Paper 1 Speech Sample Answer

“What seems to be the problem…?”
Write the speech you would deliver to a group of world leaders in which you persuade them to deal with one or more of the world’s problems.

No political endorsements are implied by the inclusion of this essay on 625points.com. It is included here due to the clarity of the argument with distinct persuasive features as well as the features of a captivating speech. 

All the {notes in brackets} are things that make this speech great. It is also too long for the exam, but it shows the sort of argument structure that a speech should possess.


Paper I Higher Level 2006 Section C Q 5


Reproductive freedoms or the right to life of the unborn? {Skipping the introduction to a rhetorical question implies urgency and power}. This seems to be a problem. {This resonates with the wording of the question signalling how relevant the speech is.} Ireland is special in how it treats these issues. Our constitution is different to that of most other modern democracies where we emphasise the family rather than the individual. The debate regarding the 8th Amendment seems to be coming to a head. It is emotive on both sides due to its importance. {Changing lengths of sentences is characteristic of good speeches.} There is no theme more universal than this. Thus it is vital to think  about thoroughly - not just in Ireland, but everywhere.


leaving cert english speech

Bodily integrity seems to be the term en vogue. Nobody denies the right to bodily integrity. {The speaker answers his own implied question}. It exists. {Short declarative sentences are great is speeches.} There is also a right to life - for a human, but we will not yet claim there is another human in the scenario, for the purpose of fairness to both sides. {The speaker shows his ability to see all sides of the argument.} What also exists is a hierarchy of rights, as a logical necessity. If left to choose between person A's life and person B's limb, we are justified in choosing person A's life because the right to life is higher in the hierarchy than the right to bodily integrity. This is indisputable since one cannot have bodily integrity without being alive. {The speaker managed to boil a difficult issue down to something nobody can disagree with, thus obtaining the audience's trust.} If the unborn entity is a human being, its life trumps the right to bodily integrity of the mother. If it is not a human, then in that scenario - nobody is trying to stop her. Thus, it is ridiculous to argue that the 8th should be repealed on the basis of the right to bodily integrity. The only argument is if it is or is not a human. Any other argument is moot, and attempts to deliberately distract the honourable audience from that core question. {The speaker is showing strong emotion.} Unfortunately, some political activists of the Left have tried to make that the issue.

However, it is not sufficient to simply say that if the Left is wrong, the Right is right, no pun intended. It is equally absurd to invoke a religious doctrine that is not accepted by both sides as a reason. One would need to establish the objective validity of religion to do that. I'm not holding my breath. {A humorous remark is always good in a speech.So, regarding the true issue at hand - the humanity of the unborn, we shall examine it in detail. If we are driving down a road and see a man shaped object but are unsure if it is really a man or if indeed he is alive, it is still wrong to drive over him. It could be a dummy. However, we cannot wilfully ignore the possibility of the opposite to give ourselves an excuse. In the abstract: it is morally wrong to perform an action that would kill someone if we have strong reason to believe that it will indeed do so. {Analogies are excellent in speeches.}

So, do we have strong reason to believe it is a person? Well, yes. Whatever it is it will be a person in 9 months, and that is strong reason to believe it is one now. If I told you an individual would arrive in your office in a years time, you would presume that they are in existence now too. {The audience probably spends a lot of time in offices, so the speaker is being relevant.} It is not categorical. It is not certain. But is it enough for us to perhaps not kill it until we consider it more, just like the object on the road. So let us consider it more then. Given that there is doubt, and that falsely judging it not to be a person could result in the killing of a human being, it is very reasonable to adopt the following approach: we will consider every possible point in time where life could begin, and if we cannot find any that are not dismissive or seriously and extremely doubtful, we will not take the risk of driving over the object, so to speak. Lets list them first (to give the Left the best chance of the latest term abortion we will do it in reverse chronological order as much as possible) {the speaker is anticipating the thought of his audience and gains their trust by facilitating multiple arguments. A list would change things up and make your essay stand out}:

1. Birth

2. Full term

3. Based on trimester

4. Viability

5. Heartbeat

6. The mind

7. Implantation

8. Conception

1. Birth
It is absurd to suggest life starts at birth. This is self apparent when we consider overdue babies. Two babies of the same age, one is born on time and one is a week overdue. How can any reasonable person consider one to be alive and the other not? In fact, most abortion campaigners do not support abortion up to the point of birth.

2. Full term
This is not any better. It would mean the overdue babies are ok, but one day left to go before a doctor said you were supposed to be born (whatever that even means) and you can be aborted. Term is based on the average pregnancy. Many women do not conform to the exact average and will be overdue or premature repeatedly. There is nothing pathological here. It is simply natural diversity (provided it is not too extreme). Furthermore, like the above, many pro-choice campaigners do not argue for this.

3. Based on trimester
This falls down with one word: why? Trimesters are relatively arbitrary. They are not at all designed to impart wisdom regarding the status of the foetus and life. Surely the below is much better.

4.  Viability
Now we get into the real argument. This is were many people say life begins. However, it falls down on a number of levels. 

Firstly, define viability. The best answer is the previous world record. However, surely it is illogical to say that something is not viable when there are examples of it happening.  But even if that is the answer then consider this dilemma. Imagine at some point in history the world record was 30 weeks, and the following day a new record of 25 weeks was set. It was not impossible the previous day, it simply hadn't happened yet. It didn't become possible all of a sudden by the grace of God (if you believe in such a thing, which very few on the Left do). {More humour.} Thus any reasoning that states this is when life being is ridiculous. It is tantamount to saying that your life and my life began at a different point in time all of a sudden because some other person was born. {Even more humour on top of rigorous logic.} And if we consider the fact that we do not know for sure what the world record is, it is even more bizarre to use this as a definition form something as important as the beginning of human life. Now life is defined based on how good our paperwork and international communications in the medical community are?! And do not attempt to say "be reasonable, we will get it pretty right by doing it that way, and its not the same as you or me even if we get it wrong". Just so that you feel as angry about this as I do, consider the following - that which we all consider a monstrosity. Imagine we were to say that about black people. Once upon a time they were considered human, but not really like whites. So it didn't matter if we got the value of a black life wrong by a little bit. So long as we were "reasonable" about it. Now do you get it? It is all the more important to be cautious here though, since at least a slave could speak up and perhaps guilt his master into humanity. The victim (or potential victim to try remain neutral) herd has no voice.  {A mixture of things we all accept (think back to the The Gettysburg Address), rhetorical questions and highly emotive arguments.}

Secondly, if we abort foetuses at terms before the current world record, we reduce the chance of setting a new one. We create a self fulfilling prophesy we can pat ourselves on the back for, all the while potentially engaging in murder. To bring it back to the body on the road: what if the object was covered in blood? So much blood we reckoned it couldn't still be alive (based on previous patient case reports). Overall, if this is the argument put forward, and you drove over the object, and it turned out to be alive, I think we would be forced to call that manslaughter.

5. Heartbeat
In many places this is the legal definition of life. But in many places homosexuality is banned, and you can beat your wife, so current law is no guide for morals. More importantly, if this is life, then why do we resuscitate people? Why do we have AEDs everywhere now? And if a doctor came into a room of a patient who's heart just stopped and said, "Oh well, he's dead”, instead of trying to save him, we would charge him with negligence or worse. {Visualisations and stories are especially engaging in a speech.} In fact, I can introduce you to some of these "dead people" who have been saved. Hope you aren't afraid of zombies. {More humour.} So there is nothing to say the foetus is not a living human whose heart hasn't started yet, just like those whose heart is paused. If those people are still human, so too is the foetus all else being equal.

6. The mind
"Ah!" I hear you say. "What makes us human is a mind!" {Note the register, this is only acceptable in a speech or a talk.} Self awareness and consciousness. Sounds great. Except you don't have any when you are under general anaesthetic. And before you say "That's different,” be sure to have an answer as to how so. But even so, if I concede on that, if self awareness is really what separates us from other animals and gives us rights, then what about other great apes? They definitely have self awareness, as do many lesser species.  But let me concede that one too and get to my real argument: there is now a growing body of evidence to suggest that even newborns do not have self awareness for months after birth. If we follow the logic that the mind is what gives us our humanity and therefore rights, we should be able to kill 6 month old children. You cannot use this definition and then switch to another when it suits. If this is your definition, then congratulations, you have a genuine logical reason to support abortion, but you support infanticide too. I don' think many people would agree with you on that. And as a result of my belief that a 6 month old child playing with you is definitely a human, I cannot support abortion on the back of the mind being what gives us the right to life.

7. and 8. Implantation and Conception
Well, I will deal with these two together. This is because, in truth, I have not come to any conclusions here yet. But that doesn't really matter, because we are discussing abortion, which is defined as happening after these two events. {A humbling remark that gains even more trust with the audience.}

In summary, from the above we can make the following conclusions:

Since the only opposition to abortion is due to the potential for killing a human, which is an attack on the right to life, which is the most fundamental right (as all other rights require it), the existence of an unborn human is the only debate to be had. All other scenarios allow for abortion.

In light of the magnitude of the decision, the onus is on those advocating for abortion to show it is morally acceptable, lest we potentially are killing humans. 

We agree that at the very least a born infant is human and potentially we even all agree that late term pregnancies are also involving unborn humans beings. 

We cannot reasonably find a point where human life begins during pregnancy. 

We therefore cannot find a point in time before which is it morally safe to condone the procedure.

Therefore abortion is morally wrong and should be reconsidered all across the world.

Thank you.

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