The Instigator
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The Contender
Con (against)
1 Points

Death Row Inmates Should be Used for Medical or Scientific Testing Without Consent

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/8/2016 Category: Society
Updated: 5 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 262 times Debate No: 90864
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (5)
Votes (1)




First round is acceptance.

For the purpose of the debate, assume the death penalty is being used against murderers (not counting accidental murders) and assume the criminal justice system is perfect (no one is wrongly found guilty in court).


I accept.

Death row - a prison block or section for prisoners sentenced to death.

Inmates - a person confined to an institution such as a prison or hospital.

Should - used to indicate what is probable.

Be - occur; take place.

Used - take, hold, or deploy (something) as a means of accomplishing a purpose or achieving a result; employ.

For - with the object or purpose of

Medical - of or relating to the science of medicine, or to the treatment of illness and injuries.

Or - used to link alternatives.

Scientific - based on or characterized by the methods and principles of science.

Testing - the means by which the presence, quality, or genuineness of anything is determined; a means of trial.

Without - in the absence of.

Consent - permission for something to happen or agreement to do something.

BoP is on Pro. Thank you.
Debate Round No. 1


Con spent the acceptance round defining terms, obviously in a way that was not the way they were originally intended to be defined. However, it doesn't really matter. Con accepted the debate under the resolution "Death Row Inmates Should be Used for Medical or Scientific Testing Without Consent." Technically, as illustrated by Con, there is more than one way to interpret that. Con listing potential definitions for terms in the resolution doesn't mean that they should be interpreted that way though. Especially since Con was only suppose to accept the debate as it was laid out, by me, in the first round. Con may respond that the lack of definitions leave ambiguity and that I even admitted that the resolution can be interpreted differently. However, ambiguity does not mean she has the responsibility to make the debate clearer. Con did make a correct observation though, I have burden of proof. So I have to prove the statement "Death Row Inmates Should be Used for Medical or Scientific Testing Without Consent," with the only assumptions being those laid out in the first round by me (as the debate creator I was the one to layout the debate, not my opponent). That was the debate Con accepted, even with its ambiguity. Had Con asked me to be clearer, I would have willingly done so, by the way.

Because death row inmates are going to die anyways we should use them for scientific or medical testing where the patients are at risk of dying.

There. I just provided a reason of why "Death Row Inmates Should be Used for Medical or Scientific Testing Without Consent." Con can choose to rebut that and we can spend the remaining rounds debating the topic as originally intended or Con can attempt to show why her provided definitions of terms must be accepted.


Here's my response to my opponent's arguments.

Yes, I accepted the resolution "Death Row Inmates Should be Used for Medical or Scientific Testing Without Consent", but you never defined any of the terms. If you don't define them, then I'm allowed to. So technically you didn't lay out the debate fully. All you said in the first round that acceptance is the round and you said hypothetical what if scenarios. You never stated any rules so as your opponent, I'm allowed to set rules and define terms. Having clarity is good for both me, you, and readers. My terms don't change the way the debate can be interpreted, all they do is provide clarity.

Anyway, let's go to the real rebuttal. All my opponent says is that the death row inmates are going to die anyway so we might as well use them in tests that can kill them. This logic is terribly flawed, as we're all going to die at some point, whether we're death row inmates or not.

I'll plug in a different group of people into this argument and we can elaborate on that. "Because the elderly are going to die anyways we should use them for scientific or medical testing where the patients are at risk of dying." That sounds absolutely terrible, right? It's no different for death row. This is just a bare assertion. There's absolutely no evidence to support your argument.

Thank you. I look forward to my opponent's defense. In Round 3, I shall provide my opening statements.
Debate Round No. 2


DBA10 forfeited this round.


Though my opponent has forfeited, I'll post my arguments anyway.

(Note: Point A is mostly taken from a previous debate on the death penalty. You can find it here:

A. Our Unalienable Rights

In The Declaration of Independence, we see this:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness." [1]

According to The Declaration of Independence, we are born with unalienable rights and we must secure these rights. One of those rights happen to be life. My opponent says that experiments should be used on death row inmates, even if they're at a risk of dying. This destroys the entire concept of unalienable rights.

"'Unalienable rights' are ours to keep, by virtue of our Creator. So said Thomas Jefferson through the Declaration of Independence..." [2]

The right to life may not be taken away, like my opponent suggested.

B. Cruel and Unusual Punishment

The Eighth Amendment of The Constitution forbids the usage of cruel and unusual punishment. Case in point:

"Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted." [3]

Performing human guinea pig like experiments on inmates goes against this, especially if you don't get the consent of the victim, but that is where my next point comes in.

C. Informed Consent and Other Requirements of Human Ethics

According to The Belmont Report from the Office for Human Research Protections, this type of experimentation goes against human ethics.

"Informed Consent. -- Respect for persons requires that subjects, to the degree that they are capable, be given the opportunity to choose what shall or shall not happen to them. This opportunity is provided when adequate standards for informed consent are satisfied." [4]

But this isn't the only example.

"Voluntariness. -- An agreement to participate in research constitutes a valid consent only if voluntarily given. This element of informed consent requires conditions free of coercion and undue influence. Coercion occurs when an overt threat of harm is intentionally presented by one person to another in order to obtain compliance. Undue influence, by contrast, occurs through an offer of an excessive, unwarranted, inappropriate or improper reward or other overture in order to obtain compliance. Also, inducements that would ordinarily be acceptable may become undue influences if the subject is especially vulnerable." [4]

Death row inmates wouldn't have the option to volunteer for this position, they'd just be thrust into it without explanation. And one more example to really top it off:

"Information. -- Most codes of research establish specific items for disclosure intended to assure that subjects are given sufficient information. These items generally include: the research procedure, their purposes, risks and anticipated benefits, alternative procedures (where therapy is involved), and a statement offering the subject the opportunity to ask questions and to withdraw at any time from the research. Additional items have been proposed, including how subjects are selected, the person responsible for the research, etc." [4]

All of these connect with the consent and information given to the inmates. Overall, it's against human ethics to perform experiments on death row inmates without informed consent, voluntariness, or information on the research.


Those are just three reasons why death row inmates shouldn't be used in medical or scientific experimentation without the consent of the inmate. Thank you.

Debate Round No. 3


DBA10 forfeited this round.


My argument extends.
Debate Round No. 4
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by DBA10 5 months ago
Alright I'll keep in mind to provide definitions next time. I'll respond to the rebuttal posted by Con and then the ball's in her court as to where to take the debate after that.
Posted by Ragnar 5 months ago
The problem of key terms not being defined in R1, is it can lead to the debaters talking past each other. Of course there are jerks who even having agreed to pre-defined terms, will attempt to move the goalpost to other definitions in later rounds.

My golden rule is that if terms are not defined in the setup, they default to standard English (the debaters may argue over which set is best, but the judges are not obligated to accept that a cat is the primary source of milk in the USA just because someone declares that definition later). If precise terms need to be added, that is what the comment section is for before the debate starts.
Posted by missbailey8 5 months ago
Defining terms is preferable to most debaters. You must be new. You didn't define the terms, so I'm allowed to put in definitions. I'm not trying to make an easy win. If I really wanted that I could ju accept any troll argument or a noob debate.
Posted by DBA10 5 months ago
What's the point of defining "should" in a way that was obviously not the way it was intended to be defined in the context of the title? An attempt at making it an easy win that doesn't amount to anything other than a higher win percentage on I'm actually curious why purposefully changing the meaning of a debate from what it was obviously originally intended to mean (and wasting the time of someone who wanted to debate that topic) is worth your time?
Posted by Ragnar 5 months ago
I like the setup you have.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by 16kadams 5 months ago
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Total points awarded:01 
Reasons for voting decision: FF