Description: Abortion is the argument over whether or not a woman should be allowed to prematurely terminate a pregnancy before birth occurs. The result is that the pregnancy no longer produces a viable life. Instead, the fetus is removed from the woman’s body and medically discarded. In 1973, the court case Roe v. Wade established abortion as a protected right for women. There has been much debate over what conditions an abortion is considered moral and ethical. Individuals who wish to outlaw or restrict access to abortions are called Pro-Life, named that way with for the focus on the life of the fetus in the womb. Individuals who support the right of a woman to have an abortion are called Pro-Choice, named for the ability of the woman to choose the outcome of the pregnancy.

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The Pro-Life Argument: According to the Pro-Life Community, life begins at the moment of conception. Once the sperm meets the egg inside a woman’s body, life has begun and therefore must be protected. Each human life is sacred, and even though we cannot hear the fetus’ wishes, it should be assumed that they would not like to be killed. Pro-Lifers argue that even though a fetus might not necessarily have a consciousness (or personality, for example) that does not justify killing it freely. A comatose or even sleeping person also loses consciousness for periods of time, yet is protected under the law. The extent to which Pro-Lifers would like to prohibit abortions varies, but there are many cases where the goal is to make abortion entirely illegal, even in cases of rape. Pro-Lifers argue that abortions are used irresponsibly, and that normalizing the behavior is a dangerous message for society to embrace. The Pro-Life Community strongly asserts that the most effective way to prevent unwanted pregnancies is abstinance and that those who engage in sexual activity need to weigh the consequences of their actions first. The act of sex is simply not worth the weight of a human being’s life, so self control (or at the very least proper protection) is encouraged. A strong and resonant Pro-Life message is that we “must protect the defenseless.”

The Pro-Choice Argument: According to the Pro-Choice Community, life doesn’t necessarily begin after conception but instead once a viable humanesque form is taken by the zygote. It is not argued that it is OK to kill a fetus. Instead, emphasis is typically placed upon the woman and her well-being. Pro-Choice does not require all individuals to have an abortion, it simply provides resources to those who wish to get one safely. The Pro-Choice camp is especially adamant in cases of rape, where the woman does not intend to have sex with the male let alone father his children. Such pregnancies can carry high health risks in addition to legal and financial risks, none of which were brought about by the woman’s actions. Again, the spectrum of when an abortion is considered OK ranges, with some people considering it an “Emergency Only” situation (like in rape) and others being more casual about it. When considering the option of whether to abort or not, how far a woman is into the pregnancy is a strong consideration. In fact, 88% of all abortions are performed before 12 weeks into the pregnancy. Another Pro-Choice argument is that, were abortions outlawed, many women would be forced to get them in less-than-desirable ways, further risking their health. Generally, Pro-Choice people are in favor of reducing the number of abortions performed; they simply prefer to leave the choice up to the woman on a case-by-case basis.

The Debate:

If you are  Pro-Lifer, perhaps you can answer some of the following questions:

  1. To what extent is it OK to impress your opinions upon others? Essentially, Pro-Life accepts only 1 answer to a pregnancy while Pro-Choice allows the individual to decide the outcome.
  2. Are there any circumstances under which you might consider an abortion acceptable? What are they?
  3. Why do you feel that the existence of abortion clinics is an infringement upon your beliefs?

If you are Pro-Choice, perhaps you can answer some of the following questions:

  1. How can we ensure (from a policy perspective) that people use abortions responsibly and sparingly?
  2. Where and how do you draw the line on what makes an abortion acceptable vs. unacceptable?
  3. What factors might you consider when deciding whether or not to have an abortion?
  4. Can you think of a way that we as a society can work together to reduce the number of abortions performed (without affecting the legality)?
  5. Is it really safe to assume that many women would use back-alley abortion clinics if the legal ones were to disappear? To what extent should we consider these actions legitimate and defensible?

Sources:

  1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roe_v._Wade
  2. http://thebelltowers.com/2013/05/01/pro-life-without-god/
  3. http://www.prochoice.org/about_abortion/facts/after_12_weeks.html

Image:

  1. http://thinkprogress.org/health/2013/05/16/2020291/strictest-abortion-laws-court/?mobile=nc

NOTE: Since this is the first post, be sure to check out the Concept behind this blog!

Definition: Gun control is the debate about whether or not an individual should be entitled to own guns. According to the Bill of Rights, 2nd Amendment, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” It is commonly accepted that the “bear Arms” phrase refers to the right of an individual to own a gun. Some of the finer details that are debated are the class of guns that should be permitted for sale (such as semi-automatic, automatic, handgun, etc) and the nature of the background check system.

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The Pro-Gun Control Argument (PGC): To be Pro-Gun Control means that you are in support of regulating the distribution of guns. People who are PGC tend to believe that the 2nd Amendment is antiquated and intended for a different era. Naturally, the writers of the Constitution would have a rebellion fresh in their minds after declaring independence from Britain. In today’s modern world, such precautions are not necessary since we are not anticipating a government overthrow.  Additionally, PGC people have noted the societal havoc that guns can wreak. Incidents such as the Newtown Shooting and Aurora movie theater shooting leave people scrambling for ways to reduce violence. According to GunPolicy.org, roughly 10.4 out of every 100,000 people in the United States have died from firearm-related causes since 1999. This  number is far too high to members of the PGC Community. Some of the measures proposed by the PGC community to address Gun Control are:

  • Enhanced background checks for individuals interested in buying guns
  • Mandatory training courses for gun users
  • Restriction of access to guns in general aside from police, military, etc.
  • Banning automatic weapons and guns with a certain sized magazine to prevent mass murder

The Anti-Gun Control Argument (AGC): To be Anti-Gun Control means that you support the rights of an individual to own firearms. Citing the 2nd Amendment, many of the AGC Community assert their right to own a private weapon as protected by the Constitution. Some of the proposed uses of personal guns include hunting as well as personal safety. AGC people propose that, were someone to invade their home and attack them, the intruder would be met with guns pointed back at them (after all, criminals would not obey gun laws anyways). This would serve as a tremendous deterrent to home invasion. Similarly, as in the case with Newtown and Aurora, if the teachers and moviegoers each had guns they would have been able to return fire at the shooter and end the rampage early. Members of the AGC Community sometimes cite that the death rate due to traffic accidents is equal to or greater than that of firearms (approximately 12 people per 100,000 in 2010), and therefore guns are no more dangerous than cars. Some of the measures proposed by the AGC community to address Gun Control are:

  • Restriction of gun distribution to mentally disabled, unstable, or criminal individuals
  • Teach people how to use guns safely and effectively
  • Allow for private sale of guns between friends and neighbors

The Debate: 

If you are PGC, you might want to answer some of the following questions:

  1. How would you go about removing the guns that are currently in circulation to provide for a truly safer world?
  2. What are some of the concerns you have about private citizens owning/being trained with firearms?
  3. What realistic alternatives do you propose to prevent incidents like Newtown and Aurora?
  4. What are some personal security alternatives to guns you can propose for our current world?

If you are AGC, you might want to answer some of the following questions:

  1. How is it Constitutional to deprive a mentally handicapped person of the Bill of Rights? That is, no other part of the Bill of Rights depends upon a person’s state of mind. How do you justify placing this limitation on fellow citizens?
  2. How can personal sales of firearms between friends be regulated in a way that promotes gun education and safety?
  3. Why are other, more preventative methods (like an alarm system) insufficient for security purposes?

Please feel free to add your own points and clarifications to either side of the debate, as well as address any questions I failed to ask here. My goal is merely to get the conversation started. Now, Let’s Settle This Like Adults.

Sources:

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Constitution
  2. http://www.gunpolicy.org/firearms/region/united-states
  3. http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/01/09/guns-traffic-deaths-rates/1784595/
  4. http://mddall.com/sbss/0311.htm

Images:

  1. http://sayanythingblog.com/entry/north-dakota-senate-yes-to-guns-in-church-no-to-guns-in-schools/