Articles From the November 1994 Unification News


Abortion Funding Debate at UTS

by Peter Duveen-UTS

The student body of the Unification Theological Seminary held the 14th of its annual debates in October, with the victory going to the second year students, or "Middlers," who were pitted against a team of entering students, or Juniors. The Middler team will go on to compete against Divinity Seniors in another debate next semester.

The topic of the debate was, "There should be no federal funding for clinics that provide abortions."

UTS President Dr. Theodore Shimmyo introduced the two teams, the first headed by Jin Goon Kim, second generation Korean and Student Body President, and supported by Junior president and two-time debate veteran Bret Moss of the United States, and UTS student Andrew Tribe of Great Britain.

The Junior team was comprised of Peter Duveen of the United States, Harold Ishii from Japan, and Celso Talaba from the Philippines, and was supported by an advisory staff including Mark Snell and Naomi Ikegami.

The Middlers argued that abortion was equivalent to murder, and that it encouraged immorality, and should therefore not be funded. They expressed disappointment with the debate topic, since, if strictly interpreted, it would mean that their side must be opposed to abortion even in the difficult cases such as those where the mother's life was endangered. They tried to change the position they were defending early on in the debate by saying that the real issue was the vast majority of "on demand" abortions, thus excluding difficult cases they admitted should be funded.

Juniors argued that abortion should be eliminated through moral reformation of society, rather than by cutting off federal funding, which could jeopardize those special cases in which an abortion may be necessary or justified. The Juniors also opposed laws restricting abortion on grounds that the mother should have autonomy over her own body, and that the child, which lacked autonomy, was not yet "alive." Furthermore, since the law permitted abortion, there was no justification to place abortion off limits to federal funding, the Juniors argued.

The Junior team suggested that the Middlers, by admitting that some cases of abortion should be eligible for federal funding, contrary to the position they were to defend, had already conceded defeat. This point, however, did not weigh heavily in the judges' deliberations, besides which the debate is graded on a number of factors, of which only a portion is devoted to argumentation.

Each team member is allowed 4 minutes, one of which must be used to rebut the argument of the other side. One person on each team gives a summation for three minutes at the conclusion of the debate.

A question and answer period followed, during which time the judges, Korean instructors Mr. and Mrs. Hyun Kwang and Yasuko Kim, Seminary graduate Katherine Bradley, and UTS Public Affairs Director Sarah Witt, met separately to select the winning team. President Shimmyo announced the judges' decision to an audience of about 50 UTS students and staff.


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