The Instigator
TheSkeptic
Pro (for)
Winning
32 Points
The Contender
foresight
Con (against)
Losing
30 Points

Euthanasia Should Be Legal.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/9/2008 Category: Society
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 30,080 times Debate No: 5689
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (3)
Votes (13)

 

TheSkeptic

Pro

Euthanasia is the practice of ending someone's life in a painless manner, under their full conscious consent. This is done when the patient is terminally ill, and there are no foreseeable cures for their condition, a condition in which usually the patient is under excruciating pain.

In a way, this is a form of suicide, one that is assisted by a physician who takes into consideration factors such as the condition of the patient; of whether or not they are viable for euthanasia.

Individuals have the number one priority in a decision dealing with their own personal health and care. If they consent to euthanasia, then it should rightfully be granted to them.

I will develop my arguments in further rounds.
foresight

Con

Euthanasia is legal in Texas, Oregon, and leaning towards legal in California. Gallup Poll shows that 80% of American agree Euthanasia should be legal (http://en.wikipedia.org...). So Technically Euthanasia is MOSTLY illegal but not completely. However, Euthanasia should be illegal because no law can be made that is perfect enough to ensure no abuses of Euthanasia will exist.

1. Many scenarios can occur where the ill can ultimately be manipulated by family, friends, or outside third parties to ask for Euthanasia. Not to mention that doctors would be receiving money for their work in Euthanasia. Money corrupts people and many scenarios can occur where greed leads to the murder of a human being disguised as Euthanasia. Legalization of Euthanasia would be permissible if all Men had integrity, honor, and compassion for one another. Then their would be absolute guarantee that abuses in the system would not exist. Unfortunately greed, malice, and selfishness do exist in our society. These flaws of man make it impossible for a system of assisted suicide to work flawlessly, and no law can be crafted that can produce a system absent of these flaws. Once you realize the reality of flawed human character and understand how that will breed abuses in the system it becomes a matter of how much we value Human life as a society.

2. You must trust the Government. Many do not trust government and for good reason. Politicians accept money from lobbyists and and create law to benefit those interests. This is a legal practice in Washington. They have written law in a way that is counter-productive to the legislation process. So can the congress pass law that will be counter-productive or corrupt in the case of Euthanasia. Once passed into law, Euthanasia can transform through amendments and interpretation. So years into the future a government can turn Euthanasia into a way of control or manipulation against its people. Like the Bush administration who redefined "Torture" as "Pressure" and we now have soldiers who water board detainees, force them into stress positions, or sexually humiliate and degrade them. By enacting legislation giving the power to kill in a society of flawed men is very dangerous and risky.
Debate Round No. 1
TheSkeptic

Pro

~Counterarguments~

1. Stemming from my argument from Round 1, it's evident that I am arguing in favor of euthanasia by voluntary consent, and not euthanasia by involuntary consent (at least not in this specific debate). My apologies if this was unclear from just reading the resolution.

Let's assume doctors do get paid for voluntary euthanasia, and in this case got paid a LOT for it. If this were to be a viable problem in the future due to fears of corruption, then the solution will be simply to not pay them for euthanasia procedures.

With voluntary euthanasia, there could be legal documents or any other certified form of verification, perhaps like an audience of witnesses, of which before the patient will state that they are allowing their physician to perform the euthanasia procedure. The medical conditions of the patient should be reviewed by the hospital's panel of doctors, and a consensus on whether or not they should be allowed euthanasia can be reached. This will be to help prevent any corruption on the doctor's part, or someone else influencing from a third party.

There are always scenarios in which we can think of where greed and malice trick the system, of course. However, this is true of many things in life right now. Undoubtedly there are many corrupt lawyers, police officers, businesses, and other people in high positions of influence. No system is perfect due to the nature of man, yet this doesn't translate into an argument against euthanasia. Lawyers are supposed to help the people, and police offers are supposed to protect society from dangerous individuals. There are many of each respective fields that are corrupt, but that does not mean we should stop both careers. Unless you can show how euthanasia will lead to great numbers of "falsely euthanasized patients", your argument fails.

2. I think it would be safe for me to say your argument commits the slippery slop fallacy. You stated that allowing euthanasia to be legal would entail in the future for laws to interpret it into something corrupt, something that will "control or manipulation against its people". However, you haven't stated what contingencies will lead to this.

Your example of the Bush administration is a good example of a corrupt policy being CALLED OUT. Many people have discovered it, and rightfully damned it as unconstitutional and unjust. The famous scandal of the Abu Ghraib torture and prisoner abuse lead to soldiers being prosecuted. In this case, the new "interpretation" of Torture under the Bush administration was rightly vilified.
foresight

Con

"Stemming from my argument from Round 1, it's evident that I am arguing in favor of euthanasia by voluntary consent, and not euthanasia by involuntary consent (at least not in this specific debate). My apologies if this was unclear from just reading the resolution."

- Yes I do acknowledge you are in favor of euthanasia by voluntary consent. I am not sure what I have posted that suggests I am confused.

3. My argument is that the patient who is ill and seeking euthanasia may have been compromised by third parties. Meaning for whatever reason a third party convinces the patient accept voluntary euthanasia. The third party may be a family member in which case pushes the patient to request voluntary euthanasia in order to spare the third party from having to deal with the reality of someone they once loved so close to death and in pain. The third party imposes a selfish point of view on to the patient pushing the patient into requesting voluntary euthanasia. So essentially it is still voluntary since the patient is the one requesting euthanasia. Not to mention the issue of the "Will" of the patient, if any inheritance exists there may be even greater incentive for a third party to compromise the patient into requesting Euthanasia. You suggest:

"With voluntary euthanasia, there could be legal documents or any other certified form of verification, perhaps like an audience of witnesses, of which before the patient will state that they are allowing their physician to perform the euthanasia procedure. The medical conditions of the patient should be reviewed by the hospital's panel of doctors, and a consensus on whether or not they should be allowed euthanasia can be reached. This will be to help prevent any corruption on the doctor's part, or someone else influencing from a third party."

-These legal procedures do exist in oregon where voluntary euthanasia is legal.

"Under the law, a capable adult Oregon resident who has been diagnosed by a physician with a terminal illness that will kill them within six months may request in writing, from his or her physician, a prescription for a lethal dose of medication for the purpose of ending the patient's life. The request must be confirmed by two witnesses, one of whom cannot be related to the patient, be entitled to any portion of the patient's estate, be the patient's physician, or be employed by a health care facility caring for the patient. After the request is made, another physician must examine the patient's medical records and confirm the diagnosis. The patient must be determined to not suffer from a mental condition impairing judgment. If the request is authorized, the patient must wait at least fifteen days and make a second oral request before the prescription may be written. The patient has a right to rescind the request at any time. The law protects doctors from liability for providing a lethal prescription for a terminally ill, competent adult in compliance with the statute restrictions. Participation by physicians is voluntary. The law also specifies a patient's decision to end his or her life shall not "have an effect upon a life, health, or accident insurance or annuity policy." (wikipedia.com)

I do agree that these measure do in fact curb abuses of the system. However it is very plausible that a patient can perform all these legalities and still the decision is against his/her will. All these legal procedures are taken to ensure that the patient is seeking this request on their own accord, without a third party influence. The inclusion of witnesses unrelated to the patient in effect spreads the guilt. Meaning more people are involved, so a much more coordinated effort must be used to thwart the legal procedures, and if they get caught more people face legal punishment. In theory this will lower the likelihood of third party influence but it does not eliminate it. All these measures are bypassed with something as simple as a lie, and the patient will have submitted to the influence of a third party to kill him or herself. So even with all of these measures human flaws are not with out a doubt weeded out and deaths can occur against the will of the ill. This being true makes legalizing voluntary euthanasia a danger and unethical.

4."Let's assume doctors do get paid for voluntary euthanasia, and in this case got paid a LOT for it. If this were to be a viable problem in the future due to fears of corruption, then the solution will be simply to not pay them for euthanasia procedures."

The USA operates on a Market System. Incentive is breed into every decision made by consumers and suppliers. If doctors were not paid for euthanasia there would be more incentive for them to falsely authorize euthanasia in which they were being paid for. So if a person discretely approached a doctor and offered a large enough sum of money to authorize the use of euthanasia on a patient, the doctor has much more incentive to perform a fraudulent euthanasia under your model of free euthanasia procedures. So making euthanasia procedures free in effect creates greater probabilities that fraudulent euthanasia procedures will occur, thus not remedying the situation of human greed and corruption.

5. In response to your statement about greed in all systems including business, lawyers, police, and people in positions of high influence. First of all i do agree greed exists all across the board. So since we have established greed will exist in the case of Euthanasia procedures lets move on. Now I do not think you can compare corruption of lawyers and cops to Euthanasia for a very simple reason. Transparency. You are absolutely correct that corrupt cops and lawyers do exist, I am sure there are countless documentaries and movies about this fact. But the corrupt behavior of cops, lawyers, and even businessmen are to some extent transparent. Cops have cameras in their cars that record sight and sound. Misconduct on the job can be recorded and used as evidence to uproot the corrupt behavior. If a cop makes extra money by trafficking drugs he will have trouble hiding the discrepancies between his income and level of standard of living. Lawyers keep detailed documents recording all procedures and motions they perform. They must keep them all on record for review by court. Any unjust or corrupt behavior will be recorded for find later. Even in Businesses, cooking the books becomes harder and harder since companies must release more and more information detailing their expenditures and sources of revenue. Discrepancies can be found through audit and the corruption up rooted. Euthanasia Procedures do not share the built in transparency measures that other systems have. Essentially once the ill person dies, so does the evidence of fraudulent behavior by a third party. Those pressuring the ill into voluntary euthanasia are off the hook once the beating heart of the patient stops.

Since any system created to legalize voluntary euthanasia can not be rid or corrupt behavior legalizing euthanasia is a mistake. Since an indefinite barrier to transparency into that corrupt behavior also exists its seems dangerous to allow voluntary euthanasia to exist.
Debate Round No. 2
TheSkeptic

Pro

~Counterarguments~

1. Third party influence

My opponent is correct in saying that in some scenarios, a family member might persuade a patient to accept voluntary euthanasia, though the situation of a family member telling their conscious relative to commit suicide is something I rarely hear about. However, even if this were to happen, the patient is conscious and should be able to take into decision whether or not they are willing to go through an euthanasia procedure. If they are terminally ill, and their pain is unbearable, then they should have the right to pull the plug whenever they want. If they decide life isn't worth living for, then it is perfectly fine for them to do accordingly.

If they did agree with their family member, then what of it? What is a life worth living when you have a few months left, and during those months all that entails is unbearable pain? Even if the family member were to figure out a way to gain some profit from it, it has nothing to do with the ethical situation of the patient's decision to accept voluntary euthanasia. It may LEAD to the patient to being more likely to accept the procedure, but this doesn't mean we should ban euthanasia. Mind you, for most if not all voluntary euthanasia procedures, this patient is under unbearable pain and/or is terminally ill. So it's not like family members (really corrupt ones at that) can try to find any excuse to persuade their relative to pull the plug; the patient would have to meet the requirements medically speaking. This requirement by itself limits the possibility of family members trying to profit from someone's death.

2. Corruption in the euthanasia system.

Let's, for the sake of argument, state that a doctor is confronted by someone discreetly to perform an euthanasia procedure. However, I argue that by enforcing strict regulations and rules, a doctor freely euthanize a patient will be very difficult. By first having the patient qualifying medically, consensus would be also voiced by other doctors. Also, do remember that a voluntary euthanasia needs A REQUEST FROM THE PATIENT. A doctor can't get paid by some shady character and kill the patient; there has to be written consensus on the patient's part.

~Conclusion~

On the issue of the ethics of euthanasia, my opponent makes no argument so it seems fair to say that we both agree on the morality of this issue. He, as is evident, argues about the fallibility and foreseeable corruption if euthanasia were to be legalized. I have shown how doctor's can't secretly gain incentives from committing procedures, since it requires the PATIENT to request the euthanasia procedure. Family members could persuade (however likely this notion is) their relative to pull the plug, but many medical conditions would have to be met. And if such conditions WERE met, then there seems nothing wrong with the patient deciding to go through euthanasia anyway. Whether or not a family member gains money from this isn't an issue of ethics on part of euthanasia, but on the actions of the greedy family member.

Make it noted, that my opponent has DROPPED his second contention; about how the government could possibly "warp" euthanasia into something horrid. I have successfully refuted that notion, and he hasn't brought it up in the 2nd Round.

For the listed reasons, I urge a vote for Pro!
foresight

Con

1. Third Party Influence:

My opponent agrees that no law can be crafted on such a delicate issue which will rule out corruption in the Ethanasia system. Also, my opponent does not present a way for a system to have transparency built in to allow reviews of the decision's toward euthanasia. It is very important to understand that Third Party Influence has the potential to corrupt the Euthanasia system. No law can be crafted which can ensure this does not occur or to allow prosecution in the future since transparency does not exist. My opponent argues that he believes a case in which a Third Party (Family, freinds, or outsiders) has an agenda and pressures the patient into assisted suicide is "rare". This is true but that is because only 6 places in the ENTIRE world allow euthanasia. Now extending the legality of euthanasia to all of the USA, the third largest country in the world, you can imagine that cases of corrupt behavior by a third party will rise as the number of euthanasia procedures rise. Since my opponent agrees that corrupt behavior does exists he must understand that by extending the power of euthanasia to 350,000,000 people corrupt behavior will increase.

My opponent's argument:

"Mind you, for most if not all voluntary euthanasia procedures, this patient is under unbearable pain and/or is terminally ill. So it's not like family members (really corrupt ones at that) can try to find any excuse to persuade their relative to pull the plug; the patient would have to meet the requirements medically speaking. This requirement by itself limits the possibility of family members trying to profit from someone's death."

As the law is written in Oregon, "Under the law, a capable adult Oregon resident who has been diagnosed by a physician with a terminal illness that will kill them within six months may request in writing, from his or her physician, a prescription for a lethal dose of medication for the purpose of ending the patient's life." (Wikipedia.com) So my opponents argument that the patient is on a deathbed in excruciating pain pleading for their life to end is only half the story. Patients can ask for euthanasia as soon as they are diagnosed with a terminal illness and they have less than six months to live. My opponent assumes that they will wait until they are in severe pain and almost dead to ask for euthanasia when in fact they can choose euthanasia before disease has the chance to consume their body. Hence the name of the law in Oregon - "Death with dignity act". Meaning a person can avoid putting his or her family through the pain of seeing them in severe pain and drifting in and out of consciousness and ending their life weeks or months before this occurs. So their family is not exposed to such trauma. This being true makes his argument that corruption by a third party is limited since the patient must meet medical standards and be in severe pain false. Since the only requirement the current law in Oregon requires the patient to have a terminal illness that will kill them within 6 months. This leaves a large enough window for Third Party corruption. This being true euthanasia should not be legalised.

2. Corruption in the Euthanasia System

Opponents Agrument:

"A doctor can't get paid by some shady character and kill the patient; there has to be written consensus on the patient's part."

The scenario i presented in round is this:

Under the model that doctors must not be paid for euthanasia but offer them for free to rule out corrupt behavior in the euthanasia system would not work. Doctors would have more incentive to authorize and conduct fraudulent euthanasia procedures since they would be paid "under the table" for them. My opponent argument fails for 2 reasons. First, my opponent again insists that "written consent on the patients part" rules out corrupt behavior. As i have clearly explained, patient consent does not rule out corruption. If a patient is pressured by a third into assisted suicide his "written consent" is merely a lie for he or she truly does not want to undergo euthanasia. Second, my opponent's depiction of "some shady character" paying a doctor to "kill the patient" is exaggerated. Under the model of free euthanasia procedures, a Third Party (family or friends of the patient, hardly "shady") can approach the doctor and pay him money to fraudulently authorize and conduct an euthanasia procedure. If the doctor is not getting paid to conduct and authorize legal euthanasia he has more incentive to conduct and authorize a fraudulent euthanasia for money. The argument that offering euthanasia for free will uproot corruption again is false. Not only will doctors be more susceptible to corruption but consumers of euthanasia procedures will increase. So more people will choose euthanasia as a viable option since it is free, there is no barrier to curb the use of euthanasia, instead this will increase the number of procedures performed. As i stated earlier, with the increase of euthanasia procedures, the probability that corrupt behavior will occur also increases.

Conclusion:

Euthanasia is a very tough issue. It offers families in dire situations to help end the suffering of loved ones. Many can agree that it seems humane and right to allow Euthanasia to speed up the process of death in such a scenario. However as the law in Oregon shows, a person can choose Euthanasia month or weeks before they are reduced to such a state. The dangers that are clearly eminent by corruption can not be purged from any Euthanasia system. Legislatures can not craft a law perfect enough to rule out corruption and greed. Nor, can they craft a law allowing transparency into the decision of the terminally ill for later review into corrupt or fraudulent behavior since the terminally ill has deceased. Allowing 350,000,000 the right to assisted suicide is dangerous since we can not control corrupt behavior. It should noted Patients are allowed to refuse medical treatment even if it speeds up the process of their death. In this situation the patient in in complete control, no second party is conducting procedures that actively kill the patient.

Also people should understand that Euthanasia is not a perfect science:

"In an earlier 2000 study of 649 patients undergoing euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide, 14% of patients undergoing euthanasia had complications such as waking from the coma, spasms or vomiting.[2] Thirty-two percent of patients undergoing physician-assisted suicide had complications which were troublesome enough in 18% to require their doctors to switch to active euthanasia. In this study physicians were absent in 28% of cases of euthanasia and 48% of cases of physician-assisted suicide." http://en.wikipedia.org...

These stats are from the Netherlands where Euthanasia is legal. The Netherlands only represents %5 of the USA population.

For these reasons Euthanasia should not be legalized.
Debate Round No. 3
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by limevortex69 6 years ago
limevortex69
I think I could have won this one if I was Pro. xD. No offence to Con, but I don't think Wikipedia is really a plausible source. It was almost tied where no one really specified what they wanted to say. Like for example, laws in the United states apply to the United States. Is this debate for international, national, state-wide,or city/town- wide? The fact that "Euthanasia should be legal" was the Title which aroused my attention, my question is, "Where"? I'm assuming international, only because this website can be accessed out of America.
Posted by KRFournier 6 years ago
KRFournier
My Vote:

I voted Pro in the areas of conduct and spelling and grammar. Pro won on conduct due exclusively to Con offering new argument in the final round. Otherwise, it would have been a tie. Con also had more grammatical (thought I caught at least) than Pro.

I voted Con in the areas of arguments and resources. The third party issue was well defended by Con as was the refutation of Pro's idea that doctors perform euthenasias for free. I was not completely convinced either way on the system corruption. Overall I felt Con's arguments carried more a bit more strength. I would have *loved* to see Con use the resource showing euthanisia to be an imperfect science earlier. It would have made for some interesting debate. However, since it appeared in the final round, it was not used in my assessment.
Posted by TheSkeptic 6 years ago
TheSkeptic
Hm, adding a new argument at the end of your 3rd Round...
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