Legalizing Euthanasia for the Sick and Elderly
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Euthanasia, by definition, is the intentional taking of life in order to relieve pain and suffering, and for the sake of the argument, I would like to say that I believe euthanasia should be committed by a medical doctor, and only if the person requests to be euthanized. That being said, I really think that euthanasia should be legalized across the US.
The rights given to the people by the United States Constitution include the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Given that death, regardless of cause, is an inevitable part of life, the Constitution also gives the people the right to die. If we are then given the right to die, why can we not choose how it is done?
Secondly, there is no reason why the federal government or a state should interfere with the private matter of someone's death. Euthanasia itself causes no harm to any other person that would possibly be involved (like a family member in the room or something), and as such, should be left alone by any form of government.
If anyone would like to argue the "Con" side of euthanasia, I would appreciate it - and if you really do believe that it shouldn't be legalized in America, what would it take to convince you?
I guess to start, euthanasia is illegal in most states and the question would be, why would making this legal be the right choice. The biggest thing with the opposing side is euthanasia is basically assisted suicide and is an inhumane way to end a persons life. I know this act is preformed to relieve a persons suffering, however it seems as though there are other ways to help with a persons suffering rather that just ending their life. Could there be another way to relieve a persons pain and suffering like certain drugs?
A few questions for this topic I have are:
Is euthanasia an only option for certain diseases?
Is it the last resort in some cases?
Out of the states where euthanasia is not legal, is there a large population of people that would support euthanasia?
As I said before, could there be another option to relieve pain and suffering without ending a persons life?
To your second point, yes, there are other ways to relieve a person's pain and suffering. Medically prescribed drugs can certainly help in some cases, but our medical advancements have only brought us so far. Doctors cannot guarantee that a patient diagnosed with cancer will be cured, or that someone with Lou Gehrig's Disease will recover from slow, total-body paralysis. In the cases where medical advancement is no longer helpful, if euthanasia was legal, these patients could choose not to suffer a slow and painful death, but rather a quick, painless one.
And the answers to your questions:
1. Euthanasia is never the only option, but as I mentioned in my opening comments, the right to death is as much given to us in the United States Constitution as the right to life, and should at least be a legal option.
2. In all cases, Euthanasia is a last resort.
3. I am not sure what population of people openly support euthanasia.
Suffering is terrible, however it seems bad enough to give someone a set time where their life would end. Doctors give patients a window of how long they may have left to live after a diagnosis and it should be left to the current medical treatments to prolong a persons life before they die from their illness rather than an outside source just ending it abruptly.
I understand that our medical advancements can only do so much and there isn't a guarantee that some diseases will have a cure, however to have a person be told "you have no hope in surviving this disease and we have a way to end your life without you feeling it." How many people would take this option without thinking twice? I can understand families saying goodbyes before a persons death. At some point it must be different when a person takes the injection without thinking might relate to suicidal thoughts.
Growing on my last though in the previous paragraph, is euthanasia only limited to people with a terminal illness? With what you said in regards to people having the right to their own life, can just anyone go into a hospital and say "I want you to end my life" and the doctor would comply and do what they say? Suicide is not something that should be readily available to just anyone.
How would they regulate euthanasia? Only available to those who are terminally ill? Is there an age limit to who can be euthanized in the states that have it legal, and would there be a national age limit for it?
I can't speak for others, necessarily, but as I mentioned, euthanasia is a very last-resort procedure. Most people will do whatever they can, and try everything that they can, and only after all other options have been exhausted, will they choose to end it on their own terms. A man named Jack Kevorkian was one of the few doctors that actively offered euthanasia to certain patients. He created a video that documented a patient of his that had Lou Gehrig's Disease that had reached out to him for his services. During the video, he explained that the man was constantly in pain as the paralysis took over his body, but the thing that he was terrified of most was slowly choking to death on his saliva, and not being able to do anything about it. Dr. Kevorkian then interviewed the man's family members, and though they were visibly upset, they were supportive of the man's decision. This is just one example of someone that can no longer watch themselves die, and would rather choose a painless way out.
I definitely agree that rules and regulations would be necessary, but it shouldn't be banned altogether. It should be preformed by a medical doctor, and applicable patients would need to be over the age of 18, and diagnosed with a terminal illness. Patients should also have to go through a psych exam to prove that they are making a coherent decision.
From here I guess its just a question of how would this work as a legal procedure?
Really it is personal choice for a person to say they want this to end their suffering, but can a doctor say they will not do the procedure because they do not agree with it? In the law where euthanasia is legal, are doctors required to administer the injection to a terminally ill patient in the case where they chose to end their suffering no matter what the doctors personal view of the matter is? As you mentioned, there was a doctor that offered euthanasia to patients that are eligible to receive it because of their thermal illness. Would making euthanasia legal produce doctors that specialize in euthanasia? Just have a medical complex that has a place where patients walk in but don't walk out? I know that seems dark, but it is pretty much what would happen.
What other regulations would there need to be? We have agreed that there needs to be regulations. How far in an illness would someone need to be to be eligible for euthanasia? I'm sure just anyone can't go straight from the doctor that gave them a time frame to live to a place t hat offers euthanasia and take that path. A patient should be at a very late stage in an illness where they are literally incapable to do basic tasks that are needed to live like the guy you mentioned that would choke to death on his saliva and constantly felt pain.
I can't really say specifically if legalizing euthanasia would produce specialized doctors, but I can't imagine that it would. All doctors, regardless of specialty, are well versed in giving someone medication intravenously, which is how modern euthanasia is done, so there wouldn't necessarily be a need for a specialist to actually go through with the procedure.
I also don't have specific regulations for every particular scenario that could possibly drive someone to agree to be euthanized; however, my previous comments seem to be the most important. Declaring mental competence, patients of age 18, terminal diagnosis, and the procedure performed by a medical doctor seems to cover the main arguments for euthanasia being illegal.
In closing, as people living under the United States Constitution, are implicitly given the right to death, regardless of how it occurs. That said, choosing to die on one's own terms should be treated as a liberty and be an option for those that are sick, elderly, or incapable of continuing life for whatever reason.
People are given the right to their life, however a huge population doesn't agree with it based on personal view and not the fact (that some say) it is the one true way to relieve pain and suffering. This population in a large majority in some states. At best I can see a select few states added to the handful there is now that have euthanasia legal.
Everything that is legal/illegal in the country will forever have a group of people that will be against/for it. This will bring protests and plenty of debates. Who knows what the general opinion will be in 10 years.
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