, you haven't addressed any of that. All you've done is talk about how the point of conception is the most logical point to assign someone rights. I disagree. Once we allow traits other than consciousness and the capability to feel emotions to dictate the moral evaluation of a life's worth, you then give enough justification for people to go beyond simple humanity. Once you have negated that all that matters is consciousness, why stop at humanity? Why not stop at ethnicity? This is why giving rights to consciousness is far more consistent than giving rights to humanity. Once you give precedent to physical features above consciousness and the capability to feel pain, caring for simply humanity now holds no weight. Therefore, caring for consciousness is a far more concrete moral philosophy. 

"Such statement is incongruent with our understanding of the wrongness of killing. When one is killed, it is the deprivation of life which is a misfortune."

I've asked you: is killing a plant immoral? there's a big difference between someone who has been in a coma but had a previous conscious experience and an entity that has never existed as a conscious experiencer yet. A foetus has never asserted a preference and neither can it. If you somehow collapse and fall into a coma and you sign a DNR, they will not resuscitate you. Yet a foetus is incapable of asserting any kind of preference. The reason it doesn't make sense to assume a preference for a foetus is because it doesn't exist yet as a conscious being. There's no reason to cater to its future preference. There is one for someone who has fallen into a coma, as they have experienced feelings and existed as a conscious entity. It seems arbitrary, but it really is not. The difference between someone who has fell into a coma is they can assert a preference before they fall into the coma, even if they do not do so. A fetus is incapable of this feat. This is a huge difference.

CON then introduces the following straw man:

It's more consistent because everything has a life. My sperm has life. I don't value humanity for simply being humanity. 

You really got me with this one. Unfortunately, it is actually not a strawman, it is a very real contention that someone who is against abortion must face. Let me rephrase it, since you clearly didn't understand. Potential exists in every biological life form, When conception happens, all that really happens is that this potential begins to slowly materialise. I don't care for the potential slowly materialising until consciousness begins to materialise, the true bedrock of all moral philosophy. No one actually values humans simply for being humans. That's simply a front to not care for animals and to have a bigoted bias against them, even when they have traits that would give them human rights in law.

Contention III: bodily autonomy rights
I was really hoping you would disagree with what i said in the last round. I can now prove to you that even if killing the foetus were immoral, it should still be legal. You said the violinist shouldn't be forced to give their bone marrow to the man with cancer because they're not the cause of his bone cancer. Okay, good contention.  If a woman goes out drinking and decides to drink drive, and then crashes into an innocent person and puts the innocent person in a coma and gives them terrible injuries and they need transplants, should the government have the ability to force the woman who caused the crash onto a table and forcefully harvest her her blood, kidney and liver against her will? I don't think you will agree with that. Therefore, even if the woman was the cause of the injuries, she shouldn't be mandated by the state to offer up her bodily autonomy, right? Why is it not the case with a mother and a fetus? The foetus is nowhere near as developed as the human she crashed into. The woman who caused the crash should willingly be able to say, "no, i want to stop giving my blood now even if it means they die" Therefore even if a woman consents to having a child, as one may consent to giving blood, it is your constitutional right to be able to deny the offering of your bodily autonomy, even if you agreed before hand. If you disagree with this, you agree that the state should be able to force maternity of women, a form of rape by the state.

Contention IV: the value of consciousness

Contrary to what I've been arguing so far in this debate, there is actually value to potential.  I will be quoting my friend, who is someone who is very pro-life who is likely reading this debate. "lets assume you want to own a great (valuable--let's measure as height, for the sake of the analogy) tree. You may pick a fully grown but small maple tree, or the seed of a Leyland Cypress (which will quickly grow much taller).
Obviously, you pick the latter if you have time to spare, and the former if you do not. Assuming you do however, that seed has more value than the grown maple tree. To be clear, I think it has potential worth, but the value is actual, not potential. " therefore there is value in potential, yet there is only value in potential in so far as i want that potential to materialise. If a mother does not want her child's consciousness to materialise, there is therefore no actual value in preserving the materialisation of the fetus, even if it has begun materialising.