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Is pro-life a violation of the 8th amendment?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/2/2015 Category: Society
Updated: 10 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 348 times Debate No: 83341
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (3)
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1) No trolling
2) No kritiks or semantics of any kind
3) You must agree with the definitions put forth in this round by me.
4) The breaking of any of these rules will result in a win for Pro, and anyone who is to vote Con on this circumstance will have their vote removed.
5)Forfeit of any round is an automatic win for the other side.

Pro-life - opposed to abortion
Violation - the act of doing something that is not allowed by a law or rule
Definitions from

Amendment VIII

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Organization by round
1) Acceptance
2) first arguments
3) Rebuttals
4) Closing arguments

Meaning of "Is pro-life a violation of the 8th amendment?"
Is forcing a women (sometimes a child) to go through the pain of giving birth unwillingly a form of torture or "cruel and unusual punishments"?


I accept.
Debate Round No. 1


Children aren't for everyone because of many simple reasons such as the cost of having a child, cost of maintaining a child's good health, the responsibility of caring for a child, the immense pain of childbirth.

"Yet at time of giving birth, a mother feels up to 57 Del (units) of pain. This is similar to 20 bones getting fractured at the same time."

So forcing a women (maybe even a 14 year old girl) to experience the pain of 20 bones getting broken with some first time mothers being in active labor for "about eight hours. This is an average, though, and it could be much shorter or longer than that. It's unlikely to last more than 18 hours.". Imagine having 20 bones broken and feeling the pain continuously for 8 maybe even 18 hours.

Definition of torture - the action or practice of inflicting severe pain on someone as a punishment or to force them to do or say something, or for the pleasure of the person inflicting the pain.


I appreciate the debate, Brandon, and I look forward to the following arguments.

I would first like to start off by explaining my definition of "punishment". Since you did not define punishment anywhere in your argument, I shall be using the one most suited to my argument.

"the infliction or imposition of a penalty as retribution for an offense." This definition can be found by Googling the phrase "punishment define". Now, let me explain something about punishment. Michael Karson, a Ph.D psychologist, posted an article concerning the effectiveness of punishment ( In this article, the author addresses punishment as ineffective, due to the fact that the fear response is correlated with the authority exerting the punishment, and not with the event specifically (unless debilitating in some nature). There is a second article I found concerning the same matter, but in addition to the claim of 'punishment is ineffective', the author suggest several solutions and recognition. The author of this article, Suzanne Provencher (, claims "Discipline is simply the process of socializing children to take responsibility for their actions."

Essentially what this means, is that while punishment, a retribution inflicted on an individual for an offense, is not
an appropriate method of distilling discipline in an individual, responsible measures must still be taken. This means, and individual must address the consequence of their action. An example given in the second article is: Have a child, who has written on a wall, clean up the mess. This is a direct consequence of their action. Though it may contain similar properties to punishment, it is in response to their poor behavior, and it ensured that they claimed responsibility for their poor behavior. I shall also use the Google definition of "consequence" (found in the same way as my last definition):

"a result or effect of an action or condition."

This is similar in abortion. Of course, no unwilling mother -wants- to go through a pregnancy, but unless she was raped, she gave her consent. And by doing so, she is responsible for the outcome, even if precautions were taken. Having said this, the negative aspects of the pregnancy and birth are due to her own responsibility, meaning it does not quality as "punishment", as no authority figure imposed the pregnancy on her (unless raped). Having said that, the claim "cruel and unusual punishment" cannot apply.

Well, that is just the beginning. I have yet to even address the child itself. At conception, the fetus is alive in one way or another, as cells are classified as living organisms, even if not sentient in nature. The value of a cell differs based on certain parameters including: Location (e.g. alien life), type, ability to be replaced, and intrinsic value. ( This source classifies cells as living beings). The cell of an unborn human meets the value standards of "type, ability to be replaced, and intrinsic value", meaning the value of the cell is high. As we can conclude that the cell is alive, it is not a matter of whether it can be addressed as a -human-. By the time of conception, the cell already contains the DNA of a human.

According to the Google definition of "human", it is:
"of, relating to, or characteristic of people or human beings." This said, a human cell is, by nature, "of relating" to human beings due to its ability to grow into a matured individual and its innate DNA. Taking the life of what, according to definition, is human is essentially murder.

Now, I am a little skeptical to immediately address it as "murder", since the definition of murder (also Google) is defined as "the unlawful premeditated killing of one human being by another." This meets all of the qualifications of murder, except, for the 'unlawful' addition. However, the 'unlawful' portion it exhibits the least controversy. Instead of using the dictionary denotation of murder, I shall refer to the connotative, philosophical implication of murder. For the connotative meaning, I shall redefine the parameter so that it may prove more sensibly philosophically. My connotative definition of 'murder' shall be: "premeditated killing of one human being by another". The reason I redefined this was because, societies have the ability to legalize the deed, and "killing" can refer to taking the life of animals as well as humans.

However, I do believe that the initial definition of 'murder' may work in my favor. The Declaration of Independence states: "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." ( Among these rights, "life" is promptly endeared as the first. I believe I already classified the cell as "life", more specifically, human life. However, I would like to address something. Your initial focus in the argument was the Eighth Amendment. But it seems as though by providing women abortion, we would be violating the fundamental rights listed in the Declaration of Independence. Due to its preceding order of both the Declaration of Independence and the listing of "life", life may be considered the most prominent of the rights given.

Now, how about we address the eighth amendment once again. "Cruel and unusual". Assuming childbirth were as painful as you claim to say (I have no idea myself), one would imagine that medical professional would lessen the intensity of the pain through medicines. According to mayoclinic (, the most common form of childbirth relief are "Epidural and spinal blocks". They proceed to explain how both work. A 2008 study, recorded by the National Vital Statistics Reports, shows that the majority of women receive one of these treatments during childbirth. ( This means, women may use a pain reliever during labor to drastically reduce childbirth pains.

I shall summarize my arguments thus far:
Pro-life is not in violation of the eighth amendment, as restricting abortion is not a "cruel and unusual punishment" since it is not even a punishment to being with, specifically, it is a consequence. The abortion also violates the child's first and foremost right, granted by the constitution (Declaration of Independence), the right to life.

I look forward to the rebuttal phase, and I wish you the best of luck. My full apologizes if my response took awhile; I have been at school, and I must prioritize my time depending on the situation at hand.
Debate Round No. 2


Brandon221423 forfeited this round.


I am looking forward to the rebuttal round. Beforehand, I would like to note my opponent's forfeit and his statement in the rules saying "Forfeit of any round is an automatic win for the other side."

At the end of my last round, I mentioned that women are often treated with epidural and spinal blocks. Another commenter to the debate suggested the frequent use of C sections as well. I shall link again the government-based website which lists the statistics ( I am not sure how to directly post graphs on this site, so I shall read out the results of the stats below:

(Percent of women in 2008 issued treatment for alleviating birth pain)
All races- 61.0
White- 68.6
Black- 62.1
Asian- 61.8
Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander- 52.8
Hispanic- 47.7
American Indian or Alaska Native- 42.1
The average is at 61%. This is a rather higher number when taking into account the cultural tendencies for women to undergo natural birth.

You quote "A mother feels up to 57 Del of pain". I believe the key word here is "up to", meaning, 57 is among the highest recorded results (potentially even in the outliers). Of course, this is if this claim were even true. ***I would like to point out that my opponent has listed a source ( which directly opposes his own claims.*** It seems he has not read but a fraction of the statements on the page. Directly after the statement he listed, the very article he posted addresses the theory as a false verdict. Not only does it debunk the very theory that my opponent is arguing, but it proceeds to list several causes for extreme pains in childbirth. I encourage the viewers to look at this source.

My opponent seems to have compared childbirth to torture, but even the own definition of torture he provides contradicts this claim. In his definition, "the action or practice of inflicting severe pain on someone as a punishment or to force them to do or say something, or for the pleasure of the person inflicting the pain", it implies another being inflicting the punishment. I have already addressed the issue of childbirth being a "punishment", as it is a direct consequence of action, and there is no external force inflicting the pain. The hint here is that in torture, an authoritative figure must be present inflicting the punishment on an individual against their will. This is not the case in pregnancy, as the woman made the choice herself (unless raped), and as there is no figure inflicting the pregnancy upon her (again, unless raped).

I can conclude, that pro-life is in fact -not- in violation of the 8th amendment. I do apologize for the short statement, but there is not much to rebut in your claims as they were rather short themselves.
Debate Round No. 3


Brandon221423 forfeited this round.


I believe I have made my points rather clear in my previous arguments. My opponent has forfeited two rounds, and I would like the voters to take this into consideration. Pro-life, is in fact, not in violation of the eight amendment as the eight amendment strictly disallows cruel and unusual "punishment". Since refusing an abortion is not a punishment, rather, a method of projecting responsibility and consequence, this invalidates the argument.
Debate Round No. 4
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by snkcake666 10 months ago
Why forfeit the round?
Posted by snkcake666 10 months ago

Yes, I agree. That was one of my latter points.
Posted by wiseoone 10 months ago
If you look at it in my perspective they have pain killers and seasections to get rid of the pain
No votes have been placed for this debate.