The Instigator
TheNightmareCharade
Pro (for)
The Contender
PugsRule11
Con (against)

Should euthanasia be legal?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/13/2017 Category: Health
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 420 times Debate No: 98954
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (1)
Votes (0)

 

TheNightmareCharade

Pro

I take the pro stance on use of euthanasia, or willful physician-assisted suicide for patients who are suffering from terminal illness.
The first point I would like to bring up is the use of the word "willful" - meaning, it is requested by the patient, who, in most cases, would not normally be suicidal, but are in great pain and think it would be best to end it, especially since they would die either way.
My second point is that as long as the patient agrees to or requests euthanasia, denying them the right to it can arguably be considered infringing on their civil rights.
You can compare euthanasia to putting down an old or sick dog, since the only difference is that instead of a dog, it's a human you're putting down, so if you believe a dog shouldn't suffer, it should be no different for a human.
It can be argued that euthanasia is a "slippery slope". This kind of argument "questions a course of action by estimating that it will end in misery once the first unfortunate step is taken, taking the long term consequences into consideration." (Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...) But according to an article I found, "It is easier to assert the existence of a slippery slope than to prove it exists." (Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...) There likely aren't any long-term consequences to death; once you're gone, you're gone.
I'm sorry that this argument isn't as well-researched as I'd like it to be, but I will explain myself in future responses. I am just in a hurry at the time of writing this.
PugsRule11

Con

Thank you, and I accept the debate.


CONTENTION #1: SANCTIONED MURDER
The question of the legality of euthanasia reaches down to the very core of what medicine is. In fact, the whole of this debate really comes down to a single question:

Should killing be sanctioned by healthcare institutions?

Allowing euthanasia effectively brings medicine into the killing of those "to put them out of their misery." However, through all of human history, the role of medical institutions has been to prevent death. Why do we provide care to cancer patients, for instance? It would certainly be easier, but no one ever asked healthcare to be easy. Every established medical tradition has pointed toward the primary purpose of hospitals to save people from what would otherwise kill them. Is that not the very mission of public healthcare?
Certainly, the Hippocratic Oath points to this idea, as it asks those who take the oath to "neither give a deadly drug to anybody who asked for it." (http://guides.library.jhu.edu...) Furthermore, by allowing for euthanasia, or otherwise giving up on an attempt to treat a person, hospitals effectively give up on their own mission in order to sanction suicide.


CONTENTION #2: MEDICAL PRECEDENT
There already exists sound precedent, which I think my opponent will acknowledge as such, which point to other examples in which killing people in difficult situations is clearly not sanctioned, and in fact, actively opposed to, by hospitals. For example, a person with severe depression who "willfully" wants to committ suicide will be discouraged from doing so if he went to the Emergency Room. What difference exists between hospitals providing support for euthanasia and hospitals doing the same for suicide. There is none. Once again, we make the effort to save, as opposed to kill.

CONTENTION #3: DEVALUING OF LIFE
All are inherently endowed equal respect and value as human beings, which is affirmed by Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. (http://www.un.org...).Euthanasia devalues this right to equality, as well as the personhood of the terminally ill. If a person may be killed out of "pity", the medical system acknowledges that the lives of the terminally ill are not worth living, since "they are going through immense pain." Think about it. The primary argument for euthanasia is one of pity; euthanasia advocates claim that "putting people out of their pain", as they'd call it, is merely an act of respect. Instead, it is a dangerous statement. Follow this line of thought.
1. Why is killing considered immoral? Because human life is worth something and killing it is the desecration of this life.
2. Is euthanasia killing? According to British Courts, yes. (https://www.lifesitenews.com...), and also according to the definition of euthanasia, which calls it killing (https://www.merriam-webster.com...).
3. Then, why do we allow euthanasia, if it is the killing of people, or the desecration of life, and we view that as immoral?
It must, then, be out of the belief that the lives of the terminally ill are somehow able to be desecrated while still being moral.
4. How is this at all tolerable? The only way this line of thought would be at all tolerable was if the lives of the terminally ill were somehow worth less, and could just be thrown away easily.
5. Well, these lives are equally valuable in the eyes of the Constitution, human rights, and the UN, so either euthanasia is a denial of essential human rights, or results in the devaluing of human life to the point where the lives of the sick can be thrown away.

REBUTTAL ONE: THE DOG EXAMPLE
Humans are not dogs. Humans are afforded rights that dogs aren't; if you have the choice to save a human or a dog, who will you save? The human. Why? Human lives are more valuable.
Also, see above argument for my rebuttal of the "putting out of their misery" argument.
REBUTTAL TWO: CIVIL RIGHTS
Firstly, the "right to die" exists nowhere in the Constitution, Bill of Rights, or the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The right to equal treatment is outlayed in all three. I've already shown that allowing euthanasia represents a violation of inherent human dignity and equality, which means that allowing euthanasia represents a violation of civil rights, not the other way around. The burden of proof lies on Pro to prove that a "right to die" exists, and they have not done so.
Debate Round No. 1
TheNightmareCharade

Pro

CONTENTION #1 REBUTTAL
While you bring some very compelling evidence (especially involving the Hippocratic Oath), but it's important to understand that the illness would have to be terminal - meaning, people who choose euthanasia would die either way and euthanasia would just speed up the gradual process of them dying. And yes, it is true that hospitals are meant to provide help and care to their patients, but they can't do this in every case, and many people die in hospitals, with and without euthanasia.

CONTENTION #2 REBUTTAL
It is true that many people are denied the right to commit suicide if they are in pain, but try to put yourself in the shoes of someone with a terminal illness requesting euthanasia. They are uncurable otherwise, and they themselves feel that it is the best solution, or at least that the option is there. And furthermore, they don't have to use euthanasia if they don't fully agree to it, and can still await their death if they so choose.

CONTENTION #3 REBUTTAL
What you fail to understand is that it isn't a matter of worth, as people with terminal illness likely aren't considered less of people by those treating them. You do bring up some valid points, but killing out of respect, as you called it, should not be considered a derogatory act. People probably aren't thinking of "throwing away their lives", but as I said before, "putting them out of their misery".

I concede that I cannot rebut your rebuttal of the dog example, but I was mainly just making an extreme comparison to begin with.

CIVIL RIGHTS:
What I meant by this was that it can fall under their right to pursuit of happiness (Democratic Ideals), as well as not exactly a "right to die", but their "right to live without fear of death".
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Debate Round No. 2
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Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by ln986 1 year ago
ln986
In regards to "Devaluing Human Life":

Isn't ignoring the request of someone terminally ill to have an assisted death devaluing their existence or personal wishes? Although you're standing up for those who are ill and are correct in saying their life is no less valuable than yours or mine or any other healthy person, you're also ignoring the voices of many patients saying they do not feel devalued and in fact want humane euthanasia to be allowed. Shouldn't we listen to those who are truly impacted by the outcome of the law? If a person wants it, allow it, if a person doesn't...then it won't be done.
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