The Instigator
shoutevenshy
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
planck
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points

Euthanasia

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/8/2015 Category: People
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 320 times Debate No: 79537
Debate Rounds (5)
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shoutevenshy

Con

The discussion about assisted suicide is one of the biggest ethical dilemmas we have today. Both sides have quality argumentation, which makes it so hard to pick a side. Sources claim 70 per cent of the population is in favor of assisted suicide (source: http://www.abc.net.au...) though I think there is a very good reason why it is not legal yet. People are not really in disagreement whether we should allow assisted suicide, people are in disagreement where to draw the line, and to be honest I doubt many regular people have given this question a thought, and that is why the side against is winning.

Think about it for a second, where do we draw the line? Do we set an age limit? if so, is it ethically right to let an 8 year old suffer simply because he"s too young to be granted the right to die with dignity? If not, is it ethically right to let an 8 year old decide whether or not he wants to live, and if that isn"t good enough for you either, then is it ethically right to give other people the right to decide on an 8 year old children behalf whether he gets to live?

Does the law only apply to terminally ill people? If not, what are the demands we need to require for a person to be eligible to die with dignity? Do mental illnesses count? If so, what about Schizophrenia, which is a disorder where the person can lose his sanity? And what about depression and other disorder that are curable, but make people suicidal? Should we obey their illnesses and let them "die with dignity"?. These are just a few of the questions the side in favor can not answer the opposing side, and this is why the law does not get passed in most places. 80% in favor is useless, unless we make a referendum, but for such an ethical and life-threatening as this one, I think it would be stupid to put the decision in the hands of uneducated people with no experience on the matter.

The effectiveness the side in favor is clearly effective on a public matter. Their argumentation is good and persuasive, but it is weak when it receives any form of criticism from educated people. If they want to win, they need to make a clear list of what they actually want this law to apply to.

The opposing side is much more strong, simply because they know exactly what they want. It is much easier to be against something than be in favor of it, so it"s not because they are more clever, or they are right " that is just how it is. But what makes them unreliable is the fact that many of them are affected by their own religion. Almost all religions, especially monotheism, frown upon suicide, because they believe it takes away the privilege they believe their God has, which is to give and take life. When religion is taken into account in any political discussion, it becomes hypothetical and irrelevant. Those might be odd choices of words, but let me explain. Almost all countries have a large religious diversity. When your argumentation includes your own religious conviction you are automatically pushing everyone who have a different conviction than you onto the other side, because the battle of the religions is a never-ending hot topic. Your point becomes irrelevant, not because it is bad or wrong, but because those who share your religious views agree with you for that reason, and those who disagree with them disagree with you too.

Hypothetical, because when including religion in your argument you automatically raise an even bigger question " is there a God? Are there supernatural powers? And you base your argumentation on that the answer to these questions is; yes. Since the answer to these question are, as for now, unknown to man, people will read or hear your point of view and say; Yes, that"s a very good point, if your religious conviction is true.

Even though it seems like I am opposing assisted suicide, technically I am not. I am not completely in favor of it either, because I think the points the opposing side is making are valid and important. Especially since there are people who say that when they found out their disease was terminal they "might have been open to the option of ending their life by legal means, had these existed." (source: https://www.churchofengland.org...)

Terminal diseases are emotional rollercoasters. Depression, stress, fear and countless other things that risk your own sanity are usually follow.

Go onto Google and type "miraculously healed from terminal disease". You get a lot of hits, because there are miracle stories, people with terminal cancer have been healed and more importantly doctors have been wrong, a lot of times actually. This is why I find it very disturbing that people with terminal diseases are so quick to give up. Maybe that is insensitive and possibly even a stupid thing to say. If it was me who had lost all hope of getting better, that doesn"t mean my family has. And even though I"m dead and unable to have an opinion after I am dead from assisted suicide, my family is not. They are forever going to ask the question "what if?".

I am not sure which side I support. I think I am leaning towards keeping in illegal, but just for now, simply because there are too many dilemmas within the actual dilemma. But I am not forgetting those who have to live everyday in unbearable pain, and I can honestly and fully understand if you would want to take your own life because of that, I also think about the people with diseases like early stage Alzheimer"s, and are aware of what their future holds. I think it is only human to let them die while they still have their sanity, and spare their loved ones from seeing their soul die but their body live on. I also think of those who are facing long, hard, physically and mentally weary terminal diseases. I do think they should be granted the right to die with dignity, but before we decide on where to reasonably draw the line, I am keeping my vote on the opposing side.
planck

Pro

Of all the property rights that individual humans might possess, the most basic one is the property of life. One may have every bit of personal possessions taken away, but your life is still your own. That's what makes slavery such a horrendous crime. The slave owner takes away even that last vestige of property.

If you accept the idea of individual lives being the property of each human, then each of us should have the right to do with it as we would with any other piece of property - keep it, guard it, or give it up. It's an idea that we already accept under certain circumstances. We've all heard the phrase "he gave up his life for his ______________(fill in the blank)". The phrase has no ambiguity about it. The person being described actually gave up his most precious possession, his life, for some noble cause and we usually highly praise him for his sacrifice. We accept, what amounts to a suicide, because it's for some fine purpose. If we can accept it for that, why can't we accept it for reasons that are equally important to the person contemplating the act?

Now we can debate, at great length, about where the lines should be drawn. What's the minimum age, mental health status, etc. that a person must have before getting access to the pills, but those are really secondary arguments. We can come up with those guidelines later. We could start out by stating that every competent adult has the right of self determination. It wont be a new concept. Doctor assisted suicide has been in use for a number of years in several U.S. states as well as in a number of Western European nations and, at least within the U.S. there have been few, of any, reports of abuse. The issue, for me, is what gives another person the right to dictate to me, a competent adult, what I will do with my life?
Debate Round No. 1
shoutevenshy

Con

I fail to see how this is an effective argument, as my opponent answers all my questions with 'we can come up with the guidelines later'. These guidelines are the key to whether or not anyone can support it - would you support that just anyone could kill themselves without a reasonable explanation as to why they wish to do so? I'm gonna assume no, therefore we need guidelines before we can determine whether or not we support it.

So I'm gonna ask my opponent some questions

1. Should there be age limit?
If yes, what should the age limit be, and why are people under that given age not suitable to die with dignity?
if no, is an 8 year old girl mature enough to die with dignity?

2. Should psychological diseases be a valid reason assisted suice?
If yes, what about depression, which can lead a person to suicide thoughts. Suicide thoughts can be a sympton, not necessarily a rational wish.
If no, what about patients who are diagnosed with Alzheimer's and know before hand that soon they're memory will be gone entirely, should they not be granted the wish to die with dignity?
planck

Pro

Whenever we"re considering the establishment of a new social policy, it seems reasonable to first decide on the overall principle we"re supporting and then work out the details of how to implement that policy. It seems counter intuitive to reverse that process " sort of like designing the type of windows to install before deciding to build a house. For this debate I would think that the first decision that needs to be made is whether or not there should be a social policy that would allow the practice of euthanasia for competent individuals and, having determined that, work out the details of implementing the policy that would address the legitimate concerns that Con has raised.

The key ingredient for implementation is "competence". According to USLegal.com, competency is defined as "Competency refers to the mental ability to understand problems and make decisions". Anyone who desires euthanasia should be required to show that they are, in fact, a competent individual. The details of how that would be accomplished are far too complex to be covered within this debate format but it needs to be understood that we"ve been making that determination for many years in both legal and medical matters. In my opinion, competency should not be arbitrarily determined strictly by age. There are teenagers who exhibit a high degree of maturity as well as 40 year olds who exhibit none.

Psychological diseases should not, in themselves, be a reason for denial, unless the disease has made the patient incompetent. Patients should be able to include in their advance directives, instructions requesting euthanasia in the event that they are declared incompetent such as would be the case with Alzheimer"s disease.

The guiding principle behind all of my arguments is that all competent individuals should be allowed the maximum amount of freedom to determine their own fate, consistent with the principle of avoiding unnecessary harm to others. If such an individual, having considered all the pros and cons makes a rational decision to end his or her life and is physically incapable of committing suicide, euthanasia should be an available option.
Debate Round No. 2
shoutevenshy

Con

It is very reasonable to discuss these principles first, and that is what I suggest we will be doing in this debate. We are discussing whether or not euthanasia should be legal, and in order to do that we need to discuss the advantages and disadvantages with it. I have presented some disadvantages, and since we are not the politicians making these decisions the only thing we can do is convince each other. We are not discussing windows of a house, we are talking about something much more important and fundamental than windows. We are discussing the size of the house, the location and we are talking about the cost of the house - a few VERY important decisions that need to be made before you start building the house.

The first answer my opponents gives me is that every person wanting assisted suicide should be have his or hers competence evaluated. I would like to ask how this would be done, in what way could one determine whether or not a patient is competent enough to decide their own fate? I would then like to ask my opponent if he or she thinks it is rational and morally right to help a perfectly healthy, young person with assisted suicide, simply because that is his or hers wish? If there was a person, perfectly functional, mentally healthy who was tired of life at an age of 40, would it be morally right to help them?

Then my opponent says that a psychological disease should not be a denial, unless the patient is incompetent. People with depression sometimes don't know it themselves, people around them have no clue. There are people who committed suicide and left the people around them shocked, because they saw that person as a happy person living his life. These people are obviously competent, since they fooled every person around them, however would you say that they are mentally stable enough to make this decision for themselves?
planck

Pro

Before our would-be homeowners talk about the size, location, and cost of the prospective dwelling they first need to decide that they would like to build one. Having made that choice, they then flesh out the details.

As I mentioned in the previous round, competency determinations are nothing new. We make them all the time for elders whose children wish to assume guardianship of, for minor children who want to be emancipated from their parents control, for criminal defendants who want to use incompetence as a defense, and for seriously ill patients who wish to have all medical treatment terminated against the advice of their doctors and/or family members. That last example is, effectively, also an example of currently acceptable euthanasia. Not being a professional I can't provide the exact details of the process, but I understand that it basically amounts to a judge appointing one or more medical or mental health professions to make the determination.

A healthy 17, or 40 year old who requested euthanasia would still have to exhibit competence and stating that the reason for the request is, say, his girlfriend left him or boredom with life would be prima facie evidence of incompetence. Anyone requesting that service from a medical professional should have to provide a rational reason for the request; and the professional could only dispense the requested medication if the request conformed to both the moral code of the professional and the guidelines of her profession.

Con seems to believe that having a psychological disease automatically makes that person incompetent. I don't agree. Certainly some illnesses have that effect, but not all. Winston Churchill, Abraham Lincoln, David Bohn (quantum physicist), the astronaut Buzz Aldrin, are just a few among many who have suffered from severe depression and were certainly fully competent and capable of rational decision making. There are a number of unfortunate patients whom have suffered through years of deep depression that has proven to be untreatable by counseling, drugs, surgery, and shock treatment. These patients may have a very rational reason for euthanasia as an alternative to a lifetime of misery. What right do we have to deny them that relief?

I would like Con to answer the following question: Would you support a legal system that allowed voluntary euthanasia limited strictly to adult, competent patients with incurable diseases whose symptoms include untreatable and intractable pain such as terminal cancer or rabies; or extreme reductions in the quality of life such as ALS, Alzheimer's, etc? We are, I think, debating whether or not euthanasia is an acceptable alternative, not how that alternative will be administered - are we not? If Con answers my question in the affirmative, we're agreeing that euthanasia is an acceptable treatment. We're only, possibly, disagreeing about it's administration.
Debate Round No. 3
shoutevenshy

Con

Okay this house analogy doesn't work for me anymore. We are arguing about a law that has to be passed - you can't PASS a law without talking about the details. When a suspect arrives at the court, does the court decide whether or not to punish him first? No, they talk about the details and hear everyone's stories, THEN they decide whether or not it is advisable to punish the suspect.

You say they have to provide a ration reason for request - how do we define what is rational, and where is the line of what is rational enough and what is not? Why is the guy with the broken heart's reason for wanting to end his life not rational enough?

I don't know how my opponent got the idea that I don't think people with psychological diseases are all incompetent to make their own decisions. I pointed at a specific group of people, and I asked a question. My opponent then says that long term depression has been proven to be non-treatable. I must be totally honest and say that I have never heard of that before, is there a chance my opponent could provide me sources?

"We are, I think, debating whether or not euthanasia is an acceptable alternative, not how that alternative will be administered - are we not?"

I think my first argument encouraged the debated on how we would administer such a concept. I said in my first argument the following; I am not sure which side I support. I think I am leaning towards keeping in illegal, but just for now, simply because there are too many dilemmas within the actual dilemma. . But I am not forgetting those who have to live everyday in unbearable pain, and I can honestly and fully understand if you would want to take your own life because of that, I also think about the people with diseases like early stage Alzheimer"s, and are aware of what their future holds. I think it is only human to let them die while they still have their sanity, and spare their loved ones from seeing their soul die but their body live on. I also think of those who are facing long, hard, physically and mentally weary terminal diseases. I do think they should be granted the right to die with dignity, but before we decide on where to reasonably draw the line, I am keeping my vote on the opposing side.

I think with that final statement of my first argument defined what we are debating here, which is 'where do we draw the line'. I DO oppose Euthanasia because there are so many unanswered questions, if someone could clear those out, I could change probably change my mind, however you spent most of our debate with the attitude 'we can figure that out as we go'

Con asked: Would you support a legal system that allowed voluntary euthanasia limited strictly to adult, competent patients with incurable diseases whose symptoms include untreatable and intractable pain such as terminal cancer or rabies; or extreme reductions in the quality of life such as ALS, Alzheimer's, etc?

Yes of course I would. However why do we limit it to adults? What is the reason for that? Are children not allowed to be granted the right to die with dignity? do they have to live in pain until they're 18? And what about the incompetent people, do they have to live in pain? Are they not allowed the right to die with dignity?
planck

Pro

When a suspect arrives in court it's because he has ALREADY been charged with a crime. Only then are the details discussed. I'll stop the analogies if you will.

We're debating the practice of euthanasia, pro or con. If Con supports the availability of euthanasia for competent adults with certain chronic or terminal medical conditions, then Con is actually taking a pro position, just not for everyone. I believe that alcoholic products should be legal. I'm pro legal alcohol consumption. That doesn't imply that I think it should be made available to ten year olds.

How do we define what is rational? The legal standard is "what would a reasonable person consider to be rational". That's obviously a very subjective judgment but most people are able to separate irrational requests from rational ones. It's much like US Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart said when writing about pornography; that it was difficult to define but "I know it when I see it". A 17 year old boy's request to be euthanized because his girlfriend left him would be immediately identified as being irrational.

I never said that all long term depression is untreatable. I said that there are a number of patients whose long term depression has proven to be untreatable and, if you check virtually any source discussing treatment of depression you'll find statements similar to "almost all cases are treatable or curable", the operative word being "almost".

Con has raised a number of reasonable objections to legal euthanasia mostly dealing with where to draw the line but agrees with it as an option for competent adults with certain conditions. That's where I think the line should be drawn... for now. Why is it necessary to deny it for everyone while we're trying to figure out the rules for the relative few in the grey area? Would it not be reasonable to make it available for the vast majority of sufferers while we as a society hash out the details for the rest? We mustn't let the perfect be the enemy of the good. I think that children and incompetent adults suffering from incurable, painful, and terminally debilitating diseases diseases also deserve the relief of a comfortable and dignified death; but that it may never be available for incompetent adults who haven't left any previous instructions - too many chances for abuse. I think that providing it for children will, at the very least, require the permission of the parents and a court of law. In order to make those changes to public policy we're going to have to address some excruciatingly difficult ethical issues but, while we're doing that, let's provide relief for those we can.
Debate Round No. 4
shoutevenshy

Con

shoutevenshy forfeited this round.
planck

Pro

Every human being owns his or her life. It's the ultimate possession. Many have religious beliefs that claim that their lives are the property of their god or gods. Those individuals might decide to allow their deity to decide their ultimate fate, and it's their right to do so.

Not everyone will agree with that and, for those that do not, there's no reason why competent individuals shouldn't have the right to determine their own ultimate fate. For those that are physically capable of it, suicide is an option but, for those that are physically incapable, euthanasia should be, in my opinion, an available alternative under certain circumstances. Competent adults who are experiencing extreme intractable and untreatable physical or mental anguish should be able to request their medical professional for euthanasia and that professional should be able to grant those rational requests that meet her professional and personal ethical standards. In my opinion, the medical profession should have, as its ultimate purpose, the relief of human suffering and while that usually is congruent with the preservation of life, there will be situations when that's not the case. For those patients, euthanasia should be one of the tools that can be made available.

I thank Con for offering this debate and for her wise and compassionate perspectives.
Debate Round No. 5
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