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Active euthanasia, the right to commit suicide with the help of doctors

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/22/2015 Category: Society
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 861 times Debate No: 70493
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (1)
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Passive euthanasia is where the doctors remove life supporting assistant, so a terminal injured person"s life is shortened. Active euthanasia is where you decide to commit suicide with help from doctors, when you are mortally ill. I wish the active form of euthanasia could be an option for everyone to choose, if needed. All people should have the freedom to decide to end their own life while they are still able to. People should have the opportunity to choose to die before time, if they are in strong pain and don"t want to live any longer and no chance of recovery. It should be a human right to choose active euthanasia. Active euthanasia should only be allowed for those who are declared terminal ill by the doctors.


"Causing deaths through efforts to reduce pain is very different than administering overdoses with the intent to end lives. Pain relief treatment is not euthanasia and giving increasing doses of narcotics can be incompetent medical practice " at a certain point different pain relief modalities can be required. Unfortunately, some physicians" medical knowledge is substandard in this regard," Margaret Somerville, director of the Centre for Medicine, Ethics and Law at McGill University"
It goes on to further clarify with, ""If we were to go down the route they are talking about, it would create more confusion," says Schadenberg, who believes, if the College"s proposal became law, doctors would be under more scrutiny when patients on pain medication die. "Why did they use that high amount? Did they use it to kill the pain or kill the patient?"
(US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health Search. Oct 19, 2009)

From The Life Resources Charitable Trust with regards to pain as a reason for early death: "Hard cases make bad laws: Euthanasia is usually promoted by those who have had a loved one die in agony, without the benefits of good palliative care. The answer is not to change the law, but rather improve standards of care".

"Voluntary euthanasia always becomes involuntary: The 1990 Remmelink Report commissioned by the Dutch government confirms the inevitable slide into flouting legal safeguards." (The Life Resources Charitable Trust, 2011)

Legislation will numb public conscience: The law is a powerful educator of public conscience. People cease to have strong feelings once a practice becomes legal and widely accepted. The Nazi euthanasia program revealed the desensitizing of those involved.

One reason many do not consider that is similar to the abortion issue is: Personal autonomy important, but never absolute: A person's decision to end their life, or have an abortion, can have profound, often lifelong effects on the lives of others. (The mother, father & family with abortion), and with family there may be guilt, anger and bitterness felt by those left behind. Patients are denied final stage of growth. Those involved in hospice work often see healing of family relationships and rediscovery of mutual love. Words are spoken that help sustain those left behind. (The Life Resources Charitable Trust 2011).

Another issue regarding the legalization of euthanasia is physician ethics. The old proverbial "do no harm." The phrase primum non nocere is greatly cherished by the profession. It is the first "golden rule" that we transmit to our junior colleagues. Another related but less well known phrase, used by medical luminaries such as Thomas Syndenham36 and James Makittrick Adair37 is juvantia et laedenti. It is derived from the Latin verbs iuvo ("help") and laedo ("hurt"). I propose that in our deliberations about euthanasia, we keep in our collective imagination the notion of juvantia et laedentia: "things that [can] help and things that [can] harm." & to go a bit further "A physician's assistance in suicide can indeed be construed as helping the patient: helping in the sense of being an ally in the patient's quest to fulfill personal goals, or helping by buttressing individual autonomy. However, there are also features of such action that can be qualified as harmful: harmful by sowing confusion in trainees about the conceptual core of traditional clinical methods, or harmful by eroding respect for absolute moral values such as "do not kill." (The Permanente Journal, Fall 2011).

"Also euthanasia undermines medical excellence: As the Dutch experience reveals, euthanasia doctors tend to be uninterested in palliative care. It is easier for doctors to administer euthanasia, than learn techniques for caring for the dying." (The Life Resources Charitable Trust, 2011).

From Professor David E. Richmond MB ChB MHPEd. MD FRACP FRCP Professor Emeritus David Richmond is a practicing physician in Geriatric Medicine. He was the inaugural Professor of Geriatric Medicine in the University of Auckland, and Assistant Dean in the Auckland Faculty of Medicine. He is a past president of the New Zealand Society for Geriatrics and was a member of the Prime Ministerial Task force on Positive Aging. He assisted with writing the constitution for the Research Ethics Committee at Auckland Hospital, and chaired that committee for its first three years. He was a founding member of the Health Research Council's Ethics Committee. He introduced the teaching of clinical ethics to the Auckland School of Medicine, has taught courses in Bioethics and published several papers on aspects of Medical Ethics. He currently chairs the Board of the HOPE Foundation, a charitable trust dedicated to fostering research into aging and the effects of aging on society:
" It is not reasonable to introduce radical legislation on the basis of the perceived needs of a tiny proportion of the population.
It is not compassionate to elevate the rights of a small minority over the rights of the majority.
It would not be consistent with the nation's stance on capital punishment.
Its practice could not be confined within "strict guidelines" as its proponents assert.
It introduces a conflict of interest for medical practitioners who will be expected to execute it, and will change the ethos of the health system from preserving life to providing death.
The philosophical stance that allows euthanasia to be contemplated at all is flawed and dangerous.
It is the wrong solution for the majority of people who might request it.
It has the potential to reduce interest in and funding for palliative care and the hospice movement.
It does not guarantee a "good death".
Legalizing euthanasia gives too much power to the medical profession." (The Life Resources Charitable Trust 2011).

Please excuse some of the improper text formatting regarding the quotations, done because of limited space.
Debate Round No. 1


In my presentations I only comment active euthanasia and why I think it"s should be legal for everyone. In my opinion administrating overdoses is not passive euthanasia. Administering overdoses with the intent to end lives is illegal. There is a clear different between overdoses with the intention to kill and passive euthanasia as remove life supporting assistant. I agree with the point you make about, that pain relief treatment is not euthanasia. I also agree with your concern about the power the doctors might be getting, regarding their major decisions. The dissention should never be giving to only one doctor but several have to make the dissention to make sure that the right dissention is made. And to reduce the power that is given to the doctors.


I thought you mandated that we are only supposed to give our own opinion in this past round & then the next, this one that is, we can critique the opposition position. Anyway, I am a bit puzzled as to your argument being that you have only given your short opinion, pretty much restating your opening statement, without anything to back up your argument.

Onward. Even though overdoses with medication for terminally ill patients in much pain, can considered euthanasia because overdoses are very difficult to prove with people in pain & terminally ill. There is a fine line that courts are not willing to cross unless the patient's family is very persistent. The reason for this is that the doctor, or doctors, have been in contact with family member & have been given the OK to give the overdose so as the patient will have an end to their suffering. (See my 1st argument). Thing is, the ethical problems such as the Hippocratic Oath contradicts giving such doses of pain medication to completely ease the pain, because it may kill the patient. Yet, this is an active type of euthanasia. See my initial argument for additional reasons not to administer active euthanasia.

I am confused with your usage of the word 'dissention.' It may fit in one sense, although doesn't make sense in the other two places you have used it. Do you mean decision? Probably so, so I'll answer your point in that respect. Be it one doctor or several, as you suggest, does not reduce violating ethical standards, medical excellence, family guilt, etc. Even if there are four doctors that concur, they still face the same issues as if there was only one doctor.
Debate Round No. 2


"United States: Doctors are allowed to prescribe lethal doses of medicine to terminally ill patients in five US states. Euthanasia, however, is illegal. In recent years, the "aid in dying" movement has made incremental gains, but the issue remains controversial."
This source tells you about giving doses to terminally ill patients and also that it is illegal.
"switch off life-support machines
"disconnect a feeding tube
"don't carry out a life-extending operation
"don't give life-extending drugs
These are the terms for passive euthanasia. It is only about removing life supporting materiel. There is no talk about illegal overdoses! I am not saying that the doctors don"t do it, I don"t know about that. Actually giving overdoses with the intention to kill is not my debate topic.
I want to make clear to you that I don"t what a debate about where I have used the word dissention or not. If it is really important to you, then yes I mend decision. And still you don"t get that I want to discuss the active form of euthanasia NOT the passive form that you talk about. I want to discuss the right for people to choose active euthanasia. I still don"t get if you are con or pro to active euthanasia, because until now you only talk about the definition of it?
The type of euthanasia you are discussing is called palliative sedation. It is not active euthanasia.


I was not debating your use of the word. I was actually confused because the three times it was used, 1 use of it fit, while the others did not. I really did not know what you were trying to say until I substituted another word. I was not being disrespectful in any way. I needed clarification. I apologize since you had taken it as criticism for I had not meant it in that respect.

I completely understand you are debating active euthanasia. Pain medication is used as an active euthanasia agent at times as I had explained in my last two rounds. It is also legal in Oregon. "On October 27, 1997 physician-assisted suicide became a legal medical option for terminally ill Oregonians. The Oregon Death with Dignity Act requires that the Oregon Health Division (OHD) monitor compliance with the law, collect information about the patients and physicians who participate in legal physician-assisted suicide, ..." One of the methods listed here is physician assisted using pain meds, which covers active euthanasia:

The other references, as indicated in the body of the 1st round, are regarding pain medication that is in the amount to relieve pain, but that amount of the drug in most likelihood, will kill the patient. In essence, it is an act of active euthanasia that could pose all the problems I had indicated in my first two rounds. Doctors are not necessarily held liable because it is very hard to prove in court and the patient and family are in agreement to initially suggest the potential overdose of pain medication so as to relieve the pain. That's where the ethics problems come in for them addressed in that 1st round.

I am surprised that you seem puzzled if I am pro or con on this issue with all the evidence I have given regarding the negative aspects of euthanasia. I did not, & do not feel I should have to plead an emotional case here. I have given substantial documented reasons that euthanasia is not the course to follow by respected doctors & publications. It is incumbent upon the 2 of us to prove our case to the audience as to the positive & negative aspects of euthanasia. What I personally think on the issue is reflected with the research material I have presented, which reports no lasting positive outcomes have been noted.

Yes, I do acknowledge that with death, the pain is relieved from the patient. That is a given. Although, during their last days "patients are denied final stage of growth. Those involved in hospice work often see healing of family relationships and rediscovery of mutual love. Words are spoken that help sustain those left behind". (The Life Resources Charitable Trust 2011). And following an active euthanasia, legal or with enough pain medications to relieve the pain but kill the patient, which is questionably legal, there is the ethics dilemma and " A person's decision to end their life can have profound, often lifelong effects on the lives of others. And with family there may be guilt, anger and bitterness felt by those left behind." (The Life Resources Charitable Trust 2011). I had also given many other reasons that euthanasia is not the right choice in the 1st & 2nd round that I would list, but that would be redundant & therefore a waste of space.

"Kevin Fitzpatrick of Not Dead Yet, an organization for disabled people opposed to legalizing assisted suicide, noted perceptively, death is the end of all the possibilities of life. To be dead is more disabling than any injury or disease. Fitzpatrick remarks that "[w]e have lost our sense of "terrible beauty"", whereby even in the depths of suffering and horror "there can still be something there for us to find profound, even beautiful". Suicide is disturbing because it cuts short the possibility for human interaction, for participation in one another's [sic] lives".
Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by rextr05 1 year ago
sophiedebate, I have to apologize with regards to my last reply to you. With my 1st sentence, I had you confused with another debate regarding their rules & mistakenly thought you had mandated that. Please disregard that 1st sentence please. Sorry.
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