The Instigator
james14
Pro (for)
Winning
6 Points
The Contender
Dagen
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

Abortion is unconstitutional under a reasonable reading of the US constitution

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
james14
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/15/2014 Category: Politics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 683 times Debate No: 67066
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (10)
Votes (1)

 

james14

Pro

1st round: acceptance

5th round: summary

By accepting, you agree to accept as valid the Constitution, (including the) Bill of Rights (and other Amendments), and the Declaration of Independence. They are to be interpreted as the original authors intended them to mean, although scientific and medical advances may be used to shed light on how the founders would intend their words to be enforced given today's medical knowledge.
Dagen

Con

I accept the constitution and its contents to be valid and true.

1st- Your argument is invalid unless you can prove that the original authors intended anything other than that of which the constitution states.

2nd- You must also show where in the constitution it says abortion is illegal and should not be permitted.

3rd- "By accepting, you agree to accept as valid the Constitution, (including the) Bill of Rights (and other Amendments), and the Declaration of Independence"
"They are to be interpreted as the original authors intended them to mean"

These two quotes contradict each other. If the constitution and all of its contents are valid then they are exactly that. Valid. Its laws are not interpreted any differently then what they are written to be.

4th- the declaration of independence has almost nothing to do with the constitution or abortion laws, as it was written eleven years before the constitution was created. The D.O.I is the document that was sent to the king of England declaring the 13 colonies an independent nation. The constitution on the other hand was written many years later and is the basic outline of our country's federal government.
Debate Round No. 1
james14

Pro

The title of this debate should have been rendered PERMITTING Abortion is unconstitutional under a reasonable reading of the US constitution, but I did not have time to change it. I hope Con and everyone else will forgive me this slip and that it will not preclude a successful and informative discussion on the topic.

Con, the Declaration of Independence is more important than you realize. As you read you will see the reason for my conditions. Maybe I should have worded them differently or left some out, but I can't change that any more than my title now.

The Declaration declares that:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by
their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit
of Happiness." [1]

Now, this obviously means that the Founders thought that when a "man" (or woman, as "man" was generally used in a legal sense to refer to members of both sexes) is "created," then at that point he possesses the right to life.

Whether the Founders knew it or not, it is also obvious that both a fetus and an embryo possesses life from conception onward, and that if the Christian concept of "creation" were to be believed, that the "creation" must take place at conception. No one would argue that God creates an embryo as it comes out of the womb. It is also obvious the Founders believed that from the point at which God gave life, the possession of that life became an unalienable right. At the time, it is true, the Founders believed there was a "quickening" at some point during the pregnancy when the embryo became human, but when confronted with modern-day evidence as to the impossibility of any such "ensoulment" one can be sure they would abandon such a view.

The Fourteenth Amendment states: "nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." [2]

Allowing unborn babies to be murdered just because they are not yet out of the womb is denying them equal protection of the law. This is prohibited under the constitution. Even aside from the Declaration, in 1859, before the passing of the 14th Amendment, the AMA and other medical organizations had submitted petitions against abortion, pointing to the discovery that life did not begin at "quickening" but rather at conception. It is reasonable to therefore interpret the Amendment as reflecting the legal and scientific consensus that the life of the unborn child should be protected.

That the babies are not citizens is no issue. That they are persons is all that is needed, and that is plain enough.

"Is birth control an abortion?"

"Definitely not. An abortion kills the life of a baby after it has begun."

---Planned Parenthood pamphlet
August 1963
Dagen

Con

The founding fathers did not believe all people were created equal. They believed that all adult white men were created equal as it states MEN in the constitution. In case you didn't know more than 2/3 of the founding fathers owned slaves, ranging from black males forced into slavery to white women from the British colonies. Since this is not a debate about the founding father's beliefs I will stay off that topic and exclude your rebuttal on what the founding fathers "meant".

I'm also taking it that you are against condoms and birth control? When you use a condom you are actually trapping half of a future child in a latex "glove". And eventually killing it. Birth control, prevents ovulation, or the producing of eggs. I'm wondering how much you know about the process of child bearing.

Abortions are (mostly) done in the first trimester (before the 12th week of pregnancy). When the child is still, what some call a blob, and not much of a child. http://www.pregnancy.org...... This site provides a week by week analysis of the "baby" in the womb. As you can see the fetus does not resemble a human at all, until week seven. So, if an abortion is done, before this time, is it ok?

I do find it interesting that you are against the idea of abortion even if a woman got raped. Tell me, say you're married. And your wife comes home one day, and tells you that she was raped. A few weeks later you find out she's pregnant, but not with your child. Are you going to sentence your wife to carry a "bastard" child for nine months. Every time the child "kicks" she remembers that moment when she was forced to have sex. Every time she has to go up in a size of clothing, she feels the emotions rush back to her. Your really going to sentence the woman you love to live nine months of hell, because she was forced to have sex,against her own will?

Some of the physical effects of rape. http://www.healthyplace.com...

Abortion is not the taking of a child, its not the taking of a life. Its the taking of what WOULD BECOME a life. What harm is there in preventing life? People do it everyday with condoms and birth control.
Debate Round No. 2
james14

Pro

Thank you Con.

I will respond to your arguments one by one.

1. The founding fathers did not believe all people were created equal.

I concede that point, but, as you said, it is not really pertinent to the issue at hand. The 14th Amendment prohibited the denial of the rights to any person regardless of sex or race, so even if the fathers believed in slavery and the suppression of woman (which they might have) then the 14th Amendment addressed this injustice and distributed to all the rights free white property-owning men had originally possessed.

Including the right to life from the moment of "creation."

2. Birth control and condoms.
What has that got to do with anything? If it kills a "created" person, known at the time of the ratification of the 14th Amendment as including those persons alive in the womb from conception onwards, then it should be disallowed under my (so far unrefuted) reasoning.

3. Abortions carried out in the 1st trimester, when the baby looks like a "blob," and not a child or human.
No, following my conception-onwards reasoning, that is not "ok." Just because a human does not look like a human does not mean he/she isn't a human. Forgive the illustration, but if a man had his arms and legs chopped off and his ears stitched to his thighs, leaving him looking like a monster, would you call him a non-human just because he does not look human? We cannot rely on appearance to define what a person is.
This argument, and the one preceding it, has nothing to do with the constitutionality of allowing abortion.

4. Abortion should be permitted in cases involving rape.
Again, no constitutional argument. But even so, this argument contains a major fallacy, the "two-wrongs-make-a-right" fallacy. A baby is made through a hurtful and traumatic crime. No one doubts that rape is wrong. But does the woman's trauma justify her to kill a person? No. My opponent's appeal to the emotions should not sway you. The baby possesses a right to life under the Constitution that the woman's right to "privacy" or "emotional health" does not supersede. Only if the woman's own right to life is endangered can an abortion be legitimately considered.

While we are on the subject, let me answer your question directly. Would I sentence my wife to "nine months of hell"? Yes. But I would not see it as nine months of hell. I would see it as nine months of redemption. This would certainly not be true of all people, but as for me and my wife I honestly believe that the boy or girl in my wife's womb would be a blessing, a good thing, really the only good thing to come out of that heinous crime. For life is precious, and having a child of your own can be said to be one of the greatest blessings given us on this earth.
You can agree or disagree with my response. It is nothing more: my response. But, leaving the Constitution for a minute, I believe it is a more valid response than killing the baby, even to prevent emotional anguish.

5. "Abortion is not the taking of a child, [sic] its [sic] not the taking of a life. Its [sic] the taking of what WOULD BECOME a life. What harm is there in preventing life?"
If you aren't taking life, then what are you taking? Didn't you read the Planned Parenthood leaflet quote? Something dies in the womb; we can therefore assume something was "alive" prior to the abortion. You can call the fetus a "lump" or an "organism," but whatever it is, it dies.

My opponent has offered up ABSOLUTELY NO evidence that the interpretation of the constitution I offered in the second round was in any way invalid.

Adieu. If my opponent wishes to quit at this point I will understand completely.
Dagen

Con

Every argument you have is based on the opinion that if a fetus is defined as an actual person, it would then be under the constitutions protection. I will prove once and for all that a fetus is not an actual person as said in the Constitution.

14th amendment (section 1)
All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

A) "All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States;"

To be considered a US citizen you must be born or naturalized in the United States. Since a fetus has not yet been born it is not considered a United States citizen, so it is not subject to the privileges or immunities stated in the Constitution.

B) "nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

Person=a human being regarded as an individual.
Individual= a single human being as distinct from a group, class, or family./ single; separate.

A fetus is not separate and a fetus before the third trimester can NOT be separate from its mother and survive. Therefore a fetus does not qualify to be a person which would not grant it constitutional rights.

Distinct= recognizably different in nature from something else of a similar type.

In number 5 you said

"Something dies in the womb; we can therefore assume something was "alive" prior to the abortion. You can call the fetus a "lump" or an "organism," but whatever it is, it dies."
By your logic it is murder when you scratch your head or spray aerosol, because you are indeed killing cells, bacteria, and micro organisms that are living.
Taking life is not always bad; Everyone takes life everyday in one way or another, but taking the life of a person IS a crime. As I have proved, an unborn fetus is not a person.

I have now disproved your arguments 1, 3, 4, and 5, and on argument 2, condoms and birth control are not relevant to the topic as you first brought them up and I stated an opinion in round two. So that argument is out for both sides.

In your second to last statement you said
"My opponent has offered up ABSOLUTELY NO evidence that the interpretation of the constitution I offered in the second round was in any way invalid."
I do not have to offer any evidence that your interpretation of the constitution is invalid. You are the one that has to prove that your interpretation of the constitution is correct because it is your interpretation and opinion.

[OFF TOPIC]
You also seem to be getting angry which is frowned upon. Please remember that this is just a civil debate on the Internet, in which there is no need to get angry over.
Debate Round No. 3
james14

Pro

I am not angry. Honestly. ALL CAPS IS USED FOR EMPHASIS ONLY AND NOT TO YELL AT YOU.

Thank you for coming up with a reasonable argument.

You claim "Person=a human being regarded as an individual."
I contest your definition. Here's two better, simpler ones from actual dictionaries:

Person: "a human being." [1]

Person: "a human being, whether an adult or child." [3]

I suspect you skipped these in search of one that would support your arguments, the one that used the word "individual," which I will define next.

Individual: "of, relating to, or existing as just one member or part of a larger group." [4]

Individual: "a single human being, as distinguished from a group." [5]

Even the Oxford dictionary, which you used for your definition of "person," doesn't give the definition you used for Individual:
Individual: "Single; separate." [6]

Let's define "distinct" too while we're at it:

Distinct: "different in a way that you can see, hear, smell, feel, etc. : noticeably different." [2]

All these definitions were taken from the first line of the definition; in other words, these are the 1. definitions that are generally accepted. From them we see that 'individual' generally means a single human. To add the additional prerequisite that a human must be "separate" to be a person is simply pro-choice cherry-picking.

But, regardless of the current use of definitions, the only thing that really matters is what "person " meant at the time of the ratification of the 14th Amendment. Were fetuses regarded as "persons"?

Here I turn to the actual text of Roe v. Wade.

"Gradually, in the middle and late 19th century, the quickening distinction disappeared from the statutory law of most States and the degree of the offense and the penalties were increased. By the end of the 1950's, a large majority of the jurisdictions banned abortion, however and whenever performed, unless done to save or preserve the life of the mother."

Why does the readers think a large majority of jurisdictions banned abortion? Because they considered the unborn fetus to be a person.

And what did the medical world think, again drawing from the actual majority opinion:

"The position of the American Medical Association. The anti-abortion mood prevalent in this country in the late 19th century was shared by the medical profession. Indeed, the attitude of the profession may have played a significant role in the enactment of stringent criminal abortion legislation during that period.

An AMA Committee on Criminal Abortion was appointed in May, 1857. It presented its report, 12 Trans. of the Am.Med.Assn. 778 (1859), to the Twelfth Annual Meeting. That report observed that the Committee had been appointed to investigate criminal abortion "with a view to its general suppression." It deplored abortion and its frequency and it listed three causes of "this general demoralization":

"The first of these causes is a widespread popular ignorance of the true character of the crime -- a belief, even among mothers themselves, that the foetus is not alive till after the period of quickening."

"The second of the agents alluded to is the fact that the profession themselves are frequently supposed careless of foetal life. . . ."

"The third reason of the frightful extent of this crime is found in the grave defects of our laws, both common and statute, as regards the independent and actual existence of the child before birth, as a living being. These errors, which are sufficient in most instances to prevent conviction, are based, and only based, upon mistaken and exploded medical dogmas. With strange inconsistency, the law fully acknowledges the foetus in utero and its inherent rights, for civil purposes; while personally and as criminally affected, it fails to recognize it,

Page 410 U. S. 142

and to its life as yet denies all protection."

Id. at 776. The Committee then offered, and the Association adopted, resolutions protesting "against such unwarrantable destruction of human life," calling upon state legislatures to revise their abortion laws, and requesting the cooperation of state medical societies "in pressing the subject." Id. at 28, 78.

In 1871, a long and vivid report was submitted by the Committee on Criminal Abortion. It ended with the observation,

"We had to deal with human life. In a matter of less importance, we could entertain no compromise. An honest judge on the bench would call things by their proper names. We could do no less.""

[I got these fragments from [7]. However, it is very long and you may not want to read the whole thing. But the fragments are from the majority opinion where the court examines the history of abortion.]

And, as the previously quoted fragment indicates, state legislatures heeded them in enacting anti-abortion laws. Thus from both a scientific and legal position abortion was frowned upon and illegal around the time of the ratification of the 14th Amendment for the very reason that the fetus was a person deserving life. What dictionaries think today does not matter. What the people and lawmakers thought back then does. Thus, your argument is invalid in attempting to impose 21st century definitions upon a 19th century Amendment.

Fact is, the justices in Roe ruled wrongly. If they could see the implied right to privacy in the 14th Amendment they surely should have been able to see the not-so-hidden right to life laid out there, and they should have applied it to the fetus.

5. Revisited: "By your logic it is murder when you scratch your head or spray aerosol, because you are indeed killing cells, bacteria, and micro organisms that are living."
No. You are committing the part-to-whole fallacy. The organism that you call a fetus is killed by abortion, not just its individual cells. And, as I have proved, a fetus is a person. Therefore, taking a fetus' life is equivalent to murder.

[1] http://www.merriam-webster.com...
[2] http://www.merriam-webster.com...
[3] http://dictionary.reference.com...
[4] http://www.merriam-webster.com...
[5] http://dictionary.reference.com...
[6] http://www.oxforddictionaries.com...
[7] http://www.oyez.org...

Thanks, Con for debating.

Oh, and I AM NOT ANGRY!!!!

I'M NOT, AND DON'T SAY THAT AGAIN!

Just kidding.
Dagen

Con

Dagen forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
james14

Pro

I guess I was pretty convincing
Dagen

Con

Dagen forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
10 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Dagen 2 years ago
Dagen
Very sorry about the double forfeit, holidays are a b****, but vote how you must.
Posted by Atmas 2 years ago
Atmas
Damn, Con was winning until they forfeited. So much for this debate.
Posted by Dagen 2 years ago
Dagen
Thank you BDPershing.

I would also like to say that a baby and a fetus are two different things

Baby= a very young child, especially one newly or recently born.
"his wife's just had a baby"

Fetus= an unborn offspring of a mammal, in particular an unborn human baby more than eight weeks after conception.

As you stated in round two, the "killing of an unborn baby".
That is not possible since a fetus is unborn and a baby has already been born.
Posted by BDPershing 2 years ago
BDPershing
Define person

Philosophy states,
"a self-conscious or rational being"

then you must define "self-conscious"'
"1. excessively aware of being observed by others"
"2. conscious of oneself or one's own being"

Define "Rational",
"1. having or exercising reason, sound judgment, or good sense"
"2. agreeable to reason; reasonable; sensible"

You see the problem here, a unborn infant cant be experimented to see if these descriptions fit at all, and some of these definitions don't bode well for infants at all. Meaning infants can be considered not a person.
Posted by james14 2 years ago
james14
Darn! I forgot my sources.

[1] http://www.constitution.org...

[2] http://www.law.cornell.edu...
Posted by Atmas 2 years ago
Atmas
It is rather self-contradictory.
Posted by TrustmeImlying 2 years ago
TrustmeImlying
So we are restricted to the opinions of men from two centuries ago, BUT we may use scientific and medical advancement to suggest what they might have meant through the lens of modern day medicine? Well color me confused...
Posted by Atmas 2 years ago
Atmas
I would like to know which part of the constitution is against abortion? The right to life or pursuit of happiness etc would lead to a debate about when "Life" begins which would then spiral into the favoring of human based life versus other life, which would then lead to an argument about the differences between human based life and other life. This would end with what is basically a religious argument of sanctity of life versus the not.
Posted by james14 2 years ago
james14
Didn't you read what I said? I specified the interpretation of the author.
Posted by Unitomic 2 years ago
Unitomic
The problem is that the constitution is written vaguely so that a thousand different interpretations can be made
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by lannan13 2 years ago
lannan13
james14DagenTied
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Total points awarded:60 
Reasons for voting decision: Forfeiture