On Thursday, Sept. 19, the Trinity University Forensic Society (TUFS) and Tigers for Life (TFL) held a public debate on the legality of abortion. TUFS members Lisel Faust and her debate partner, who asked to not be named, argued in favor of keeping abortion legal, while TFL members Alex Jacobs and Jace Woody argued against it. Each debater gave a four to five minute speech, went into a brief cross-examination period, and then opened the floor to questions from the audience. After that, there was a break for Cane’s and Pizza Classics. Following the break, there was a final period of speeches from each debater.
The main question was whether abortion should be legal or not. TUFS focused on arguing for the woman’s right to choose what they want to do with their bodies, while TFL focused on the immorality of taking an innocent human life.
Some other main arguments that the affirmative side introduced was the differentiation between a fetus and a baby, unsafe abortions occurring if the government makes abortion illegal, and the issue of having an abortion in the case of rape. The negative side refuted these arguments by saying that this is beyond a women’s issue because it involves the taking of a human life, arguing that just because unsafe abortions occur does not make it morally right to take an innocent human life. In cases of rape, the negative side argued that rape is not a reason to kill an innocent human life.
The issue of abortion was important to the debaters on both sides.
“I believe the right of abortion should be protected because there are so many women out there that should have the decision on how this big, fundamental decision in their life should turn out,” said affirmative debater Lisel Faunt.
On the other hand, Jace Woody wanted to debate against the legality of abortion because of his human rights-based philosophy. “All lives are important, we are all human, and we all have the right to live. Millions of innocent people are being killed, and I should be there to stop the taking of human life,” he said.
The affirmative side did not focus on when life begins, but instead mainly discussed a women’s right to choose. The negative side continued to argue that abortion takes away innocent human lives.
The lecture room in Northrup was almost full, as students packed in to support their peers and learn more. During the cross-examination period, students asked questions like, “Where can we draw the line for freedom of choice?” and “If abortion was illegal, what should be the punishment for a woman getting an abortion?”
Tigers for Life has weekly meetings on Thursdays at 6 pm in the Woodlawn room, and the Trinity University Forensic Society will continue to host more public debates in the future on contentious issues such as this.