Euthanasia should not be legalized.
Debate Rounds (3)
Are we, as a society, prepared to wager that our citizens will always have sincere and compassionate intentions in their hearts when they are ready to "pull the plug"?
While I sympathize with those who wish to end their own suffering on their own terms, the change in this law will lead to many instances of what is essentially legalized murder; the dispensing of a person whose existence has placed a burden on another's life.
In closing, I believe that the legalization of euthanasia will feed the abscess of selfishness, and offer freedom not to the dying, but to those who can not wait to be rid of them.
First and foremost, one's life belongs to one's own person. People must be free to live (and die) as they please. To suggest otherwise means one's life ought to be dictated by other people. That is an inherent violation of one's freedom and bodily autonomy. Bodily integrity is the inviolability of the physical body and emphasizes the importance of personal autonomy and the self-determination of human beings over their own bodies . The violation of bodily integrity is an unethical infringement.
The only exception to this standard regards a human being whose life is not self-realized. This includes fetuses before a certain state of development, living persons in a vegetative state, and people so terminally ill that they will assuredly die. Those people's lives can be ended through non-voluntary euthanasia in good conscience, as their 'personhood' status would be challenged given certain criteria of personhood (they lack consciousness) and therefore their legal right to life is no longer recognized.
Voluntary euthanasia gives people the option of dying with dignity on their own terms. It allows them to die peacefully and eases their pain and suffering. Exercising the right to personal autonomy is an inherent component of liberty. The state or personal interference of voluntary euthanasia inhibits freedom. It might also qualify as unnecessary torture. If we logically "put down" animals to ease their pain and soften transition to death, why exclude human beings from the same consideration? It is selfish to dictate how another person lives or dies if they are not harming anyone but themselves by choice.
Not allowing people in tremendous pain to opt out is cruel. It presumes that an outsider understands what the patient is feeling and undermines their desires out of selfish and culturally biased values. The patient is entitled to their own values and choices which might be different from other people's. Again, if they are not overtly harming another person, then they have the moral right to end their life or ease their pain on their own terms. Their life belongs to them and them alone.
In cases where people could not put an immediate end to their long, drawn out, insufferable agony (most people do NOT die quickly and painlessly in their sleep) then many choose to kill themselves through other means such as starvation or refusal of treatment. If people want to die they will find a way to die. It's morally sound to make their death as painless as possible.
Non-voluntary euthanasia ought to be reserved only for those who are terminally ill and at the very end of their expected life. It would be pointless to argue that a very rare miracle with 0.000001% chance of probability ought to dictate our legal parameters. Those who have power-of-attorney rights over someone should be able to "pull the plug" at their discretion. A medical power of attorney is a document that lets you appoint someone you trust to make decisions about your medical care if you cannot make them yourself .
Euthanasia objectors push fear mongering, such as the myth that allowing euthanasia will suddenly make the world murder-hungry, greedy, evil and death crazed -- a complete exaggeration with no substantiated proof whatsoever. After all we only give power of attorney rights to those we trust, such as our spouse or children.
In countries that have legalized euthanasia such as the Netherlands, euthanasia itself remains a criminal act unless carried out by a qualified doctor with the consent of a legal and ethics expert . This means that mercy killing does not have to be and should not be a frivolous endeavor to be taken lightly. Instead standards would be imposed to ensure the patient is either fully conscious and voluntarily ending their life, or investigating the circumstances surrounding a power-of-attorney or next of kin to make that decision in the case of non-voluntary euthanasia. In other words the process would not target the vulnerable (the old, disabled and wary) and pressure them to end their lives, or leave their lives in the hands of a stranger or one with ulterior motives. It should simply be an option in particular circumstances that warrant it.
Many people who choose or plan on choosing euthanasia insist that the optional choice enhances the quality of their own lives . They know to make each day count and feel totally in control of how the rest of their life will proceed. This is an invaluable emotional and spiritual gift that almost rivals the gift of physical health. After all, most of us probably hope to die peacefully and painlessly one day since death is inevitable for us all.
Finally, I can't ignore the financial and economic analysis surrounding assisted suicide. While you cannot put a price on life, the cost of end-of-life care is objectively not worth the money when you factor inevitability and the state of the prolonged life. It could cost tens of thousands of dollars to keep someone alive for even just a few days while they are not even aware they are alive . Considering many of these people don't want to be alive (and will waste money living in agony instead of making better use of that money for the living whose lives are valued and actually improved by that money), then you have to consider who really benefits from forced survival - especially if the cost is being passed on to others.
There's no legitimately good reason to mandate that another person live against their will, especially if they are suffering. Fear mongering won't work when scrutinizing statistics. For example in 2005, a study by the New England Journal of Medicine found that only 0.4 percent of all euthanasia procedures were carried out without the patient"s explicit permission . This among other facts would immediately rule out the notion that permissible euthanasia would compel a death frenzy. This process is typically reserved for those who want to die with dignity - not those with a presumed incentive to kill others.
A Dutch report found that in 86 percent of cases, euthanasia shortened life by a maximum of a week and usually only a few hours . In other words, it was a last resort - an escape used by patients in unbearable agony who would rather that agony be ended now than in two days time. We have no reason to believe that the option would be abused. Even if it were a possibility, the fact that almost every single aspect of our lives is subjected to possible corruption, abuse or misuse would likely significantly undermine those arguments in comparison to the reality of forced life which is essentially torture for many terminally ill euthanasia recipients.
Facilitating death with dignity doesn't mean that a patient would be excluded from the best care or have other options ignored or dismissed preemptively. It simply ensures one's life is not valued by longevity but quality, and that each person has the right to govern their own bodies -- including giving other people the authority to do so when they no longer have the ability.
To the first point, I would ask if all people do (or should) have the freedom to live and die as they please. They certainly do not have the freedom to live as they please if they are breaking the law. We are not "free" in the selfish sense of the word (and never have been), but only free to recognize the social contract which has been forged for our benefit through centuries of trial and error. We may choose to reject the duties that bind us to that contract, but then we also may find that true freedom requires duty and thoughtfulness toward others.
There is a growing myth which young people love, called "Personal bodily autonomy." The idea that what they do to themselves is no one's business but their own, and that the emotional or indirect pain their decisions cause to others is trumped by the supposed nobleness of their mandate to only harm themselves. Casual drug users (especially those whose drugs are obtained by association with violent criminals) are a shining example of this phenomenon. The argument can extend to suicide. A depressed teenager who destroys his family by ending his life over what he may have one day come to understand as a trivial issue should not be granted an admission of "bodily autonomy" for his ill-considered decision. There is no reason to believe that medically assisted "suicide watches" for those who have tried to harm themselves is an infringement on their freedom. Society has a vested interest in the value of each human life, in order to carry on the next generation. Yet more and more we are told of the virtue of autonomy; that the future of politicking is in defending the rights of citizens to pursue their own pleasures, desires, and whims at any cost, save the "direct" physical harm of others. The circumstance of the teenager is of course much different than that of the one who suffers pain in illness, but it is an important to bypass the notion that by sherry picking John Stuart Mill we can convince ourselves that we are totally free in our own bodies. Our society does allow ingratitude and selfishness to take precedence over participation, but these choices should not be held up as virtue.
As for my opponent's thoughts on autonomy and involuntary euthanasia, I ask: who gets to decide the criteria of personhood? Is it the medical doctors whose evaluation procedures are based on a continuum of change, dependent on fresh scientific data? Ethical "experts" who grant themselves the status of philosopher kings? If there were truly such thing as an ethical expert, we would have no choice but to consider that person a god. The notion that anyone can claim such a position is appalling.
My opponent claims that the system is secured with impediments to protect the vulnerable, while at the same time arguing that people "so" terminally ill that they will die, have no legal right to life. This is the exact sort of language that will make the change in these laws so incredibly dangerous, because it already assumes that human life loses value in unconsciousness, and loses all value when unconsciousness is the preamble to death. These terms are based in utility and function, and they forego any thought of unalterable human value.
My argument is not for the perpetuation of torture, or to deny that people can suffer terribly in their last days, weeks, or months, but against the idea that we should trust in a bureaucracy to organize the implementation of "compassionate killing." Once an old law is destroyed it is nearly impossible to reconstruct, and the new law becomes easier to expand and undermine. Already we are seeing the laws being bent, reshaped or broken in Belgium, where nearly one third of euthanasia procedures in Flanders are happening without the patient"s consent (1). In fact, one out of every two cases of euthanasia are not even reported to a control committee (2). The laws are expanding rapidly in countries that also promised a secure and discretionary vision of assisted suicide. The latest change has been the movement to allow voluntary child euthanasia, (3) The point is, is that there is always a claim in political arguments about the rights of the individual in matters of life and death that the procedures used for termination will only be used sparingly and for a select few who have been screened to meet proper ethical guidelines. But as always happens when powerful lobbies push for radical changes in law, the momentum never ceases, the laws expand, and it becomes harder to contain the things they claimed they could control.
The argument in favour of voluntary euthanasia is much stronger as it is hard to argue that forcing someone to suffer unimaginable pain is a morally sound option. But nevertheless, I'm unconvinced that anyone is actually being forced to endure suffering. There is a distinction between refusing medical care, (which is perfectly legal), and having another human kill you out of mercy. I don't think it's a fair assertion to say that doctors who refuse to kill their sick patients are guilty of torture. All measures are taken in palliative care to ensure the minimization of pain. If a patient wants to refuse life support, it is illegal for the doctor to ignore the request because that in fact would be forcing an extended and unwanted lifespan onto that person. He or she must adhere to the wishes of the patient so long as they perform no action that leads to an unnatural death. So, again, there is no legal mandate that forces suffering upon the sick. Illness and suffering are natural phenomenon that we all endure, and to deem this reality as the moral equivalent of torture is wrong. It will create a culture of fraudulent ethical guilt in the medical establishment, and as all new ideas become easier with repetition, the old morality will fade, and the killing of "unsalable" humans will become routine. In other words, "The doctor will not kill me, therefore he is torturing me," is a non-logical statement. The doctor does not inflict pain upon you, it is only the nature of your own biology and evolution. This is not to say that there shouldn't be a discussion about the brutality that illness can cause, and whether there are viable options to end that suffering in extreme cases, but it cannot be said that any human is torturing another human by doing nothing to them.
Finally, this brings me to the point my opponent made about fear mongering. The claim that allowing euthanasia will create a social death spiral of murder-hungry citizens is indeed an exaggeration. But not on my part. I don't know who argues that such an openly apocalyptic scenario would unfold, but it's certainly a great satirical distraction from the quiet and slippery way that it actually would. Humans have an uncanny ability to lie to themselves, and most of us do not ponder morality in our day to day decision making. It's much easier to assume we are doing the right thing without examining ourselves thoroughly and logically. It is one thing to say that you feel the pain another endures, and quite another to actually feel it. It seems to me that taking on the decision whether to kill someone you are supposed to love is no small task, and would require more than just the liberty of the state to allow you to go ahead and do such a thing. What if you were wrong? What if in your heart you were just beaten down and tired, and you clutched onto that word "compassion" in order to convince yourself that what you were doing was morally acceptable? I don't know that it is so easy to assume that your intentions are sincere enough to warrant the killing of another. I do know that just because someone is your close relative, it does not guarantee they have your best interests at heart. Family members commit heinous acts against one another all the time. The users of this legislation will not all be humane people as we are led to believe. This law will open the door for every member of society. Even the heartless.
I'd like to thank Pro for his rebuttal.
My opponent begins by saying that we are not free to live as we please; we must abide by the rules that govern society. However that is an appeal to authority. The law has been wrong many times throughout history, such as when we had legal slaves or women were inhibited from voting. We should not use the law as a moral reference but rather make ethical propositions about what the law should be.
Second, Pro claims that bodily autonomy is a myth that ought not to be respected. He goes on to say that when an individual takes their own life, it hurts other people, thus how we treat our own bodies does affect others so our lives should somehow be regulated by others. However that is a nonsensical proposition. If I choose to get a tattoo, my mom might not like it, but it is my body and my choice. If I get pregnant, some people might not want me to keep the baby, but it is my body and my choice. That is both a moral and legal standard.
Both the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights recognize the right to bodily integrity . Pro is arguing that other people should dictate how we use our bodies. This would effectively make us slaves. If Pro is correct and we do NOT possess stewardship of our own bodies, then rape would be perfectly fine, because how other people wanted to use our bodies is somehow more important than how we choose to use our own bodies. Obviously this is a shoddy standard. We possess the right to bodily autonomy because any other standard means our bodies can be dictated by other people's desires.
Next Pro questions who gets to decide the qualifying factors of personhood. He considers it "appalling" that philosophers have debated this notion, but this is meaningless rhetoric. Philosophers have debated the right to life and concepts such as God. Strong theists might find it "appalling" that many people/philosophers are atheists, but that does not make their beliefs any less valid.
My opponent thinks there is a logical disconnect because some people make the voluntary choice to be euthanized... which is true, and because some people that are euthanized lack the sentience to have self-awareness and choose... which is also true. The two are not mutually exclusive. Someone can make the choice to be euthanized while their brains are fully functioning, and then have that go into effect once they are no longer sentient.
For example, Brittany Maynard famously brought the euthanasia conversation to the mainstream when she decided that she wanted to end her life before dying from the natural causes of brain cancer . Maynard knew that there was no treatment that could save her life, and the treatment she endured would ruin what little time she had left. As such, she fought to "die with dignity" and made that conscious choice, like so many others in her position .
However euthanasia should not only be for those who can consciously consent -- I've argued (and will continue to explain) why this should be an option for someone who is in a vegetative state, especially if their power of attorney wills it to be so. But nonetheless, the resolution of this debate makes no stipulation about when and where euthanasia ought to apply. I can argue that euthanasia ONLY be for those who consciously consent and still win this debate.
My opponent claims that the possibility of euthanasia "already assumes that human life loses value in unconsciousness, and loses all value when unconsciousness is the preamble to death. These terms are based in utility and function, and they forego any thought of unalterable human value." It's important to note that value is subjective. Yet indeed if one is unconscious or not sentient, they lack self-awareness or any indication of being alive or knowing the self at all . Unlike fetuses that are not YET sentient, euthanasia is typically reserved for those who will never again become sentient. In the last round, I proved that in most cases it was reserved for the end of one's natural life.
Pro claims that he does not favor the prolonging of torture or suffering, yet that is exactly what he is proposing.
He says that he simply does not trust bureaucracy to make decisions about life or death. However I've argued that people can voluntarily opt to be euthanized once they reach a certain stage in their life, or people assign loved ones to be medical power of attorneys. This means people select others they trust with their lives to make medical decisions on their behalf if they are not able to do so. This happens all the time when people go in for surgery or have life threatening illnesses that might require others to make medical decisions for them .
My opponent then goes on to make some claims about Belgium; however, he lists two sources and never cites them. But I looked up the information and not surprisingly, Pro leaves out some very important information! In 52.7 percent of these cases, the patients were 80 years of age or older. The decision to euthanize was not discussed with the patient in 77.9 percent of the cases because he/she was comatose or had dementia .
Furthermore, Belgium passed the Euthanasia Act in 2002, which states that only voluntary euthanasia is legally permissible . Therefore, all of the non-consensual euthanasia that occurs in Belgium is illegal. This means euthanasia would occur even if and when it is illegal. It makes sense to keep euthanasia legalized, as any person who wants to die would simply find ways to kill themselves - and probably not in a way that is peaceful.
Moreover, "Although annual euthanasia cases are steadily multiplying in Belgium... instances of euthanasia without explicit consent from the patient have actually decreased since 1996" . Pro is simply not giving all of the information about what's happening in Belgium or the Netherlands. Dutch Penal Code Articles 293 and 294 have established very specific guidelines for when euthanasia is appropriate.
Pro says that he is "unconvinced" that people who are not allowed to opt for euthanasia are suffering. That is patently false regardless of Pro's conviction. Indeed many people who choose euthanasia do so because they suffer tremendously. Worse, the number of people experiencing pain in the last year of life actually increased by nearly 12 percent between 1998 and 2010 .
Pro also says "There is a distinction between refusing medical care, and having another human kill you out of mercy." In reality there is no difference in terms of effect. By refusing medical care, you are choosing to die. By choosing euthanasia, you are also choosing to die. The difference is one choice involves pain and suffering, and the other does not have to. The other option can be quick, painless and as least traumatic as possible.
Pro writes, "If a patient wants to refuse life support, it is illegal for the doctor to ignore the request because that in fact would be forcing an extended and unwanted lifespan onto that person..." yet Pro is calling for a forced extension of unwanted lifespan to people who ask for euthanasia.
My opponent makes two points in conclusion of the last round: first, he says that people lie to themselves about what they want without really thinking it through. This is an unsubstantiated bare assertion with no proof. Second, he says that not all family members (or the state/doctors) have your best interest at heart. Once again, we give our loved ones rights over our medical choices assuming we may not always be conscious to make them ourselves. This is a common procedure in our everyday healthcare and legal system. Thus we shouldn't assume a random or selfish family member or doctor is making the call, but a trusted loved one that was selected by the patient in question to carry out their wishes on what to do with their own bodies.
The question that needs to be asked is: What is freedom? My assertion was only that it is not the same sort of freedom given from these libertarian types. Bodily autonomy is a myth in the libertarian sense. (Nowhere did I say that a person's body should not be respected, though the implication is in my opponent's argument)
There is no such thing as freedom (or autonomy) without consequence. We are free to attempt to do whatever we please with ourselves. If we physically assault, or rape someone else we are supposed to be punished. (Not sure how my argument was misconstrued as a pro rape one) We can all agree that acts of violence should be recognized as punishable by the state. This is what bodily integrity is. You have a right live without your person being assaulted or molested. There is a balancing act with what you can do to yourself. It is not as black and white as the libertarians claim it to be, and this is because of consequence. Once again, we are not free of consequence, and never have been.
Getting a tattoo that your mother disapproves of is much different than the indirect participation in violence caused by buying drugs from criminals. These are two different circumstances, with different moral consequences. What connects them is that these matters are often defended with the libertarian notion that one can do with one's body so long as they think they are only harming themselves. Just because you don't see the violence happen, doesn't mean you are not a party to it. I only make this point to show the weakness of the argument for euthanasia solely based on libertarian principles. (And I'm already sure I'll lose this debate because nothing upsets people more than telling them they can't always do what they want.)
My argument does not say that people shouldn't get tattoos, or offend their parents. It's only an appeal to authority in matters of cause and effect. It's the consequence that's important. The libertarian argument as a whole is simple, shallow and based in self interest. There are times when people doing things to and for themselves will have far reaching negative consequences, and it is in these matters that authority may have to recognize it. We don't condone public acts of sex even though no one is technically being harmed. We understand that such a thing would have a negative impact on our culture and the way we value sex, relationships, and the way we teach these things to our children. We have founded a society where we are free to do many things without state intrusion, but we have stopped well short of anarchy.
Euthanasia proponents (and revolutionary thinkers alike) tend to start from a position that the compassion and goodness of humanity is in a captive state, like a flower not yet blossomed; while conservative thinkers tend to see human nature as something corruptible and innately blemished. This is why conservatives are sceptical of revolutionary causes and emotional appeals to change long standing structures, because they often start with good intentions and end in something much more authoritarian than the standing structures that conservatives defend. Sometimes society does get it horribly wrong, and my opponent will be quick to point out slavery. But the opposition to slavery was based on the same conviction that all humans possess an innate and unshakable worth by the grace that they are human. It was the faulty and absurdly incorrect utilitarian argument that kept them in chains.
My opponent insists on bringing abortion into the argument so I will address it. Before the (English) Abortion Act of 1967 it was promised that abortion would not become "abortion on demand", that it would only be used in special circumstances including rape and threat to the life of the mother. (No libertarian arguments!) Those who fought for this law believed in what they said. Since then the number of abortions have sky-rocketed in England (1), and the original vision has expanded beyond recognition (save the foresight of the opposition who predicted what would come). The point is, is that it's much harder to regulate legal activity than it is to keep it illegal. In 1967, the pro-abortion movement did not condone or even want abortion on demand, but now it is considered sexist to even question whether the movement has gone too far. Con makes the same sort of claims (however well-intentioned) about euthanasia and how it will only be used in the strictest terms. But how can she be sure? Is it not a safer bet to assume what we already know about humans? That when you give an inch, they take a mile. (I don't think this point will phase Con, because while she might not see abortion as a decision to be made lightly, her libertarian principle will override any argument against it, as is the case with most modern pro-choice proponents.)
Despite what she says, I do not find it appalling that people have debated standards of personhood, as she and I are doing so right now. What I find appalling is that a so called ethical "expert" is placed in a starting position that gives them the power to end life based on their subjective and politically defined view of ethics. There are no ethical experts. Only ethical philosophers. I'm saying that the idea that we're told society can breathe easy because an ethicist is put in place to ensure us of our moral integrity, shows the lack of thought we have going into this.
Con claims that human value is subjective. But that view only works if we all agree to respect each other's subjective claims. She ignores the subjective judgement that one may have for another. If I said that a handicapped person has less value as a human being, I'm sure she would not respect my subjective point of view. This is why we need a universal human standard of unalterable value. Because while she might be able to distinguish between the utility of someone in a vegetable state and someone in tremendous pain (perhaps ungodly pain) who still appreciates their own life, the good doctor may not. How easy is it to ignore the growing reports of elderly abuse and maltreatment in homes, and still believe each sick, or possibly demented person, will always be treated with the dignity and respect they require for their own protection?
Again, I have to defend myself (and use up word count) by pointing out another instance that my opponent has twisted my words. I did not claim that I'm unconvinced that people not allowed to opt for euthanasia are actually suffering. I said that I'm unconvinced they are being tortured by the state or by another human being. I won't make the argument again. You can read back to see what I said. I wonder if the government will eventually force all of us to name the persons who are to be responsible for us in our sickness, and how long it will be before those people are told that by keeping us alive they are torturing us? The end result is already waiting, and the road of guilt leading there is already being paved.
My argument has never been that people who suffer do not deserve sympathy and compassion, or that wanting to die makes them bad people, or even that an act of assisted dying cannot be a true act of mercy. My argument is whether or not the legalization of the act is a good thing. My opponent claims that I'm calling for a forced extension of unwanted lifespan. I reject that. Words such as "forced" and "torture" used in places where they don't belong will bring about the fraudulent ethical guilt that makes killing another human being as easy as putting down a sick pet. I'm not so sure that is a future we will be glad to have.
My opponent begins by claiming that bodily autonomy is a myth. While it may not be real in the legal sense, I've explained that we should be discussing what the law ought to be. I've argued why we should have bodily autonomy in the fullest sense, even though that is not always the case legally.
Con writes, "We can all agree that acts of violence should be recognized as punishable by the state. This is what bodily integrity is." However violence should not be punished by the state; aggression should be punished by the state. The distinction is that aggression involves physical force against another person, which infringes on other people's rights.
On the contrary, bodily integrity is the right of the individual to do what they please with their own body. Con (snidely) comments that "nothing upsets people more than telling people they can't do what they want." However I have not argued that people should be able to do whatever they want, but free to do whatever they want with their OWN body.
I will copy and paste what I said last round because it's important: Pro is arguing that other people should dictate how we use our bodies. This would effectively make us slaves. If Pro is correct and we do NOT possess stewardship of our own bodies, then rape would be perfectly fine, because how other people wanted to use our bodies is somehow more important than how we choose to use our own bodies. Obviously this is a shoddy standard.
We possess the right to bodily autonomy because any other standard means our bodies can be dictated by other people's desires.
Con writes, "Despite what she says, I do not find it appalling that people have debated standards of personhood." However in the previous round, he wrote, "I ask: who gets to decide the criteria of personhood? ...The notion that anyone can claim such a position is appalling."
As you can see, I used his own words here. However Con says what he finds appalling is that a so called ethical "expert" would exercise their subjective and politically defined view of ethics. There are no ethical experts, he says, only ethical philosophers... and yet this is an incredibly hypocritical position. He concedes that his opinion is completely arbitrary. It's a subjective preference based on his cultural conditioning and his individual, personal values.
This is exactly why acknowledging and upholding individual rights is so important.
If I would prefer to die peacefully and painlessly, as opposed to suffer a long, drawn out, insufferable, traumatic, painful, agonizing death -- that should be my right, as I am not hurting anyone else and should be able to exercise MY values over MY person.
Con readily admits that there is no such thing as an ethical expert, yet hypocritically insists that HIS value system ought to dictate how other people live (or end) their lives. While he criticizes people for wanting to "do what they want," he also wants to do what he wants: prohibit people from exercising their personal freedom.
The difference here is clear. I am arguing that we have individual rights to dictate how we treat our own bodies, so long as it does not involve aggression (force) against another. Yet Con wants to use government force to make it criminal for us to govern our own bodies. He wants to aggressively impose his personal ideals based on HIS politically defined view of ethics.
Con also says that I have brought up abortion; however, I only mentioned one single line about abortion. I pointed out that sentience is a reasonable standard for qualifying the right to life and personhood, which is why it is morally and legally utilized in that regard (where abortion is only legal in the early stages of pregnancy).
Here was my singular abortion reference: Unlike fetuses that are not YET sentient, euthanasia is typically reserved for those who willnever again become sentient. I proved that in most cases it was reserved for the end of one's natural life.
Con states, "If I said that a handicapped person has less value as a human being, I'm sure she would not respect my subjective point of view. This is why we need a universal human standard of unalterable value."
First, Con is correct that I would not respect his subjective point of view. However his POV is meaningless. Unless he was trying to infringe upon a handicapped person's rights, he is entitled to hold whatever opinion he wants, however asinine or outrageous I might find it.
Now if he suggested killing someone for being handicapped, the law should step in as that involves aggression against another person. I've made myself perfectly clear throughout this debate. People often choose euthanasia while they are fully conscious and readily willing. People also choose power of attorneys that they trust to make life-or-death medical decisions for them. As such, Con is drawing incomparable analogies by bringing up aggression of handicapped people. He is suggesting I would condone violence against others, just because I have condoned "violence" against the self which is unfounded.
Moreover, there already IS a human standard of unalterable value that I have proposed to distinguish the right to life: a particular level of sentience or self-awareness.
In conclusion, I'll re-cap my arguments.
1. One's life belongs to one's own person due to the concept of bodily autonomy. To reject this principle means our bodies are at the mercy of other people's desires.
(Fortunately, both the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights recognize the right to bodily integrity.)
2. Voluntary euthanasia gives people the option of dying with dignity on their own terms. It allows them to die peacefully and eases their suffering.
3. Not allowing people in tremendous pain to opt out is cruel. It presumes that an outsider understands what the patient is feeling and undermines their desires out of culturally biased, subjective preferences and selfish desires.
4. Non-voluntary euthanasia ought to be reserved only for those who are terminally ill and at the very end of their expected life. It should only be legally enacted by a power of attorney.
5. End-of-life care is ridiculously expensive and futile. Patients are in tremendous pain or completely unaware that they even exist. Forcing them to stay alive against their wishes is cruel and unusual.
6. We show greater concern for pets. We don't want animals to suffer at the end of their lives, but Con wants people to suffer, often against their will.
7. People who want to die will either commit suicide or refuse medical treatment. This means they will die in a lot of agony and pain (when they are still conscious). If they can legally refuse treatment and kill themselves that way, why not let them "kill themselves" without needless suffering?
8. Facilitating death with dignity doesn't mean that a patient would be excluded from the best care, or have other options ignored or dismissed preemptively. It simply ensures one's life is not valued by longevity but quality.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Udel 8 months ago
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Reasons for voting decision: my rfd can be found in this thread http://www.debate.org/forums/debate.org/topic/88549/
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