The Instigator
Pro (for)
5 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
8 Points

Roe v. Wade is a very messed-up decision

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Post Voting Period
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after 3 votes the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/2/2016 Category: Politics
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,182 times Debate No: 96644
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (9)
Votes (3)




Round 1 Acceptance
Round 2 Arguments
Round 3 Rebuttals
Please keep it civil.


I humbly accept and look forward to a rigorous debate.


"Roe v. Wade is a very messed-up decision"

Roe v. Wade decision

"The Court held that a woman's right to an abortion fell within the right to privacy (recognized in Griswold v. Connecticut) protected by the Fourteenth Amendment. The decision gave a woman total autonomy over the pregnancy during the first trimester and defined different levels of state interest for the second and third trimesters. "[1].

"Messed-up" - I'm not particularly certain of what is to be denoted by "messed-up", however, in context, I believe pro is equating "messed-up" with immoral.

However, messed-up also describes a qualitative state of confusion, or it could denote damage.

I should like pro to clarify what is meant by "messed-up"

Legal v Moral Distinction

(A)The resolution concerns the nature of the decision. Most literally taken, the nature of the debate seems to concern the adjudication of the case, and thereby, if the decision was procedurally, and, or substantively valid.

(B)However, often concerning abortion, debates tend to veer into the moral discourse.

Contingent upon what was intended by the resolution, pro would either (A), need to demonstrate some procedural, or substantive error within the adjudication. Or (B), that abortion, in the context of the decision, viz, termination within the first trimester, is indeed immoral.

I shall ask pro to kindly clarify the terms, and intent, and I humbly await pro's argumentation.

Debate Round No. 1


Thank you, Con.
By messed-up, I mean it has a multitude of errors in it including, but not limited to, moral errors, precedence errors, court rule errors, constitutionality errors, societal, and literary errors. I will address these all.

Moral Errors
The moral errors are that the decision to legalize so called abortion sets up man as a god, mocks nature and is murder.

The decision implies that the SCOTUS has the right to overturn God"s laws, and that man has the right to take innocent life. I say, God is the giver of life; He should be the only taker of life.

Roe v. Wade attacks nature by making sex no longer an action for reproduction, but a pleasure. It says that the natural occurrence that follows sex can be cast out. This turns sex into another pleasure, not a reproductive activity with pleasures there only to ensure the population of the world.

Then, the most disputed aspect of abortion is over whether or not it is murder. People who oppose such a statement claim that viability is necessary for personhood, and that the man"s sperm becomes part of the women for nine months before it becomes a person (and changes from having a blob nature to having a human nature). Those who are pro-life claim that the baby has both personhood and human nature from the moment of conception.
Precedence Errors
The majority decision cites many previous cases that would support the said decision. For instance they relied on the work of Cyril Means who misjudges the cases against abortion. The Twinslayer" Case, for example, was said to be a ruling for the legality of abortion, while the ruling really states that nobody could prove that the defendant had actually aborted the twins. Sim"s Case was also a ruling based not on legalization of abortion (as SCOTUS would have you believe) but of lack of evidence. There are multiple cases like this that the SCOTUS tries to use as precedence.

In fact, to name only one of many precedence that opposed Roe v. Wade decision, the Bonbrest v. Kotzin decision declared that science proved the child to always be separate of the mother, not just a part of her.

Court Rule Errors
The Court Rule for accepting cases clearly denied cases where there was no plaintiff or no conflict. That the person Roe was a real person who had had a real issue with the Texas law, was merely demonstrated (not proven) Thus, the case should never have been accepted. And the court agreed Roe had no conflict at the time of the Supreme Court hearing, but chose to make an exception. Again, the case should never have been heard.
Constitutionality Errors
First, this lies simply in that the right to life, assured in many places in the constitution, was completely ignored. Secondly, the right to kill one"s child was granted as a right to "privacy" in the 9th and 14th Amendments. This Justice Rehnquist points out in his dissenting opinion, is absurd, as the right to privacy is a right against "unreasonable search and seizures", of which babies are in no way violators.
Societal Problems
The societal problems lie in that the family is the building block of society, and most women who have abortions suffer from guilt thereafter.
The family is destroyed, the parents lose their child, and the children their brother or sister. Society is denied of person who could have been great, who could have done so much, but was denied the chance.
As Mother Theresa of Calcutta assured, if a mothers" killing of her babby is protected by the law, then the law is simply advocating to the whole world, "Kill anyone who would get in the way of you obtaining your goal." For if a mother can kill her child then anyone can kill anyone.
Literary Errors
The decision is hard to understand as it is, because of the poor grammar. There are multitudes of run on sentences, and the conclusions are drawn in such a vague way that one might think the SCOTUS is supporting, rather than abolishing, the Texas laws. It is vague and rambling, which just goes to show that the authors were on ends trying to justify themselves.

If you wish to see for yourself, read it.
Also, I advise reading "Law & History of Abortion: The Supreme Court Refuted" by Stephen M. Krason William B. Holberg

I rest my case.


As Con, it is merely my duty to refute pro’s claim. I shall address the moral and social concerns first, then address legal claims.

1t=1st trimester, which is what the decision of the case discusses. Pro is guilty of heavy equivocation.

Moral Case

Pro’s moral case is contingent on the validity of divine command theory,i.e”God’s law”, however pro has done nothing to substantiate this position. Pro is merely taking it as an axiom. This is an utterly baseless assertion, as we have largely dismissed “God’s law” in civil nations throughout human history. We no longer stone children, nor put homosexuals to death, and we are much better off. Look at the following passage:”Do not wear clothing woven of two kinds of material” (Leviticus 19:19). Pro’s argument is that God’s law is categorical, however no rational person would state that the aforementioned passage is either moral, or immoral, so it would appear that God’s law is not categorical, and may be violated, if one would be better off violating it. And, of course, this is granting the existence of God a priori.

On a more foundational level, divine command theory encounters major problems:

Constructive Dilemma

I. Is something good because God commands it so or does God command it so because it is good?

II. If something is good because the God commands that it is so, then what is morally reprehensible to us can be good.

III. If God commands that it is good because it is good, then the good is greater than God.

IV. So, either the good is arbitrary or good is greater than God.

So it is either the case that morality(good) is arbitrary, and can’t be meaningfully investigated, or transcends God, and as such, God cannot be invoked to as a tool for moral justification.

Reproduction vs Pleasure?

This is a false dichotomy, as I see no reason why sex cannot encompass both. Pro goes on to assert the most slippery slope ever, hinting at extinction, or at least some sort of bottleneck effect, by saying that procreation is the only way to ensure the population. While this is true, every fetus does not get aborted. Quite the contrary, observe the following CDC data:

“ The abortion rate for 2012 was 13.2 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15–44 years, and the abortion ratio was 210 abortions per 1,000 live births.”

While this was in 2012, and does not encompass the entire population, I believe it does establish that abortion will not produce extinction.

Sentience as the Standard for Moral Inquiry and Legal Protection:

Pro’s moral case is also contingent on the assertion that fetuses have personhood, and as such, are protected. However, (A)I shall argue that fetuses do not have the requisite properties for moral protection, and as such, cannot be taken into account in moral discussion. I will also argue (B) Fetuses do not have the requisite properties for legal protection.


Sentience may be defined as “the capacity to feel, perceive, or experience subjectively.” Or, in other words, possessing the property of consciousness, and explicit to morality, the capacity to suffer. Why is this property necessary for morality? While I’m not a deontologist, so I can’t assert things to be categorically wrong, let’s examine a proposition that is about as close as it gets-- child rape. Why is this act wrong? I would assert, and I believe I am well justified in asserting, that it is because children are sentient, and rape imposes suffering upon them. Rape imposes suffering, however, because children are powerless(comparatively), and do not have strong coping mechanisms, the suffering child suffers from rape is exacerbated.


Does morality make sense external to the context of sentience? Is it immoral squish an insect?Ants are biotic organisms, however, they are not sentient, and this is why no one makes a fuss when one squishes them. However, if one deliberately harms a puppy, this can appropriately be labeled as monstrous, because puppies possess sentience, and can suffer. Is it immoral to pick a flower? Flowers are biotic, however they do not possess sentience, and thus, cannot suffer, therefore they are not of moral concern.

From A.1 and A.2, we can establish the sentience is not only sufficient for moral discussion, but necessary? Thusly, the question then becomes, (A.3)“Are fetuses, within the 1t, as per the context of the decision -- sentient”?

A.3- No. Meller and Dietsche state: “The neural apparatus of embryos and fetuses of farm animals is inadequate to support sentience for at least the first half of pregnancy, but the required structures and mechanisms to develop by the time of birth.” The 1t concludes before the median point of gestation is reached, so it would follow that fetuses are not sentient, and thusly cannot be considered in moral discussion. However, let’s not just take their word for it. Nociceptors are responsible for the sensation of pain, which as I established, only exists within in the context of sentience. The presence of nociceptors are contingent upon sensory receptors, which don’t fully develop until after the 1t. Myers states:”“The first essential requirement for nociception is the presence of sensory receptors, which first develop in the perioral area at approximately 7 weeks gestation and are diffusely located throughout the body by 14 weeks.” However, per the prior source, we can derive that these minor developments are insufficient to establish sentience, and thereby, are insufficient for the conscious experience of pain, which as established, is necessary for moral discussion.

So by A.1-3,it has been established that fetuses are not sentient, and thereby are not eligible for moral consideration, and this is substantiated by the neurophysiological literature.

Legal Protection

Pro brings up personhood within some unclear context. I’m not sure how this would fit into a moral discussion, seeing that I just established sentience as the standard for morality, however, personhood, as a standard for legal protection, could be a substantive argument. So let’s analyze if fetuses, during the 1t, are indeed persons, and as such have legal protection, per the the 14th amendment, and as such have a right to life. Well, as a prerequisite, it seems necessary to figure out what a person is, or what constitutes personhood. The eminent Mary Ann Warren posited 5 properties that are sufficient for personhood, which seem to coincide with what we mean by person:

I) Consciousness

II) Reason

III) Autonomy

IV) Communication

V) Self awareness

I)As priorly established, fetuses do not have sentience, which for all intents and purposes, entails the property of consciousness.

II) Things that are not conscious cannot reason

III) Things that are not conscious cannot act autonomously, because that necessitates choice.

IV) Things that are not conscious cannot be mentally aware, which is what it means to be conscious, and thereby, cannot be self-aware

Due to character limitations I shall not expound further, however I do find these statements to be rather self-evident, and pro can contest them if it is wished. Subsequently fetuses, within the 1t, do not meet the criteria for personhood, and as such, are not protected by the 14th amendment. Also, as it may arise, one’s personhood is not contingent on aptitude in any of the aforementioned areas. Newborns are undoubtedly persons. They communicate by crying, which communicates that something is wrong,which entails self-awareness, because it is the case that they themselves are experience this wrong, which invariably requires consciousness. If you impede a baby’s crawling by placing a small object in front of them, they will pick it up, which displays inquiry, of which, reason is a constituent. It can be said that a baby chose to do this, which displays autonomy. So there is no slippery slope indicating infantacide here, babies are persons, however 1t fetuses are not.

Social concerns

Per the prior discussions, these points are non-substantive. Children, brothers, and sister-- the constituents of the family, are invariably persons. If pro wishes to argue that children, brothers, and sisters exist external to personhood, then that is up to pro, however this appears quite absurd. On guilt, really? I may feel guilty after eating too much junk food, however should it be the case that there should be a legal prohibition on eating too much junk food? Guilt is not an argument. This does not at all entail the slippery slope of the wide permissibility of murdering persons, because 1t fetuses, once again, are not persons. Also, I don’t know how pro is using the term “baby”, but in the context of child development, babies are not fetuses, and fetuses are not babies. This argument is a non-sequitur, a red herring, and equivocates baby and fetus. Also a fetus could grow up to be Hitler, this argument goes both ways.



Really? The legal discourse is like this. Also, the conveying of the decision is not the same as the decision. Also, I defined the decision in my 1st round, and pro showed no objection to it, and it appears to not be ambiguous.


The right of privacy has evolved to protect autonomy, which is impeded by gestation, so they have the right to negate gestation, if it does not impede the rights of anybody else, and as fetuses are not persons, it doesn’t.

Court error.

The external conditions involved in the acceptance of a case, do not negate the validity of the litigation and adjudication of the case.


Precedences are not permanent, and merely act as guidelines, so long as they are valid, and can be overturned, by the decisions of new cases. The legal system is not stagnant. Once upon a time, the precedent was that blacks were not persons, but that was overturned.

I’ll have to elaborate on legality next round, however that’s what happens when pro puts forth a gazillion minimally developed arguments.

The defense rests*

(sources in comments)

Debate Round No. 2


Thank you Con for the argument.
First, I find your overstatements and virtual name calling unnecessary. Second, i would like to point out that God is goodness (ie the source of it.) Third, i find that your definition of morality it somewhat lacking in applicability to reality. Is nature immoral when it causes pain to a child? Nobody in their right mind would say yes. Morality, simply, only exists because God exists. Take away God, and the only morality it self-survival. Also, reason, communication and self-awareness simply cannot exist without a soul so, cast out God, and you also cast out an intellectual soul, you toss out person-hood (as you define it).
Any human is a person. That is what i would argue, therefore, we ask what is human nature, and then you cannot deny that the baby has human nature in the womb, for if it did not in the womb, then it would not be able to have it outside of the womb.
My societal claims on guilt of abortion being the cause for insanity is not just a guess, it is FACT. Look it up.
I completely ignored your original argument, because you made it in the round i stated was specifically for acceptance. And i will continue to ignore your Round 1 arguments, because they were clearly against my rules. So also was your round 2, because rebuttals were supposed to go in round 3. Given that you have ignored my rules, i shall simply say this.
If you read the decision there are numerous grammatical errors, as i stated in round 2. If you read it, you cannot miss it. These errors cause a great deal of confusion, even today, as to what the court really had in mind for their decision (Not between Roe and Wade, but to what extent they were abolishing abortion laws.).

Person-hood being above stated more simply and correctly than Con's elaborate arguments, nothing needs be said.
So throw out precedence, and you throw out any assurance of a predictable and understandable law and order.
Again, you ignored my rules, so if you want me to read your legal argument, restate them. otherwise I will just assume that I have won.


Once again, I am con, and as such, the BoP is on you, thusly I am not required to posit a constructive case. Also, even given that I may have transcended your rules, which only apply in debates meriting a shared BoP, this does not in any way entail that you have won, since this transgression would fall under conduct, which only counts for 1 pt. However, this is not a transgression, as aforementioned, the framework you put forth, is only intelligible in a debate in which the BoP is shared.


"God is goodness (ie the source of it."

In such case, morality is even more trivial than the constructive dilemma indicates, because all moral actions are essentially reducible to "it's good because good", given that good is not external to God, this would indicate god is synonymous with goodness. This framework is utterly tautological. Either way, I argued that as a necessary entailment, God's law would be categorical, however, I have argued that God's law is not categorical, and thus, divine command theory is not valid. Pro has not addressed this.

"Is nature immoral when it causes pain to a child? "
No, as I have argued, sentience is necessary for moral discussion. Nature, which you have used rather ambiguously, I presume in the context of climate, is not sentient, and as such, morality is not applicable.

Pro states God is the only reason why morality exist? I would disagree, as I have argued, sentience is why morality exists. And what harms sentient creatures can be empirically discerned, absent of God. There need not be an external source, just like math can be said to be objective, without appealing to something external, and as such, morality is of the same nature.


Pro argues that the criteria of personhood is contingent on the existence of a soul, however pro has failed to demonstrate this, or even define what a soul is. While this is not a philosophy of mind debate, I would argue that the criteria are all mental properties, and such, are contingent upon brains(body), and I see no reason for God to be a prerequisite, nor has pro demonstrated that God is. Pro asserts an even more absurd incarnation of dualism, viz, substance trinitism(body,mind,soul), in which case one encounters 3 interaction problems. How does the brain(body) interact with the mind, and in such case, how does the mind interact with the soul, and as a corollary, how does the brain interact with the soul? This is incoherent?

Pro states:"Any human is a person. That is what I would argue, therefore, we ask what is human nature, and then you cannot deny that the baby has human nature in the womb, for if it did not in the womb, then it would not be able to have it outside of the womb."

Human nature denotes propensity, while personhood denotes property. We are not discussing human nature. However, as for personhood, the properties necessary are emergent, thusly produced as the brain develops. To say that these properties must be totally intrinsic is demonstrably false, as I have argued, and provided evidence for the case that 1t fetuses do not have these properties, however babies do, indicating that they are in fact--emergent.

Pro drops all contentions except guilt. I didn't say that abortion doesn't cause guilt; I argued that guilt is not sufficient to establish a prohibition. As I stated, many actions I may undertake may cause me guilt, however this does not necessarily entail a prohibition.


Once again, the decision, as I have defined it, which pro has showed no objection to, is not ambiguous! It seems to clearly convey that women have the right to terminate pregnancy, by virtue of the right to privacy, within the first trimester, and as for latter states of pregnancy, it is within state jurisdiction. Seems rather clear to me.


Pro never offered an alternate definition of personhood, pro has merely equivocated the terms human and person. This in no way negates my prior discussion, all it would indicate is that the properties for personhood, are indeed necessary to constitute humanity. As such, Legal protection would still not concern 1t fetuses.


NO. I didn't say don't consider precedence, or respect precedence, I said that precedence is not permanent, and this demonstrably true, when analyzing the progression of law through the nation's history. It was the precedent that blacks were not people, that women could not vote, that gays could be discriminated against,etc., however we have overturned them. If precedence was permanent, as you seem to be implying, progress would never be made.

Once again, your framework can only intelligibly be applied to a debate in which the BoP is shared. Even if it was intelligible in this debate, conduct is only 1pt, and as I have refuted your arguments, and you have not refuted mine, you cannot be the victor.


I have argued divine command theory is non-viable and tautological.
I have argued that sentience is a necessary condition for moral inquiry and legal protection.
I have argued that fetuses are not sentient, and as such are not persons.
As an entailment, I have demonstrated that 1t fetuses are not protected under the law, nor of concern in moral discussion.
I have argued that the way in which a decision is worded does not negate the validity of it, and that the decision appears to be completely clear.
I have argued that precedence is not permanent.
Lastly, I noted that the circumstances under which a case is accepted does not negated the procedural, nor substantive validity of its adjudication, or litigation.

Pro has not adequately addressed any of these.

I thank pro for the debate, however it is clear the BoP has not been met.

Debate Round No. 3
9 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 9 records.
Posted by Pigney 4 years ago
Well, i think it comes down to this word "militia". The whole disagreement stems from an understanding of that word. I don't think that is something that can be debated to easily
Posted by oracle1 4 years ago
Posted by Pigney 4 years ago
@oracle which side would you want?
Posted by oracle1 4 years ago
@Pigney I saw you comment that few people understand the second amendment. After my debate about the big bang, if you would like to debate if the 2nd amendment permits individual gun ownership, I would be up to it.
Posted by Pigney 4 years ago
Oops, i did not realize that. whiteflame, I thought that was your vote and that someone else removed it.
Posted by whiteflame 4 years ago
My argument for voting? I removed a vote, I didn't vote.
Posted by Pigney 4 years ago
Thank you con, and all voters, (even whiteflame, i think your argument was valid for voting but i guess not). It has been enjoyable.
Posted by whiteflame 4 years ago
>Reported vote: hutch976// Mod action: Removed<

4 points to Pro (Conduct, Arguments), 2 points to Con (Sources). Reasons for voting decision: Con is perhaps doing the worst thing any lawyer or debater can do. He is doing exactly what pro-slavery people did back in the 1850s. He is simply being a mercenary of words, and misappropriating what Pro is saying to something that it is not.

[*Reason for removal*] The voter doesn"t explain any of the point allocations, providing no clear analysis of the debate as a whole or of any individual arguments. He seems to award points almost randomly, favoring Pro on the basis that his argument was less personally offensive or that he did something untoward. Regardless, the voter has to do more than simply use sweeping generalizations like this as an RFD.
Posted by oracle1 4 years ago
Myers, Laura B., et al. "Fetal endoscopic surgery: indications and anaesthetic management." Best Practice & Research Clinical Anaesthesiology 18.2 (2004): 231-258.
Mellor, David J., and Tamara J. Diesch. "Onset of sentience: the potential for suffering in fetal and newborn farm animals." Applied Animal Behaviour Science 100.1 (2006): 48-57.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by hutch976 4 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: I do not think I have to explain the "before and after" criteria, nor the "tied" criteria I selected on this metric. Spelling and Grammar were find by both, if there was a "formatting" metric I would give it to Con. Con clearly took more time in presenting his arguments, and probably has more experience on this site. However, IMO that led to a more arrogance and a slight fault in a disparaging comment towards Pro. Although Con had a better "presentation", I found his lack of explaining why his definitions of morality were superior to those of Pro's when Pro cited a "natural theology" approach (or theism by some standards), therefore, I believed Pro won on the "sources" metric.
Vote Placed by xvyz 4 years ago
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Total points awarded:15 
Reasons for voting decision: I have to go with Con on this one. Pro drops multiple contentions, and doesn?t really have any effective rebuttals. Con takes the time to really develop his argument from sentience, and encounters no rebuttal from pro, aside from an equivocation of human and person. From establishing this, con negates most of pro?s points.Pro seems to just throw arguments out there, without any evidence, aside from giving Con a reading assignment, or saying? go look it up?, which is not how debates work. Even given the misconduct, pro hardly responded to con?s legal claims. Con also had more and better quality sources.
Vote Placed by imabench 4 years ago
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Total points awarded:13 
Reasons for voting decision: A majority of pro's arguments are based on baseless 'moral' arguments that arent grounded in logic as con points out in round 2, and Pro fails to refute or even challenge many of the counter arguments con made regarding legal mistakes in the case. Con loses conduct for not following the rules laid out in round 1, but Pro drops almost all arguments Con makes in response just to claim the conduct point, ceding argument points to con. Grammar and sources essentially the same even pro told con to look things up himself, which is not how debates work.

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