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

Roe V. Wade miscontrued the U.S. Constitution.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/6/2016 Category: Politics
Updated: 9 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 292 times Debate No: 84623
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (2)
Votes (1)





I am very excited to instigate my first debate on
The resolution to be debated is as follows:

"Roe V. Wade misconstrued the U.S. Constitution."

Misconstrue is given its regular definition:

"to misunderstand the meaning of; take in a wrong sense; misinterpret."
(Source: )

This debate is structured as follows:

Round 1 - Opening Statements (No sources)
Round 2 - Constructive Arguments (No rebuttals; sources required)
Round 3 - Rebuttals (Sources are optional)
Round 4 - Rebuttals (Sources are optional)
Round 5 - Closing Statements (No sources)

Both sides may skip only one round without forfeiting the debate.

As for the burden of proof, it is straightforward.

The Pro (which I have chosen) must prove that Roe V. Wade misconstrued the U.S. Constitution.

The Con (which belongs to the challenger) must prove that Rove V. Wade did not misconstrued the U.S. Constitution.

Any further questions are reserved to the comment section.


Opening Statement:

When the Supreme Court decided Roe V. Wade in 1973 - ruling that women had the right to obtain abortions in their respective states, it misconstrued the U.S Constitution by arbitrarily creating a right where none existed.


I look forward to whoever challenges me and to the debate that follows.

- Mr. Speaker.


First of all, Hello, GLHF, and hope this goes well for both of us :)

My statement:
Roe vs Wade was not only a landmark decision, but one that upheld the constitution.

Look forward to debating you!
Debate Round No. 1


Before I make my argument for why Roe V. Wade misconstrued the Constitution, I would first like to clarify this debate.

This is not primarily about abortion, but it's rather about constitutionality. Whether the fetus is a valuable human being and whether abortion should be outright criminalized are not germane questions for this debate. Instead, the question is whether the Supreme Court rightly construed the U.S. Constitution when it decided Roe V. Wade.

Argument: "The Myth of the Right to Privacy."

The constitutional underpinning of Roe V. Wade - the right of "privacy" - originated in an earlier case called Griswold V. Connecticut, in which the Supreme Court made an egregious mistake. This is the error:

"Though the Constitution does not explicitly protect a general right to privacy, the various guarantees within the Bill of Rights create penumbras, or zones, that establish a right to privacy. Together, the First, Third, Fourth, and Ninth Amendments, create a new constitutional right, the right to privacy in marital relations. The Connecticut statute conflicts with the exercise of this right and is therefore null and void." [1]

Here's the key word: penumbra. What is it?

In legal jargon, penumbra is "the rights guaranteed by implication in a constitution or the implied powers of a rule." [2]

Think of the moon and how it changes shape. On a full moon, you see the entire 360o circle in its luminous glory. But on a quarter moon, you only see part of the whole: one part is luminous while the other part is shadowy. The shadowy part is where the Supreme Court said the right to privacy lies.

How convenient! Griswold v. Connecticut created a new right by ostensibly combining others together. But here's the problem: the Amendments which the Supreme Court used do not actually produce a right to privacy.

Take the First Amendment: Freedom of Religion, Speech, Press, Redress, and Assembly. These are explicit enumerations: rights that Congress cannot infringe. Now, where's the right to privacy? The word "privacy" is absent.

The Third Amendment pertains to quartering, but no broad right to privacy there.

Same with the Fourth Amendment with primarily protects against unreasonable searches and seizures. This seems to relate to an overarching right to privacy, but it actually only protects certain, specified facets of personal liberty. Read it.

The Ninth Amendment is where it gets weird because it's rather vague:

"The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people." [3]

Does the right to marital privacy (as affirmed in Griswold) or to an abortion (as affirmed in Roe) fall under the Ninth Amendment? Properly understood, the answer is no. Listen to jurist Joseph Story:

"Sec. 1898. The next amendment is: "The enumeration in the constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny, or disparage others retained by the people." This clause was manifestly introduced to prevent any perverse, or ingenious misapplication of the well known maxim, that an affirmation in particular cases implies a negation in all others; and e converso, that a negation in particular cases implies, an affirmation in all others.73 The maxim, rightly understood, is perfectly sound and safe; but it has often been strangely forced from its natural meaning into the support of the most dangerous political heresies. The amendment was undoubtedly suggested by the reasoning of the Federalist on the subject of a general bill of rights.74" [4]

Did you notice the part of Story's argument that said: "it has often been strangely forced from its natural meaning into the support of the most dangerous political heresies."

Griswold v. Connecticut and Roe v. Wade are guilty of the exact mistake of constitutional pontification. That is, Supreme Court justices expressing their preferences and opinions instead of proper, textual interpretation.

Put in other words: "[The Ninth Amendment's] refusal to 'deny or disparage' other rights is far removed from affirming any one of them, and even farther removed from authorizing judges to identify what they might be, and to enforce the judges" list against laws duly enacted by the people." [5]

Finally, the Due Process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment does not entail the right to privacy because said right is not defined within the context of the other constitutional provisions and amendments.

In short, as I have exhaustively proven, none of the constitutional amendments provide for a broad right to privacy.

Now, if the right to privacy is truly made up, then Roe. v. Wade - which is predicated on this exact notion - is wrong. And any Supreme Court decision that is wrong must have misconstrued the Constitution. Roe v. Wade states:

"State criminal abortion laws, like those involved here, that except from criminality only a life-saving procedure on the mother's behalf without regard to the stage of her pregnancy and other interests involved violate the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, which protects against state action the right to privacy, including a woman's qualified right to terminate her pregnancy. Though the State cannot override that right, it has legitimate interests in protecting both the pregnant woman's health and the potentiality of human life, each of which interests grows and reaches a "compelling" point at various stages of the woman's approach to term."

There are three major errors in the Roe v. Wade's declarative ruling.

1. The right to privacy is falsely assumed, as I have proven.
2. Even if the right to privacy existed, why would it include abortion? Pure speculation. Remember, the right to privacy and all that entails seems to lurk in shadows (or penumbras) where only the Supreme Court can see them (case by case, of course).
3. Calling the unborn potential life is inappropriate for a court that it supposed to interpret law, not science (see Marbury v. Madison).

Thus, for all these reasons, Roe V. Wade misconstrued the U.S. Constitution.



ThePowerOfKnowlegde forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2


ThePowerOfKnowledge has forfeited. Therefore, I deserve to win by default because he failed to raise his own arguments and counter mine. He has robbed me of this debate and you - the reader- of your intellectual growth and enjoyment.

- Mr. Speaker


ThePowerOfKnowlegde forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3


My arguments stand and await responses.


ThePowerOfKnowlegde forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4


My arguments stand and await response.


ThePowerOfKnowlegde forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by Mr.Speaker 9 months ago

I am occupied with other tasks and will not be able to respond until my time in nearly elapsed.
Don't worry, I will not forfeit. Thanks for your patience.

- Mr. Speaker
Posted by BenDusk 9 months ago
Nowhere in the constitution does it state that a fetus is simply a life. The founding fathers did not make it clear as to what defined a life. In fact, to many people during the time, Blacks were either not lives or lesser forms of life. They didn't say to what degree of "life". You are going off the presumption that a fetus is a life which, to me, is simply not even true. Life is defined differently from person to person, but I think we both can agree that a baby is a life.
Roe v. Wade used the fourth amendment as an argument to fight for abortion. Who's damn business is it to know who or who didn't have an abortion? It certainly isn't the government's and that's for certain. It is protecting a woman's right to have a discrete abortion if she so chooses to. The fourth amendment was appropriately applied.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by dsjpk5 9 months ago
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: Con ff many times, so conduct to Pro. Pro was the only one who made an argument, so arguments to Pro by default.