Round 2: whatukno v Ian McLean: Abortion

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posted on Sep, 2 2008 @ 11:05 PM
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The topic for this debate is: “Abortion Should Be Illegal.”

whatukno will be arguing the pro position and will open the debate.
Ian McLean will argue the con position.

Each debater will have one opening statement each. This will be followed by 3 alternating replies each. There will then be one closing statement each and no rebuttal.

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[edit on 3-9-2008 by MemoryShock]




posted on Sep, 3 2008 @ 04:29 PM
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Andrew E. Wiggin is no longer able to participate.

whatukno will replace him at the pro position and has 24 hours from the time stamp of this post.



posted on Sep, 3 2008 @ 08:25 PM
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Abortion Should Be Illegal.

This should prove interesting, as this goes back to the landmark Supreme Court decision of Roe V Wade. My job in this debate is to convince you that this was an incorrect decision by the Supreme Court and to legalize abortion was wrong.


In this debate I will show how through only one case held in presence of the supreme court, the constitutionality of this decision is suspect and that through this case the government acted against the will of the United States Constitution in direct opposition to superceding state law.


The Texas laws that were unconstitutionally challenged are 1191 – 1194 and 1196 of the Texas Penal Code, which clearly state that it is a crime for a woman to have an or attempt to receive an abortion unless in cases where the heath of the mother is in issue. This does not in any way make it illegal for a mother who needs an abortion because her life may be in danger to receive one. It simply makes it illegal for someone who otherwise would have a healthy baby to receive an abortion.


The tenth amendment of our constitution clearly makes this ruling unconstitutional, as The United States has no authority over the respective laws of the state of Texas. This Supreme Court decision clearly violated the 10th Amendment of the United States as the United States government was never granted the right to restrict or allow abortions in it’s inception nor through ratified constitutional amendment. This law was reserved to the state of Texas for its ruling and it was unconstitutionally changed by this landmark Supreme Court decision creating without a doubt one of the most heated political debates in US history, a debate that we here are challenging in this forum.


It is only in those cases where the life or health of the mother is in danger when abortions should be allowed. The reason is obvious. This is because people are ultimately responsible for their actions and to allow abortions without any checks increases promiscuity and lax moral values. The notable exception in this case of course is in cases of rape, however this does fall under the jurisdiction of endangering the health and safety of the mother as obviously the conception of the child occurred with danger to the health and safety of the mother involved.


Unwanted and unplanned pregnancies occur in this country at an astonishing rate. Education and prevention methods need to be taught in our classrooms to prevent these unwanted pregnancies and thus lower the need for abortions. Abortions are a terrible costly and emotionally damaging thing. A woman may not want the child, but does that automatically give that woman the right to abort the pregnancy when alternative methods such as adoption are readily available and there are many parents that would love to raise a newborn baby that cannot conceive one on their own. Thus the morals and ethics of an abortion to an unplanned mother come into question. When there are services to help the mother that cannot raise a child or does not want to raise a child are available it makes legalized abortion both immoral and unnecessary.


In this debate the morals of the woman in question must come into play. Each case is of course different. I cannot stress the importance of knowing the difference between an unwanted pregnancy due to the promiscuity of the mother and an unwanted or dangerous pregnancy through a rape or in those cases where the continuation of the pregnancy would pose a significant threat to the health and life of the mother. What I will be arguing against is those abortions that are preformed solely on the basis that the mother does not wish to continue the pregnancy due simply to the fact that she did not intend to become pregnant even though she is sexually active and became pregnant through consensual sexual intercourse with a partner willingly and knowingly. This is the type of abortion that should be illegal. This is where my side of this debate will center. The types of abortions that is unnecessary for the health and well being of the mother.


There is always going to be a need to terminate a pregnancy that is going to endanger the life of the mother. I will not argue this. I will also not argue the need of an unexpected pregnancy due to cases of rape. These kinds of abortion have been legal because of the danger to the health and well being of the mother and was not the case in the determination of the ruling in Roe V Wade.



In summation I will prove in this debate the following points…

1) Roe V Wade is an unconstitutional decision by the US Supreme Court that violated the Laws of the State of Texas and should have never been supported.


2) Abortions due to promiscuity and willful engagement of consenting sexual intercourse should be illegal as other less drastic methods for the unwanted child are available.


3) The prohibition of abortions does not in any way shape or form make it impossible for a woman whose health or life is at risk to terminate a dangerous pregnancy.



posted on Sep, 3 2008 @ 11:33 PM
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Thanks to the readers, our over-worked moderator, and my esteemed opponent whatukno for this debate.

First things first. Let's get the definition out of the way:


Main Entry: abor·tion

1: the termination of a pregnancy after, accompanied by, resulting in, or closely followed by the death of the embryo or fetus: as a: spontaneous expulsion of a human fetus during the first 12 weeks of gestation — compare MISCARRIAGE b: induced expulsion of a human fetus c: expulsion of a fetus by a domestic animal often due to infection at any time before completion of pregnancy — compare CONTAGIOUS ABORTION
Source

Whew! Usually Merriam-Webster is pretty to-the-point, but in this case, I suspect people have been writing them letters with much use of ALL CAPS and EXCLAMATION POINTS!!


 


Ladies and gentlemen, it is clear that one of the most fundamental of human rights is control over one's self. The State cannot mandate the rate at which my heart should beat; they cannot dictate how quickly or slowly I should breath. Control over individual reproductive metabolism clearly falls within that same scope.

In this debate, we will look at the various issues surrounding abortion. Perhaps we shall touch upon the philosophical, ideological, religious, and legal aspects -- the territory of this debate is vast. And it is well-trodden, and divisive. I have no particular desire to rehash the same arguments that have been vehemently advocated many times. Let's try to avoid mainstream ideology (however correct it may be) and try and take a new approach, if possible, worthy of this site's "unconventional" nature.

Let us widen our viewpoints, and attempt to come to better perspectives of how things should be.


 


First, to add some initial perspective, a brief history of the legality of abortion:

For most of history, abortion has been a completely legal procedure. Historically, a distinction has been made between a pregnancy before 'the quickening', when movement is felt at approximately 16-20 weeks, and the later-term 'post-quickening' period of pregnancy.

In 1803, the Ellenborough Act made abortion after the quickening period illegal, with a quite severe penalty -- death. This was later reduced via amendment to life imprisonment, but changing centuries of legal precedent, the distinction between early and later term pregnancy was eliminated. By the mid-19th century, abortion was completely illegal.

The law remained that draconian until 1929, when it was changed to stop abortion from being a crime, if it was "done in good faith for the purpose only of preserving the life of the mother."

In coming decades, the law was relaxed again, this time recognizing the right of a woman to control her reproductive health, in cases where severe physical or mental risk so required. Then, in 1967, the Abortion Act was passed, establishing the law as it exists today. In summary, for an abortion to be legal:


Up to 24 weeks two doctors must decide that the risk to a woman’s physical or mental health or the risk to her child(ren)’s physical or mental health will be greater if she continues with the pregnancy than if she ends it.

There is no time limit on abortion where two doctors agree that a woman’s health or life is gravely threatened by continuing with the pregnancy or that the fetus is likely to be born with severe physical or mental abnormalities.

In the event that an abortion must be performed as a matter of medical emergency a second doctor’s agreement does not need to be sought.
Source

In practice, this makes abortion readily available in the UK, as a great many doctors believe that a woman's mental health suffers by being forced to continue an unwanted pregnancy.

In the course of this debate, I will show that, especially with the advent of safe modern medical practice, even the law as it currently stands is too restrictive. In the purest ideology of personal freedom, a woman (and all people) should have control over personal health without State intervention or restrictions.


 


A few quick responses to some of my opponent's opening points:



1) Roe V Wade is an unconstitutional decision by the US Supreme Court that violated the Laws of the State of Texas and should have never been supported.

I doubt very much the authors of the Abortion Act considered its impact on the "Laws of the State of Texas" when determining the legality of abortion. Contrary to the appearance given by recent American policy, "The Great State of Texas" is not really relevant to the world as a whole.

And although I have read some fine and rational decisions penned by US Courts, and I admire the philosophical foundation that led to the US Constitution, I really don't look to the US Supreme Court (or the State of Texas) to decide for me what is right and wrong. Why, I've heard that various fringe groups in the US actually advocate a particular Presidential candidate, in the upcoming election, because of the possibility of the Court being 'loaded' with partisans who would put conclusions ahead of honest Reason and Justice.

I ask you, is that any way to decide what should be?



2) Abortions due to promiscuity and willful engagement of consenting sexual intercourse should be illegal as other less drastic methods for the unwanted child are available.

I've read up a little about the formation of abortion laws in America -- apparently, in Colonial America, abortion was legal, but never talked about or revealed due to strict puritanical sexual repression (Source). But it's unclear from that source how much the pressures that made abortion illegal by 1900 were prudish, and how much were due to some kind of religious interpretation. As my first and only Socratic Question for this opening: Could you clarify?

Oh, and I notice that you are referring to an embryo or fetus as an "unwanted child". Nice; trying to set the terms to your liking. I suppose we will discuss that further.



3) The prohibition of abortions does not in any way shape or form make it impossible for a woman whose health or life is at risk to terminate a dangerous pregnancy.

Considering the definition of an abortion is the termination of a pregnancy (see above), it would seem that making them illegal would make such a thing impossible. Do you have some clever rhetorical loophole?


 


Many thanks again to all, and I look forward to hearing my opponent lay out his case!



posted on Sep, 4 2008 @ 02:11 AM
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She’s put the kid away, and she’s gone to get a hit, she hates her life and what she’s done to it. There’s one more kid that will never go to school, never get to fall in love, never get to be cool…

Neil Young wrote the lyrics above, while it’s not clear whether or not the woman described just had a back alley abortion, or abandoned her child. Both results are the same. There is a young woman mourning the loss and is deeply disturbed, and there is a life that no longer has the chance to be lived.
For a moment let’s touch upon Post Abortion Syndrome


Post-Abortion Syndrome (PAS) is a term that has been used to describe the emotional and psychological consequences of abortion. Whenever we go through a traumatic experience, without the opportunity to process the experience emotionally, we can expect a delayed negative reaction. We live in a society that ignores the painful consequences of abortion. Men and women who have experienced it are urged into denial, so they do not talk about and process the normal feelings of anxiety, fear, shame, guilt and grief which often follow the abortion. When such emotions are denied and buried, they will often resurface having been magnified by time.


The article linked above lists several coping mechanisms that a woman may use in order to deal with the aftermath of an abortion. An abortion not only affects the fetus, but it may cause severe psychological damage to the woman that had the abortion, even if that abortion was entirely her choice. PAS is quite akin to PTSD and the repercussions of not getting treatment for this syndrome can be quite severe.

Symptoms include: Guilt, anger, broken relationships, depression and sense of loss, psychological "numbing", suicide, and other psychological problems. All from a practice that is legally preformed and conducted by professionally trained medical personnel. These are pretty strong feelings to have over a piece of tissue, an undeveloped fetus, a non living entity that is a hindrance to a woman’s lifestyle. As my opponent would have you look and view an aborted fetus. My opponent has told you that the fetus is not considered alive until the “quickening” or in other terms the piece of tissue gestating in the uterine wall starts moving, up until this point my opponent will try to argue that it is nothing more than a collection of cells. If this is true then why all the psychological damage? We certainly don’t see this trauma occurring if we exfoliate the same amount of cells using a pumice stone.
 



I stated in my opening statement the landmark US Supreme Court case Roe V Wade. While I understand that while my opponent is from the United Kingdom, this case in the United States has much to do with the topic at hand in this debate. It also has a lot to do with the states’ rights as far as how to govern themselves. I point out this case as it is a hotbed issue that divides the United States today. 35 years later this is still a controversial decision that has impacted 46 out of the 50 states of the United States, all this controversy over a collection of cells.

In the United States Constitution, the Bill of Rights outlines specifically in the 10th amendment;


The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.


This clearly shows that the Supreme Court decision of Roe V Wade usurped the laws of the state of Texas, violating the 10th amendment to the constitution. The Texas Supreme Court should have been the furthest this case was allowed to go, however, The United States Government concluded it had more rights over the laws dictated by the state of Texas and a violation of the 10th amendment to the Constitution of The United States of America.
 


My opponent wishes me to answer his Socratic question. However I am confused as to what my opponent wants me to clarify, so I will answer his vague question as best as I can.

Q. Could you clarify?

A. If by clarification you are asking what other methods are available instead of abortion, the answer is, adoption, taking the infant to a firehouse, hospital, or police station (which by the way in many states in the United States is perfectly legal to do, and the mother avoids any criminal charges associated with abandoning the child). Or owning up to the responsibility for your actions and raising the child to the best of your ability.

Remember, humans know exactly what action causes pregnancy. This is no longer a mysterious thing. A woman can’t trip over a crack in the sidewalk and become pregnant. Our actions come with consequences. The consequences of sexual intercourse do include the possibility of pregnancy. And it is not as if there aren’t methods available to minimize the risk of an unwanted pregnancy.

My opponent does not specify this as a Socratic question, however it is a direct question, it is also a valid question, and one that I want to answer.


Considering the definition of an abortion is the termination of a pregnancy (see above), it would seem that making them illegal would make such a thing impossible. Do you have some clever rhetorical loophole?


In this debate we are discussing making abortion illegal. Now, when we discuss this issue we must of course consider two lives, the life of the unborn child and the life of the mother. If the mother’s life or wellbeing as I pointed out in my opening statement is in danger, her life does supersede that life that has yet to be born. Also if the pregnancy is caused by a violent act of rape, then that in itself presents a danger to the wellbeing of the woman in question. The woman in a case of rape had no choice in the matter and otherwise would not have become pregnant to begin with. It is not the woman’s fault she was raped, she should not have to bear the consequences for a child that was conceived in a brutal violent act. In these specific cases when the life and wellbeing of the mother is in jeopardy then an abortion is necessary in order to prevent further damage to the woman or even death. This is not a clever loophole, this is just compassion, reality, and as my opponent puts it, the way it should be.

We don’t live in a static universe, and laws governing such things themselves are not static. My argument in this debate is against abortions where the mother had consensual legal and willing intercourse with the father and became pregnant through a willful and mutually agreed to act. And as a result of that willful consensual and mutually agreed to act the woman would otherwise have a normal and healthy child without danger or risk to the mother’s life or wellbeing. There are consequences to ones actions, to end the life of a person yet to be born because of the will of another should be illegal. It is of course considered murder for a person to take the life of another. It should also be considered murder for someone to take the life of an unborn child whose conception was a willful act by mutually consenting adults.
 


In my reference to the song Keep on Rocking in the Free World, by Neil Young, we get a picture of a young woman who perhaps because of an addiction to drugs has sold her body and became pregnant. We also can surmise that this woman has just had a back alley abortion or perhaps has birthed the child and has abandoned it to die. This is one life that does not have the chance to be lived. This is one instance of because of a person’s choice it has not only superseded the will of another person, but it has ultimately ended the life of another person that could have gone on to make their own choices in their own lives.


Now for my Socratic questions to my opponent…

1) Do you have the right to force your will upon another person and end their life, when they are not endangering yours nor do they have any means to defend themselves?


2) Are the individual cells that make up a fetus alive?


3) Does the father of a child hold any rights to whether or not a woman carrying that child has an abortion?
 


In my next post, I will expand on my argument that abortions of pregnancies that occur through the willful act of sexual intercourse by two willing and consenting parties should be illegal as it willfully endangers the wellbeing of the mother, usurps the rights of the unborn child, and takes away the rights of the father in these cases. I will show that it does indeed take two to tango. It is the will of three people (not just the mother’s) in question. And those abortions that are preformed because the pregnancy inconveniences the mother are wrong and should be illegal.



posted on Sep, 5 2008 @ 01:56 AM
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Ladies and gentlemen, we're now starting to get a feel for how this debate is going to be played. In my opening statement, my opponent mentioned the illegality of abortion in America. So, I did a little research as to why abortion was made illegal in America. The brief article I mentioned showed some ambiguity:


Some writers have suggested that the pressure to ban abortion was not entirely ethical or religious, but was partially motivated by the medical profession as a way of attacking the non-medical practitioners who carried out most abortions.
Source

So I asked:


But it's unclear from that source how much the pressures that made abortion illegal by 1900 were prudish, and how much were due to some kind of religious interpretation. As my first and only Socratic Question for this opening: Could you clarify?

My opponents 'reply'?


I am confused as to what my opponent wants me to clarify...
If by clarification you are asking what other methods are available instead of abortion...

Now, that's not a direct answer. It's obviously not an answer to what I was asking. But, I suppose I shall have to accept the explanation that my opponent was 'confused', and let the judges make their own decisions. Let me answer one of my opponents questions, as example:


Are the individual cells that make up a fetus alive?

Yes; my understanding is that basic biology labels any cells that are metabolically active as 'alive'.

See? Simple and direct. I can understand how my opponent wants to avoid the question of how much of his agenda is religiously motivated. A quick look at the source he cited reveals:


Leadership U is... a growing community of apologists for the historical Christian faith who are engaging their culture on a variety of fronts

So, a Socratic Question that will hopefully be answered:
SQ1: Doesn't the US Constitution prohibit making things illegal because of a particular religious interpretation?

And another question is in order:
SQ2: To what extent should the law enforce religiously-correct behaviour?

But look again at the source I previously quoted. It says that abortion was made illegal in America, perhaps, due to doctors wanting to eliminate competition from non-medical practitioners! So I ask this question:

SQ3: Again, in America, to what extent was the illegality of abortion promoted by the 'licensed' medical profession, and to what extent did that enhance the power and authority of America's uniquely-capitalistic health-care establishment?


 


My opponent seems to be building his case around emotional appeal and made-up medical 'evidence'. He's referring to something he calls 'Post-Abortion Syndrome':


PAS is quite akin to PTSD and the repercussions of not getting treatment for this syndrome can be quite severe.

Um, no. Unlike PTSD, a medically-recognized illness, 'PAS' is not real:


Currently, there are active attempts to convince the public and women considering abortion that abortion frequently has negative psychiatric consequences. This assertion is not borne out by the literature: the vast majority of women tolerate abortion without psychiatric sequelae. The psychiatric outcome of abortion is best when patients are able to make autonomous, supported decisions.

Source: Stotland NL (2003) J Psychiatr Pract



The term post-abortion syndrome (PAS) has subsequently been popularized and widely used by pro-life advocates to describe a broad range of adverse emotional reactions which they attribute to abortion. The American Psychological Association and the American Psychiatric Association do not recognize PAS as an actual diagnosis or condition, and it is not included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders DSM-IV-TR or in the ICD-10 list of psychiatric conditions. Some physicians and pro-choice advocates have argued that efforts to popularize the term "post-abortion syndrome" are a tactic used by pro-life advocates for political purposes.
Source

(emphasis added)

Indeed, it is clear that the freedom to make "autonomous, supported decisions" is a benefit to mental health.


 



In these specific cases when the life and wellbeing of the mother is in jeopardy then an abortion is necessary in order to prevent further damage to the woman or even death. This is not a clever loophole

Indeed it is not. I take it then, that you are advocating the case that abortion should not be illegal, but rather, to some extent, regulated in the circumstances in which it can be applied?

My opponent claims adoption is a 'substitute' for abortion. That is clearly not true. Adoption requires that a mother undertake a complete pregnancy, with such health risks as that might entail, deliver, allow such hormonal changes and 'maternal bonding' as might occur -- and then sign away all parental rights. The child's future is then far from certain; many women do not believe an adoptive or foster family is a nurturing environment. Clearly, it should not be considered an option that 'invalidates' all others.


 


My opponent continues to attempt to confuse cause and effect, past present and future:


"to end the life of a person yet to be born"

I think that's a pretty loaded statement. First, you're assuming a viable pregnancy and birth. Second, you're equating a self-aware, cognizant child as equivalent to a single-celled embryo. Where do you draw the line? I ask the Socratic Question:

SQ4: When does what starts as an embryo actually become a child, instead of just 'potentially' a child?

My opponent asks the question:


Does the father of a child hold any rights to whether or not a woman carrying that child has an abortion?

My direct answer, without quibbling about whether an embryo is actually a child: Yes, I believe so-called 'legal rights' vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. I'll discuss more, shortly, about rights, and the just exercise thereof. More detailed discussion of paternal rights will have to wait for a later reply due to space constraints.

But let's consider the issue of reproductive freedom. My opponent is advocating that the State should have the power to force individuals to complete reproductive acts, even those not deliberately undertaken (for example, via the failure of a contraceptive device). Should the State have that power? If they should, where does that power end? Would it not, then, be logical to assume that the State should have the power to mandate reproduction? Is it not an individual's 'responsibility to society' to ensure the Propagation of the Species?

My contention is that the State cannot and should not have such power over individual reproductive behaviour. I ask this final Socratic Question:

SQ5: Should the State have the power to outlaw abstinence, under any circumstance?


 


My opponent has tossed me a 'hot-potato':


Do you have the right to force your will upon another person and end their life, when they are not endangering yours nor do they have any means to defend themselves?

Direct answer: YES. Surprising, huh? Let me explain.

We must consider what 'rights' are. Do they exist? Where do they come from?

The most basic form oJf 'right' is described by "Natural Law". That is, the law of the jungle, the law of the wild. Does a lion have a 'right' to kill a gazelle? Do primates have a 'right' to inflict violence amongst themselves to establish pack-dominance? Well, they do those things, so, by "Nature's Law", they have those rights.

And, in fact, I can kill. As you mention, we all kill, to some degree, even when we bite our cheeks, or scratch our skin. Nature gives us broad scope in our actions.

But, as civilized beings, we choose not to kill. We allow moderation of our rights between ourselves, via government. In, fact, it is for this primary purpose that Governments are ordained. And, from the recognition of the just implementation thereof, they derive their legitimate powers.

And here is a subtle point: governments cannot, by themselves, restrict our rights. It is one of the beauties I see in the US Constitution, that it explicitly recognizes that. In all cases of Criminal Law, where the government would take action to restrict the rights of an accused individual (imprisonment, etc), the power to do so does not come from the government. It comes from a Jury of the People, from their specific will and judgement, unique to each instance, not hypothetical: tangibly resolving conflict between the rights of individuals who have chosen to establish and respect such a system.

Indeed, that only makes sense. Otherwise, the flow of power would be circular. A government, established of the people by their will, cannot unilaterally undermine or dictate that will. If it could do so, placing itself above the People, its very foundation of power is invalid. It must defer to the higher power of the Jury, and an individual must not be subject to hypothetical prosecution of the government's devising.

And thus, attempts to curtail the rights of the people to self-determine, to control the integrity of their bodies, attempts by any Government to unilaterally place itself above the People, are illegal and invalid. Governments should exist to mediate among citizens, with attempting to usurp a dominant role. Any attempt to broadly place such power in the hands of the government is wrong, and should be laughed out of any Just Court.

That, my friends, is what should be.



posted on Sep, 5 2008 @ 07:22 AM
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Two to Tango?

What we haven’t discussed in this debate yet is the will of the father in these circumstances. Pro Choice activists like to forget that as humans we procreate via copulation and it does take a male of the species as well as the female in order to create a new life. Even though it is the mother that gestates the fetus in her womb she could not have done so without the sperm of the father.

If the father does not want the child is he entitled to an abortion under the same rights given to the mother? Of course not, the reason is, is that the father has no rights to the child during the time of gestation. The father may not want the child but he has no right to order an abortion for the mother. As I said, it takes two to tango, a mother cannot become pregnant asexually, The last time that happened, the child that was born lived to be 33 years old and was crucified to a cross.

What if the father wants the child yet the mother is determined to have an abortion? Yet again we see the obviously biased laws preventing the father from exercising his rights to be a father and must yield to the will of the woman.

The First Trimester Abortions

In the beginning of a pregnancy during the first 7 weeks of the gestation process a woman can opt for a Methotrexate & Misoprostol (MTX) abortion, this involves a cocktail that will usually end an early first trimester pregnancy. Also available up to 9 weeks is a series of drugs known commonly as RU – 486 Mifepristone and Misoprostol, this usually is the appropriate choice for first trimester abortions.

In the last stages of the first trimester the period between 8 – 12 weeks A woman may opt for a procedure known as a Suction Aspiration where the baby is literally sucked out of the womb using a syringe or a vacuum suction device.

Now I am going to take away your sense of comfort in thinking that a handful of cells are not a baby. In fact I am going to show you some disturbing images to prove that abortions are not only destroying a life, but also do so brutally.

WARNING GRAPHIC
WARNING GRAPHIC


Most abortions in this manner occur between 8 – 12 weeks prior to 8 weeks the fetus is too small and can be missed. Abortions after the 12 week mark are more traumatic to the mothers in these situations. These kinds of abortions known as partial birth abortions are traumatic as the fetus, the mass of cells as my opponent would like for you to think of them. As you can plainly see above there is a lot of growth that happens during just the first trimester, and it no longer is just as handful of cells.

Second Trimester Abortions


Medication based abortion procedures are not an option during the second trimester. The types of abortion procedures performed during the second trimester are:
• Dilation & Curettage (D & C): a surgical abortion procedure used to terminate a pregnancy between 13 to 15 weeks gestation. It is also referred to as suction curettage or vacuum aspiration.
• Dilation & Evacuation (D & E): a surgical abortion procedure used to terminate a pregnancy between 15 to 21 weeks gestation.
• Induction Abortion: a rarely performed surgical procedure where salt water, urea, or potassium chloride is injected into the amniotic sac; prostaglandins are inserted into the vagina and pitocin is injected intravenously.
Source: americanpregnancy.org


And again, I must warn you the following images are graphic in nature and should not be viewed by those that are sensitive.




Is it sinking in that this is not just simply the destruction of a handful of cells yet? Can we clearly see that this is a human being, brutally ripped apart limb by limb in these procedures? Can I avoid showing third trimester, partial birth abortions during this debate or have I made my point?
 


As any parent who has witnessed a child in the womb knows (and mothers can certainly attest to) is that a child in the womb is active, moving and even conscious of the world around him. New parents are encouraged to speak to their unborn child, encouraged to play music to the child and other activities. This is because this handful of cells as my opponent wants to call a fetus does respond to outside stimuli.

Above we can see five fingers in these pictures, those are five fingers that will never have the chance to log onto ATS and deny ignorance. In those pictures there are two eyes that will never look upon a blurry picture of a UFO and wonder if we are alone in this universe. The pictures I have shown you above are pictures of lives that never had the chance to be lived because of a conscious decision by another to terminate their life before they had a chance to live it.
 


So what is the determination for life? When is too late for an abortion? Is it too late after the handful of cells grows limbs and extremities? Is it too late to terminate this child when a mother feels the baby kick? Is it too late when the little tiny heart in the fetus starts to beat and pump blood for the fetus?
 


Personal Responsibility

We are accountable for our actions, when we see a woman whom feels the need to have an abortion because the reason is that she feels that the life inside her growing is a detriment to her own lifestyle does this not constitute premeditated murder? When we see a woman who through the will full and consensual act of intercourse has become pregnant and wishes to terminate the pregnancy. Isn’t this the definition of selfishness? Certainly athletes know the risks to their health and welfare when participating in a sport. When we do activities, we understand the risks that accompany those activities. Is sex any different? We know that sex can lead to pregnancy; there are steps that can be taken to minimize this risk. Isn’t it our responsibility just as athletes, engaging in sport to take precautions and wear protective gear?

And if an accident does occur, does the athlete blame the sport? Or does he accept what happens and accept the responsibility that he willfully knew the dangers inherent in the activity and move on? To give an example, is a rugby player more prone to accident than an American football player?
 


Answers to my opponent’s Socratic questions


SQ1: Doesn't the US Constitution prohibit making things illegal because of a particular religious interpretation?


A1) No, it doesn’t, what you are referring to is the first amendment of the US constitution. This states; Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

This only protects the freedom of religion, and makes sure that a religion isn’t made mandatory. That’s the separation of Church and State.


SQ2: To what extent should the law enforce religiously-correct behaviour?


A2) The extent that religion plays in laws depends on the community that those laws are being enforced in. Laws governing a people are made through the demand and will of the people and what the people justify as morally correct, religion does play a small portion in what people justify as morally correct.


SQ3: Again, in America, to what extent was the illegality of abortion promoted by the 'licensed' medical profession, and to what extent did that enhance the power and authority of America's uniquely-capitalistic health-care establishment?


This promotion to outlaw abortion by the established medical profession makes it illegal for those who are unqualified to perform an abortion. It’s a safety issue.


SQ4: When does what starts as an embryo actually become a child, instead of just 'potentially' a child?


A4) An embryo ceases to be an embryo around 8 weeks. After that it is termed a "Fetus". I would like for you to look at the pictures above and make that determination yourself. What you’re asking is for viability outside of the womb. That can occur about 5 months into a pregnancy, or in other words the second trimester. As you can see with my links above, abortions do occur after the baby can be considered viable outside of the mother’s womb.


SQ5: Should the State have the power to outlaw abstinence, under any circumstance?


A5) No absolutely not. Are you asking that the government actually tell people they must have sex? How would one enforce such a law?

What I have hoped to show here is that abortions happen past the point of viability, Past the point of the fetus being a handful of cells. This is why abortion should be illegal, killing children is wrong.

Mod Edit: Removed excess images (two per post) and excess source links (five per post, though exception was noted due to the graphic nature of the images forcing whatukno to utilize a source link).

[edit on 5-9-2008 by MemoryShock]



posted on Sep, 6 2008 @ 12:04 AM
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At this point I'll take my 24-hour extension. I need to work tonight; I wasn't expecting to have to. Thanks.



posted on Sep, 7 2008 @ 01:04 AM
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...the fetus, the mass of cells as my opponent would like for you to think of them

Perhaps we would be best served to think of it as what it is -- a fetus. And an embryo is an embryo. And a blastula is a blastula.

I have no problem with being emotional in this debate. This can be (and I feel should be) an emotional topic. But let's be clear where we're being emotional, where those emotions should reasonably be embraced by humanity as a whole, and where those emotions are driven by a particular agenda or mindset, as in the case of religious interpretation.

I feel an important issue is: when does this 'handful of cells' become something that might be considered a separate individual. Opinions vary! There's medical evidence that this is not an 'all at once' process, but rather a gradual development, with the development of mind not occurring until some time after childbirth!


As will be detailed below, the behavior of the fetus and newborn is likely a reflection of reflexive brainstem activities which are produced in the absence of forebrain-mediated affective or cognitive processing, i.e. thinking, reasoning, understanding, or true emotionality (Joseph, 1996a, 1999; Levene, 1993; Sroufe, 1996). It is the much slower to develop forebrain which generates higher order cognitive activity and purposeful behaviors, and which is responsible for the expression and experience of true emotions including pleasure, rage, fear and joy and the desire for social-emotional contact (Joseph, 1992, 1996ab, 1999; MacLean, 1990).

At birth and for the ensuing weeks, the forebrain is so immature that its influences are limited to signaling distress in reaction to hunger or thirst; a function of the immature hypothalamus

Source



 




Abortions after the 12 week mark are more traumatic to the mothers in these situations. These kinds of abortions known as partial birth abortions..

I think you'd better do some more research. Where's your evidence of 'more trauma'? I've shown that your 'PAS' contrivance has no support from medical or psychiatric literature, is this more of the same? Oh, and you should be aware that the dilation and evacuation procedure (or 'partial-birth' as it is divisively known) is not used before the 21st week, and then only rarely, usually when something has gone horribly wrong with the pregnancy. Source


 


My opponent has begun bandying around the term 'personal responsibility'. This, of course, is code for 'shame on you'. It's the same mindset that looks at poverty and says, 'get a job', blaming the situation on laziness. The same mindset that looks at hunger in Africa and says, 'improve your economy, compete, and then maybe you'll be able to buy food from us'.

I've introduced evidence indicating that ideas towards out-of-marriage pregnancy, colonial Puritanism, and sexual repression contributed towards making abortion illegal in America. In sexually repressive societies, only what the society dictates as 'proper' behaviour is tolerated. Thus, 'abstinence-only' sexual education, despite thousands of years of human history showing that biological instincts trump all levels of indoctrination.

In the Puritan mindset, a woman who becomes pregnant outside of wedlock should be 'ashamed', and allowing her the freedom to control her metabolism is 'unjust', in that it allows her to avoid that shame -- the scarlet letter of a swollen belly and a 'bastard child'.

Of course, abortion is not, and should not be a primary form of birth control! But it is the mindset of 'abstinence only', instead of one of 'embracing empowerment' and self-moderated self-responsibility, that labels more proactive forms of contraception 'immoral'! Don't many American evangelicals consider the use of condoms and birth-control pills 'sinful'? Problem, reaction, solution. We've seen that pattern before.

 




SQ1: Doesn't the US Constitution prohibit making things illegal because of a particular religious interpretation?

No, it doesn’t

Well how very convenient for America. So 'separation of Church and State' is a moot point -- no matter how religiously motivated, laws that require adherence to the 'scriptural interpretation' of the powerful religious interest groups are perfectly legal, as long as they aren't called 'religious laws'. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised, the 'in name alone' ideological purity of United States' politics and policy is glaringly obvious to the rest of the world.


This promotion to outlaw abortion by the established medical profession makes it illegal for those who are unqualified to perform an abortion. It’s a safety issue.

Now, on this we agree. I feel that licensed medical practitioners, in order to be licensed, should conform to professional standards. And the public should not be deceived by those who would claim their 'solutions' are safe. In fact, evidence shows that, in the 19th century, abortions were dangerous, and as you say, this was a large part of the justification in making them illegal. But the safely of modern medical practices is leaps and bounds ahead of the 19th century. Restricting the medical profession can no longer be justified.

And of course, this is secondary to the point that it is the rights of the patient that are primary. The 'dangers of unlicensed medical practice' no longer risk a patient's right to health; the right to choice is no longer infringed, and should not be restricted by the State.



SQ4: When does what starts as an embryo actually become a child, instead of just 'potentially' a child?

According to Wiki An embryo ceases to be an embryo around 8 weeks. After that it is termed a fetus. I would like for you to look at the pictures above and make that determination yourself.

Again, not an answer, but this time a wise evasion. The point that I believe you're making is that the exact point at which the emotionally-charged label 'child' should be used, with the connotations of a self-aware human life, is a subjective decision. Medical evidence and tests, as I have shown above, measure self-awareness as beginning after birth! In fact, I believe that some cultures, world-wide, do not 'name' a child under after the first year, they are not fully considered a 'person'. I find that a little extreme, but then again, that's not my culture.

So, how can you prove, objectively what should be illegal or not, given such wide range of justifiable opinion? Or are your appeals to emotion irrelevant to making a just and logical case?

 




Should the State have the power to outlaw abstinence, under any circumstance?

No absolutely not. Are you asking that the government actually tell people they must have sex? How would one enforce such a law?

This is an interesting point. You're advocating that the State can justly have say-so over the reproductive activity of an individual. You're arguing that the State's interest in a potential future citizen should trump the rights of actual citizens. Thus my question. It would seem that there is a logical disconnect in your argument; care to explain?

You've also mentioned paternal rights. I agree, this is a much-disputed area. I sometimes think that men get the short end of the stick, with regards to both pre and post natal rights. But, I do think it a little drastic, saying that a man be able to force his partner to have an abortion, or force the continuation of a potentially life-threatening pregnancy, in contrast to his right to choice in reproduction.

After all, we see in existing law recognition of both physical and mental effects from pregnancy. A man whose reproductive rights have been infringed upon, would experience mental trauma and distress, but how could that be balanced with the physical and mental distress to the woman? It's not a situation with any clear-cut 'winning' side.

As further example, consider the situation of fertilized embryos, stored by a couple for future contingency. If the couple comes to differences, in whom do the property rights to what might become a 'potential child' rest?

Should the State be able to mandate against the unified will of a couple, or is it only women whom you would have them render unable to choose?



posted on Sep, 7 2008 @ 05:32 PM
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The Red Menace

It is well known about the human rights abuses in the country that I am about to talk of. It is also well known the horrors that they put parents under in order to control the population. On the opposite end of the spectrum from illegal abortions we have this horrid and despicable country, I am speaking of course about China.

In China, the birth rate is so regulated that couples are only allowed one child. Also they are encouraged to abort female children. My infanticidal opponent will tell you that this is of course due to the overwhelming population of China and Chinese law is none of our concern, even though he is arguing against the state regulating against abortion, will he support the Chinese regulation requiring abortion?
 


It puts the lotion on its skin or it gets the hose again

When murderers justify their crimes, often times the issue of dehumanizing their victims comes into play. A murderer is more easily able to live with themselves, when they believe that their victim is less than human. This is how my opponent is trying to rationalize abortion as being ok, by dehumanizing babies and lumping them into the same category as a patch of dry skin.

What is interesting to me is the similarities between Pro Choice and Cereal Killing.


Motivated by fantasies, the offender appears to derive pleasure from dehumanizing his or her victims.
Source: Serial Killers: Defining Serial Murder
 


Identifying and categorizing humans

What is interesting to me is that my opponent has a bullheaded refusal to realize that the unborn are indeed human. But I will settle that now. Of course the answer falls within our own cells, DNA classifies us as uniquely human. No matter how old or developed we are, our DNA sequence does not change. We don’t start out as something else, we start out as human and continue to be human throughout the entire gestation process.

So why does my opponent want to make us believe that our own children aren’t even human? Well the reason is simple; he doesn’t want you to identify babies in the womb with being human because if they are thought that way, what abortion is really doing is killing babies.
 


What is also odd is that my opponent dismissed my argument about post abortion issues as false, simply because of the link that I provided. Well to alleviate his skepticism lets examine another link shall we? Remember my opponent has said;

I've shown that your 'PAS' contrivance has no support from medical or psychiatric literature
Perhaps my opponent needs to further his research strings.

American Journal of Psychology

Two hundred fifty women who had had a therapeutic abortion attended a group therapy program after discharge from the hospital. Each group was led by a psychiatrist-gynecologist team and consisted of three to five women. The authors concluded that the program was beneficial, helping patients to cope with guilt feelings and to clear areas of misinformation about sexual function and contraception. This program also provided an opportunity to combine educational, therapeutic, and preventive aspects of gynecological and psychiatric practice.


Again why would women have guilty feelings about an inhuman handful of cells?
 


Now my opponent wants to divert the topic from what it is, and that is, why should abortion be illegal, the reason is simply put, abortion should be illegal in those cases where the mother has not been harmed, nor will be harmed by the birth of her child. It should be illegal in those cases where the baby will be born healthy and can achieve a full life.

The reason is simple; we as a civilized species do not have the right to destroy a life that has no reason to be destroyed. We have no right to kill a child for no reason other than its creation is an inconvenience to the mother.

Everyone has the right to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness in the United States. These are inalienable human rights that everyone has. Are we to take those rights away from those people that cannot protest for themselves? Who are we to say who lives and who dies especially when the only reason the person is going to die is because it is inconvenient to another person’s lifestyle.

I do want to harp on personal responsibility in this debate; this is paramount to this argument because pregnancy is a direct result of a personal choice. A personal choice that a person goes into willingly and knowingly and in this choice there are risks. These risks include pregnancy, as an intelligent species we understand the risks we take when doing activities such as sex. One can take precautions reducing the risks, and if one decides that parenthood is not a choice for them, there are reliable methods to avert such a life-changing event.

Abortion should be illegal because in this day and age with all the information readily available, and the myriad of birth control measure at hand. There is no reason a person should become pregnant without foreknowledge that such an event can happen.
 


So as you can see there is really no reason for the wholesale slaughter of innocent children in the womb, it’s traumatizing for the mothers involved and it’s unnecessary when other options such as adoption are available. Abortion needs to be illegal not just because it’s wrong, it needs to be illegal because it takes away the rights of our civilizations most precious and vulnerable citizens. They have no say whether or not they live or die. Now tell me, why is it that we feel that some have the rights to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness but not others?

If abortion is legal, why isn’t euthanasia? If someone feels that their life is no longer worth living why aren’t they allowed to go to a medically licensed professional in order to rid themselves of this life? Certainly someone has the right to choose how to live his or her own life, but we don’t. Suicide in fact is a crime. So to use the same logic my opponent puts less value on a life that has yet to be lived but more value on lives that have already been.
 


My opponent fails to remember something. When he himself was in his own mother’s womb, he breathed, he ate, he slept, he played, and he got attached to his mother emotionally. He forgets this time, of course we all do. But those times are there. In each of our collective histories, before we were even born we had these experiences. Any mother can tell you, of the times their baby used their bladder as a squeeze toy or kicked them so hard it was visible from the outside.

It is my position in this debate to show you why Abortion should be illegal, What I have shown is that other than the circumstances when the life of the mother is in danger or that the child would be born with some debilitating condition or in cases of rape. Pregnancy should be allowed to continue uninterrupted. This isn’t a religious debate; this is a debate on ethics, personal responsibility for ones own actions, what is right and what should be. Those children that are born on this earth should be. Those children who can contribute to our society should be allowed the right to do so. We cannot take away that which is not ours to take away. We cannot force our will upon those who have no voice to defend themselves.

This is why abortion should be illegal, this is the topic at hand, this isn’t a handful of cells, ready to be discarded like dead skin. This is a human life that we have here, growing with all the hope and potential any of us have today.
 


My opponent will tell you differently, my opponent will tell you that this life is meaningless until its contributing to society. My opponent will tell you that it is not a viable life until it is outside of the womb and crawling around the living room floor. My opponent will tell you that an abortion is just a shedding of unwanted cellular matter, with no emotional consequences to the person who chose to end the life inside them.

My opponent will tell you we have the inalienable right to destroy this life before it has a chance to live. We have the right to end a life that is not ours to end. That a person who does not have the personal responsibility enough to take precautions in there own personal life has the choice and the responsibility to chose whether or not another life lives or dies. Someone who is cavalier in their own personal life holds more sway over the life of another even though it was their own personal actions that brought about the new life in the womb, and into question.

Now for my final Socratic questions to my opponent.

1) If the embryo, blastula, fetus, isn’t a life and is just a handful of cells, why is it that post abortion counseling is needed at all?

2) So is China right in ordering these abortions even if it goes against the will of the parents?

3) Is it right to take something away from someone else that doesn’t belong to you?

4) Can you justify your existence?

5) Is it the child’s fault for coming into existence in the first place or is it the effect of an action of two people acting in a consensual and willing manner?

In my final statement I will wrap up all that I have shown here. I will show conclusively that children that can be born healthy should be allowed the chance at life. Therefore abortion should be illegal.



posted on Sep, 8 2008 @ 02:18 PM
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My infanticidal opponent will tell you that this is of course due to the overwhelming population of China and Chinese law is none of our concern, even though he is arguing against the state regulating against abortion, will he support the Chinese regulation requiring abortion?

Of course not. What an amusing twist; I was considering mentioning China, as an example of the blatant injustice caused by putting the will of the State above individual rights. Opposing authoritarianism in all forms, whether it expresses itself in mandating actions, or disallowing individual choice, is both logically consistent, and in my opinion philosophically correct:


Forcing a woman who doesn't want to have an abortion for whatever reason -- be it that she really wants to have a child or that she doesn't believe that doing so would be right based on religious reasons -- is just another way to subvert her autonomy and rob her of her dignity.

All those who would stand against China's cruel policy while supporting the U.S. Supreme Court's upholding of an abortion ban should realize the inherent contradiction in their thinking.

Source

My opponent continues to attempt to equate a fertilized ovum, embryo, and fetus with a self-aware child, ignoring all observable and medical differences. Logical differences are also cast aside; the hugely important issues of potential versus actual, and the extent to which subjective moral opinion can be justly utilized as a basis for Law are ignored. Also ignored is the issue of whether the State should unilaterally be able to curtail the rights of its citizens.

Therefore,


SQ2: So is China right in ordering these abortions even if it goes against the will of the parents?

No.


 



What is also odd is that my opponent dismissed my argument about post abortion issues as false, simply because of the link that I provided. Well to alleviate his skepticism lets examine another link shall we?

Certainly, let's examine that. Actually, I dismissed your argument because of the links and research I provided. With regard to this study you mention, are you implying that all these women's problems were caused by abortion? How then could those conducting the study label it a "therapeutic" abortion? Clearly, the study was addressing women who have had past difficulty self-regulating their sexual behaviour, due to pre-existing psychological and emotional problems. Are you implying that a better course of treatment for these troubled individuals would be forced paternity? Would that be more medically responsible? Or ethical?

And as for their feelings of 'guilt', perhaps the uncaring and unforgiving hatred expressed by anti-abortion activists had something to do with that, as well as evoking feelings of being disempowered and discouraged from responsible self-control.


SQ1: If the embryo, blastula, fetus, isn’t a life and is just a handful of cells, why is it that post abortion counseling is needed at all?

I believe you're mischaracterizing my position, if you think I'm saying that an embryo isn't 'a life'. Beyond religious opinions of what is 'life', which vary throughout the world, and which all attempts of mankind to agree upon have been massive fails, 'a life' is a biological term. Even a bacterium, though clearly not equivalent to an embryo, can validly be considered 'a life'. But to answer your question anyway, regardless of its invalid basis, see my explanation above.


 



Everyone has the right to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness in the United States. These are inalienable human rights that everyone has. Are we to take those rights away from those people that cannot protest for themselves?

Well, I hardly need to point out that, once again, you're basing your legal definition of a 'person', with the full expression of human rights, a citizen under the guardianship of a State, on a subjective opinion, which confuses the distinction between potential and actual, real and possible. You might as well apply the same argument against masturbation. Every sperm is sacred.

You've been attempting to take the high ground of preaching 'personal responsibility'. No one is arguing against that. Yet, you're implicitly assuming that other forms of contraception, such as condoms and birth control pills, are perfectly acceptable to the religious radicals who oppose all forms abortion. That's not the case. It would seem their battle isn't against abortion, per-se, but rather against individual self-control via choice, and against sexual behaviour that doesn't fit within their worldview. Sadly, they've chosen to attempt to impose their morality coercively upon others. In my opinion, proper moral and ethical teachings do not require the force of law to mandate their correctness; those who wrote the words you quote considered the truth thereof "self-evident".


 



If abortion is legal, why isn’t euthanasia? If someone feels that their life is no longer worth living why aren’t they allowed to go to a medically licensed professional in order to rid themselves of this life?

Um, those are different topics. Euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide are quite different; one is always initiated by the patient's will, an expression of their right to self-determination; whereas euthanasia is 'mercy killing' that can, quite dangerously, be applied based only on opinion, to justify murder. Not the same thing at all.

Of course an individual should have the right to end their life. It's a simple expression of self-determination -- we're not State property, after all. Of course, I think it important that there exists some level of protection for the mentally-incompetent, that they get the help they need. To what extent that is State-mandated, potentially in conflict with individual rights (which are above the unilateral judgement of the State), is a matter of some dispute: I think we all agree that non-State networks of personal support (such as family and community) are best, for all individuals.

But is the Right to Die unilaterally banned in the US? That seems a little authoritarian for such a 'free' country. And I see nothing in the US Constitution giving the central government the power to infringe upon that right....


 


To answer my opponents remaining Socratic Questions:


SQ5: Is it the child’s fault for coming into existence in the first place or is it the effect of an action of two people acting in a consensual and willing manner?

I suppose in some angsty manner, we're all to blame for our existence. And we're all blameless. The cause and effect can be viewed in many unsubstantable ways. Does a soul 'choose' to enter into a young child, when that child stops being a creature of purely instinctual needs, and self-awareness blossoms? I don't know, and I can't prove it. But, isn't the term 'fault' here a little loaded, when it's not being specifically applied? Who was to blame for Hitler? His parents?


SQ4: Can you justify your existence?

Here's a direct answer: none of your damn business. No offence intended. If I imply fascist religious zealotry on your part, and you imply infanticidal mania on mine, let's make it clear to the audience that these are rhetorical presumptions we're making, to better illustrate our cases in this particular adversarial format. I don't mean to be personally insulting.


SQ3: Is it right to take something away from someone else that doesn’t belong to you?

That question is a little vague for me to directly answer yes or no. I don't know; it depends upon the circumstances. What if the thing was stolen, and the intent is to return it to the original owner? Or if, for example, a terrorist has a nuclear device? Are there limits on the rights of property, in case of a clear and present danger, or is that right absolute and inviolable? These kinds of conflicts, between potential and actual, cannot be decided broadly, but rather must be addressed specifically. The applicable justice cannot be finitely codified; see my previous discussion of the the Jury and the inherent injustice of government action beyond its proper scope.

Certainly, I feel that an attempt by a Government, which is supposed to be instituted to protect the rights of Man, to broadly and unilaterally 'take away' the rights of individual choice and self-regulation is wrong. The government, of course, has no 'inalienable right' to do so, or so attempt.


 


Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for reading thus far. I now turn the floor over to my esteemed opponent, for his closing statement. I look forward to hearing his final attempt to clarify this issue, in a manner that doesn't require embracing subjugation or a specific moral interpretation.

Let us all find a unity and mutual respect we can believe in.



posted on Sep, 9 2008 @ 10:44 AM
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Closing Statement

Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for joining us in reading one of the most divisive and disturbing debate topics I have had the displeasure of being a part of. I would like to thank MemoryShock, and my esteemed opponent Ian McLean for giving me the opportunity to discuss this issue. I hope that I have shown that abortion does in fact destroy human life. In that destruction of life, a wrong has been committed, and this is why Abortion should be Illegal
 


Defining the argument

I was quite specific in what I was arguing during this debate, there was method in this madness as I will expound upon in this closing statement. Abortion used in the cases where the pregnancy could become a danger to the life of the mother or to the child should remain an option. The reason is that of course the mother does have the right to life. What I am arguing against in this debate, is those abortions that are committed because the pregnancy created through the willing and consensual act of sex is an inconvenience to the mother’s lifestyle. There are consequences to our actions. We have to live with those choices. We do not have the right to kill another person because their existence inconveniences our own.
 


The Socratic Questions

During this debate I was hoping to show through my Socratic questions that abortion is wrong, and should be illegal. I asked several questions that were specifically geared towards my argument. While my opponent answered all the questions in a frank manner, one question stood out above the rest and does go to prove my point quite nicely.

Can you justify your existence?

none of your damn business.


Which is exactly correct, but this is the question abortion raises. Abortion makes the statement that because the baby cannot justify its own existence it is ok to destroy that life. My opponent summed it up quite frankly; it is none of our business why others are here. It is not our right to kill another person just for the reason of existing. But abortion itself makes the determination that because a baby cannot justify its existence or even argue that its existence isn’t our business it is justified to annihilate it.

I had also asked…

Do you have the right to force your will upon another person and end their life, when they are not endangering yours nor do they have any means to defend themselves?

And my opponent cited “Natural Law” to justify his answer, however he failed to mention that when animals kill, they do so to eat, not to simply end the life of another animal. And most animals do not kill their own young. And no animal kills their own young inside the female’s body.
 


A handful of cells?

My opponent would like for you to believe that abortion just eliminates a small amount of cells from the body, a small amount of cells that have no defining quality to them, but don’t they? My argument is that in fact the cells do have a defining quality, a unique marker that shows that they are indeed human, indeed an individual person and do qualify for the same rights as we do. This marker is the unique DNA that is in each cell in the developing person. Of course the main point of my opponent’s argument was centered in the first 1/3 of the 1st trimester. As I have shown, not all abortions occur in this early timeframe. After time, the baby develops arms, legs, a head, fingers, toes, eyes, ears, etc, all these traits, culminating into a brand new person.

China’s human rights abuses and the extremes that government goes through to reduce and control its population is a prime example of why this horrid despicable practice shouldn’t be condoned or legalized for those that are simply cavalier in their own private lives. To destroy a person merely based on the fact that that person’s existence inconveniences you is completely selfish and wrong.
 


Euthanasia

I had brought up this question into this debate to make a clear point. If we are justified in destroying a life within ourselves because its existence inconveniences us should we not also have the right to destroy our own life if we so choose? The fact is, we don’t have that right, and those that would choose to end their own lives obviously have deep mental issues that should be worked out instead of allowing them to progress to the point that suicide is a viable option. The same should be said about abortion, the person that willingly wants to end the life of another just because it inconveniences them obviously has issues that need to be dealt with.

This does become apparent after the abortion takes place, and is why I added two links to support groups for post abortion patients. If there was no moral repercussions to abortion then these support groups would not exist or be needed. However because there are emotional consequences for destroying a life that isn’t ours to destroy there are groups that are available for those that choose to go down that path. Whether or not this trauma is real or not these people that seek out counseling post abortion do feel that they have issues to work out. This is yet another reason why abortion should be illegal. If there are emotional problems to the act, does it not mean that the act is wrong?
 


Types of abortion

My opponent wanted to strictly limit this debate to the first part of pregnancy; this is because it’s ethically easier to justify an abortion when the baby doesn’t resemble a human. In the very early stages of an abortion, a cocktail of drugs can be taken to abort the pregnancy. One of these cocktails is commonly referred to RU – 486. In England this drug is available over the counter. In America this drug is by prescription only, pro choice activists would like to see this morning after pill legalized for everyday use. But there are side effects to the use of this combination of drugs that are quite unpleasant and the abuse of which, especially if used at a later stage of pregnancy can be traumatic.

As a new baby grows inside the mother, the way an abortion is preformed becomes more and more complex, at first a drug can be used to end the life of a new baby. After a while the baby can be sucked out of the uterus and thus end the baby’s existence. Still further into the gestation process, a baby has to be physically removed from the womb, a process that is gruesome, grotesque, and horrific. The baby has to be physically torn apart at this point to be removed.

In rare and terrible instances, an induction abortion is used.

• Induction Abortion: a rarely performed surgical procedure where salt water, urea, or potassium chloride is injected into the amniotic sac; prostaglandins are inserted into the vagina and pitocin is injected intravenously.
Source: americanpregnancy.org

This literally burns the baby alive. The pictures of the results of this type of abortion are terrible and awful to see. The now chemically burned baby is surgically removed from the mother. In these instances a baby may in fact have been viably removed from the mother and would have been developed enough to survive. But for whatever reason, the abortion took place and a baby, a life, a person was killed for just existing.
 


The Father?

Now it’s obvious that it takes two to produce the baby in the first place, my opponent shows us that men indeed have no choice when it comes to the outcome of this argument. Pro Choice advocates would like for you to remember it’s the woman’s body that we are talking about here. But it really isn’t it is the baby’s body that we are debating. The baby is the one that ultimately is going to die because of the decision of the mother. The woman is simply a host, a carrier. Yes it is true that a baby does play havoc with the internal organs of a woman, however in the case of an abortion, it is the culmination of two separate cells that join together to begin that new life. So if it is wrong for a father to have any say in whether or not the woman has an abortion, does it not logically show that abortion is wrong itself?
 


Roe V Wade

This hotbed issue is the crux of my argument. This is the reason that abortions are legal in America now. In this case we see that the government intervened and overruled a state’s right to govern itself. A constitutional argument has been at play for the last 35 years. My opponent argues that the state should not have any say in how an individual governs their reproductive organs. However, in this case we see that the state did. It took the measure to dictate what is right and wrong as far as abortions go and severely reduced the rights that the unborn individual has. If the government should not have any say in the reproductive activities of its citizens then abortion should be illegal as to make it legal is to hold sway over what is right and wrong in our human reproductive system.
 


In Closing

The reason that Abortion should be illegal is that it nullifies the rights of those that cannot defend themselves. It kills those who have done no wrong. It ends life of what is the most innocent of all life. Abortion should be illegal because it takes away and usurps the rights of an individual that has no choice in the matter. It doesn’t matter if that individual is comprised of 4 cells or 4 billion cells, the person is there. Eventually a heart starts beating within a developing ribcage; a complete set of organs and extremities emerges. A person is created out of two individual cells.

A woman has every right to govern her own cellular material, however when a cell of hers combines with a cell of a man, it no longer becomes the exclusive genetic material of the host mother. It is now a new and unique individual. This is why Abortion should be Illegal



posted on Sep, 10 2008 @ 10:44 AM
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I must agree with my opponent on the potential divisiveness of this topic. It's a difficult one to not become emotionally entangled with, to maintain clear judgement. I do think we're not going to settle the issue of the morality or immorality of abortion here, today: fortunately, that's not the issue in question. In his closing statement, my opponent has made a fine argument against the practice of eugenics, but that's not the topic, either. The topic is the illegality of abortion, outlawing a woman's right to control her reproductive metabolism, and I feel I have clearly shown:

Abortion should not be illegal.

My opponent would like to weaken the definition of illegal:


Illegal
1. forbidden by law or statute.
2. contrary to or forbidden by official rules, regulations, etc.
Source


And say that abortion should be allowed in certain cases, such as when resulting from involuntary impregnation or when the well-being of the mother is at risk. Clearly, he is claiming that abortion should not be illegal, but rather regulated:


Regulate
1. to control or direct by a rule, principle, method, etc.
2. to adjust to some standard or requirement, as amount, degree, etc.
Source


I believe we agree, that the publicly-established rules governing a 'licensed' medical practitioner should establish some level of reliability of service. Indeed, in the course of this debate we've shown that the dangers of ill-regulated medical practice in previous centuries contributed to justifying outlawing abortions. By their practice, the health of women were being placed in danger.

That's no longer the case; modern medical practice is much safer. Protecting the public from subtle dangers of illicit practice can no longer justify laws infringing their rights.

And that's the central issue here -- the rights of actual people. My opponent would like to argue that the fertilized ovum, embryo, fetus, or 'potential child' also has rights, and those trump the right of the woman to control her metabolism.

That is far from obvious, on many grounds: biological/medical, social, religious/ethical, and legal.

Perhaps most clear-cut is biological. An embryo is clearly 'a life', in that it is metabolically active; the biological definition need say no more than that. But is it a 'person'? It clearly contains a representation of human DNA, and is complete in that respect. But so does a frozen, fertilized ovum, or a skin cell, and my opponent agrees that is clearly a different situation. His amusing attempt to define life as beginning with "two separate cells" shows his equivocation on this point.

Medically, we must rely on objectively observable evidence and definitions. It becomes a little scary, in fact. If we're considering the point at which the development of self-awareness, non-instinctual reactivity, and the potential for emotion begin, medicine tells us that those don't start to occur until after a child is born! Clearly, basing definition of when something is actually a person, on those definitions, makes stopping a pregnancy much different than 'killing a person'.

And that's an interesting point, too: when does the 'potentiality' of a possible 'future-person' become actuality, that can be justly actionable, legally? My opponent has done nothing to harmoniously clarify this issue. Nature itself causes many spontaneous abortions (see the definition in my opening statement) and miscarriages. Clearly, the emotional affection that might hold such potential as 'precious' is a purely human contrivance, unobjective.

Such opinions, I have shown, vary from society to society, and change with the times. Some cultures do not even consider newborn children as complete 'persons', and accept Nature's occasional fickle cruelty as a matter of course, not something we should reasonably attempt to outlaw.

Indeed, within a society, the individual opinions must certainly vary. I've never heard of unanimity on such a scale. There will always be individuals with extreme beliefs, who disagree with the majority, regardless of any opinion they attempt to impose through law. It would seem that can't be avoided. But what is clearly unjust is the imposition of laws that restrict the actual rights of actual individuals. That must clearly take precedence over a secondary (and much less achievable) purpose of society: to allow individuals to live in world free from perceived, subjective injustice.

Ethically and religiously, consensus is far from achieved. I have shown the even the 'canon law' of the Catholic Church, currently a major proponent against contraception and abortion, has changed and oscillated throughout the ages. The objectivity there is questionable; it cannot be said to be a clear-cut truth, without necessarily embracing the dogma of the Church as unquestionable. Regardless of more specific argument, that is clearly not what complete societies do, thus laws that govern complete societies, stemming from the expression of their will, cannot justly be based on religious grounds.

My opponent would argue that religious decrees can become law, and should, if they reflect the will of the people. Arguable. Has this ever occurred, though, without some manner of injustice? The basis for the establishment of government, in many countries, recognizes the inherent separation of Church and State. Ignoring this leads to clear danger, as evidenced by partisan attempts to 'load' the Courts with biased jurists, undermining the objectivity of the legal system.

And we must look at the behaviour of the powerful religiously-motivated fringe groups that want abortion to be illegal. The use of loaded terms in the expression of this topic, calling a single-cell embryo a 'child', pinning a mystical sancrocicity to the term 'life', and ignoring personal opinion and medical and legal definitions that do not fit the desired agenda is particularly distressing. Often, the grounds of the debate are shifted -- abortion is decried as 'irresponsible contraception', and its illegality is advocated based on the argument that other means of contraception are available. But, those same advocates then argue against the use of any contraception, calling it 'sinful' and saying we should rely solely on 'abstinence only', which history has shown is ineffective and unpractical.

Clearly, there is an agenda that is dishonestly driving the debate. My opponent has mentioned 'studies' which he claims show 'traumatic' effects of abortion, despite those same studies using the term "therapeutic". He claims there is such a thing as "Post Abortion Syndrome" -- a made-up label unrecognized by the medical community. It clearly ignores issues of causation versus association. The 'guilt' he implies that women who choose abortion feel does not necessarily stem from that decision itself, but rather can more logically be explained as an effect of knowing that there are unreasonable people who hate, and unilaterally label as 'evil'.

Now let us consider what the just extent of the law should be. I think we've all seen examples of the danger of the whim of the populace enforced through the strength of Governmental law, and the injustice that can result thereof. It seems to me that law is just, when it clearly and unambiguously regulates conflicts of rights between individuals; the US Constitution for example requires a prosecuted person to be able to face their accuser, definitively, in court.

When law is based on the unilateral opinion of the government, it is unjust. When the law concocts 'hypothetical accusers' to prosecute the citizenry, it is unjust. In all cases, laws that infringe the rights of citizens without the specific counter-balance of a Jury of the People, are unjust.

And impractical, too. My opponent has pointed out, in arguing that abstinence should never be made illegal, that the power of the government to regulate human behaviour, in practice, is limited. Should a just legal system not recognize that fact? My opponent has quoted the American Founders as saying there are rights to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness", and that the truth and establishment of those rights is "self-evident". Do you think they wanted their government at the time, the Crown of Britain, to mandate by law the specific manner in which they should observe those rights? Or any rights, not clearly within the purview of a "Government of the People"?

Certainly not. It is obvious, in all respects:

"Abortion should not be illegal."


 


I again thank my opponent for his participation, and thank the moderator, site owners, and of course readers for making available this forum. Finally, I would encourage everyone, especially those in need or dire circumstance, to make their own decisions, their own choices. Do not rely on mandates or the opinions of partisan advocates, of any colour, as 'unbiased truth'. There are caring individuals, who place agenda secondary to honest help and guidance. Should the need arise, seek them out. Thank you.



posted on Sep, 18 2008 @ 09:27 PM
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Congratulations to both, whatukno and Ian McLean, for what turned out to be one hell of a fight.

I would like to say, that given the subject matter, both Fighters deserve kudos for such an exemplary performance in the face of a very volatile subject. I tip my hat to both Fighters.

Yet, there can be only one. Congratulations to Ian McLean, who will be advancing to Round Three.



As biased as I am (I worked in an abortion clinic and knew women who had abortions), I would still say that Ian carries the day. His research is superbly thorough and his arguments are not based on the appeal to emotion but rather based on historic (I was there, y'know) and cultural information. He correctly identifies the argument that there is no such known diagnosis as "PAS".

Whatuknow, alas, is simply repeating the straight line from anti-abortion sites. I would be open to hearing better arguments... but I see none. These are standard and by the text and don't really respond to any of the issues Ian brings up. His closing arguments stray further into the emotional and away from the main theme, bringing up "abortion leads to euthanasia" strawmen and other things instead of neatly summarizing his points.

Ian... by a very large margin.





An extremely emotive topic and one that was difficult to judge, because both sides made excellent cases.

WUK made a rather glaring error in trying to define the terms of the debate, and immediately citing Roe vs Wade, which was not obviously relevant to anyone outside the US, and which did not address the topic accurately.

WUK recovered nicely from this and went on to make an excellent case, although some of the PAS sources were a little weak.

WUK relied more on emotional intensity and rhetoric, which is, I believe, at the heart of this debate, no matter what the forum, and did a great job in defining it and exploiting it.

IM opened nicely and immediately (and quite correctly) attacked WUK's use of Roe vs Wade.

IM made good use of sources to refute WUKs position on PAS and stayed nicely on track, refusing to let this debate become as emotionally charged as his opponent wanted it to be.

IM was very effective in his argument about individual freedoms, but won the debate in his closing when he stated that his opponent was talking about regulation rather than illegality.

I make IM the winner by a very close margin - in racing terms, by a short nose.

A great debate.



posted on Sep, 18 2008 @ 11:54 PM
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Great job Ian
Solid win, It is so hard to debate a side of a subject that you don't personally agree with. (I'm pro choice by the way) But one hell of a job Ian, well deserved. Good luck with round three



posted on Sep, 19 2008 @ 12:59 AM
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Thank you judges, and thank you whatukno for an excellent debate! The judges may have had to give an emotionally charged argument less weight, but I feel that as well as an issue of rights, this is also an issue of 'right and wrong', and individual opinion. Individual opinions of justice, even intuitive and emotionally ones, cannot simply be discarded as 'irrational'. You did a great job of representing your assigned position -- honestly, I will carry the weight of some of your evocative descriptions with me for the rest of my life. Thank you.


Oh and PS: I live in the US.

Sorry about that.





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