The Instigator
NadezhdaR
Con (against)
The Contender
Sakushi
Pro (for)

Should euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide be legal?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/2/2017 Category: Society
Updated: 11 months ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 370 times Debate No: 102367
Debate Rounds (3)
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NadezhdaR

Con

The term euthanasia is becoming more and more popular and in some countries euthanasia has even been made legal. But I strongly believe that making it legal can have awful consequences.
Firstly, physicians have a moral responsibility to heal people and to keep them alive, so euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide (PAS) contradicts the Hippocratic Oath they take. Those who have always given hope and tried to maintain us healthy should not be made into someone assisting death. Of course there are sometimes extreme situations when unconscious people are maintained alive for years, and their representatives may refuse prolonging life by artificial means. But no one except for the individual or his relative or representative has the right to decide whether or not he should live. Giving doctors legal right to kill will reverse all normal understanding of this profession. It will change the attitude of patients to doctors and will cause insecurity, because despite all measures against misuse, there will be cases when dishonest physicians would violate the rules, which'd result in deliberate killing. Apart from that several layers of society will be instantly put in danger, for example the poor, the disadvantaged or the disabled, who do not unfortunately receive adequate medical assistance.
Secondly, talking about those who have incurable diseases, the disabled or the poor, who resort to suicide, I believe that even in such awful situations there is still hope, and assisting these suicides legally will mean depriving these people of two precious things - hope and time. There is always hope in our contemporary society that a cure against a disease will be invented or doctors will be able to perform successful operation. Even if it doesn't happen we should find something that brings joy or to give it. There are many examples when people with terrible diseases or disabled people find their mission or talent or start helping others, they really become inspiration for healthy people. So to end their lives will mean destroying potential, hidden dreams and hopes.
Thirdly, there is a great risk for young people or teenagers who like to dramatize. They can resort to suicide just because of a bad day. Of course sometimes the reasons are more serious but when they speak about dying they do not really mean or want it. So if euthanasia or PAS be made legal, thousands of lives could end,at first glance, voluntarily, but if we look deeper - by mistake.
The Final thing is a huge responsibility of doctors and physicians themselves. People who chose as a profession to save will be permitted and even will have to help people die. This would be a real shock for doctors.
Sakushi

Pro

I would like to thank my opponent for setting up this debate. Let's keep to fair practice and have a fun time.

The question at hand is simple, but I will clarify since the beginning of your argument seems to go against what the debate is actually about. "Should euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide be legal?" This sentence is a conjunction, which means in order to mark it as true, only one of the statements needs to be true. For this reason, I can focus on the 'Physician-assisted suicide' for my case. I conclude that this does not imply there to be no consent from the patient-- I simply must argue that it could be legal. The specific regulations and policies are can be discussed (in theory) post decision.

For this reason, I conclude that your initial points about doctors abusing it are irrelevant-- the real question can be simplified to 'Should suicide be legal?'. I believe if you disagree with this sentiment the burden of proof would lie on you, since the definitions and specifics of the sentence imply that my interpretation is correct.

In a just society, a free society, such as is invoked by the constitution, what is something people should be sovereign over? They should be sovereign over their own life. If one is forced to live with a debilitating illness or in a life of perpetual suffering, then wouldn't coercing them into remaining alive be a form of abuse? I argue that forcing someone to endure something do not enjoy is the same as being the cause of said abuse. For that reason, it's fairly easy to conclude that making suicide illegal is un-just and abusive.

My point is summed up quite nicely by these quotes.

"I'm not afraid of being dead. I'm just afraid of what you might have to go through to get there."
R13; Pamela Bone

"Dying is not a crime."
R13; Jack Kevorkian

"A society that believes in nothing can offer no argument even against death. A culture that has lost its faith in life cannot comprehend why it should be endured."
R13; Andrew Coyne

To finalize the quotes, I'll end with a quote from the economist. "The popular desire for assisted dying is beyond question. The Economist asked Ipsos MORI to survey people in 15 countries on whether doctors should be allowed to help patients to die, and if so, how and when. Russia and Poland are against, but we find strong support across America and western Europe for allowing doctors to prescribe lethal drugs to patients with terminal diseases. In 11 out of the 15 countries we surveyed, most people favoured extending doctor-assisted dying to patients who are in great physical suffering but not close to death."

The fact of this quote is that most people believe if someone desires to die, they should have the right to do so. You cannot force people to live. You cannot force them to endure suffering.

My opponent makes a few points that are easy to take a part, so I will end this round with that.

"Firstly, physicians have a moral responsibility to heal people and to keep them alive, so euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide (PAS) contradicts the Hippocratic Oath they take. "

The arbitrary oath they take is irrelevant-- if the practice were to be altered so would the Oath. Not to mention there could be specific physicians who are given the responsibility rather than simply making it standard practice for all of them.

"Secondly, talking about those who have incurable diseases, the disabled or the poor, who resort to suicide, I believe that even in such awful situations there is still hope, and assisting these suicides legally will mean depriving these people of two precious things - hope and time."

Irrelevant. Even if there were to be hope, it's up to the patient to determine this. You cannot tell them that since you are optimistic, they must also be.

"Thirdly, there is a great risk for young people or teenagers who like to dramatize. "

This can be mitigated by making an age requirement. 19+ obligation for assisted suicide seems sufficient.
Debate Round No. 1
NadezhdaR

Con

I would also like to thank my opponent for joining the debate.)

First, I'd like to clarify that the conjunction 'or' in the debate's question doesn't implify that only one of the notions should be chosen. I've put it in this way to connect this two practices, because they are alike in their basic meaning. So here it is not about alternative and the conjunction indicate "the equivalent or substitutive character of two words". ( Merriam Webster dictionary). This therefore implies that both involuntary and voluntary euthanasia plus PAS should be taken into consideration.

But nevertheless, I will start from the first argument of my opponent about sovereignty. Firstly if a man is a sovereign of his/her own life, why should everyone else take the responsibility of killing him/her? The profession of doctors is initially about helping and healing, so why they should be forced to do exactly the opposite thing? The fact that assisted suicide becomes legalized doesn't make killing less immoral. Secondly, I reckon that the argument "forcing someone to endure something do not enjoy is the same as being the cause of said abuse" is irrelevant, as there are hundreds of things people should do despite their wishes.

In fact I can't agree with the equalization of the question "should suicide be legal" with the stated in the topic-debate, even if you consider only voluntary assisted suicide. The point is not only about a person's desires to end life, but also about the tools and performers. I strongly object to shifting responsibility to physicians, as we can't know the future and what could be done instead of killing. So a person or many of them will die, but the people performing or advising on death will live knowing that instead of finding solutions to heal, they simply put it to an end. So by legalizing assisted suicide we demoralize doctors and create murderers instead. So to the argument "You cannot force people to live" I can say that you cannot force people to kill as well. If a man is a sovereign of his own fate and life, he should also take responsibility of his own actions. And in the previous round I mentioned cases when people just can't express their opinion, being unconscious. Only in such cases doctors may advise on terminating life.

I would also like to challenge some of your counterarguments.

"Even if there were to be hope, it's up to the patient to determine this". It is actually not only up to the patient, because a patient should listen to the prognosis of the doctors and if the doctors are optimistic, it is not without ground. Actually in my opinion people should be strong and fight for their life, so the choice to die is a sign of weakness.

"This can be mitigated by making an age requirement 19+ ... "

Young people even older than 19 can take unwise or hasty decisions, especially taking into consideration a lot of cases of depressions. Secondly, providing your argument about the right to die, why should people under 19 be denied it? They also may have diseases that cause suffering, so will they have to wait till 19? So in my humble opinion this counter argument is a bit contradicting.

Also I'd like to add another point that people are changeable and they may change their decisions. So when for example the necessary for suicide medicaments are prescribed, but a person change his mind, these medicaments may be used by greedy and unscrupulous relatives, who are their fiduciaries or just take care of them just to get rid of them or recieve inheritance.
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Debate Round No. 2
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Debate Round No. 3
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