Last night, SFU Lifeline and SFU Health Ethics Club hosted a public debate on Simon Fraser University campus: “Should Abortion Be Legal“?
About 125 students and guests attended to hear Stephanie Gray, on behalf of the Canadian Center for Bio-Ethical Reform, present the pro-life position and Umer Altaf, President of the SFU Debate Society, present the pro-choice position.
Appealing to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Stephanie claimed that abortion should be illegal, since the pre-born are human beings, and ending an innocent human being’s life would be a violation of their human right to life.
Umer based his argument on what he claimed were three logical conclusions: something receives our moral consideration in the face of termination if it can feel pain, if it will be missed by loved ones, and if they have wants and dreams that won’t be realized if their life is taken. When the pre-born can’t feel pain, will not be missed and does not have dreams to be realized, the pre-born are not worthy of our moral consideration and thus abortion should be legal.
Stephanie and Umer debated the implications of making abortion illegal, also weighing the effects that abortion and pregnancy have on women. Umer claimed that there are different levels of suffering, and abortion alleviates some of the suffering that a woman would face in a crisis pregnancy. Stephanie proposed that a civil society should certainly alleviate suffering, but not eliminate sufferers.
Students were able to ask questions during the final session of the debate, and the open discussion continued well after the debate officially ended.
Who won the debate? Stay tuned for a video of the full debate online. We’ll let you decide.