Instigator / Pro
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1500
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Topic

Should abortion be made illegal?

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Participant that receives the most points from the voters is declared a winner.

The voting will end in:

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Politics
Time for argument
Two days
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1354
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~ 394 / 5,000

PRO argues that abortion (in most instances) should be illegal.
CON argues that abortion (in most instances) should not be illegal.

This debate will focus on abortion in all stages of pregnancy but exclude cases of rape and instances when the life of the mother is in severe danger (i.e. a greater than 50% chance of death if the pregnancy continues.) It will also exclude ectopic pregnancies.

Round 1
Pro
I thank my opponent for agreeing to debate such a contentious topic. In this debate, I will establish why abortion constitutes a grave violation of a child's right to live and should therefore be made illegal.

Abortion constitutes the killing of an innocent human being. If you believe, generally speaking, that killing an innocent human being is wrong, you should then also believe that abortion is wrong. But in order to make the claim that abortion involves killing an innocent human, we must first establish a few things. First, of course, that a fetus is a human being. In Essentials of Human Embryology, Keith Moore writes the following [1]:

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.
In Medical Embryology, Jan Langman writes:

The development of a human being begins with fertilization, a process by which two highly specialized cells, the spermatozoon from the male and the oocyte from the female, unite to give rise to a new organism, the zygote.
Note that the aforementioned zygote has its own unique human DNA. A Chinese zygote implanted in a Swedish woman will always be Chinese, not Swedish, because the identity of a fetus is based on his or her genetic code, not that of the body they occupy. Furthermore, if the woman’s body is the only one involved in a pregnancy, then for most of the pregnancy, she must have two noses, four legs, two sets of fingerprints, two brains, two circulatory systems, and two skeletal systems. Half the time she must also have testicles and a penis.

Some would argue that because a fetus is not sentient, then it doesn't have rights. Many people in deep comas are also incapable of sentience [2], and their family members still have no moral right to unplug them if there is a chance they might awaken. Many opponents of my position may note that it is permissible to unplug brain-dead people, but herein they manage to invalidate their arguments against the personhood of the fetus. A brain-dead adult may have many people who care about them, and they live outside of their mother's womb. But it is still permissible to unplug them. Someone in a coma, on the other hand, has the potential to live a life, often with many opportunities. It is this possibility that grants someone in a coma the right to live, and a fetus (if not aborted) has the potential to live a life as well.

Because a fetus is a human being, it would stand to reason that they have a right not to be slaughtered. The most common method of abortion involves sucking the fetus  (or "pregnancy", as Planned Parenthood so eloquently puts it) out of the womb with a vacuum hose [3]. Another common method, known as D&E, involves ripping the baby's limbs off and removing them from the womb one body part at a time [4] [5]. Dr. Martin Haskell, an abortionist, states the following [6]:

The more common late-term abortion methods are the classic D&E and induction. [Induction] usually involves injecting digoxin or another substance into the fetal heart to kill it, then dilating the cervix and inducing labor...Classic D&E is accomplished by dismembering the fetus inside the uterus with instruments and removing the pieces through an adequately dilated cervix.
Several attempts have been made to justify such a heinous act, but I will focus on the most prominent: that the fetus cannot survive on its own. Indeed, at many stages of pregnancy, if the fetus were removed from the womb without being mutilated (which itself is a tall order for most abortion doctors), it would be unable to survive. But similar things could be said of newborn children. Without support, infants are just as helpless and unable to survive as adults. Before adoption programs were available, it was not uncommon for adults to leave their children to die. And despite the lack of government support programs, I doubt my opponent considers such an action to have been morally acceptable at any point in history. Abortion quite literally constitutes child abandonment, as a helpless infant (which needs its mother to survive) is being condemned to a painful death (even if they are not mutilated).

An analogy can be made to conjoined twins who rely on each other's organs to survive. If separation surgery were impossible, I suspect that even strong proponents of bodily autonomy and the right to die would be against either of the twins committing suicide (killing them both) without the consent of the other. Yet in the case of abortion, the mother is directly responsible for her child relying on her body. A better analogy would be forcing someone to become your conjoined twin through some dystopian experimental surgery and then killing them because they rely on your organs.

Other justifications for abortion, such as economic issues and the wish not to have biological children, would clearly not justify the killing of a newborn. Because all children have equal human rights, these arguments should not justify abortion either. Abortion must therefore be classified as infanticide and made illegal.
Con
Well arguing from opposition's advocate, I will start with the fundamentals that I believe a supporter of abortion may use.

We have to first define the value of human life . Human life consists of memories, attachments, bonds , close relationships, corresponding interactions, achievements, records of those achievements and etc.

Every action a human being makes, learning to walk, talk, understand, make contributive workings to a family and society are what continue to build a value.
A value to all human life and a return value to that person as they exist.
They are a person. What makes the personification is being an individual with traits, dispositions, habits, desires, tendencies, personal tastes, things that will require society to cater and accommodate for an individual. Therefore giving it rights in the process. 

With no rights, there's no legal protection, no government intervention.
Which means not illegal for something that has no law to preserve it.

The sperm and the egg do not have the value as an individual person. The zygote or any cluster of cells does not have the individuality that a person has. The individual value once more is made up by personified character traits.
It's not illegal to masturbate. All the cells or germs ejected die off when not immediately transferred to the proper environment. 
It's not illegal to use contraception that would  prevent or stop conception,"killing" of the "birth" of cell reproduction.
Cells are the living building blocks of life.

It is not illegal to terminate this physiological process. The law does not award rights to a cell, cells or a cluster of cells. No matter the amount of cells until it fits the individualism which is that of where it is personified.


Round 2
Pro
My opponent states that

 Human life consists of memories, attachments, bonds , close relationships, corresponding interactions, achievements, records of those achievements and etc.
While it usually does consist of those things, I find it hard to conclude that a human life must consist of those things to have value. I will proceed with several counterexamples:

An orphan may have no close interpersonal relationships with anyone or major achievements. But it would still be wrong to kill them. They certainly could have close relationships in the future, but so could a fetus.

Someone in a coma who has lost all of their memories still has a right to live, even though they will be unable to remember their friends and family.

A hermit who lives in the woods with no remaining friends or family still has a right not to be killed.

My opponent also states the following:

The sperm and the egg do not have the value as an individual person. The zygote or any cluster of cells does not have the individuality that a person has. The individual value once more is made up by personified character traits.
As I stated in my opening argument, the zygote is indeed an individual human being separate from the mother. If my interpretation is correct, my opponent is stating that not all human lives have value and that this value is directly proportional to the relationships they have and their character traits. Again, this would lead to ridiculous conclusions, such as the idea that killing a boring person without a unique personality or friends is justified.

And someone in a deep coma doesn't feel any relationship with anyone because they are not sentient. Their right to life comes from the fact that they may at one point awaken. If anything, my opponent's argument would only argue that the right to live comes from the potential to form relationships with someone, which a fetus has a well.

Finally, my opponent states:

It is not illegal to terminate this physiological process. The law does not award rights to a cell, cells or a cluster of cells. No matter the amount of cells until it fits the individualism which is that of where it is personified.
All human beings are clusters of cells. It's only the number of cells that differs, and my opponent states that this number is irrelevant, which I agree with. He also says that it is not illegal to "terminate this physiological process." But this physiological process is known as life, and terminating the process constitutes killing  a human being, as I explained in my opening statement.

Contraception and destruction of sperm do not involve killing a being that is developing into a newborn. There is no moral obligation to create a person, but once this person is created, there is an obligation not to kill them.
Con
" An orphan may have no close interpersonal relationships with anyone or major achievements. "

Ok , but the person has all those other things mentioned. I didn't say only this one thing. There's a conglomerate of things that make up a person according to the law in which the law is set to protect.

"Someone in a coma who has lost all of their memories still has a right to live, even though they will be unable to remember their friends and family."

Right, once a person becomes a person with rights, it doesn't reverse.  The growth in a person doesn't reverse. It's not as if the traits of personification where to go and come back. The law doesn't play yo-yo.
A being reaching personhood has those rights in place by default.

"As I stated in my opening argument, the zygote is indeed an individual human being separate from the mother. "

Not according to the law. The zygote is in great contrast to a person out of the womb. So why would the rights extend to it?

"If my interpretation is correct, my opponent is stating that not all human lives have value and that this value is directly proportional to the relationships they have and their character traits. "

Not quite the position but I'll recap at the end of this round. It also depends on what you mean by "human".

"Again, this would lead to ridiculous conclusions, such as the idea that killing a boring person without a unique personality or friends is justified."

Yes I'll try to clear up the misunderstanding at the end of the round. Making it as straightforward as can be .

Your following points are just an expansion from a misconstrued premise that I'll go back over.

Let me respond to this though.

"All human beings are clusters of cells. It's only the number of cells that differs, and my opponent states that this number is irrelevant, which I agree with. He also says that it is not illegal to "terminate this physiological process." But this physiological process is known as life, and terminating the process constitutes killing  a human being, as I explained in my opening statement."

What is a human being? Is it a person protected by law? If it is not protected by law, it's not illegal to kill. Do people kill zygotes ? Do people kill what makes up zygotes via contraception?
All that should be illegal as it is all on the same playing field. The law doesn't award rights to any of these stages.
If you have a problem with contraception, now you're in conflict.

"Contraception and destruction of sperm do not involve killing a being that is developing into a newborn. "

Killing a being developing into a newborn is analogous to killing sperm that would develop alongside with something else into a zygote into what you eventually call a fetus , etc.

Can't have one without the other. You can't be for not killing a zygote but neutral on killing its constituents. All interconnected there .

"There is no moral obligation to create a person"

That part is debatable but not for this debate. It's really not when the scenario is brought forth. But then again, people have different moral compasses.
But we're talking about killing the physiological process. Contraception does indeed do that. 

" but once this person is created, there is an obligation not to kill them."

Right and under the law, when a person is created it means they have individual rights and not before.

Well let me recap like I said on this opposition's advocate position.

The law of the land gives rights to individual persons. As persons interact , react ,affect and have an effect on society that is governed, it in return interacts in tandem.
So therefore individual rights are established and it'd be illegal to unjustly terminate what is protected by law.



Round 3
Pro
" An orphan may have no close interpersonal relationships with anyone or major achievements. "

Ok , but the person has all those other things mentioned. I didn't say only this one thing. There's a conglomerate of things that make up a person according to the law in which the law is set to protect.
The things listed were memories, attachments, bonds , close relationships, corresponding interactions, achievements, records of those achievements and etc. The only one the orphan has is memories. What if they have a short-term memory? These criteria would certainly suggest that the value of a human life is proportional to how many memories that person has. What if the orphan is a newborn baby? Newborns don't have memories lasting longer than a few minutes.

I'll also address something my opponent said in their opening statement:

Every action a human being makes, learning to walk, talk, understand, make contributive workings to a family and society are what continue to build a value.
This suggests that teenagers are far more valuable than newborns and that adults are far more valuable than teenagers. But if you had to choose between saving an adult or a child, most people would choose the child because it has more life left to live. Murdering someone is wrong because you are stealing their future, not their past. It's the experiences someone could have in the future that matter here.

"Someone in a coma who has lost all of their memories still has a right to live, even though they will be unable to remember their friends and family."

Right, once a person becomes a person with rights, it doesn't reverse.  The growth in a person doesn't reverse. It's not as if the traits of personification where to go and come back. The law doesn't play yo-yo.
But the law does yo-yo because it's fine to unplug a brain-dead person. The distinction between them and someone in a coma is that the person in the coma has more life to live. In the future.

People don't have rights just because others care about them. My opponent has referred many times to the law of the land, but we're talking about what the law should be, not what it is. I will quote a statement from the Declaration of Independence, not because I believe the founders to be perfect, but because I think my opponent (as well as most other people) will agree with this sentiment [1]:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
The right to life is inalienable. It is not dependent on what you have accomplished or whether you've formed significant memories. It is not given to you by society. Furthermore, everyone is created equal. A human being is created at conception [2].

Yes, a zygote is different from a person outside the womb. Children are different from teenagers, and teenagers are different from adults. But all human beings have a right not to be killed. I'd like to share one statement from my opponent that illustrates the main flaw in their reasoning:

 As persons interact , react ,affect and have an effect on society that is governed, it in return interacts in tandem.
People don't have rights based on their usefulness to society. Even the United Nations, a group that holds a clear pro-choice bias, states that human rights are inherent to all human beings [3]:

Human rights are rights inherent to all human beings, regardless of race, sex, nationality, ethnicity, language, religion, or any other status.
My opponent is defending the pro-choice view with a philosophy that is morally indefensible, even by those who agree with their position on abortion. My opponent must therefore demonstrate that the fetus is not an individual human, in contrast to the overwhelming volume of science proving otherwise, or argue that human rights don't apply to even the most innocent human beings, a position opposed by nearly every moral philosophy.

I'll deal with one final misconception:

Killing a being developing into a newborn is analogous to killing sperm that would develop alongside with something else into a zygote into what you eventually call a fetus , etc.
A zygote is a fetus scientifically. And my opponent compares killing one with killing sperm, but this analogy is deeply flawed. A sperm only develops into a human being if conception is achieved. An unborn child will continue to grow and develop into a child unless they are killed. A fetus is not a "potential" human being; a fetus is a human being.

My opponent continues to talk about killing a "physiological process." But clearly, not all physiological processes are equal. Murder ends a person's life prematurely. Contraception, like abstinence, results in not creating a person in the first place. Regardless of your views on contraception, the physiological process being discussed in this debate is ending a human life prematurely. Abortion should therefore be compared to infanticide rather than contraception.
Con

"The things listed were memories, attachments, bonds , close relationships, corresponding interactions, achievements, records of those achievements and etc. The only one the orphan has is memories. What if they have a short-term memory?"

Short-term memory is still memory. They'll have interactions with whom they come in contact with and vice versa.

Then the following was also mentioned making up personification.

"What makes the personification is being an individual with traits, dispositions, habits, desires, tendencies, personal tastes, things that will require society to cater and accommodate for an individual. "

This is how we get our unique personalities that interact with and react to the world. Which in turn causes the world to interact back with persons. In that return comes with rights, entitlements, not before.

So an orphan or anybody affecting the world will have more than just memories. They'll have desires, wants, aspirations, requests. Things that demand from society directly or indirectly in some form or fashion awarding an umbrella of rights. One being which to protect.

The mother is the only person in the pregnancy that makes up a personification.
All those traits, desires, tastes, demeanors, aspirations, ability to learn, memories to affect the world and the world to affect in return don't exist but in the mother .

"These criteria would certainly suggest that the value of a human life is proportional to how many memories that person has. What if the orphan is a newborn baby? Newborns don't have memories lasting longer than a few minutes."

Perhaps I was premature but review the responses in advance above. Once more it's not just about memories.

"This suggests that teenagers are far more valuable than newborns and that adults are far more valuable than teenagers. "

You say it suggests but does it say? Did I say one person is more valuable? I didn't say the more knowledge learned, the more value. I said having the ability to learn along with other things. You continue to single out things. Do you not have a rebuttal for everything as a whole?

There's a lot that goes into "personhood" and the government recognizes that versus something that can be classified as a parasite or growth inside a woman.

"But the law does yo-yo because it's fine to unplug a brain-dead person. "

If you want to call it yo-yo-ing, so be it. Is not a brain-dead person dead in essence? Just feeding the body oxygen with no consciousness is another way of preserving a corpse.

"People don't have rights just because others care about them. "

So you're saying people get rights that the government does not care to give them to. I guess the ones that are cared for have privileges.

"My opponent has referred many times to the law of the land, but we're talking about what the law should be, not what it is."

Well in order for life to be protected, there has to be rights around it by law in which it protects. The lifeform has to qualify as an entity that will affect the land containing laws causing a return effect. This would generate what we can call "care" whether you believe it or not.

Due to the affect that the lifeform has contributed and contributes to the land in a compensatory , symbiotic fashion, the government employs regulations which should protect the lifeform.

"that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

All fits into personification that is being discussed. A zygote or semen has an alienable function in comparison.

"The right to life is inalienable.
It is not dependent on what you have accomplished or whether you've formed significant memories. "

Exactly, it is much more. Don't attempt to simplify personification. Just individual tendencies, idiosyncrasies, gifts, pet peeves, the list goes on and on. It causes a societal response. Before all of that, there's no cause for intervention for protection or care. Until you have or are considered for a social security number, get listed for taxation, there's no government claim or stamp.

"It is not given to you by society."

What? Are rights not given? I'm using the term as what is allowed by law. But the law is for certain things. Not everything like insects, zygotes, fish eggs in the same manner.

"A human being is created at conception"

You can call it that but it is not a being with rights or else all abortion would be illegal.

 "But all human beings have a right not to be killed."

That is specifically all human beings covered with rights entitled by law. It doesn't make a difference which classification you use. To get down to it, all we have to know is are the rights in place?
See we're trying to get to a legal basis here.
Just because you say it's a life and whatnot, what does that have to do with society to create a protective societal contract with that being that technically has no affiliation with it? There's no causal affiliation but an attachment to something that actually has a causal relationship.
Laws and technicalities are what we're faced with although some express strong feelings against them, it is what it is even if you don't like it.

"People don't have rights based on their usefulness to society. "

Then what are the rights for? They are to serve some end of a purpose. A governed society recognizes a person's function in society and values that person with protection. A growth in a womb is legally just what that is of a woman. So the woman has rights which is a right to her body as they say .

"Even the United Nations, a group that holds a clear pro-choice bias, states that human rights are inherent to all human beings "

Now you're mentioning human rights. But I'm talking about rights by the law to intervene in protecting something. Human rights and what the law allows or gives entitlement to are separate.

"My opponent is defending the pro-choice view with a philosophy that is morally indefensible"

Morality and the law are separate. The topic has to do with legality, not morality.
We can see how the government works. The laws fluctuate but does morality?
What is the basis of the law?
Really an ongoing functioning society.

"My opponent must therefore demonstrate that the fetus is not an individual human, "

I hope you understand now , it's not about what you classify something other than it having rights. I've explained how rights work according to the government.

"A sperm only develops into a human being if conception is achieved. "

In addition, a zygote only continues on if nothing else hinders development. We can just go on and on. People can challenge "pro-lifers" for consistency. In the end, you just choose to draw the line arbitrarily like others.

"An unborn child will continue to grow and develop into a child unless they are killed. "

It's likewise with all the other stages of development.

"A fetus is not a "potential" human being; a fetus is a human being."

It's a being without rights and rights don't appear to be granted by potentiality .
If you notice , rights are for utilization.
They are for something taking place , not possibly. Like my right to drive a car is non-existent until I'm able and licensed.
I don't have it for a potential to operate a vehicle.

"Contraception, like abstinence, results in not creating a person in the first place. "

Right , just contraception that causes the killing of a physiological process such as eggs being eliminated or the ejection of spermatozoa being left to die, yes .

"Abortion should therefore be compared to infanticide rather than contraception."

Right, contraception is not just sexual abstinence. You continue to conveniently single out but cover all the bases. Refute all of it.





Round 4
Pro
My response will focus on two misconceptions espoused by my opponent in the previous round:

1. Legality vs Morality

The subject of this debate is whether abortion should be illegal. Not whether it is illegal. My opponent has stated that humans have rights given by law. So according to this logic, a fetus would have the right not to be killed in Poland, because abortion is banned there. Legality should be based on what is right or wrong, not the other way around. Black people weren't always considered people by the law. According to the argument used by my opponent, they had no moral right not to be killed, because the law didn't consider them not to be people.

Fetuses today are considered by the law not to be people just as slaves were once considered not to be people. Whether the law currently recognizes a fetus as a person is not the subject of debate. If it were, then the question "Should slavery be made legal?" would solely depend on whether the law currently considered slaves to be people. Slaves, Jews, unborn children, and other marginalized groups don't become people or stop being people just because the law says so.

My opponent states:
Now you're mentioning human rights. But I'm talking about rights by the law to intervene in protecting something. Human rights and what the law allows or gives entitlement to are separate.
We're not talking about what the law is, we're talking about what the law should be. The law should protect human rights, by banning slavery, outlawing genocide, and protecting unborn children. But the law doesn't always do what it should.

2. Criteria for human rights

Suppose an infant is born in a coma, from which it will soon awaken. It has no memories, no attachments, no bonds, no close relationships, no corresponding interactions, no achievements, and no records of those achievements. Suppose the mother doesn't particularly care about it. Would this justify infanticide? Of course not.

My opponent also says that it is okay to unplug a brain-dead person, but not someone in a coma. If you discovered that a patient was not actually brain-dead but would wake up shortly, you would certainly be opposed to unplugging them. Notice that none of my opponent's criteria are useful here. Nothing new was learned about the patient's memories, attachments, bonds, close relationships, corresponding interactions, achievements, or records of those achievements. The only thing that mattered was knowing that the patient had a life ahead of them, and robbing them of their future is a heinous act. A man on an island is still a man. A woman on an island is still a woman. Societal constructs exist to protect rights, not vice versa.

My opponent responds to a previous point:
"This suggests that teenagers are far more valuable than newborns and that adults are far more valuable than teenagers. "

You say it suggests but does it say? Did I say one person is more valuable? I didn't say the more knowledge learned, the more value. I said having the ability to learn along with other things. You continue to single out things. Do you not have a rebuttal for everything as a whole?
However, my opponent did in fact state:
Every action a human being makes, learning to walk, talk, understand, make contributive workings to a family and society are what continue to build a value.
"Building" something means increasing it. This initial statement suggests that the more memories someone has, the more valuable they are. Suppose you were given the choice between saving two children. Which of the following would you be interested in?

- How many memories each of them have
- Which of them will live longer

The first would be irrelevant to pretty much everyone, suggesting that memories have nothing at all to do with how wrong it is to kill someone. However, the second pertains to what someone might experience in the future and is therefore relevant. Murder is not stealing someone's memories, it is stealing their future. Only the second piece of information matters.

We have established that someone's possible future is much more important in determining their right to live than their memories. But if the second criterion is so much more important than the first, why does my opponent focus only on the first and ignore the second?

An egg is not a human being. A sperm is not a human being. Human development begins at conception [1]. A fetus is not "part of the woman" as my opponent suggests. As I stated before,  A Chinese zygote implanted in a Swedish woman will always be Chinese, not Swedish, because the identity of a fetus is based on his or her genetic code, not that of the body they occupy. When the fetus grows arms and legs, does the mother have four arms and four legs?

In addition, a zygote only continues on if nothing else hinders development. We can just go on and on. People can challenge "pro-lifers" for consistency. In the end, you just choose to draw the line arbitrarily like others.
My opponent admits to drawing the line arbitrarily. But human rights are not arbitrary, and they do not change based on what is most convenient. A fetus is an individual human, while a sperm is not. Furthermore, conception is an action. It requires intercourse. Parents have no obligation to achieve conception. But "hindering a zygote's development" is killing. A zygote will become a newborn unless it is killed, much like a newborn only becomes an adult if it is killed. One could kill a newborn and say " a newborn only becomes an adult if nothing else hinders its development," but that would be ridiculous. Creating a human life is morally neutral. Taking a human life is murder.

Finally, my opponent gives an analogy that makes the opposite of the point they think it does:
my right to drive a car is non-existent until I'm able and licensed.
If someone stole or destroyed your car before you had a license, and you had no insurance, would you be outraged? I'm sure you would. Even if you couldn't drive it at that moment, you could still drive it in the future. Taking away someone's future opportunities is just as bad as taking away their present opportunities.

Conclusion

Abortionists remove living children from their mothers with vacuum hoses [2]. Often, they tear the limbs off of these children in order to deliver them in pieces [3][4][5]. No innocent child should be killed in this way. It is the duty of lawmakers to protect the lives of unborn children, and it's the duty of society to decry such an abhorrent practice.
Con
"Legality should be based on what is right or wrong, not the other way around."

The topic is dealing with what should be illegal so it's concerning the realm of legality. So the law comes from government. We have to look at how legislation works and its basis .

That's why I say laws fluctuate but does morality? Doubtful that morality is the basis .

"Black people weren't always considered people by the law. According to the argument used by my opponent, they had no moral right not to be killed, because the law didn't consider them not to be people."

The law fluctuated didn't it? So called black folks were legally categorized as property for a period of time.

"We're not talking about what the law is, we're talking about what the law should be. "

But this is what I'm saying. You have to start with where we are in order to change something. You can't have a new standard if you don't get what the current one is. That's how we can distinguish the change.

"But the law doesn't always do what it should."

It is that way for said reasons I've stated over and over .

"Suppose an infant is born in a coma, from which it will soon awaken. It has no memories, no attachments, no bonds, no close relationships, no corresponding interactions, no achievements, and no records of those achievements."

There it is,leaving out other things that makes personification. Now that the baby is born it demands of society starting with that hospital equipment presumably. So by law , the same law that governs the hospitals will intervene.

"Suppose the mother doesn't particularly care about it. Would this justify infanticide? Of course not."

Now you stated "it will soon awaken".
Not only is it an active member of society from being born but will soon be in a state of some awareness. That's another side to personification that the rights are in place for so it be outright illegal killing or murder.

"My opponent also says that it is okay to unplug a brain-dead person, but not someone in a coma. "

I don't believe I said that. Try to quote verbatim if you can't paraphrase as close as possible. I believe I was questioning the difference between a corpse and a brain dead individual.

"However, my opponent did in fact state:
Every action a human being makes, learning to walk, talk, understand, make contributive workings to a family and society are what continue to build a value."

Right , never stated the more you learn. It does say however " every action".
Just like employers ask what value do you bring to the company if you can't do the action(s) that they require for the company.

On top of all this, it doesn't refute what rights are in place for . The law awards rights to a person period. What is a person? Who the law says it is really. So who do we recognize as those who are personified individuals by law? Well a person, a personality. What's in a personality?

I listed things on the surface. We have biopic films and biographies detailing in greater length who that person is or was.

" "Building" something means increasing it. This initial statement suggests that the more memories someone has, the more valuable they are."

Please refer to the above. I always try to get clarity directly from the person. Avoid the assumption and suggestion and all like that.

"The first would be irrelevant to pretty much everyone, suggesting that memories have nothing at all to do with how wrong it is to kill someone. "

Singling out once more. I've never said a person is a being only with memories.

"why does my opponent focus only on the first and ignore the second?"

Refer to my earlier responses. Getting circular my friend.

"A fetus is not "part of the woman" as my opponent suggests."

Actually it is . Being a part means connected. Definitely connected to the lifeline of the woman or else it could grow some place else.

"When the fetus grows arms and legs, does the mother have four arms and four legs?"
No but other things grow that are beautiful.

"My opponent admits to drawing the line arbitrarily. "

To be random , we can expect  inconsistency. The line to the law is always drawn at personification which is always more than what you want to refute as it seems.

"But human rights are not arbitrary, and they do not change based on what is most convenient. "

Well the law of the land changes as we understand. We're talking legality and how it works in order to change it.

See you can be arguing for what would substantiate giving rights to a being prior to birth. Why would the law of the land, the society that created the law have cause? What is the cause? Why would they have cause to interact with some sort of protection that is not called for?
The law surrounds the mother that can govern herself accordingly and anything therein is at the mercy thereof.

"One could kill a newborn and say " a newborn only becomes an adult if nothing else hinders its development," but that would be ridiculous. "

That's the way it works. Call reality, the truth ridiculous. Call it what you will. It is what it is .

"Taking a human life is murder."

Yes the law has the rights in place to protect us as persons. We that function in a society that will require a tit for tat relationship will establish that protection. It's like having rights as a taxpayer for instance. You're entitled to tax breaks, deductions, credits based on your functioning role paying taxes to begin with.
When the respective rights are violated, it is illegal.

The word murder is a legal term that you can think of morally. But we're still on legal terms. 

"If someone stole or destroyed your car before you had a license, and you had no insurance, would you be outraged?"

I don't know. I guess outrage within myself because I wasn't protected in which the law would have compensatory protection due to the law of insurance that I violated.

"Even if you couldn't drive it at that moment, you could still drive it in the future. Taking away someone's future opportunities is just as bad as taking away their present opportunities."

I think the above response I can just add on to it. To drive , to do something, the right is given in that status and not before. By law and technicality of rights, I do not have them prior.

As it appears, the law responds to what will be a part of society to function and respond to it. A basis of allowances, coverages, assistance comes through with the relationship which is not established prior to.

Everything else somebody wants to argue like ethics, feeling sympathy and emotions is different from arguing functionality in law .