The Instigator
Pro (for)
0 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
7 Points

Euthanasia should be recognized as a human right for the terminally ill

Do you like this debate?NoYes+24
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
Voting Style: Judge Point System: Select Winner
Started: 10/4/2015 Category: Politics
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 15,294 times Debate No: 80506
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (50)
Votes (1)




Full Resolution: Euthanasia should be reconised as a human right for the terminally ill, as long as they are capable of rational thought after mental health checks


You must have at least 2500 elo to accept
You must have completed at least 10 debates
No trolling
No forfeiture
If you break a rule then you automatically lose
R1 is acceptance
Definitions will be debated during the debate and may be provided by Con in round 1
No voting framework is required although it is still an option


I accept.
Debate Round No. 1


Contention 1 - Libertarian View (My view)

Death is a private matter and if there is no harm to others, the state and other people have no right to interfere. If they have successfully completed all the required mental health checks and they are clearly sane then they have the right to choose. If this person has decided to allow themselves to die, due to immense suffering and terminal illness then what is the argument to stop them? This is not suicide. Suicide is rarely done for medical related issues concerning themselves. The issue with preventing them from having an assisted suicide is that you are sentencing them to a life of torture and agony which nobody should deserve to live with. We sentence murderers to long term prison (in the UK) and we kill them in most parts of America. Both of these options are by far better choices than for a person to have to die slowly and painfully due to terminal illness. Essentially, you are the person indirectly sentencing an innocent person (in most cases) to a life of torture and misery. You may claim that the disease is the cause of their torture, which is true. However, you are an indirect cause and therefore you are the murderer. The torturer.

Contention 2 - The Right To Die

In...cases where there are no dependants who might exert pressure one way or the other, the right of the individual to choose should be paramount. So long as the patient is lucid, and his or her intent is clear beyond doubt, there need be no further questions.

The Independent, March 2002

We clearly hae the right to die (as stated clearly above). Do you wish to prevent an individual from possessing their basic human rights? Many people (including me) think that each person has the right to control his or her body and life and so they should be able to determine at what time, in what way and by whose hand he or she will die. Behind this lies the idea that human beings should be as free as possible - and that unnecessary restraints on human rights are a bad thing. And behind that lies the idea that human beings are independent biological entities, with the right to take and carry out decisions about themselves, providing the greater good of society doesn't prohibit this. This is the principle that Euthanasia is based upon.

Contention 3 - Hippocratic Oath

Over time the Hippocratic Oath has been modified on a number of occasions as some of its tenets became less and less acceptable. References to women not studying medicine and doctors not breaking the skin have been deleted. The much-quoted reference to 'do no harm' is also in need of explanation. Does not doing harm mean that we should prolong a life that the patient sees as a painful burden? Surely, the 'harm' in this instance is done when we prolong the life, and 'doing no harm' means that we should help the patient die. Killing the patient--technically, yes. Is it a good thing--sometimes, yes. Is it consistent with good medical end-of-life care: absolutely yes. Whilst, some may argue that the Hippocratic Oath should not have been modified and we should be sticking to the original Hippocratic Oath, there are many problems with this argument. Hippocrates (creator of the Hippocratic Oath) lived between 460 and 370 BCE — a golden age of science and art in Ancient Greece. It may be a known fact that Hippocrates was a genius there are many new circumstances that were irrelevant or nonexistent at the time of the writing of the Hippocratic Oath.

"I swear by Apollo Physician and Asclepios and Hygeia and Panacea and all the gods and goddesses, making them my witnesses"

This is the opening statement of the original Hippocratic Oath. This is already unconvincing since sticking to this would require all doctors to follow the same religion and believe in the same Gods. However this is a minor issue compared to the absurdity of some of the promises that must be made. The Hippocratic Oath is sexist and here is an example of sexism within the original Oath:

- "What I may see or hear in the course of the treatment or even outside of the treatment in regard to the life of men..."

The absuirtity of the original Hippocratic Oath is evident and that is why modifications were essential in order for us to exand and progress in society. The modern Hippocratic Oath implies that we have the right to euthanasia because, as I have said previously, prolonging inevitable death is causing pain. This is a clear violation of the rules within this modified document.

Contention 4 - Religious Concerns

Guided by our belief as Unitarian Universalists that human life has inherent dignity, which may be compromised when life is extended beyond the will or ability of a person to sustain that dignity; and believing that it is every person's inviolable right to determine in advance the course of action to be taken in the event that there is no reasonable expectation of recovery from extreme physical or mental disability...

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED: That Unitarian Universalists advocate the right to self-determination in dying, and the release from civil or criminal penalties of those who, under proper safeguards, act to honor the right of terminally ill patients to select the time of their own deaths; and...

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED: That Unitarian Universalists, acting through their congregations, memorial societies, and appropriate organizations, inform and petition legislators to support legislation that will create legal protection for the right to die with dignity, in accordance with one's own choice.

Contention 5 - Living wills

Living wills can be used to refuse extraordinary, life-prolonging care and are effective in providing clear and convincing evidence that may be necessary under state statutes to refuse care after one becomes terminally ill.

A recent Pennsylvania case shows the power a living will can have. In that case, a Bucks County man was not given a feeding tube, even though his wife requested he receive one, because his living will, executed seven years prior, clearly stated that he did 'not want tube feeding or any other artificial invasive form of nutrition'...

A living will provides clear and convincing evidence of one's wishes regarding end-of-life care.

Contention 6 - Social Groups at risk of abuse

One concern has been that disadvantaged populations would be disproportionately represented among patients who chose assisted suicide. Experience in Oregon suggests this has not been the case. In the United States, socially disadvantaged groups have variably included ethnic minorities, the poor, women, and the elderly. Compared with all Oregon residents who died between January 1998 and December 2002, those who died by physician-assisted suicide were more likely to be college graduates, more likely to be Asian, somewhat younger, more likely to be divorced, and more likely to have cancer or amytrophic lateral sclerosis... Moreover, although 2.6 percent of Oregonians are African American, no African American patients have chosen assisted suicide.



This debate isn't about suicide or the freedom to refuse medical treatment. The issue in this debate is whether euthanasia for the terminally ill benefits or harms society. To prove that euthanasia for the terminally ill benefits society, Pro must not only show that euthanasia offers unique benefits that aren't captured by suicide or the right to refuse medical treatment, but also that these unique benefits outweigh the harms. And legalizing euthanasia for the terminally ill imposes significant harms on society.

I'll start with Pro's contentions:

(1) Pro's first contention confuses things by raising the issue of suffering patients and assisted suicide. The resolution requires that Pro justify euthanasia for all terminally ill patients, not just those that suffer. Thus, Pro's focus on suffering patients is misplaced, as it has no impact on the resolution.

Arguing for assisted suicide also has no impact on the resolution. In euthanasia, the doctor kills the patient. In assisted suicide, the doctor assists but the patient is the final causal actor in his or her own death. That means there's greater room for abuse and error in euthanasia, because doctors can kill patients involuntarily or mistakenly. In assisted suicide, doctors cannot kill patients, period. So Pro's arguments for assisted suicide also don't have any impact on the resolution.

Finally, the actual substance of Pro's argument is profoundly flawed. Prohibiting euthanasia (or even assisted suicide) doesn't force anyone to suffer; patients are free to commit suicide of their own volition or to refuse medical treatment. Thus, euthanasia or assisted suicide offers no unique benefit to patients who want to end their lives early.

(2) Pro's second contention has no impact on the resolution because I admit a right to die. To be sure, Pro says that individuals "should be able to determine at what time, in what way and by whose hand he or she will die." Of course, this is nothing more than Pro's assertion. And it's absurd to say individuals can force anyone of their choosing to kill them. In fact, that conflicts with Pro's "libertarian" position, as it coerces individuals to kill people they might not want to kill.

(3) Pro's third contention has no impact on the resolution because it focuses on prolonging inevitable death, which isn't argued. Even if euthanasia is kept illegal, individuals still have the right to commit suicide (ending their suffering) or to refuse medical treatment (bringing their death more quickly). Moreover, Pro offers no reason to accept the Hippocratic Oath. Remember, this debate is about whether euthanasia "should" be recognized as a human right, not whether it "is" recognized under existing medical norms. No matter how many laws or medical codes allow euthanasia, the question is still whether those laws or medical codes are right or wrong. Pro offers no reason to accept this oath.

(4), (5), and (6) Pro's fourth, fifth, and sixth contention have no impact on the resolution. They're a bunch of bare assertions with no relation to euthanasia. I'm not arguing for life-prolonging care when someone has refused medical treatment. On the contrary, I argue in support of the right to commit suicide and the right to refuse treatment. And I might even let assisted suicide be legalized if there's good arguments for it.

I'll now make a few arguments against euthanasia:

(1) Euthanasia drowns our privacy in safeguards, because it requires a transparent process to check for abuse. The deathbed -- like the bedroom -- should remain free from state intrusion. Even Pro said "death is a private matter ... the state and other people have no right to interfere." Well, that's precisely what's going to happen if euthanasia is legal. The deathbed scene will need to be recorded. Dying will become a public event. The result is less privacy and less freedom about our own deaths.

(2) What's to stop involuntary euthanasia? This is precisely what happened in the Netherlands after they legalized euthanasia for the terminally ill; they legalized non-consensual euthanasia a few years later. This is one of those things where a slippery slope has been proven by the evidence. This reason this is likely is because euthanasia, voluntary or involuntary, is justified on the same logic. If we follow this slope to its logical conclusion, physicians would be forced to kill patients if the value of keeping them alive is less than than the costs of medical care.

(3) There's a real danger of abuse without sufficient safeguards. And even with safeguards, there's still a possibility for abuse. There's aslo the risk of doctors mistakenly killing persons without their consent, as well as the risk that the patient is being coerced by others (e.g. family members).

(4) There's a possibility of discrimination/abuse against minorities. Pro hints at this possibility in his sixth contention. The reality is that minority cancer patients are three times less likely than nonminority patients to receive adequate palliative care. Blacks are 3.5 times more likely than whites to have one of their limbs amputated. And minorities receive worse AIDS treatment. [1] There's no reason to believe this won't translate to euthanasia. For instance, lack of adequate palliative care means more suffering, and more suffering means a higher likelihood of euthanasia. The law shouldn't create conditions that disenfranchise certain groups of people for arbitrary reasons.

(5) Euthanasia transforms the role of doctors. They become killers instead of healers. And in killing patients, doctors santify both suicide and intentional killing. In effect, doctors become priests, granting absolution for a patient's desire to end their life. Meanwhile, the state santifies the intentional killing of another human being. This isn't a role that doctors or the state should have; the medical profession shouldn't be in the business of santifying suicides and the state shouldn't be in the business of santifying intentional killings. That's something better left to religious or moral institutions.

(6) Legalizing euthanasia for the terminally ill undermines human equality in critical ways. First, by limiting it to certain people -- specifically, the terminallly ill -- it sends a message that certain people are expendable and others aren't. In effect, allowing euthanasia for some people in certain conditions cheapens the existence of all under those conditions. Thus, Pro asks that we enforce a distinction between persons not with respect to social security or education or other government services, but with respect to the most fundamental question of all, namely, whose lives should be treated as inviolable under law and whose may be subject to intentional destruction by others. This creates a second class of citizens.

Furthermore, legalizing euthanasia for the terminally ill suggestst that human life has instrumental value. But the only way to justify equal protection of the law is by recognizing that human life is intrinsically valuable. Why treat people with equal respect if we don't really believe that they're equal? If humans only have value based on their instrumental worth to society, why extend equal protection to those with low IQs? the mentally disabled? the autistic? infants with Down's syndrome? Alzheimer's patients? And besides, Pro's criteria for deciding who is expendable and who isn't is arbitrary (who decides which lives are worthy preservation and thus the full protection of the law? why are some lives unworthy of protection?).

For all these reasons, vote Con.
Debate Round No. 2


Apologies for the late response. I was almost finished typing this up and my laptop ran out of battery, none of it saved so I've been forced to retype it.

I'll start with the defense of my contentions.

(1) Whilst, it is true that not all terminally ill patients suffer, the issue cannot be completely dismissed as irrelevant. The issue of suffering does affect terminally ill patients and I do not doubt that there are terminally ill patients who do not suffer however I do believe that the issue still has relevance to this debate. Just because an issue does not affect everyone, this does not mean that it has no significance.

There are similarities between assisted suicide and euthanasia, except with assisted suicide religious questions are more likely to be raised. In assisted suicide the patient is ultimately the killer of themselves, whereas it is a controversial issue on whether or not euthanasia (where the doctor ultimately kills the patient) is considered to be suicide - as a result of this euthanasia is by far a better option. The legalization of euthanasia will benefit a much larger group of people than it will if assisted suicide is legalized.

It is controversial whether or not people are free to commit suicide. I agree and know for a fact that there are no charges for the failure to commit suicide in the UK and USA however, I cannot say the same for other countries. Since this debate is not specific to anywhere in the world, this argument is invalid and has no impact on the resolution. To back up this point, not only is it illegal in specific countries, it is also illegal in specific religions (e.g Christianity).

(2) This argument has been misinterpreted by my opponent. My opponent has accepted the full resolution of this debate and as a result of this, this means that they accept that the person has had full mental health checks. This ultimately means that they can think properly and understand situations properly. I never said that anyone should be allowed to force people to do so. I said that they should be able to choose who kills them, but if the person refuses then it is unlikely that they will choose to force them to so. By that statement, my opponent has missed my main point which states that they should be able to determine when they should die. This does not conflict with the libertarian position since my opponent has just made a misinterpretation of my point.

(3) As I have said previously, in specific religions and parts of the world suicide is not legal and it is also extremely difficult to commit suicide since most hospitals carefully monitor patients and do not allow them to just walk out of the hospital or jump out of the window. Given that these people have been checked (mentally) then it will be difficult for them to refuse medication and let themselves die - even if they are not religious and they are in a country that allows them to do this.

(4), (5), and (6) Since my opponent has not refuted any of these points individually, I will use this part of my defense to comment on the refusal of medical treatment. Medical treatment is not always available (especially for terminal illnesses with no cure). The treatment is usually pain relief and without this their lives will not shorten in any significant way. In fact, it is probable that their lives will be prolonged due to the immense pain (in some circumstances) - this will cause the time passing to feel longer than it actually is. I know that my opponent has said that they do not feel like they need to respond to the points made regarding suffering patients because this is not all terminally ill patients however I would like to see my opponent's alternative for what they would do for suffering patients (who will live for the next 20 years, for example) who are begging to die. What would you do?


(1) Death, like life is not entirely a private matter. The government intervenes with our lives - from the moment that we are born, we are constantly debating the pros and cons of state intervention in our lives. Whether we like it or not, we need the Government and depend on them. The government funds our education for under 16s for free. They help with health (free in the UK). Neither of these is free of the state or those people around us. We elect a government to help us to make moral decisions. The government provides the regulations and the security. Not everyone will have the right to euthanasia.

(2) No, it is not the case that you always go down a slippery slope. Everything can go down a slippery slope. What we need to do is put down a clear boundary. You could argue that there is a slippery slope from eating a lamb chop to eating a human being.

(3) Again, there is a possibility for abuse in everything. People always break laws. We have laws against murder and theft. Just because people break these laws it doesn't mean that we should abandon them completely.

(4) I come from the UK and this is not the case. As I have mentioned on multiple occasions throughout this rebuttal - this debate is not specific to any country, state or area. These statistics are false in other places. I request that you keep your arguments nonspecific to any specific place.

(5) You state that euthanasia transforms doctors into killers. This is true - however not using euthanasia is making doctors torturers. Torture is worse than murder and I am sure that this can be agreed upon by both me and my opponent. If you know that you are going to die in 3 months and you know that death is a fact would you want to live? There may be a 0.1% chance of survival but do you want to take that chance? Watching your family and yourself being tortured (both emotionally and physically).

(6) It doesn't create 2nd class citizens. It promotes rights for all under certain conditions. Equality is not everyone being the same. Equality is being offered the same rights.

I didn't say that doctors should be able to say: "Autism. Lets kill him. " for example. I said that people who have no quality of life and know that they will die should be able to have the right to choose. That is very different from making disabled people and people with a low IQ be killed. IQ is insignificant and irrelevant. Steven Hawkings approves of this theory and due to the character limit I will provide a source to what he said.


To conclude, I believe that I am winning this debate for a number of reasons.

a) My opponent has attempted to dismiss many of my points as irrelevant. I have proven that they are in fact very relevant to the debate and since he has provided no actual rebuttals to these points I am winning on those.

b) I have not dismissed any of his points and have refuted all of them.

c) I have defended my arguments and have refuted his arguments as well.

d) I am the only one of the 2 of us to incorporate sources into our arguments. This makes my argument more credable for voters when reading this debate.



Pro makes three fatal errors. First, Pro focuses entirely on justifying euthanasia for patients who suffer. This undermines Pro's case, because Pro concedes that "not all terminally ill patients suffer." Thus, Pro fails to uphold the resolution with respect to terminally ill patients who don't suffer.

Second, Pro concedes that the government has a right to intervene in our lives, to helps us make moral decisions, and to provide security. This undermines the vast majority of Pro's offense, as his libertarian framework crumbles the moment he accepts the legitimacy of government intervention in morality.

Third, Pro concedes that there's risks of abuse/error. At the same time, Pro fails to explain why euthanasia is preferable to suicide, to refusing medical treatment, or even to assisted suicide. Each of these options allow a person to end their life without imposing severe risks of abuse/error.

Vote Con for either of these reasons. To be thorough, the rest of Pro's arguments are addressed below:

(1) Suicide

Pro suggests that we should legalize euthanasia but punish failed suicides. Or at least that seems to be what Pro's arguing. Of course, that argument is bizarre. Pro's C1, C2, C3, and C4 all support a right to suicide. It makes no sense to say we should legalize euthanasia but prohibit suicide.

Pro says suicide isn't legal everywhere. This might be true, though I'm not sure. Pro didn't offer any sources to back up his claims that suicide isn't legal everywhere. Either way, who cares if suicide is illegal in some random parts of the world? Suicide is beyond the reach of the law; you can't punish someone who is dead. Besides, the issue in this debate isn't what the law is but rather what it should be. And no matter how many laws prohibit suicide, the question is still whether those laws are right or wrong.

This means I'm free to advocate a right to suicide as an alternative to euthanasia. And all of Pro's arguments support a right to suicide, so don't let Pro argue that we should legalize euthanasia because suicide is illegal. That argument is simply absurd.

(2) Assisted Suicide

Pro's argument to prefer euthanasia over assisted suicide isn't compelling. Pro states: "it is a controversial issue on whether or not euthanasia (where the doctor ultimately kills the patient) is considered to be suicide - as a result of this euthanasia is by far a better option. The legalization of euthanasia will benefit a much larger group of people than it will if assisted suicide is legalized."

This argument is bizarre. Pro suggests that more patients will choose euthanasia over assisted suicide because euthanasia isn't suicide. But why should it matter how many patients will prefer euthanasia to assisted suicide? This debate isn't about the personal preferences of particular patients; the debate is about whether euthanasia should be recognized as a right. And just because more patients will choose a certain way of dying over another doesn't mean that way of dying should be embodied as a human right.

Furthermore, Pro's argument is nothing more than an assertion. And it's far from self-evident that more patients will choose euthanasia over assisted suicide. On the contrary, lots of patients will choose assisted suicide over euthanasia because they prefer suicide to murder. And to be clear, Pro's advocacy is the equivalent of condoning murder, as euthanasia is nothing but the intentional destruction of another human being's life. Why will more people prefer murder to suicide?

And even if more people prefer suicide to murder, why should we be encouraging the terminally ill to end their lives? The message Pro sends is that some people aren't just expendable, they should be killed by their doctors. The slope to involuntary euthanasia isn't far when you apply that logic.

(3) Suffering

Pro's argument rests on the notion that people who suffer should be allowed to end their lives. And Pro explicitly asks for an alternative to euthanasia if suffering patients want to end their lives early. Well, those people are free to commit suicide. And they're free to refuse medical treatment. And in extreme cases, they can even request terminal sedation (assuming their religion doesn't allow suicide or euthanasia). Or you could make lethal drugs freely available in pharmacies, provided that you have mental heath checkups and are capable of rational thought. There's lots of alternatives to euthanasia for people who want to end their life early as a result of immense suffering.

The point I'm making in this debate is that in no cases should doctors be allowed to intentionally kill their patients on the basis of a determination that their patients are experiencing immense suffering. Doctors have alternatives to relieve suffering, including terminal sedation (i.e. put to sleep but not killed). The problem with allowing euthanasia via suffering is that it leads to involuntary euthanasia. And as I explained in R2, the empirical evidence bears this out (e.g. in the Netherlands).

This happens because euthanasia is predicated on an utilitarian calculus that weighs suffering against a person's right to life. If the suffering outweighs, a doctor is allowed to intentionally kill the patient. Of course, this utilitarian calculus allows a doctor to decide their patient should be killed even if their patient wants to keep living, as long as the patient's suffering outweighs other factors.

The reason this happens with euthanasia is because euthanasia assumes that human life has instrumental value rather than intrinsic value. If life has intrinsic value, it's never okay to intentionally destroy it. But when you start distinguishing the value of individual lives on the basis of instrumental factors, such as suffering, or mental disabilities, or being terminally ill, it suggests that certain instrumental factors must be present to give someone's life the full protection of the law. When those instrumental factors are absent, a doctor has the right to kill a patient. And in extreme cases, a doctor arguably has a duty to kill them, to end their suffering, even if the euthanasia is involuntary.

(4) Religion

The law should not turn on the religious view of a few. There may be religions that believe suicide is not allowed but euthanasia is. Those religions should not dictate public policy. Pro refers to Christianity. That's a bad example, because Christianity wouldn't allow euthanasia or suicide. This example actually works against Pro.

(5) Discrimination

Pro says that's specific to certain places, like the United States. This puts Pro in a bind: he either accepts that this debate should take into specific locations, in which case this argument is fully extended, or Pro admits the debate isn't specific to location, in which case all his arguments about suicide and medical treatment not always being available are irrelevant, since we're not talking about specific places but rather a general notion of what public policy should look like.

(6) Corruption

Pro admits that euthanasia turns doctors into killers. In response, Pro says prohibiting euthanasia turns doctors into torturers. But that is simply untrue. The doctors aren't imposing pain on anyone. They're simply refusing to kill their patients. But that doesn't mean they shouldn't give their patients pain medications, or allow their patients to commit suicide, or allow their patients to withdraw from medical care. The doctors aren't required to prolong a patient's life or to stop them from ending their own life. The only requirement is that doctors don't murder their patients, because that corrupts the medical profession.

(7) Equality

Pro says "equality is being offered the same rights." Yet Pro argues that only the terminally ill get the right to euthanasia. Everyone else gets the right to having their lives protected from intentional destruction by others. Either way, a critical rationale for equal protection withers and drops away, as a result of treating life's value instrumentally.
Debate Round No. 3


My opponent keeps stating that I have made an error by focusing primarily on the terminally ill people who suffer. However, what my opponent is not doing is actually responding to it. I will provide an example just to make this clearer: let's say that we are discussing animal rights and Pro brings up animal testing. Con cannot then say, ‘this is irrelevant because animal rights is not just about animal testing’ and then leave it at that. They must still respond to it since it is still relevant to the debate.

According to my opponent, my acceptance of government intervention ruins my libertarian framework however it does not. My libertarian framework does not include anything to do with government intervention. If somebody says that they are conservative you cannot assume that they believe so strongly in every typical conservative belief. It is absurd to think that somebody who believes in a political ideology believes everything that the ideology refers to. Since, there is no reference in my libertarian framework regarding me not accepting government intervention this is an insufficient rebuttal.

My opponent didn’t understand my argument regarding why euthanasia is preferable to assisted suicide so I will elaborate and simplify what I actually said. Euthanasia is preferable to assisted suicide because in assisted suicide the final act is committed by the victim and therefore the act is considered to be suicide. Suicide is against the rules of Christianity and Islam. Euthanasia, on the other hand is allowing doctors to ultimately end the patient's life. There are 2 major advantages of euthanasia over assisted suicide. Firstly, due to the fact that the doctor is ending the patient’s life this means that they are not actually killing themselves. This means that euthanasia is not actually suicide. This is preferable to religious people since they will not go to hell for euthanasia but they will for assisted suicide. My opponent has gone back to referring to the slippery slope argument regarding there being a risk of severe abuse and error. I will use a more relevant example for the flaw in this argument. If I am walking to school, there is a risk of me falling onto the road. Does that mean that I shouldn’t be walking to school even when it is just across the road? The same could be applied to euthanasia. There are risks but there is a risk of error in nearly every action. Jumping, skipping, walking, running.

(1) Suicide

I never said that suicide should be punished. I said that failed suicide is punished for in countries across the world that are strictly religious. The reason that I brang up suicide is because you stated that patients have the right to commit suicide if they are in pain. I merely stated that there are countries that do not allow suicide and severely punish those who fail to commit suicide. Since this debate is not country specific this argument provided by my opponent is not valid. I am Pro-suicide in case you are wondering however that doesn’t mean that suicide is legal everywhere. All I am saying is that suicide is not always an option.

(2) Assisted Suicide

I will just expand on what I have said above on my paragraph regarding assisted suicide. My opponent misses my point when they say that this debate isn’t about personal preferences. It is about religious restrictions. Personally, I am an atheist but even as an atheist I accept the fact that people are religious. Humans rights should be applicable for the majority and I am prepared to argue this separately if my opponent contests with this (since this is the final round I will be unable to respond to my opponent's final round). Since the 2 biggest religions (Christianity and Islam) are against assisted suicide (but not necessarily euthanasia, depending on how they interpret their scriptures), this means that euthanasia will be applicable and suitable as a human right. 84% of the world’s population believe in God and to deny such a large percentage of this is a violation of human rights itself. Human rights should be applicable to the majority and the only way to do this is to legalize euthanasia. Assisted suicide is not an option. As a fellow atheist I understand what your argument is based on and why you would be persuaded regarding assisted suicide however most people wouldn’t be.

(3) Suffering

I refuted the freedom of suicide above but I will reiterate this again. This debate doesn’t say where euthanasia should be legalized and since human rights are supposed to be universal rights this must be realistic for everybody. In Singapore anybody who even attempts to commit suicide can be sentenced to jail for a year. In Japan attempting to commit suicide is also illegal. My opponent’s alternative to euthanasia is suicide but this is not an option in many countries and in our 2 biggest religions.

Involuntary euthanasia goes back to the slippery slope argument. There are always risks with everything you do. It won't be easy to prevent it but i9t will happen. Just because there are laws against murder that doesn’t mean that everybody stops murdering. It also isn’t a valid reason to remove laws against murder because people kill other people. This is according to your logic. You have stated that this could lead to involuntary euthanasia but anything can lead to anything. This is a weak argument.

This debate is not about legalizing involuntary euthanasia because that is illegal everywhere. Despite the fact that euthanasia is illegal in the UK, there are still cases of involuntary euthanasia whereby doctors have been sentenced. If euthanasia is not legalized that isn’t a reason to think that doctors will not kill their patients. With euthanasia at least the doctors have access to a painless option. If a doctor wants to involuntarily kill their patient and euthanasia is illegal, it is unlikely that they will have the correct equipment to provide their patient a painless death. Therefore whilst this point was originally used against my point, this has been reversed and has now been used against my opponent’s case.

(4) Religion

Christianity can be interpreted to be against euthanasia by some but this is an indirect reference and most Christians accept euthanasia. Assisted suicide on the other hand is not accepted since the Bible does refer to suicide and due to the fact that assisted suicide is ultimately the patient killing themselves, assisted suicide is condemned by the Bible. Since Islam is an Abrahamic religion it is also against suicide and assisted suicide for the similar reasons.

(5) Discrimination

This is a major misunderstanding by my opponent and I will explain this in case any readers make the same misunderstanding that my opponent has made. FT said that there is discrimination and provided statistics to prove this. My response was that this argument is invalid because it is specific to certain places. I use the fact that it was in specific places as my argument. I used that as a reason to show that your argument was invalid.

(6) Corruption

My opponent doesn’t really respond to the torture point. All he says is that it is necessary for doctors not to kill their patients and that is their only requirement.

(7) Equality

Right, this is another misinterpretation by my opponent that I will have to explain. I said that everyone should be offered the same rights. That right is as follow:

If any human being is terminally ill and has had the correct mental checks, then it is okay for them to have their doctor kill them painlessly with permission.

That is the same right that applies to everyone. It is equal. Just because everyone doesn’t get the right to euthanasia that doesn’t mean that they don’t have equal rights because they do. They have the right that I presented above. If at any point in any human’s life they become terminally ill and will most likely die then they will receive this right. Since anybody can receive the right under those circumstances they receive equal rights.

Sources in comments.


Let's start with Pro's concessions: (1) euthanasia creates risks of abuse/error, and (2) not all terminally ill patients suffer. The first concession means that euthanasia shouldn't be legal if there's better alternatives. The second concession undermines all of Pro's offense on suffering, because the resolution requires that Pro support euthanasia for all terminally ill patients, not just those who suffer.

Pro's case is vague, inconsistent, and incoherent. In R2, for example, Pro says the government doesn't have the right to intervene in matters of death. I pushed back on that, so in R3, Pro says the government should intervene in death, enact appropriate safeguards, record the event, and so on. Pro even says the government should help us make moral decisions, which sounds like paternalism rather than libertarianism. Now, in R4, Pro advocates some sort of bizarre paternalistic libertarian framework, where the government gets to help us make moral decisions, like stopping us from committing suicide, but it doesn't get to prevent doctors from killing their patients. And apparently the government also gets to intervene in death, decide who is expendable enough to be killed and who isn't (i.e. someone who suffers enough and is terminally ill apparently isn't worth fully protecting), and create a system where risks of abuse/error are preferred to alternatives without risks of abuse/error. This simply makes no sense. The framework underlying Pro's argument is incoherent.

The strangest argument Pro makes is his argument to prefer euthanasia over assisted suicide. Specifically, Pro says euthanasia is preferable because suicide is against the rules of two religions. But Pro doesn't advocate for these religions or their beliefs. Instead, Pro's argument rests on the idea that suicide isn't acceptable to these religious people, regardless of whether the religions are right or wrong. This argument isn't remotely compelling. The idea that voluntary euthanasia isn't suicide is bizarre: in both euthanasia and suicide, the patient intentionally acts to end their own life. The key difference is that euthanasia involves numerous risks of abuse and error because it empowers doctors to kill their patients, while assisted suicide and regular suicide don't. And the notion that we should enact a human right based on the preferences of a few religious people is simply unconvincing, especially when these two religions probably prohibit euthanasia anyway. Pro says we should enact rights based on the majority, but the entire point of human rights is to protect the minority from the majority. So that point also fails. Pro says I'm denying these religious people the right to die, but I'm not denying them anything. Their decision to commit suicide or to live through their suffering is a personal one that they make, on the basis of their religious views. They're free to change their religious views just as I'm free to change mine. Either way, the government shouldn't be enacting human rights on the basis of religious views.

The reason risks of abuse/error matter is because there's other options with no risks. For instance, suicide -- no doctor can mistakenly or intentionally end your life against your wishes when you commit suicide. The decision is completely yours. The same goes for assisted suicide, since you personally have to end your own life. Euthanasia simply gives doctors too much power over our lives, and the risks that entails aren't worth it, because there's other ways to end our lives, end our suffering, without any risks.

Pro's responses aren't persuasive. On suicide and the right to refuse medical treatment, Pro says he supports both but they're illegal in some places. However, that argument has no impact on the resolution, since the resolution is a normative one. Pro is advocating a change in the law, which means I can advocate a different change in the law that's preferable to Pro's change. I advocate the right to suicide, the right to refuse medical treatment, and in extreme cases, the right to assisted suicide. And my point is that there's no reason to legalize euthanasia simply because patients aren't allowed to commit suicide or refuse medical treatment. The solution to that problem is recognizing a right to suicide and a right to refuse treatment. You should prefer my solution because it doesn't have any of the risks associated with euthanasia.

On involuntary euthanasia, Pro says it's illegal everywhere. But this is untrue. The Netherlands legalized involuntary euthanasia a few years after legalizing voluntary euthanasia. This happened because both forms of euthanasia rest on the same logic: ending suffering. Pro's entire case rests on this same logic. The utilitarian project of weighing suffering against the right to life inevitably leads to involuntary euthanasia when suffering significantly outweighs the right to life. Of course, that determination is left to doctors and the state, which is what makes involuntary euthanasia such a frightening proposition. In response, Pro says that doctors won't be able to kill their patients painlessly if euthanasia is illegal. But that's untrue. And even if it's true, it's irrelevant. The point is that we need to discourage doctors from murdering their patients. If euthanasia is legal, there's less deterrence. There's always the excuse that it was a mistake (hence the risks of abuse). And there's risks of coercion.

Pro admits that euthanasia turns doctors into killers. Pro's torture point wasn't ignored; it was addressed by recognizing the right to refuse medical treatment. Doctors aren't under any obligation to prolong suffering. I also addressed it by pointing out access to palliative care. And in extreme circumstances, doctors can terminally sedate their patients, ending all suffering while still keeping their patients alive. This ensures that the medical profession remain focused on curing disease rather than killing.

Finally, extend my argument on equality. Pro's asking us to enforce an arbitrary distinction between people. In response, Pro says he's giving the right to euthanasia to everyone, except you only get the right when you're terminally ill. Well, not everyone is terminally ill, so not everyone has the right to euthanasia. Pro simply misunderstands my argument. Or his argument makes no sense. Or I'm too stupid to understand it. Either way, it's not important, because I win the debate on all the rest of the points addressed above. Also, remember that euthanasia rests on the notion that human life only has instrumental value. Pro completely ignores that point, so extend it fully. The impact is that any rationale for equal protection of the law drops away, because there's no reason to treat people equally if we don't actually think they're equal. Equality requires that we recognize the intrinsic value of human life.

For all those reasons, vote Con.
Debate Round No. 4
50 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by famousdebater 7 months ago
13k views. Pretty cool.
Posted by famousdebater 7 months ago
:P nac
Posted by CodingSource 8 months ago
"You must have at least 2500 elo to accept" Haha! I have 2,501 elo ranking.. 1 point difference
Posted by famousdebater 9 months ago
I agree with the last part too.
Posted by famousdebater 9 months ago
Yeah I know.
Posted by tricias33 9 months ago
On a side note, the homepage of had the title and category of this debate featured as shown here:

Euthanasia should be recognized as a human right for the terminally ill >> Politics

I think "terminally ill politics" opens up a whole new aspect previously not considered in this debate. LOL.
Posted by famousdebater 9 months ago
This debate is on the front page of DDO :D
Posted by Lexus 10 months ago
just as an aside, to get more lay appeal in your debates, have all of your contentions link back to one major thing. Like for the GMOs topic in PF last year, going around from 'war' to 'hunger' to 'soil content', etc. is just not really appealing. But when you have 'abject poverty' to 'homelessness' to 'destroying small business', there's a central theme and is much more compelling - even if the impacts are less than the other person's, most would vote for you because your impacts are understandable in aggregate
Posted by Anon_Mouse 10 months ago
It comes down to this for me,

If you have the right to life, Then you have the right to wave that right.
Posted by Sciguy 10 months ago
Screw it. If I ever go crazy or am already dieing I guess I'll have to commit suicide the old way rather than the peacful way...
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by whiteflame 1 year ago
Who won the debate:-Vote Checkmark
Reasons for voting decision: Given in comments.