The Instigator
Pro (for)
3 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
1 Points

Resolved: A just society ought to presume consent for organ procurement from the deceased.

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Post Voting Period
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after 1 vote the winner is...
Voting Style: Open with Elo Restrictions Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/12/2014 Category: Health
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 6,104 times Debate No: 62652
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (33)
Votes (1)




This debate should be impossible to accept. If you want to accept, please comment. I will challenge you in a week or two. Please do not forfeit (except for the last round)
The debate will follow the Lincoln-Douglas Debate format:
R1: Acceptance
R2: Affirmative Constructive; Cross Examination (optional)
R3: Negative Constructive (and first negative Rebuttal); Cross Examination (optional)
R4: First Affirmative Rebuttal; The Negative Rebuttal
R5: The Second Affirmative Rebuttal; the negative can forfeit this round (say " I forfeit the round as agreed upon.")

Update: For the 3rd and 4th round, I will limit myself to 5,000 characters.
Also, you only have 24 hours to post your argument, so be ready!
Finally, cross examination will be optional. The questions can be answered in the following round.
Thanks and good luck!!!


The funny thing is that I support assumed consent but not because it's morally correct.

Regardless, I accept.
Debate Round No. 1


"We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give." Because I agree with Winston Churchill, I must agree with the resolution: Resolved: A just society ought to presume consent for organ procurement from the deceased.

For clarification for today"s round, I offer the following definitions as defined by the American Heritage Dictionary:

Presume- to constitute reasonable evidence for supposing
Consent- Agreement as to opinion or a course of action
Procurement- the action of obtaining or procuring something.
Deceased- No longer living; dead

The value for today"s debate is morality. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, morality is defined as conformity to ideals of right human conduct. Morality is important for today"s debate since a truly just society should respect morality. Donating organs is a moral obligation, not a legal one.

My criterion is social welfare. As defined by Investopedia, a social welfare system is a program that provides assistance to needy individuals and families. Since presuming consent provides assistance to needy individuals, this criterion best supports the value.

Before going on to my contentions, I would like to make an observation. If presumed consent for organ procurement is put into place, it would take the form of an opt-out program where people are automatically organ donors unless they choose to "opt-out" or refuse to sign up as an organ donor. This would increase organ donation rates dramatically.

My first contention is utilitarianism. According to the American Heritage Dictionary, utilitarianism is a philosophy or belief suggesting that an action is morally right if the majority of people benefit from it. A truly just society is a utilitarian one, because a just society would only truly work when it works for the good of many. According to the American Transplant Foundation, more than 122,344 people are on a waiting list for organ transplants. If we decide to presume consent for organ procurement, the organ donation rate will triple, according to a study by Stanford University.

Countries currently presuming consent for organ procurement had a positive result: Austria"s donation rate rose by 400% in eight years, and countries like Belgium and Spain had their donation rates raised by 200%. This shows why presuming consent for organ procurement is one of the most effective ways to increase organ donation rates, therefore saving more lives. A society is only just when it provides care for the greatest number of people. Since presuming consent would save more lives, it is beneficial to more people. This makes a society just.

My second contention is the fact that presumed consent is not a violation of freedom. Presuming consent for organ procurement still gives people the right to opt-out, thus respecting their freedom. If an individual feels he does not want to donate his organs, he has the right to choose not to donate his organs. Since we are not forcing people to sign up as an organ donor, we are respecting their fundamental rights. For a society to be just, they must respect human dignity and the freedom to choose. Therefore, presuming consent is morally justified.

My third contention is that this system can prevent potential organ donors from being ignorant of organ donation. If a person is ignorant of organ donation or is too lazy to sign up as an organ donor, presuming consent automatically enrolls this individual as an organ donor. This effectively increases organ donation rate without violating the individual"s freedom to choose. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, the main reason people aren"t signing up as an organ donor is because people are ignorant of the fact that we are lacking organs for transplants, therefore unable to save lives.

In conclusion, a just society ought to presume consent for organ procurement from the deceased for the following reasons: First of all, it upholds utilitarianism, which makes a society truly just. Second, it is not a violation of freedom and finally, it can prevent potential organ donors from being ignorant of organ donation.

Thanks con for accepting.


Ladies and gentlemen, I represent the side that would deny that a just society ought to presume consent for organ procurement from the deceased.

My Rebuttal

Pro begins their argument supporting the notion that organ donation is not a legal concern, but a moral concern alone. This would mean that those who feel the need to do the moral 'duty' of donating organs should be entitled to do so whilst there should be not legality involved in the process. Thus, if someone died on their 18th birthday (or prior to it) it should be automatically assumed that this individual is not making the moral decision to donate their organs and since no law forcing them to do so should be in place (according to Pro's own argument), assumed consent would violate the very principles on which organ donation is based.

As for the social welfare argument, this is not about presumed consent. Social welfare is the result of completely forced taxation. In addition, people on welfare are not people who would immediately die if refused it, they are people who would clutter the streets as hobos and amount to nothing as opposed to the contributing working people they can become from the benefits of welfare.

Pro is absolutely correct that presumed consent would increase donation rates as the apathetic would be donating instead of letting the needy transplant recipient die. Nevertheless, I am going to explain why the 'donor' isn't exactly dead already (had the people who knew them known they never intended to give organs it would encourage them to keep the people in vegetable state in hopes of them suddenly waking up or a cure being found in time for whatever disease they may carry that would encourage them to wilfully die before it gets too bad for the sake of a transplant).

The first contention that Pro offers is "Utilitarianism". Aside from the fact that is not a contention but one of many philosophical methods of determining right from wrong, a real Utilitarian would actually deny anyone ever donating organs at all.

When people need a transplant it is either due to bad genetics [] directly causing the failure of the organ [] or bad genetics leading people to crave too much of bad things in the first place that they would end up in that situation[]. Proneness to addiction is far more inherited than you may think. On the other hand, organ donors have to meet a series of criteria [] before being considered to be someone's donor to begin with.
This means that while donors are usually healthy individuals who had a freak accident or disease beyond genetic control, the organ recipient is someone who is going to potentially pass on defective genes to children that will grow to have their organs fail too, so on and so forth. It is likely that if this person died there and then that whatever mating partner they may end up reproducing further with, will end up not only failing to produce disease-prone children but to have the time to produce offspring with someone of genetic proneness to good health (who themselves may have ended up childless if it wasn't for this absence of a person).

The entire second contention is not actually a contention at all, it is a defense against a potential point that I could raise. The only thing I have to say against it is that under-18-year-olds may be assumed to be willing to give organs if presumed consent is taken to be the default position of any human being meaning opting out would only be possible after one hits 18 but before that they are assumed to give it away. Nonetheless, if this isn't the case then I merely nullify the second contention as irrelevant to the debate. It didn't prove anything in favor of Pro's case. I do, however, find a fundamental issue with how Pro jumps from mentioning that a just society must respect freedom to choose and then states that therefore presumed consent is a just society's automatic policy to take... If anything, the opposite would be the interpretation of a society based on choices. If someone doesn't choose to donate, why assume they would have done so if they'd had the chance? The concept of a just society revolving around choices is in fact in support of the Con side of this debate. Nevertheless, I do not advocate this and am merely nullifying the point.

The third contention is absolutely ridiculous. It wouldn't prevent anyone, at all, from being ignorant of the system anymore than a system of non-assumed consent does. The ignorant ones would simply be presumed as having consented, that is the only, single change. There would be more donations thanks to ignorance, not due to the sudden reduction of it. This is totally fallacious in every sense is negated on grounds of being plain wrong.

I conclude that Pro has failed to prove that a just society would presume the consent of organ donors.

Debate Round No. 2


First of all, I never said it was not a legal concern, I just said it is not a legal obligation. This idea supports my point that presuming consent does not legally force people to donate their organs. Con has misunderstood my point, so his refutation for that is useless.

Presumed consent is about the social welfare system. Unless con wants to challenge a definition from a dictionary, presumed consent is related to social welfare, if not to the system itself.

As to your refutation for my first point, I believe you are mistaken. According to a study by Mayo Clinic (, very few medical conditions prevent you from donating your organs. And if the donor has bad genetics, he will be disqualified as an organ donor, therefore none of the problems you mentioned would happen. Remember, the doctors extensively check if you are eligible.

My second contention upholds my value, which is morality. I am explaining why presuming consent is not a violation of freedom and human autonomy, and why that makes presuming consent morally justified.

To respond to "why a person wouldn't sign up as an organ donor when they have been given a chance," let me ask you a question: Do you know when you are going to die? Pretend you're 23. Do you think that you're going to die in a month? Often people are ignorant of the fact they can die very soon. What about people who were planning to donate their organs and they died before signing up as an organ donor? Presuming consent solves these problems.

As to my final point, it is not really ridiculous. When there is a policy change this large, more people know about it. Spain tried it out and has the highest donation rate in the world. Isn't raising the organ donation rate the whole point of changing to an opt-out system? All the countries who chose this had their organ donation rates raised tremendously.

I conclude that presuming consent for organ procurement from the deceased is just, and I must affirm the resolution. I urge voters to cast a ballot for pro. Thanks for accepting con and good luck!


This social welfare system point may as well be dropped as I see no relevance of it. It is blatantly not on the same moral level as social welfare as they do fundamentally different things by who they help and how they go about enforcing it.

As for the legal obligation point, I don't see why on Earth that was even relevant to bring up in Round 2 and the reason I challenged you on it was simply to prove that it supports my case a little more than yours but overall was an unnecessary point to raise.

To qualify as an organ donor you have to prove yourself to be healthy. This means that regardless of disease, the person suffering from it is healthy. the diseases are thus non-genetic as it is logically implausible for a genetically healthy individual is suffering form a disease that hits those genetically prone to ill health (which are the diseases that require transplant usually).

As for this freedom nonsense, I do not understand how presumed consent not impeding people's freedom to opt out remotely justifies presuming consent to begin with. This is simply a point to counter an attack on the freedom of presumed consent which is something I never did attack.

Presuming consent doesn't solve the problems that you raised as most people would be opting out. Aside from this, this is not morally correct in the slightest even if it were true. The people opting out are not ignorant of organ donation, they are apathetic to it. They are probably very aware that exists as an option but just don't care about donating their organs. If you established presumed consent these apathetics would merely become angry that their body would be switched off faster when in vegetative state after an accident and sign out of it with a disdain for the party in power at the time which would probably lose quite a few elections to come.

What Spain did has helped nothing. It has allowed the genetically prone to illness to outlive the genetically prone to good health then mate with partners who could otherwise have mated with genetically healthy individuals. It's all about the bigger picture here.

In fact you ignored my entire utilitarianism argument altogether.

I conclude that Pro has failed to uphold their BoP thus far.
Debate Round No. 3


I would like to start my argument by asking the Negative why he did not write his case. He is only attacking me, but he is not providing contentions himself. This is unfair to the Affirmative since the Affirmative can't question the Negative's case. Nevertheless, this is my first affirmative rebuttal.

Presuming consent is related to the social welfare system because the whole point of presuming consent is to provide care for needy individuals and families. They may not seem related, but fundamentally they are similar.

I was just telling you presuming consent is not a legal obligation, therefore respecting people's fundamental rights.

I gave you my source that very few medical conditions prevent you from being and organ donor. If health is a concern, then the individual would choose to opt-out. If the doctors see that the person can't have his or her organs donated, then he or she would simply be disqualified as an organ donor and their body would go back to their family for the funeral. Your argument about health concerns isn't enough to prove that an opt-out system is unjust. The doctors will still check the body extensively and after the transplant, the body will be returned to the family. That process is the same thing as the one in the current opt-in system.

My second point supports my value, which is morality. I explained that a just society would respect an individual's freedom to choose. I also explained how presumed consent would raise organ donation rates while still giving people the freedom to opt-out. Therefore, presuming consent is morally justified. My second point is the most important point in my case, since we are debating about morality and justice. Your argument that my second point is nonsense is nonsense.

For your argument against my third contention, you are assuming many facts there. Plus, you did not consider the fact that presuming consent still gives people the option to opt-out. No matter what you say, I can respond to it because presuming consent still gives people the choice to opt-out. If no such option was available, then yes, it is unjust. However, that is not the case here. If the people are angry about an opt-out system, than they can choose to opt-out. They can't say they were never given the option.

Your argument against Spain is your personal opinion. Unless you present a reliable source, it is not true. Spain has the highest organ donation rate in the world, so more lives are saved in Spain.

I think you are the one who's confused about the utilitarianism argument. My argument was logical, and I had sources to back it up.

I conclude that Con's argument was insufficient to deal with my points. Also, he did not have a case of his own. Therefore, he has ignored the LD format, which I presented in Round 1. I urge an affirmative ballot for those reasons.


vwv forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4


Since my opponent forfeited his fourth round, I cannot question his case. Therefore, I am in an unfair position. It would be logical that my opponent should forfeit the last round as well. I really looked forward to this debate... :( Anyway, I wish my opponent good luck and urge voters to cast an affirmative ballot. Thanks!


Actually if you count the rounds, it wouldn't have been fair in the first place because the rules said Con has to forfeit the rounds with 1 less round than Pro has but all in all I believe I have already won this debate because Pro never successfully rebutted my points and the entire Utilitarianism point that I flipped on his case went uncontested and is the only remaining point that anyone has in their favor right now.

The Spain issue is negated by the utilitarianism point of genetic natural selection that I raised.

That is all. :)

The rest of Pro's case is simply nullified by the points I raised, he further nullifies it in Round 4.

BoP has not been upheld so I urge you to vote Con.


Debate Round No. 5
33 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by 9spaceking 3 years ago
Rest of rest of RFD
con goes back to talking about presuming does not solve the problems.... what? This makes no sense....and accuses that con's util. arg. was entirely ignored...I don't think this is the case, the big thing is all pro has to show around that is that with organ presumption the benefits are better than the negative (morality and otherwise speaking). Pro rebuts back by talking about how that the organ-donor presumption system is actually quite nice, and talks about how the presumption still gives freedom of choice with positive benefits. He then talks about how his arguments were logical and were backed up. So....with a strong case that couldn't be rebutted, pro wins. Although the lack of rounds is so unfair, I give pity conduct point to con.
Posted by 9spaceking 3 years ago
rest of RFD
pro makes moral arguments about util., going about the positive results and how it's NOT the violation of freedom, as well as prevention of ignorant organ donations.
Con points out that people can be forced to donate organs and the organs can have neg. effects and counters the presumption point (Becuz it's too presumptious) and points out the error within the third contention about ignorance and says it is very fallacious (because of the presumed that would have this ignorant people donate anyways).
Pro reconstructs with the fact that organ donation is actually quite safe and reiterates why his morality argument works out. He also points out the benefit of raising oran donation rates.
Con says that social welfare is irrelevant (hmmm, we'll see how pro responds), then dismisses the legal oblig. point, moving on to once again attack the fact that presuming can in fact impede freedom....
Gtg guys, I'll post the rest when I get home
Posted by vwv 3 years ago
wait a minute why the hell is con having to forfeit a round when we both got equal rounds to debate?
Posted by vwv 3 years ago
dammit i was busy
Posted by harrymate 3 years ago
Posted by debatability 3 years ago
i could have accepted sooner if you needed me too lol. agh i would have loved to take this debate
Posted by Zaradi 3 years ago
Nevermind I'm not interested in doing this. I'm not going to just give you a neg case so you can go to a Tourny with it.
Posted by harrymate 3 years ago
Sorry, I have a competition this friday.
I'll just change the settings so anyone could accept.
You have to get your argument ready if you want to accept.
Do not forfeit!
Posted by Zaradi 3 years ago
Whoa wait. Change 24 hours to 72 then I'll accept. 24 is too quick. I have a job I have to work.
Posted by harrymate 3 years ago
To debatability:
Sorry, I do mind the wait.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by 9spaceking 3 years ago
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
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Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
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Total points awarded:31 
Reasons for voting decision: Conduct is to con because even though the structure was very unfair with one less round for con; con ff'd, pity vote anyways. Rest of vote in comments.