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Should abortion be illegal

8 points
10 points
the_viperthe_viper (PRO)
The affirmative makes the positive case that abortion ought to be illegal, whereas my opponent makes the case that it is not. I draw this conclusion from the concept that the fetus, as a future person, has a right to exist at conception, and that the mother has a responsibility to keep the fetus alive.


The question of personhood is at the very core of the abortion debate. For the pro-life side, this is very simple. Someone must (a) have consciousness currently or (b) be going to have consciousness in the future. A pro-choice opponent may counter that someone must (a) have consciousness in the present, whereas (b) will not cut it. A clear exception to the pro-choice line of thinking is people in a coma, who are agreed to be persons. Since people in a coma have (b) but not (a), they are persons according to the pro-life view but not according to the pro-choice view. The pro-choice opponent may counter, "But a coma patient was a person in the past". This would then revise their criteria to be (a) having consciousness currently or (b) having been conscious in the past. But a dead person is a classic exception to this. Stabbing a dead person is not equivalent to murder. Therefore the new criteria the pro-choice person is using do not work either. Some pro-choicers have retreated to saying that a person must (a) have been sentient in the past and (b) be sentient currently or in the future.

However, I have several objections to this:

First, suppose a fetus is in an artificial womb, connected to an apparatus that feeds it through an IV, but no one has claimed this artificial womb as their property. Would you have the right to claim this apparatus? According to the pro-choice view, you would be permitted to, since a non-person could exercise no claim. But when the fetus is born this claim would still remain. You could then unplug the child from the IV, leaving it to die. A pro-choicer might object that a child obtains the rights to anything it is relying on when they are born. However, suppose you already owned the apparatus, and someone plugged the child in after an apparatus it was already in broke. I think you would be permitted to unplug the child from your apparatus. This means that the child did not obtain the rights to the apparatus at birth. Rather, you had no right to claim the apparatus in the first place. The fetus, then, must have had rights to the apparatus it would use in the future. If fetuses have a right to property, why not a right to life?

Second, suppose a woman has the ability to poison her fetus so that after it is born, the child will die painlessly at the age of ten. I think we can agree that this would be immoral. I would contest that if it is immoral to make someone not exist at time period Y, it must also be immoral to make that person not exist both at time period X and time period Y. Consider time period X to be the time at which the fetus is born to when it turns 5 (Age 0 - 5). Consider time period Y to be from when the child is age 5 to when it dies (Age 5 - Death). If it is immoral to make the fetus not exist during the second time period (poison), then it should also be immoral to make the fetus not exist during either of the two time periods (abortion).

Parental Responsibility

While the responsibility of parents to their children is generally agreed on, some in the pro-choice group object that no one should be required to provide the use of their body to someone else, even if they have a moral responsibility to that person. I have several objections to this. First, this is an exception to the general concept of moral responsibility, so the burden of proof is on the pro-choice person to show why this is the case. It would be like saying, "While I owe you money, I shouldn't have to pay you in dollars, and that is the only currency I have." Second, in practice this theory falls short:

Suppose Bill stabs Joe, causing Joe to lose a great amount of blood. Should Bill be required to give blood to Joe, if he is the only one capable of doing so? Assume that otherwise, Joe will die. I think it follows that Bill would should be required to give blood to Joe. While I am not saying that parents ad kids with malicious intent, I am saying that moral responsibilities ought to remain even if one must sacrifice their bodily autonomy.

Objections from religion

Their may be religious objections to some of my opinions expressed above, but these religious groups generally find abortion impermissible anyway.


I think that in summary we can conclude that the fetus is deserving of rights and that parental obligations to their children remain even when it requires sacrificing bodily autonomy. From these two premises I think it follows that abortion is wrong and should be illegal. To win this debate, my opponent must demonstrate that my two premises are incorrect or that they do not follow to my conclusion. Until and when they do that, the affirmative has won this debate.

Return To Top | Posted:
2019-01-08 13:57:08
| Speak Round
JohannesJohannes (CON)
Hello everyone. A rematch of this debate was requested with a higher character limit so here you go I guess. 

I'll start with some rebuttals and then advance some arguments of my own.

PRO's main case is that 1) as a future person, a fetus has a right to exist at conception and that 2) the mother has a responsibility to keep the fetus alive.

I'll begin with PRO's first point on the subject of personhood. It was certainly a unique attempt to prescribe me an argument before I've had the chance to say anything; however, my actual opinion on the topic of personhood is that the guaranteed life(the mother) is always more important than the potential life(the fetus). This makes perfect sense logically and I would be interested in hearing PRO's rebuttal to this. I'll respond to the coma/Ben Shapiro example again even though I thought we cleared this up in the last debate but a person in a coma and a fetus still aren't comparable. Again, as a person, you have certain inalienable rights -- the most essential to which is the right to live. Because anyone in a coma is obviously a person you can't just kill them and say they're just like fetuses because they're unconscious. You can't kill someone who's knocked out either. The reason a fetus is different is that it actually hasn't come into life yet, it exists entirely dependently as a body of cells inside the womb of its mother. Hopefully, this will clear this up once and for all.

My opponent continues on in this same 'personhood' argument essentially just debating himself. Asserting his arguments and then prescribing mine just to knock them down and do it again. The problem is I don't really care about any of those arguments or even agree with them in theory. I can't believe I actually have to address this, but it was getting pretty frustrating going through this but, in a debate, you can't just assume what I'm going to say and then rebut it. You actually need to wait for my real arguments.

The dead person example and poisoning the fetus so it dies after its born thing doesn't even make sense. We discussed this in the last debate, but I'm not sure how you could ever think stabbing a dead person and killing someone in a coma are analogous. And again, the poison thing is extremely hyperbolic and you can't poison a fetus so it dies when it's a baby because it inherits its inalienable rights when it is born; you can't start driving when you're 15 just because you'll be able to drive in 9 months. You also claim that because fetuses have property rights they should have the right to life. I'm not really sure what you mean by this or what property rights you think a fetus has so I think you need to expand on this.

PRO's next major argument is that parents have a responsibility and thus shouldn't just kill their fetus. Again, in general, this is usually true. You seem to think that everyone who gets an abortion just does it for convenience. Abortion was legalized for extreme situations where like the mother's life is at stake, in which case abortion would be the correct decision because it makes far more sense to protect the guaranteed life as opposed to the potential. This is why I think abortion should be legal and why it is legal, not so that mothers can just keep getting pregnant and keep aborting it for sake of convenience -- like you seem to think. 

If you're interested in knowing my justification for the legalization of abortion, which I assume you're not because you simply just responded to the generic pro-choice arguments, it's actually very pragmatic. To be honest, I think all this parental responsibility and personhood debate is pretty stupid. If we want to observe actual data and the real, empirical, effects that abortion has on society -- it is actually a net benefit. One of the major problems in lower-class America, which I'm sure you'll agree with, is having kids out of wedlock. Kids had out of wedlock have a much much higher chance of doing things like crime drugs, etc.. Thus, if you have legal abortion, you can control this and eliminate this phenomenon. There are many cities that reflect this: their crime rates were high but when legal abortion was implemented the city saw an immediate drop in crime almost immediately. I don't have statistics with me but this isn't really controversial and most people agree on this but if PRO really wants to I can supply a source in the next round.

At the end of your argument, you claim that I must prove your two arguments false to win this debate. There are a lot of problems with this. First of all, most of the BOP lies with you. Abortion is already legal. You need to convince me why it shouldn't. Saying that parents have a responsibility to their fetuses doesn't necessitate abortion being legal. This is a pretty dumb way to try to spin the debate. Also, the other problem with this is that most of your argument was just prescribing me arguments and then rebutting them. Although I don't think it's important, I believe that a fetus is a potential person and becomes a person when it is born and thus inherits it's inalienable rights then because it's just as much of an independent, living, human creature as all of us at that point. I think when you have a scenario where the mother's like is at stake, it makes the most logical sense to protect the guaranteed life(mother) as opposed to the potential life(fetus). I do think, in general, parents should care about their fetuses but when in these extreme circumstances, it makes sense for abortion to be legal. 

One final thing to think about, even if you could make abortion illegal -- people would still do it. Look at marijuana for instance, marijuana is still illegal in a lot of states but people still get it by the masses. I think even if you could make abortion illegal, the ramifications of it would be pretty drastic.

Ok, that's all for now. Vote CON!

Return To Top | Posted:
2019-01-09 22:23:36
| Speak Round
the_viperthe_viper (PRO)
Let's deal with several main issues

1) Personhood

I laid out several possible criteria for personhood and listed how some common ones fail, since I knew it was possible but not definite that my opponent held one of the listed views. However, it seems that rather than elaborate on their specific criteria for personhood, my opponent states that a definite life should take priority over a potential life. I would agree. Given the choice to save someone in a coma or someone not in a coma, I would save the person who isn't in a coma. The real point of dispute, however, is whether it is ethical to destroy a potential life to save a guarenteed life. I would postulate that someone out of a coma cannot kill the person in the coma for their own net gain (for example, by harvesting their organs). Even if one life were less valuable than the other, that does not give us the right to destroy that one life. For example, if it were possible to save five lives by killing one person and harvesting their organs, it would still not be ethical to do so, even though five lives are more valuable than one. My opponent claims that I tried to prescribe them an argument, but it seems that instead of listing criteria for personhood they committed the same mistakes that I already addressed.

Why is someone in a coma a person? While my opponent doesn't say, they do say that fetuses "haven't come to life yet", and that people inherit inalienable rights when they are born. From this we might assume that having been born makes someone a person. However, my opponent then says that stabbing a dead person isn't comparable to stabbing someone in a coma even though both of them have been born. So it seems then that my opponent is not consistent in their definition of personhood. I think we both agree that future sentience is what gives the coma patient the right to life. After all, this is the difference between dead people and people in comas. Since this criteria applies to fetuses, shouldn't they have a right to life as well?

My opponent says that "you can't start driving when you're 15 just because you'll be able to drive in 9 months." This is different in some states, but I understand the argument. However, this analogy proves my point. If, when someone was 15, I incapacitated their ability to drive, they could be rightfully mad at me since they would never be able to drive. Just because something affects someone later doesn't mean that it is ethical. A fetus doesn't have the right to be conscious at that moment, but it does have a right to be conscious when it will naturally develop.

Con seems to be confused about why the fetus must have a right to property. I'm saying that in order to have the rights to the apparatus, the child must have had a claim to it before I did. This could only be the case if future persons have a right to property.

2) Obligation

My opponent actually agrees with my assessment of moral obligation. So it seems that if the fetus were a person, they logically ought to support limitations on abortion except for extreme circumstances. However, I think that abortion should be illegal even then, especially given that the circumstances are extreme for the fetus as well. If moral obligation were to stand, the fetus would live and the mother would die. If we ignored moral obligation, this would be reversed. But who are we to ignore moral obligation and trade lives?

My opponent may be referring to situations in which the mother and fetus would both die, and doctors are saving the life of the mother. I wouldn't necessarily qualify this as "abortion", and I don't know of any objections to this type of scenario.

3) Effects of Abortion

My opponent then gives their actual justification for abortion, which is that abortion has a positive effect on society. But for whom? Even abortion is really murder, is a better society really worth killing so many people? It seems that justifying abortion because of a decrease in crime would be equivalent to justifying painless infanticide for the same reason.

4) Effects of Illegalization

My opponent states that making abortion illegal will not stop abortion and that there would be drastic ramifications. (I would ask my opponent to specify what ramifications they are referring to.) This may be true in some cases but not necessarily in all, as different sources come to different conclusions [1] [2]. In any event, this would be like saying "don't make infanticide illegal" if abortion is comparable to infanticide, which I think I've done a good job of showing. We might as well do the best we can to deter people from abortion.


1. https://rewire.news/article/2018/10/04/stop-saying-that-making-abortion-illegal-doesnt-stop-them/

2. http://blog.secularprolife.org/2017/08/pro-life-laws-stop-abortions-heres.html

Return To Top | Posted:
2019-01-11 01:20:42
| Speak Round
JohannesJohannes (CON)
To make this debate more readable I'll adopt PRO's same format and keep their order as well.

1) Personhood

Ok, I now understand why you are still confused on why I keep saying that someone in a coma isn't comparable to a fetus; so I'll make my case explicit this time. Someone in a coma is not a potential person like a fetus is. Just because someone is injured or unconscious doesn't take away their inalienable rights as a person -- that would be ridiculous. Thus, just because someone is in a coma, that doesn't lower them from the state of a guaranteed life to a potential person. Also, I find it interesting that you would describe fetuses as unconscious as well. Seems like it weakens your own case to me.

Another one of your main arguments is that the ends don't justify the means. This is actually a Catholic teaching, not a universal truth. While almost everyone agrees with this in virtually all situations, there are some exceptions were most people would actually say the ends do justify the means. For example, the classic train track moral dilemma. You have one person on one side of the track and five people on the other side of the track. The train is running into the five people but you could make it turn to hit the one person. Thus, you would be killing the one person but you would be saving the five. I think a lot of people in this scenario would actually say that the ends do justify the means. Really only Catholicism teaches that this can never be true, so, I don't think you can keep using this as an argument.

I did say that people inherit their inalienable rights when they're born. That doesn't mean they keep them when they're dead buried 5 feet under the ground in a graveyard. This is dead body thing seems like a real non sequitur to me, but, to clear things up, just because you were alive before doesn't mean you have eternal inalienable rights. In fact, this isn't even possible. The most fundamental inalienable right is the right to life but dead people are dead. This is literally a contradiction. Hopefully this shows why the stabbing a dead person analogy doesn't work. 

With this, I can formally address the crux of your personhood argument. I understand now that the point of the coma and dead person analogies was to try to show that the typical pro-choice argument contradicts itself. You say that if a pro-choice person believes someone is a person if they have future sentience, then the coma example contradicts that, and if they believe someone is a person if they have had past sentience, then the dead body example contradicts that. So, to recap why I disagree with this, a person in a coma isn't comparable to a fetus because a person in a coma isn't reduced to a potential person just for going into a coma. The reason a fetus is a potential person is because they have yet to even be born. The argument that someone is a person due to past sentience can't work because it based upon the fact that dead people still hold their rights from when they were alive. However, this is impossible.  Because the most fundamental inalienable right is the right to life, which a dead person is physically incapable of possessing, they don't have inalienable rights in the same sense that alive persons do.

You seemed to have missed my point with the analogy that someone who is 15 can't just start driving now because they'll be able to drive later. The point of this was that 16 is the established age of when you have the right to drive. Birth is the established point at which you have the right to life, and all other inalienable rights. You also say that if you incapacitated a 15-year-old from driving, when they turn 16, they would have the right to be mad at you. Luckily for you, fetuses are incapable of getting mad -- so we don't have to worry about that.

To address the final point in your personhood argument, the assertion that fetuses have property rights doesn't really make sense. I still don't really understand your argument but it seems to me your trying to say that a fetus in an artificial womb must own the apparatus otherwise anyone could claim it, and thus a fetus naturally in the womb must own that womb too. Again this is a non sequitur. A fetus in an artificial apparatus doesn't own the apparatus -- the hospital does. Fetuses are incapable of owning anything for that matter. That doesn't mean the hospital owns the fetus, just the apparatus it's in. The parents have the right to decide what to do with that fetus, as evidenced by the fact that the fetus is even in an artificial apparatus in the first place. The fetus didn't ask for itself to be put in an apparatus.

2) Obligation

Again, this argument is based off of ends can never justify the means. Most people don't accept this -- except for the Catholic Church. Furthermore, at the end of your argument, you say that you wouldn't be against a situation in which seemingly the mother and the fetus will both die so the fetus is preemptively killed. You also say you don't know of any objections to this. Ironically, the Catholic Church objects. Catholicism would tell you to have faith because you can never truly know what will happen until it does. So, to me, it seems like you're kind of cherry-picking arguments from authority for the sake of convenience.

3) Effects of Abortion

The problem with your argument here is two-fold. Again it is based off of the ends can never justify the means but you also say that abortion is murder. Clearly, I don't agree with this. Neither do most people. Because abortion is legal and murder is illegal, abortion can't be murder. And, as I have already stated before, it makes the most logical sense for the guaranteed life to be prioritized over the potential  -- so, I would say that legal abortion is worth the massive benefits society has reaped from it. Certainly, there have been many unnecessary abortions purely for the sake of convenience; but there have also been many abortions that have saved women's lives, aborted the product of a rape incident, prevented child out of wedlock, and many other things all of which I'm sure you would agree are bad. So yes, I would say that legal abortion is most definitely worth the massive benefits it's had on society. Undoubtedly the unnecessary abortions are disheartening, so perhaps the conversation should be about how to mitigate these unnecessary abortions and promote abortion only in the extreme and necessary cases -- not about making abortion illegal.

4) Effects of Illegalization

I cannot tell you precisely what the ramifications of illegalizing abortion would be because abortion is in fact legal. Thus, I can only tell you what I think they logically would be based off of other things that are illegal -- such as marijuana. Although marijuana is illegal, many people consume it still in the masses. Thus illegalization of marijuana has not stopped the usage of marijuana. Also, as a result of prohibition, purchasing marijuana becomes much more dangerous because you can't always guarantee what you're getting is even safe.  Let's extrapolate this to if abortion were to be illegal. One, obviously people would still find ways to get abortions. Secondly, and more importantly, a lot of these abortions (because they can't be performed by real doctors because of its prohibition) might be performed improperly -- resulting in the death of not only the fetus but also the mother. 

Also, I don't agree abortion is comparable to infanticide because an infant is an alive--guaranteed--person while a fetus is a dependent body of cells living inside of its mother and is only a potential person.

5) Conclusion

To sum up, for me, I have not been convinced why abortion should be illegal or why it is even wrong under extreme circumstances. I think all the arguing from theory about personhood and obligation is stupid and unlikely to ever produce a resolution. Maybe the conversation shouldn't be about illegalizing abortion but instead about mitigating its downsides. 

Vote CON!

Return To Top | Posted:
2019-01-11 22:39:14
| Speak Round
the_viperthe_viper (PRO)
1) Personhood

My opponent's case hinges on the assertion that people gain inalienable rights when they are born and lose them when they die. However, I have two objections to this. First, drawing the line at birth is completely arbitrary. The only difference between a fetus at nine months gestation and a newborn is location. Consciousness, brain activity, etc. are identical. I know that US law considers people citizens when they are born, but this is because it is easier to keep track of where someone was born than where they were conceived or developed consciousness. Even if US law didn't consider someone to have rights until they were born, the law does not decide morality. The entire purpose of this debate is whether or not the law should be changed.

Second is the thought experiment that my opponent has several problems with. Their first is that the hospital owns the apparatus. However, the point of the thought experiment is that the apparatus is not clearly "owned" by a third party. Either someone created the apparatus and died, or it was created through abiogenesis, etc. I know these aren't necessarily realistic, but it's a thought experiment. Their second is that they assume I am saying the fetus owns the womb. I am not saying this. I am saying that in a hypothetical where no one clearly owns the apparatus, the fetus should have rights to it because it will be conscious while using the apparatus in the future. If the fetus were conscious and an apparatus were helping it to survive, the fetus would obviously have a claim to it. (This is the same reason we have a claim to the sun and someone can't destroy it.) However, even if the fetus had not developed consciousness yet, it should still have a claim to the apparatus. Otherwise, someone could claim the apparatus when the fetus is unconscious and then destroy it after the fetus develops consciousness, which is obviously wrong. If a fetus can have a claim to something even though it is not conscious yet, it should be able to have a claim to its future consciousness even though it is not conscious yet.

With the train track dilemma, the Catholic Church actually holds that it is moral to switch the tracks due to the Doctrine of Double Effect. However, this isn't actually a relevant point.

2) Obligation

Immanuel Kant also held that the ends never justify the means, and his work was not endorsed by the Catholic Church. In this case the ends (someone dying) are identical to the means (someone dying). It is immoral to kill one person to save one person. Furthermore, is it moral to kill one person so you can harvest their organs to save five? This is clearly wrong, so the ends don't justify the means. Ironically, that hypothetical was created by Judith Jarvis Thomson, who is pro-choice. So I think that the ends not justifying the means is a universal truth.

My opponent claimed that I said the preemptive killing of the fetus is justifiable. This is incorrect. I said that if a fetus was going to die no matter what, it is permissible to save the life of the mother. This is not causing the fetus to die preemptively, just letting the fetus die as it would anyway. Although it's irrelevant to the argument, the Catholic Church is not against this [1].

3) Effects of Abortion

My opponent states that abortion is not murder because it is not illegal. I suppose if we are defining murder as the illegal killing of someone, my opponent would be correct. However, then the Holocaust (in Germany), the hanging of slaves, and the killing of people in international waters would also not be murder. So while it may be technically "correct", the definition my opponent uses isn't very useful for this debate. This debate centers around morality, and the law does not decide morality.  My opponent then reiterates that "guaranteed lives should be prioritized over potential ones". What about people going through surgery and might die? It is only "potential" that they will continue living. Would it be worth killing them to better society? Of course not. So this point of "guaranteed lives being prioritized over potential ones" that my opponent keeps reiterating is quite unhelpful.

4) Effects of Illegalization

My opponent says that abortions would still be performed. As a demonstrated in the last round, this is true in some cases but not all. They also compare this to marijuana legalization but haven't given a reason why abortion is more comparable to marijuana use than, say, murder. There's also a major ethical dilemma with their argument. For example, let's say that making murder (defined as the immoral killing of a person) illegal made murdering more dangerous for serial killers. Should we be concerned with the welfare of serial killers who are killing people? No. So abortion becoming "more dangerous" isn't a side effect that we could ethically consider.

5) Conclusion

I think I've made clear why abortion is wrong even in extreme circumstances, and shown why it should be illegal due to this being the case.

Works Cited

1. https://www.catholic.com/magazine/print-edition/abortion-and-double-effect

Return To Top | Posted:
2019-01-12 18:10:09
| Speak Round
JohannesJohannes (CON)
Just in advance, I'd like to apologize if my thought process is a little more difficult to follow this round because there was a lot of spinning and extrapolating to extremes from my opponent that might be difficult for me to respond to coherently. Nevertheless, let's continue.

1) Personhood

Ok, so my opponent's first point on personhood is flawed in a lot of ways. The fact that a fetus gains inalienable rights when it is born is non-debatable, I don't care if you object to it. Inalienable rights are literally guaranteed to all persons by the government and the fact that abortion is legally permissible illustrates that fetuses clearly don't have these inalienable rights because the most basic inalienable right is the right to life. You also claim that the only difference between a fetus and an infant is geography. This is another classic Ben Shapiro spin on the more pro-choice argument. What the actual difference is that the fetus is still dependently living inside of another person whereas the infant has been born as an independent life with inalienable rights. Also, you say that the law doesn't decide morality -- I would agree. You then extrapolate this to that morality should decide the law because this is a discussion of whether the law should be changed. This is clearly wrong. If morality should determine the law then we would have no law because every person believes in their own set of objective moral standards. For example in Catholicism adultery is immoral but in another religion, it might not be. Also, morality can't determine the law because we have an agreed upon separation between Church and State. So, no, something being immoral in your eyes doesn't mean that the law should be changed.

Again I honestly I have tried to understand what the point of your apparatus thought experiment thing is like 10 times but it's honestly impossible. You claim that humans have a right to the sun and that no one can take it from us. I don't even know what to say to that. I don't think I've ever heard the statement that humans own the sun before in my life and this whole assertion that an unborn dependently living fetus has property rights or something like that seems pretty ridiculous to me so I'll just move on.

Just to clarify the Doctrine of Double Effect states that it is only permissible if the bad effect is unintended. In the train track scenario, you clearly know that you're going to be killing one person to save five. So, no, the Catholic Church due to their principle of ends not justifying the means would not hold it moral to kill one person to save five.

2) Obligation

Obviously most people do not agree that the ends and means are the same in abortion, otherwise, it wouldn't be legal. Most people recognize the fetus as a potential person whereas the mother is a guaranteed person. Logically then most people would think it smarter to save the guaranteed person. So when you're saying that the ends and means are identical because they're both people -- most people won't agree with that.

Ironically, my opponent gives an example of how killing one person to harvest their organs and save five would be immoral when they literally just defended that switching the train in the train track dilemma to kill one person but to save five would be moral. A lot of cherrypicking arguments from PRO here. And again, clearly, the ends never justifying the means isn't a universal truth because then abortion would be illegal. Despite the fact that the fetus is a potential life the doctrine of ends never justifying the means state that no morally permissible action can come from something morally impermissible, like sacrificing a potential life.

My opponent next states that he never said a preemptive killing of a fetus would be OK. Clearly, they do not understand what happens when both the mother and the fetus are going to die. When a doctor tells you this that means that the fetus will not survive birth and the mother will die because of the fetus' birth. So, 'just letting the fetus die as it would', as you say, would kill the mother. So yes, you would have to preemptively kill the fetus. Again you site some random source you looked up under confirmation bias to try to confirm your point so you can keep cherrypicking arguments but clearly your argument here was structured under a lack of understanding of what I meant when I said you would be fine with the preemptive killing of a fetus.

3) Effects of Abortion

Ok so allow me to defend my point on how abortion can't be murder because murder is illegal while abortion is legal. First of all, I'm not sure that the Holocaust and murdering of slaves were legal -- I think it was just allowed to slide under the corruption of that time. Regardless, my point in saying that was that you were trying to classify abortion as legal murder, because, after all, this is a debate about whether abortion should be illegal. I don't really care if abortion is morally murder to you -- this is about legality. So when you try to say that abortion is legally murder - you're clearly wrong because while murder is illegal abortion is legal. That was my point.

My opponent also states that my point about prioritizing guaranteed lives over potential ones is unhelpful to this debate. I guess I could say the same for the constant spinning and cherrypicking of arguments from PRO. Also, you clearly don't understand what I mean, or you're trying to spin it when I say potential life. When I say potential life I'm literally just talking about the fetus that has yet to be born and thus while it is developing in the womb is only a potential life. You seem to think that everyone in risk of dying, like someone in a coma or going through surgery is a potential life. This is an incredibly inconsistent definition because we could pretty much classify everyone as a potential life because we're all at some risk of dying. So actually, I would say that my point about prioritizing a guaranteed life over a potential one is not only logical but very helpful to producing a resolution in this debate.

4) Effects of Illegalization

First of all, I never said that abortion was comparable to the illegalization of marijuana as compared to anything else. I simply said that I can only speculate what the effects of illegalizing abortion would be based off of other things that are used in the masses but are illegal -- such as marijuana. Murder, the comparison you use, is a bad comparison. The reason I used marijuana as a comparison is because just like you can't assure what you're getting with illegal marijuana you can't assure the validity of your surgeon in an abortion. There is no comparison like this to make with murder. You also say that abortion becoming more dangerous as an effect of illegalization isn't something worth considering and you use the example that murder is more dangerous for serial killers. I guess if that's how you want to justify all the mothers that would die as a result of this then go for it.


This is just a side note on my opponent's conclusion statement. They say that they think they've shown why abortion is wrong even in extreme circumstances. Ironically my opponent agreed with me that abortion is permissible in extreme circumstances, like when both the fetus and mother are projected to die, and even tried to claim that the Catholic Church was OK with this. 

5) Conclusion

If I'm being honest I think all this theoretical and morality stuff was extremely unuseful to this discussion. I thought my point about the pragmatic use of abortion(how it lowers crime, drugs, etc.) would be better to discuss in terms of legalizing vs illegalizing abortion but PRO didn't seem interested in discussing really anything physical during this debate. I think overall I did a sufficient job showing why PRO's points and thought process in many cases were either inconsistent or inapplicable to the law and thus that they really didn't have any grounds for illegalizing abortion. 


Return To Top | Posted:
2019-01-13 21:27:09
| Speak Round

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Previous Judgments

2019-01-14 07:02:38
dpowell3543Judge: dpowell3543
Win awarded to: Johannes
the_viper had better arguments than before but Johannes still presented better arguments and did a very good job at shutting down his opponent's arguments.

the_viper: You should better explain the definition of what a living being is. It might also help to prove that fetuses are pretty much the exact same as infants. Sure, ones inside of a woman's womb, but both of them eat, sleep, grow and have the exact same level of consciousness. Fetuses do have a level of consciousness, several doctors have claimed that they could emotion if the fetuses faces as they've been torn apart. Another fact you could use against your opponent's in this debate is that only 1% of all abortions are to save the mother's life while only 3% are rape cases.

Johannes: You've made some pretty good arguments, but when it comes to making a wild claim like "abortions being legal is good for society", you should provide a source that proves your point. Failing to do so renders that point invalid, since there's nothing to back it up. Also, I'd avoid making up statements your opponent makes like you did with the sun one.

Both: It seems you both seem to be ignoring the basic medical fact about fetuses. They are alive. A fetus is the 2nd stage of conception at which point they become sentient and finish growing the rest of their body (i.e. fingers, toes, etc.). As anyone who's ever parented a child and doctors can assure, these fetuses have emotions. They can show joy, interest, distaste and as abortion doctors have seen/proven, fear. I aimed this point at both so if you guys ever enter similar debates again you can keep this in mind depending on which role you take.
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2019-01-14 12:32:44
Remove Before FlightJudge: Remove Before Flight
Win awarded to: Johannes
2019-01-15 23:40:46
BrennanMedlockJudge: BrennanMedlock
Win awarded to: the_viper
the_viper had better analogies and made it easier to understand his side. if i not understand completely what you mean, then cant vote for you because i dont trust you. while Johannes did a better job presenting arguments, the_viper was more logical. like whenever he used the example saying "the person who's not in a coma cannot kill the person in a coma for his own needs) overall the_viper made more sense. that's the reason for my vote.

Both of you did a good job but here are my thoughts.
the_viper, if you are the first speaker, dont respond to arguments that have not been made. it makes you look not credible. also, present your speeches in a more professional way, (judges trust your opinion more)

Johannes, while you did a great job responding and sounding professional, you failed to completely back up your case and make it understandable. use more analogies next time so i can relate (that really helps)
also you made a point saying that "abortions are legal only for extreme circumstances and only when the woman's life is in danger" that is a false claim. there are obvious situations where its strictly for the persons own gain (not relating to health.

both, you made a fetus sound like a object instead of a human. this can be really offensive and you sound unprofessional. (because it is a living thing)
overall you both failed to defend your case with sound claims, but you both presented your side well!
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2019-01-23 17:35:07
DefenderJudge: Defender
Win awarded to: Johannes
Obviously Johannes(Con). Despite that pro had better arguments than his last debate, I found that Johannes still presented better arguments and did a good job at rebutting all of his opponent's statement.
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2019-01-24 21:47:22
holloweddragonJudge: holloweddragon
Win awarded to: the_viper
2019-01-26 10:30:17
nzlockieJudge: nzlockie    TOP JUDGE
Win awarded to: Johannes
Again, good debate guys. I think the points were clearer and easier to follow from both sides, so that's good.
For my money this debate was primarily about Personhood. If PRO could convince me that Personhood started BEFORE the child was born, then the rights issue carries weight and so does the Parental Obligation. If they couldn't then both those points are negated.
On that issue I have to give it to CON. Not only did PRO not convince me that a fetus is a person, CON stated that Personhood begins at birth and then PRO added weight to that by stating that the US Government only considers a person to be a person once they are born.
PRO, I'll try to explain WHY you failed to convince me of the personhood issue in the feedback section.

The other two scoring points in this debate were based around the impact this law could have on society.
I wouldn't say I found CON's arguments to be particularly strong here, but I WOULD say that I didn't see them challenged hard enough by PRO.
In the end I gave them narrowly to CON, but it wouldn't even matter if they were given to PRO. PRO had the larger share of BOP in this debate, so a draw is not enough for them.
CON wins.

PRO: OK, others have said it, I'm going to say it as well. Go back and read your first round. Three quarters of it is you making arguments for CON and then knocking them down.
Sure, there are times, (rare times) where it's an effective strategy but more oftne than not you are showing your hand too early and it allows your opponent to zig instead of zag, which is what they did here by coming up with a completely different set of reasons abortion should be legalised.
As a judge it's also incredibly frustrating because even though I have to read all your stuff, I can't actually consider any of those points scoring until your opponent agrees that those were the arguments they were going to make. Which they NEVER do.
So don't do this.

I think you lost the Parenthood point because you got caught up trying to defend a bad argument. You almost stumbled on a stronger argument when you mentioned in passing that Personhood was simply a matter of location. You should have hammered on the point that Personhood at Birth is completely arbitrary and then convinced me that it is also classist, since babies born to parents in more affluent areas or countries with better healthcare providers can become people at a much earlier age, despite being exactly the same physical being as someone born in a third world country. Your human rights shouldn't differ based on where you happen to be born.
I'm not saying you would have won with this line, but it would have been a much stronger argument and would have forced your opponent to defend THEIR position, rather than simply negate yours.

Also, CON made me laugh when they called you out for using the kill five to save one is moral when it comes to train crashes, but not when it comes to organ donors. That was a slip up on your part. Got to watch those!

Way better paragraph construction this time, far easier to read and follow. I really appreciated that.
You definitely landed some punches here, but I think it was too little.

CON: Overall this was a really strong debate from you. I think you made some really smart choices with your sentence structure and the tone you used. There were several points that I missed until you made them and then I had to go back and reread what PRO had said. Those were good catches.

I think your first round should have been more dismissive of PRO's points. You were exactly right that he was making your arguments for you. There was no real need on my part to have you defend the person in a coma or the dead guy argument.

I think you were very lucky to not get called on making statements of fact, like crime goes down when abortions are legalised, without citing a source. I haven't researched that and I could definitely be wrong but I find that stat to be VERY suspicious. Also, similar to PRO's gaff with flip flopping on the five vs one, you kind of contradict yourself as well, because you say that legal abortions would lower crime rates, and then you also say that if abortion were legal, people would still find ways to have them anyway.

In the end I think this was a pretty clear win for you though. Well done.

BOTH SIDES: Seriously, well done on the formatting and the clear references to the argument each side was making. Good debate.

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2019-01-26 13:58:25
allee68Judge: allee68
Win awarded to: the_viper
I feel that Johannes won, but only by an almost negligible margin and the debate as a whole was a really below-average debate. The reason that I say that is because both sides are giving good points, but they are not answering the question, is whether abortion should be ILLEGAL. Notice the word illegal. Both sides of the house did not explain what do they feel about the legality of the case and they only focused on the principles of the case. They also do assumptions and do not say their definitions of the words in the question, like abortion. If you do not give your definitions of your points, you will not be able to convince your audience as they do not understand what you are talking about. Both of you are relying very heavily on analogies. But that's all that they are. Analogies, assumptions. If you keep on relying on these analogies, they won't lead you anywhere. Both of you do not show much logic in your case divisions. Sure, the points do make sense, but they come out of nowhere and it is very hard to track your cases individually. You both need to learn how to introduce your substantives in a clear manner, or else being all over the place will highly damage your cases. The only reason why proposition won this debate, is because proposition introduced a burden for opposition to prove in their first statement's conclusion, that the opposition must prove that their 2 substantives do not add up. However, a better place to push the burden is at the beginning of the statement. Or else, the burden is close to unnoticeable.
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If you feel like CON won, why award the win to PRO?
Posted 2019-01-27 13:41:31
2019-01-26 21:25:20
MoniinoJudge: Moniino
Win awarded to: Johannes
While I do think the viper’s argument was more clear—the organization and presentation was better, I think Johannes takes the edge with the actual substance of the argument. I’ve never liked the coma analogy in this debate, to me it seems very unrelated, and even if it did make sense, it’s something brought up in every abortion debate and doesn’t really show much good thinking because it doesn’t feel like it’s coming from the person who’s making the argument, it’s just something they’ve seen somewhere else. I really like what Johannes had to say about Catholic teaching regarding the ends justifying the means. It’s something I’ve never heard before but it’s true, and I think it shows lots of creativity and thinking outside the box from his side.
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I am pro (abortion should be illegal)