The Instigator
Con (against)
7 Points
The Contender
Pro (for)
0 Points

Resolved: The Pennsylvania governor's mandatory ultrasound law is just.

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Post Voting Period
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after 1 vote the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/15/2012 Category: Politics
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,314 times Debate No: 22040
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (10)
Votes (1)




Round 1: Acceptance
Round 2: Introduction of arguments
Round 3-5: Rebuttals


I accept.

Make your case.
Debate Round No. 1


I thank my opponent for accepting my debate, and I must stand with the CON with the following definition from the resolution of today's debate:

Just (adj.):
Factually fair; correct; proper; acting or being in conformity with what is morally upright or good

With the definition of the word established, I move on to the iteration of my case.

Contention 1: The law places hinders on the constitutional right to an abortion.
We look toward the explanations and conclusions of the Supreme Court law ruling on the constitutionality of abortions as a right under a woman's right to privacy Roe v. Wade (1973), where the decision of an abortion is private between a woman and a doctor, as a context in order to explain why women have a right to abortion under the Constitution in the United States, and what we see is that this law places limits on the full exercise of this right and violates the privacy of the decision of an abortion.

Sub-point 1a: The Pennsylvania law places a delay in achieving an abortion.
Tarinna Keene, the executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia, comments on the laws in mandatory ultrasounds: "It had nothing to do with women’s health or determining gestational age. It had everything to do with the government shaming women and trying to put up yet another roadblock to accessing their constitutional rights as well as handing a ‘win’ to right-wing advocacy groups to shore up their conservative credentials.” What the law itself does is not only makes women see an ultrasound of the fetus during the time period of its development, but also requires a 24-hour period in order to file all of the paperwork and whatnot as a delay period, which subsequentially makes it more difficult in attaining an abortion, which has no small effect as the following reports, considering that many women in the state live far away from abortion providers:

estrictions have lengthened the time needed to obtain an abortion, especially for women who do not live near a provider and those who must make more than one trip. In Penn- sylvania, Steinberg says, 90% of all abor- tions are performed by providers (includ- ing hospitals and private physicians) in eight of the state's 67 counties..."

Sub-point 1b: The law violates the privacy of the decision of an abortion.
A Huffington post article explains that despite the fact that women can close their eyes during the ultrasound as Gov. Tom Corbett (R-PA) explains, "the doctor will have to turn the ultrasound image toward her face, give her two signed copies of the printed image, describe the number of heartbeats per minute and tell her if that's normal or not for a fetus of that age. She then has to wait 24 hours and bring all the signed paperwork and both ultrasound images to her abortion doctor in order to have the procedure legally, and the doctor has to repeat to her the age of the fetus. " At the point where the government of Pennsylvania is evidently attempting to influence a decision considered to be private according to the Supreme Court ruling as a direct interpretation of the Constitution, it is clear that the government's law is violating the right to privacy on the part of the woman. Tarinna Keene explained the same thing, and with the number of things that occur in order to make the woman see the image of the fetus, it's evident the government is trying to make an influence in the private decision. Furthermore, at the point where this requires a permission slip from the government in order to conduct the abortion, this is only further violating the right to privacy.

Contention 2: Information for abortions is available on the Internet and by doctors regardless.
To respond to any argument made on the side of the PRO or conservatives with regard that this is only "informing" a decision, the mandate is unneccesary regardless considering the amount of information avaiable through the World Wide Web, including statistics on abortions, the safety of abortions, and anything else required. If this information is not provided by the web, doctors can also provide any information for the abortion. Needless to say, it is questionable as to how this mandate will better inform women about the abortion or why the information provided will be in any way practical for the decision.

Contention 3: The Pennsylvania medical community warns against the mandate for safety reasons.
Marilyn J. Heine, the president of the Pennsylvania Medical Society, wrote the following to a representative of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives:

"it sets a dangerous medical precedent by legislating specific diagnostic protocols.
For that reason alone, we oppose [the bill] and respectfully urge you to do the same,”

What this talks about is the increased risks that the mandate places, including the following, comparing this scenario with the Virginia law mandating the same thing:

Virginia’s ultrasound bill prevents doctors from participating in the decision to administer certain medical tests to their patients. That, in and of itself, should raise alarm. Legislators in Virginia have claimed that a major impetus behind the passage of this bill was to prevent complications during abortions, such as ectopic pregnancies. Though this may come as a surprise to government officials in Virginia, doctors are actually well aware of the risks of abortion; that is why they order ultrasound tests to be performed when they deem them to be medically necessary. The key word here, however, is necessary. In many instances, doctors, in their professional judgment, choose not to perform such ultrasound tests because they are often regarded as superfluous and not medically indicated. Virginia’s determination to take such decisions out of the hands of doctors and health professionals is foolish and, quite frankly, scary.
Moreover, arbitrarily enforcing every female to undergo such a procedure, one that can often be invasive (all ultrasounds conducted within the first twelve weeks of pregnancy must be performed trans-vaginally), puts both the patient and fetus through discomfort and inevitable risk without any proven benefit. Ultrasound imaging has been in standard medical practice for well over fifty years, and its record of safety has never been challenged. However, like every medical procedure, it cannot be considered to be completely innocuous. For one, there is the ubiquitous risk of infection (although specific epidemiological data is lacking). In addition, laboratory studies have demonstrated that ultrasound energy can produce tangible physical effects in fetal tissue, such as mechanical vibrations, rise in temperature, and the formation of cavities within the tissue. As a result, the Food and Drug Administration has concluded that all fetal exposure to ultrasound for nonmedical purposes should be avoided."

Salik, Jonathan. "Virginia Ultrasound Bill Is Reckless for Doctors and Dangerous For Women Considering Abortion." Web. 18 Mar. 2012. <;.

"PA Docs Oppose Mandatory Ultrasound Bill. - Capitol Ideas Blog." Capitol Ideas. Web. 18 Mar. 2012. <;.

Bassett, Laura. "Tom Corbett, Pennsylvania Governor, On Ultrasound Mandate: Just 'Close Your Eyes'" The Huffington Post., 15 Mar. 2012. Web. 18 Mar. 2012. <;.




This new law in no way violates anything presented in Roe v. Wade, the woman's right to have an abortion is still there and the information is still held between the woman and the doctor. This in no way inhibits the woman's ability to get an abortion. The right to an abortion is still there and is untouched because it puts no limitations on abortion but rather adds a hoop to jump through. Laws regulating abortion have been proven Constitutional as long as it does not put undue blockage on abortion i.e you can charge poor people thousands of dollars, you can't require a doctor's permission etc. This in no way violates any of that. Anyone can still have an abortion and it is there right and choice to do so.


This point has no unlawful misconduct since it, again, does not prevent a woman from having an abortion but merely delays the process a mere 24 hours. This is not overbearing. There are few medical procedures (if any) that you can just walk in and get the procedure done on the spot. The resolution says that the law is "unjust" and Con has the burden of proof to prove it as thus. The abortion standards say that you cannot put "undue burden" upon the mother but this law is hardly a burden. Signing a paper, looking at your baby and waiting a day is far from undue burden.


Again, since none of these things place undue burden on the mother they are legal. The information presented stays between the mother and the doctor and in no way violate the privacy of any sort of decision. The decision is still the mother's alone to make. Presenting information does not violate the right to privacy and since the doctor cannot give their opinion (in fact they're willing to abort your baby so that's a strong indication of how they feel about it) the decision should go unharrassed. The mother has sole power to decide whether or not to go through with the operation, I see no unjust piece to this. This is merely informing the mother of what she is aborting. If McDonalds has to tell you somewhere what you're eating, why can't the hospital tell you what you're aborting?


This argument is complete fallacy. You can get information about cigarettes on the Internet too yet they still must post a Surgeon General's Warning on ever pack. Food is required to tell you what goes into producing it even though I can probably Google what goes into a can of Coke. There are plenty of areas the government is required to tell you what you're doing, what you're eating, the risks involved etc. This is just another example of that and saying that you can look it up on the Internet is foolish. Coke telling me how many calories I'm drinking isn't a violation of privacy nor can you take that away merely because I can look the information up myself.


Again, this argument is foolish. If I want to get my colon cancer checked out it's a safe bet I'll need a colonoscopy and yet your argument says I can get colon surgery without the colonoscopy merely because the colonoscopy might pose a threat to my health and cause discomfort.

"Ultrasound imaging has been in standard medical practice for well over fifty years, and its record of safety has never been challenged." - Straight from your post.

Ultrasound imaging is harmless and this is weak attempt to try to prove a LAW to be UNJUST based on DISCOMFORT.


Planned Parenthood v. Casey

"At the same time, the court significantly modified the three-tiered framework that Roe had created. First, under Casey states could now regulate abortion during the entire period before fetal viability, and they could do so for reasons other than to protect the health of the mother. The court also dismantled Roe's prohibition on the regulation of abortion during the first trimester (Blackmun's first tier) and its limitation of regulation between the end of the first trimester and the point of fetal viability (Blackmun's second tier). The result was that a state's interest in and regulation of potential life could now arguably extend throughout a woman's pregnancy.

In addition, the court in Casey also established a less rigorous standard for determining whether state abortion laws are constitutional. In Roev. Wade, the court had declared access to abortion to be a fundamental right and had determined that states could only regulate abortion (before fetal viability) if there was a "compelling state interest." Thus, subsequent abortion statutes had been evaluated under the "strict scrutiny" standard, the most rigorous legal standard for determining whether a law passes constitutional muster. As a result, in the years immediately followingRoe, many abortion regulations were declared unconstitutional.

But in Casey the court replaced strict scrutiny with a new and less rigorous "undue burden" standard. Under the new standard, regulating abortion before the point of fetal viability would be deemed unconstitutional only if it imposed an undue burden on a woman's right to terminate her pregnancy."

All of your arguments came up in this court case in which the right to an abortion was upheld but the states were given the right to regulate the process to a certain point. This case upheld many similar provisions in a PA law in the 1980's and asserted, while overturning stricter previous limitations, that an abortion can be regulated only if the regulations put "undue burden" on the mother. However, since the information being provided comes straight from the mother's womb, is shared only between the mother and the doctor using a "standard medical procedure" accompanied by a mere 24 hour waiting period, this law violates nothing set down by the Supreme Court and in fact regulations like these were upheld by the Court in Planned Parenthood v. Casey.

The mother can still choose to have an abortion on her own and get the same abortion she would have gotten before this new law was implemented therefore no undue burden has been placed on the mother. Thus, in concurrence with the resolution, this new PA law is Constitutional and therefore is just.

Thank you.


Debate Round No. 2


I had a family emergency, so please excuse the rushed rebuttal to my opponent's statement. Anything that has gone unaddressed will be expressed in the next rebuttal. The first thing that we're going to look at in my opponent's case is the fact that the entirety of his case is focused on the court ruling Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which focuses only on the accessability of the abortions to women--only a small aspect of the entirety of my own case. If, therefore, even if my opponent proves his case to be 100% correct beyond a shadow of a doubt, it still does not account for all the other things mentioned in my case, thus showing to you that the law is more unjust than just--overall unjust. We move on toward his case.
Undue burden: He has no definition whatsoever about what this means except for some meager examples about how the accessability of abortion has been severely hindered. He provides no threshold as to what can be considered an undue burden, meaning that we can't really begin to evaluate his case, and then at the point where I seem to be understanding that he's saying that undue burdens is what severely restricts the access to an abortion, even then, my first sub-point can be cross-applied. It's not just about the 24-hour waiting period and the tons of paperwork. I explained how only 8 counties out of the 67 in the state have 90% of all abortion proceedings allowed, and considering the distance that would need to be traveled, especially in the context of young women, women who live in rural regions, and women in poverty, this law would only further and severely restrict the accessability of an abortion to some severe degree, which could constitue as an undue burden. I'll have to assume that this is true unless my opponent can provide an official definition from the ruling.
Violation of Privacy: My opponent seems to be misunderstanding my argument if he's saying that this places an undue burden. It's not about undue burdens but about the violation of privacy on the part of the government if they are clearly trying to motivate the women in question toward a decision by requiring them to watch their unborns on an ultrasound. This is, of course, what many of the people I stated in that sub-point of the case have concluded, which stands unargued by my opponent, so extend it across the flow. At the point where a government is trying to sway a decision supposed to be kept between a doctor and patient for abortion, as my case explains, this is violating the privacy of the decision because we have an external force trying to influence a decision.
Contention 2: Moving down the flow, my opponent seems to be under the assumption that I support stamps on cigarrette boxes. The nutrition facts for every food on the market seems to be a paucity on the Internet, so a nutrition facts label may be needed. My opponent seems to be saying that the government has done plenty of other things to inform the public when it can be provided on the Internet. He doesn't prove that this is the government's responsibility in order to do so when we clearly have the information needed ourselves in order to make the personal decisions of our daily lives. All he's saying is that the government does it all the time, so they might as well continue, which is a fallacy all of its own.
Contention 3: Then, the real kicker comes in this argument, where my opponent completely misunderstands what I am saying as just an argument of comfort. This is totally wrong. While ultrasounds are pretty safe, I'll admit, it still places a woman in a risk and takes the decision for ultrasounds out of the hands of doctors. Doctors determine to use ultrasound only when it is viable for them use it as such, but government wants to make it so that it is used every single time. As the doctors themselves clearly have argued agaisnt government, this places women in a dangerous situation as I explained in my case, which my opponent makes no real response to.


ConservativePolitico forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3


The first thing that the judges will take note of is the forefeit by the part of my opponent in this debate, meaning that not only is the entirety of my previous rebuttal extended, but I am already winning the conduct vote considering that I have been punctual throughout the course of this debate. Since I feel that my previous rebuttal was a tad underexplanatory considering it was written at the very last minute, I'm going to go over my case again and my opponent's rebuttals with more clarity:

Besides the conduct point, the argumentation point should go to the CON in this case because of the following:
1. My opponent's case provides fewer reasons as to why this piece of legislation would be just in contrast to my case, where the things that he talks about are addressed in my sub-point 1a.
2. My opponent also really fails to address anything that I'm talking about in my contentions, as I explained in the previous rebuttal.
3. To add to the conduct vote, the fact that my rebuttal has been extended across the flow means that I'm already in toward winning the argumentation vote in contrast to my opponent.

Spread of Opponent's Case: Going back to my first point, I explained to you that even if my opponent's entire case is 100% true and fine with no sort of rational argument against it, the only thing that it would disprove would be the sub-point 1a in my case considering that Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992) is mostly talking about the accessibility of abortions based on what my opponent has only vaguely defined as "undue burdens." While my case does touch a bit on the other Supreme Court case, it is not solely focused on the rulings of Supreme Court and looks at the morality of the legislation as well as the actual right of the abortion rather than only the case, unlike my opponent's case.
Undue burdens: My opponent describes many different situations that would be considered to be due burdens in the limitations of abortion, but he provides no definition nor threshold as to what would be considered an undue burden. The only assumption that we can draw is that an undue burden is anything that would severely restrict the accessibility to abortions, and even then, my sub-point 1a can speak on that behalf. It is not just th 24-hour waiting period and the tons of people that creates a hassle, but as I explained, only 8/67 of the counties in Pennsylvania have 90% of the abortions in the state, creating a great distance for women who live in poverty or rural regions and have less access to the abortion as a result, significantly hindered. At the point where even one woman's rights are hindered through undue burdens created through this legislation (whatever it is the my opponent defines it as), it can be considered unconstitutional.
Sub-point 1b (My case): Again, there's no definition of undue burdens in this scenario, so there really is no way to evaluate anything my opponent has said against my case, for one thing. While the woman is still able to make the decision, that decision is being pushed to some proclivity, as I have argued in my case. Presenting information can violate the right of privacy when the intention of the information is to move a bias in a decision sanctioned to be private by their Constitutional rights. The doctor is acting as an involuntary agent of the government trying to move women toward a decision, meaning the government has some presence in the decision meant to be private between doctor and woman, violating the privacy of the decision. This fact is only further substantiated by the idea that women are also required a permission slip by the government in order to proceed. This is not Constitutional in any way, shape, or form according to the Roe v. Wade (1973).
Contention 2 (My Case): Again, my opponent is making the insinuation that I believe that any of those things should have information provided by the government, meaning that he's making a strawman argument in this scenario. Just because a government is doing something now doesn't mean that they should continue doing it, like the provisions of certain information that can be readily available online with an equal degree of credibility, if not more, and a much stronger level of maintaining the privacy of the woman. Furthermore, I made the explanation as to how the provision of this mandate in order to provide information to the woman was dubious considering the idea as to why this information provided is in any way practical to the decision of the abortion. My opponent has yet to argue against that, so the judges may kindly extend this across the flow as well.
Contention 3 (My Case): Either my opponent makes a strawman here or he completely failed to read anything in my contention. I explained in my evidence how an ultrasound can raise complications in pregnancies, which are done before the woman can make a decision on whether she wants to have an abortion or not. Ultrasounds, as the doctors from Virginia and Pennsylvania alike have argued, are only done in necessary circumstances when medically indicated, and at the point where the government places a woman at risk because they take the decision out of the hands of medically-trained doctors, this is immoral (and an undue burden, if I'm understanding correctly what that is). My opponent takes something completely out of context and believes it to be a smoking gun against the entirety of my case. I spoke about the possible risk of infection through the use of ultrasounds and the fact that ultrasounds can cause physical effects to the fetus. There is a risk to every single medical procedure, and just because there are many precautions taken in order to ensure safety does not mean that the risks are just completely eliminated. Moving on to the discomfort argument, my opponent downplays this completely. The colonoscopy analogy is completely flawed to make a comparison to this scenario for one main reason: the colonoscopy is voluntary. You have willfully agreed to take it. In contrast, in order to be able to attain the accessibility to an abortion declared to be a Constitutional right, you have to unwillfully subject the body you own to something you may or may not want to do. Through this case, I have not only proven to you, the judges, that this is violating one right, but also two considering that the government is trampling over the rights to your body through this mandate. No matter how my opponent downplays this completely and provides no reasons as to why this should be downplayed, at the end of the day, it is unjust and only substantiates to the idea that this legislation is unjust.


ConservativePolitico forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4


Well, the reasons for the CON winning are pretty self-explanatory. My entire case statement has been extended across the flow along with all of my argumentations, meaning that the argumentation point is mine. My punctuality to every round has been impeccable, meaning that the conduct point should go to me as well. Vote CON.


ConservativePolitico forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
10 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Maikuru 6 years ago
I'd like to see this debated again.
Posted by OberHerr 6 years ago
Ah, CP, if only you hadn't FFed.....

Though, I might give CP conduct for that last post.
Posted by 16kadams 6 years ago
Posted by ScarletGhost4396 6 years ago
I hope not.
Posted by 16kadams 6 years ago
maybe, but pro seems to debate well under any argument... Maybe he's forgetting?
Posted by ScarletGhost4396 6 years ago
I'd like to believe that it's because my arguments were just so incredibly awesome that he couldn't argue against them can had no choice but to forfeit, but I'm not arrogant enough to admit that. lol
Posted by 16kadams 6 years ago
why is CP FFing so much?
Posted by Deathbeforedishonour 6 years ago
Scarlet is gonna fail.. :)
Posted by 16kadams 6 years ago
see look you got a better debater then me anyway, so me declining the challenge was good.
Posted by Deathbeforedishonour 6 years ago
It is just since it has been proved that if a woman sees her BABY then she will most likely keep it out of her own CHOICE. :)
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Maikuru 6 years ago
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
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Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:Vote Checkmark--1 point
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Total points awarded:70 
Reasons for voting decision: Full forfeit by Pro. Disappointing.