Debate 2012, Abortion: Human Right or Human Violation?

What do you think about abortion?

Abortion is such a hotly debated topic. It’s been described as an extremely controversial issue, causing some to refrain from talking about it at all, and others to take firm stances on either extreme. It’s not a simple or clear-cut, black and white issue, but rather complex, volatile, and extremely sensitive. The topic always comes up under moral issues, or in ethics classes, and it seems as if people will always take opposite positions on abortion, even when they think rationally, honestly, and with good will.

You may have had heated discussions about it before. More seriously, you may know people who have had an abortion, who have contemplated abortion, or have had an abortion yourself.

Why is abortion so seemingly controversial?

What makes abortion a moral issue?

Why are people afraid to talk about it, while others remain so intolerantly for or against it?

Abortion remains a critical issue for discussion because it is an issue that affects the whole of society, and on a university campus, open and honest dialogue is promoted on such issues.

To facilitate open and honest discussion, a professional debate is being hosted at McMaster for the entire campus on “Abortion: Human Right or Human Violation?” with opposing arguments put forth by professionals in their field.

Representing the position that abortion is a human violation, and wrong in every instance, is Stephanie Gray, Executive Director and Co-Founder of the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform.  Stephanie has debated numerous abortion advocates, pro-choicers, and abortion doctors at universities across Canada, and is committed to making the killing of unborn human beings unthinkable.

Representing the position that abortion is a human right, and the importance of providing female patients with the right to informed choices, is a McMaster Professor of the Health, Society and Aging department,  a medical historian and medical anthropologist with interest in the historic importance of patient self- determination over their right to make choices that affect their personal circumstances.

Why come to the debate?

You have questions about abortion…

You have had an encounter with abortion before and are seeking answers…

You’ve been faced with the issue of abortion before (in conversation, class, or crisis), and want to learn more about how to defend your position…

You’re undecided on whether abortion is a woman’s choice, or whether it’s wrong to abort the unborn…

You want to know the scientific facts of when human life begins…

You have never seriously thought about this issue before and want to come to an informed judgment …

You don’t think it’s possible to come to an informed judgment, or “objective answer” about abortion, and need reasons to show you otherwise…

Perhaps you’ve only ever heard emotional responses to the topic of abortion and have never heard the arguments made for the pro-life or pro-choice case…

You like to be engaged in intellectually stimulating discussion on important issues, and participate in honest thought and dialogue about matters of ethics and the human person…

You are interested in moral issues, ethics, free speech, debates, human dignity and rights…

For all these reasons and more, participating in the debate “Abortion: Human Right or Human Violation?” will provide answers, provoke discussion, raise questions, and prompt you to engage in honest thought and dialogue about matters of ethics and the human person.

University is incredibly formative in the judgments we carry throughout our lives, thus it’s important to take the initiative to ask questions and seek answers to issues affecting the whole of society. The formal debate promises to be an evening of respectful, intelligent discussion, where both speakers have 20 minutes to present their case, 7 minutes each for cross-examination, 10 minutes for a rebuttal, and 5 minutes for a closing statement. It is moderated by a neutral host, who will oversee the flow of the entire debate and facilitate a question and answer period to follow.  Of course, you should continue this discussion well after the debate is over, through this blog, and Lifeline events, in order to make an informed judgments for yourself about the rightness or wrongness of abortion.

“The two sides on this issue are more intransigently opposed to each other than any other issue rightly so, for if pro-lifers are right, then abortion is murder, and if pro-choicers are right, then pro-lifers are fanatic, intolerant, and repressive about nothing. We must intolerantly kill both intolerance and killing.” – Peter Kreeft, professor of Philosophy at Boston College

Finally, consider this:

If the unborn is not a human person, no justification for elective abortion is necessary.

However, if the unborn is a human person, no justification for elective abortion is adequate.

See you at the debate: Thursday March 22nd, 2012, 7-9pm, MDCL 1102.

Posted in Abortion, Ethics, Life and Death Matters

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