The Instigator
C-Mach
Con (against)
Losing
18 Points
The Contender
Maikuru
Pro (for)
Winning
27 Points

The Constitutional Basis of Roe v. Wade

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/3/2009 Category: Politics
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 11,893 times Debate No: 7670
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (13)
Votes (11)

 

C-Mach

Con

Listen, I am pro choice. I am not against abortion, I'm just for state's rights. However, I have done some research, and I have determined that the ruling of Supreme Court on Roe v. Wade has NO constitutional basis. The Supreme Court ruled in Roe's favor because of the Fourteenth Amendment's Section I (specifically the Due Process Clause), which is shown below:

"Section I: 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."

The clause in asterisks (*) is the Due Process Clause.

I do not see exactly how abortion law violates due process. Please convince me otherwise.
Maikuru

Pro

Thanks to C-Mach for posting this debate. Abortion debates are common but one discussing the actual Supreme Court ruling seems like fun.

My opponent has made two central statements. First, he claims that the Supreme Court's ruling on Roe v. Wade had no constitutional basis. Second, he claims anti-abortion laws of the time did not violate the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment. Thus, my position is that the Supreme Court's ruling on Roe v. Wade had constitutional basis, referring specifically but not exclusively to the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment.

::The 14th Amendment::

In 1971, the Roe v. Wade case challenged abortion laws of the time that restricted the act to cases that endangered the mother's life. The 1973 ruling of the Supreme Court was in favor of Roe, stating that such anti-abortion laws violated the Due Process Clause (or DPC) of the 14th Amendment [1]. As my opponent correctly stated above, the DPC reads that no state will "deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law [2]." In terms of Roe v. Wade, the relevant aspect of the clause centers on two concepts: liberty and privacy:

- Liberty: the positive enjoyment of various social, political, or economic rights and privileges [3]

- Privacy: freedom from unauthorized intrusion [4]

The personal liberty mentioned in the DPC thus ensures one's enjoyment of our nation's rights and privileges. Unfortunately, the governmental interference in anti-abortion laws infringes on one's right to privacy. Because anti-abortion laws restrict an individual's right to privacy, and the DPC promises an individual's enjoyment of rights, anti-abortion laws violate the DPC.

As a point of clarification, our nation's right to privacy is based on an amalgamation of specific privacy laws and protections. The privacy of belief is protected by the 1st Amendment, privacy of the home by the 3rd, privacy of the self and possessions against unwarranted searches by the 4th, and privacy of information by the 5th. The 9th Amendment, which protects rights not explicitly listed in the Bill of Rights, has also been used as a basis for additional privacy laws [5]. These laws have been viewed by the Supreme Court as amble evidence that privacy stands as a fundamental right.

::Constitutional Basis Elsewhere::

In addition to questioning the validity of the 14th amendment's role in the decision, my opponent states "the ruling of Supreme Court on Roe v. Wade has NO constitutional basis." This is untrue, as the ruling finds foundation in several other constitutional arguments. Some of these include:

- 5th Amendment: An identical DPC to the one found in the 14th Amendment is present here, providing additional support to the latter's argument [6].

- 9th Amendment: Freedom of choice and privacy specific to a woman's right to an abortion are both potentially protected under this amendment's protection of non-stated rights [6].

- 13th Amendment: Anti-abortion laws create mandatory motherhood and force "involuntary servitude," which is banned by this amendment [7].

- 14th Amendment (Equality Clause): Because only females would be burdened with pregnancy, labor, and the possibility of extended motherhood, anti-abortion laws violate the equal protection of law promised by this amendment [2].

The sources given here provide the reader with the amendment in question, as an objective reading of the laws make these arguments self-explanatory.

::Conclusion::

In short, the DPC promises personal liberties, ensuring the positive enjoyment of various social, political, or economic rights and privileges. As privacy has been established on numerous occasions by the Supreme Court to be a right, and anti-abortion laws infringe upon this right, such laws violate the DPC. Furthermore, several other amendment-based arguments can be made in favor of the Roe v. Wade ruling, demonstrating that it is not without constitutional basis.

I will refrain from elaborating on my arguments until my opponent has the chance to present his case. Despite the brevity of my points, however, I have already shown that both the 14th Amendment alone and the amendments as a whole can serve as basis for the Roe v. Wade ruling, effectively defeating both of Con's claims.

I thank C-Mach again for this debate and eagerly await his response.

::References::

1. http://www.law.cornell.edu...
2. http://www.law.cornell.edu...
3. http://www.merriam-webster.com...
4. http://www.merriam-webster.com...
5. http://www.law.umkc.edu...
6. http://www.law.cornell.edu...
7. http://www.law.cornell.edu...
Debate Round No. 1
C-Mach

Con

Thanks for your continued interest in this debate, Maikuru (I thought you had no argument).

You state that the Due Process Cause "promises an individual's enjoyment of rights." That is true, *unless a state deprives a person of life, liberty, or property, WITH due process of law.* I do not see how the abortion laws violated due process of law, as privacy is a liberty, which, as I recall, liberties can be deprived of a person WITH due process of law.

Also, you stated various other amendments in the Constitution that support Roe v. Wade. These amendments could have been used (and were proposed to be) to rule in favor of Roe in Roe v. Wade. The fact of the matter is that they were not, and that the Supreme Court ruled on the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, and that Due Process Clause alone, leaving the ruling with no constitutional leg to stand on.

Your rebuttal, Maikuru?
Maikuru

Pro

Thank you, C-Mach, for your prompt and concise response. I will try to make my rebuttal equally succinct.

::Con's Argument::

My opponent has claimed that the restrictions of personal liberties imposed by anti-abortion laws are justified in that such rights can be withheld through due process of law. The reasoning behind this statement would be sound if it did not suffer from an incomplete definition of "due process of law."

Due process of law refers to three fundamental assurances. First, one is granted notice of legal action, the opportunity to present one's case, and the assurance of a fair trial [1][2]. Second, the law in question must be legally sound and based on recognized rules [2]. Lastly, one is ensured the due process of law when a law challenges or restricts one's rights [3].

Anti-abortion laws violate each of these assurances. First, as these laws wholly restrict abortions (except when the mother's health is compromised), they deprive each woman of their potential day in court; by removing the possibility of the act, anti-abortion laws restrict the opportunity for individuals to present their cases. Second, anti-abortion laws of the time were not based on established legal policy. Their premise of preserving human life, which stands as an interest of the state, fails in light of the fact that a fetus is not legally considered living [4]. Lastly, as anti-abortion laws restrict individual liberties, due process of law must be enacted. Failing to do so makes these laws unfair and legally restrictive.

::Conclusion::

Individual liberties may be restricted with the due process of law. However, because anti-abortion laws inhibit the due process of law, they may not restrict these liberties without violating the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment. Thus, Roe v. Wade's ruling was constitutionally sound.

This has been an interesting debate and I eagerly await the final round.

::References::

1.http://www.thefreedictionary.com...
2.http://www.criminalgovernment.com...
3.http://www.lectlaw.com...
4.http://en.wikipedia.org...
Debate Round No. 2
C-Mach

Con

Thank you for your continued interest in this debate, Maikuru.

::Pro's Argument::

"One is granted notice of legal action, the opportunity to present one's case, and the assurance of a fair trial."
"First, as these laws wholly restrict abortions (except when the mother's health is compromised), they deprive each woman of their potential day in court; by removing the possibility of the act, anti-abortion laws restrict the opportunity for individuals to present their cases."

How do the anti-abortion laws deprive each woman of their potential day in court and restrict the opportunity for individuals to present their cases? You will have to describe to me exactly how that would happen.

"The law in question must be legally sound and based on recognized rules. Anti-abortion laws of the time were not based on established legal policy."
"Their premise of preserving human life, which stands as an interest of the state, fails in light of the fact that a fetus is not legally considered living."

How were they not based on established legal policy? Also, where does it exactly say, in federal law, that a fetus is indeed not legally considered living? You must also describe to me exactly how the anti-abortion laws were not based on established legal policy and provide me with a federal law saying that a fetus is not legally considered living.

"One is ensured the due process of law when a law challenges or restricts one's rights."
"Anti-abortion laws restrict individual liberties, due process of law must be enacted."

I have asked you again and again: How did anti-abortion laws violate due process? You have failed to explain to me. You MUST provide me with proof and exactly HOW anti-abortion laws violated the first two of the three fundamental assurances.

::Conclusion::

I have still not seen definitive proof of how due process was violated. Unless you provide me with that information, Roe v. Wade's ruling was not constitutionally sound.
Maikuru

Pro

Let me start by saying this was a fun and fast debate. I enjoyed my time, C-Mach.

::Con's Arguments::

• "How do the anti-abortion laws deprive each woman of their potential day in court and restrict the opportunity for individuals to present their cases?"

With anti-abortion laws in place, a woman's inability to receive an abortion is not the result of her own trial. Instead of having her rights stripped due to the ruling of her own trial, her rights have been denied without affording her the opportunity to present her case. While one can legally challenge the law itself, one cannot request a trial on the legality of their individual abortion. By denying women the opportunity to do this, anti-abortion laws circumvent the due process of law.

• "How were [anti-abortion laws] not based on established legal policy? Also, where does it exactly say, in federal law, that a fetus is indeed not legally considered living?

Both the lack of legal foundation for anti-abortion laws and the status of fetuses as either living or non-living were addressed within Roe v. Wade itself [1]. Anti-abortion laws of the time were founded on the state's interest in preserving life. However, as no legal standard existed declaring fetuses as living beings, preserving life could not stand as the legal basis for the law. As the Supreme Court was unable to uncover a specific constitutional basis for protecting the unborn over the rights of the mother, abortions were granted until the fetus could be considered viable. This ruling was possible precisely because the anti-abortion laws lacked established legal foundation.

• "I have asked you again and again: How did anti-abortion laws violate due process? You have failed to explain to me."

Ah, but I have. This is the second time I have shown how anti-abortion laws violate due process by denying women the opportunity for a fair trial and by lacking a legal foundation.

::Summary of Pro's Arguments::

1. Anti-abortion Laws Restrict Individual Liberties

Con has conceded the point that anti-abortion laws restrict individual liberties, specifically the right to privacy. This restriction violates the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment and was the constitutional basis of the Supreme Court's ruling in Roe v. Wade.

2. Anti-abortion Laws Violate Due Process of Law

Con has mistakenly claimed that anti-abortion laws were allowed to restrict individual liberties because they provided due process of law. However, as the Supreme Court understood, due process of law was completely violated by these anti-abortion laws. They allowed for no fair trials for the women they affected and were based on no established laws.

::Closing::

I have demonstrated a constitutional basis for the Supreme Court's ruling in Roe v. Wade in three ways. First, anti-abortion laws violated the 14th Amendment by denying women the right to privacy. Second, anti-abortion laws ignored due process of law by lacking legal basis and removing the rights of women without the opportunity for a trial. Lastly, I have shown that Roe v. Wade's ruling finds basis elsewhere in the constitution as well, a point that Con has conceded.

Sadly, Con has offered zero proof for his claim and has devoted all of his arguments to simply asking for the same information in slightly different ways. In light of the evidence I have presented and the complete lack of evidence supplied by my opponent, I strongly urge a Pro vote!

Thanks for voting!

::References::

1. http://en.wikipedia.org...
Debate Round No. 3
13 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by F-16_Fighting_Falcon 4 years ago
F-16_Fighting_Falcon
Pro had absolutely no ground to stand on while Maikuru smashed his face like a baseball. He hasn't shown his face for over a year now.
Posted by Maikuru 7 years ago
Maikuru
Thanks so much for the RFD, Lwerd. I'm glad I actually influenced your perspective on something, that's always a great compliment =D
Posted by Danielle 7 years ago
Danielle
Before the Debate: Hmm. Con, actually.
After: Definitely Pro. (That's how you know it's been a good debate).
Conduct: Both did fine...
S/G: No dramatic mistakes on either side; however, Pro's overall has less errors.
Arguments: Pro
Sources: Pro
Posted by sherlockmethod 7 years ago
sherlockmethod
You did just fine. Read the entire opinion and then familiarize yourself with the laws Roe overturned. The picture becomes much clearer. You were right to bring forth the other amendments. Good job
Posted by Maikuru 7 years ago
Maikuru
Thanks so much for the read and RFD, sherlock. I'm not overly familiar with the relevant literature but I thought I held my own =D
Posted by sherlockmethod 7 years ago
sherlockmethod
Not sure why this debate has such a large margin of victory for Con. He did not do well. Pro was dead on concerning the other issues in this case by addressing those amendments. I strongly urge Con to read Roe before dismissing the discussion so flippantly.
Before/After: Pro
Conduct: Tied
S/G: Tied
Convincing arguments: Pro
Sources: Tied, I just which both had read all the concurring opionions.
Posted by Maikuru 7 years ago
Maikuru
Finally, some interest in this thing. I was afraid we were boring lol.
Posted by C-Mach 7 years ago
C-Mach
Thank you, RoyLatham!
Posted by RoyLatham 7 years ago
RoyLatham
Con's arguments were insightful. I suspect they reflect current liberal legal thinking. The arguments are so broad that a prohibition on virtually anything from parking in a red zone to having personal flame throwers could be deemed unconstitutional by a Supreme Court inclined to do so. What it means is that the Constitution now has no meaning other than whatever the Court wants it to have. Note that the list of specific powers of what the Federal government can regulate, enumerated in the Constitution, is now considered completely irrelevant to discussions of what is Constitutional. A very interesting debate.
Posted by McBain 7 years ago
McBain
Sorry, I meant pro, not con.
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