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The Contender
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Should prople with terminal illnesses be allowed access by law to doctor assisted suicide?

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Post Voting Period
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after 2 votes the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/4/2014 Category: Health
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,521 times Debate No: 64566
Debate Rounds (3)
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Votes (2)




People with terminal illnesses should be allowed such access because it gives them the fundemental rights and liberty to control their own lives and end their suffering if that is what they choose to do. Also, let me be clear that doctor assisted suicide does not mean direct assistnace by a doctir in ending the life of a specific patient but allowing them human and painless drugs supplied by places such as hospitals and are highly regulated to make sure this program would not be abused and would only be available to terminally ill patients who have been deemed mentally capable of consenting to the decision. States such as Oregon have already given patients this right and I believe it is time for the rest of the country to follow suite.


Contention 1: Unreported Euthanasia and Euthanasia without consent.

My opponent has forgotten to give you some terrifying numbers when it comes to euthanasia. ( Approximately 900 euthanasia's a year are done without the consent of the one being euthanised and 50% of euthanasizations are done unreported. In 2005, it was reported that 1.7% of the nation's deaths were caused by Euthanasia, a total of 2,410 people. 1 out of every 5 people who recieve euthanasia are done without consent. ( Smets T, Bilsen J, Cohen J, Rurup ML, De Keyser E, Deliens L. The medical practice of euthanasia in Belgium and the Netherlands: legal notification, control and evaluation procedures. Health Policy.2009;90:181–7. doi: 10.1016/j.healthpol.2008.10.003.) A study in Beliguim reported that 32% were without consent.

Consent from a palliative specialist is also very important, but recent euthanasias have not been doing so and consenting them. In Belguim, before 2002, all euthanasia cases without concent of a palliative specialist were denied, but from 2002-2007, that number declined from 100% to only 9% as only 19% of all euthanasia cases was a palliative contacted for their opinion.

For this next part I will argue that of self determination. The reason I say that only those who are faced with death should be able to decide weather or not euthanasia is justifiable for them, but only when they are in the correct state of mind. Those who chose willingly can either be suffering from depression or from that of sickness and that sickness can impair the way they think by forcing an unbearable pain upon them. Under Self-Determination one must first mentally defeat the sickness and then when they are in the correct state of mind then they should be able to make any judgemental decision and it is likely under this case that they would choose life over death. (

Contention 2: The Slippery Slope Argument

Keown gives in his slippery slope argument of 2002, that once one form of euthanasia is accepted that other forms, like involuntary euthanasia, to become legal. For my number one example I present the Dutch. In 1987, the Royal Dutch Medical Association had written into law, “If there is no request from the patient, then proceeding with the termination of his life is [juristically] a matter of murder or killing, and not of euthanasia.” However, in 2001 they supported a new law that completely supported a law that would legalize non-voluntary and involuntary euthanasia. (Medical end-of-life practices under the euthanasia law in Belgium.
Bilsen J, Cohen J, Chambaere K, Pousset G, Onwuteaka-Philipsen BD, Mortier F, Deliens L
N Engl J Med. 2009 Sep 10; 361(11):1119-21.) There 2001 law also permitted children from age 12-16 to be euthanized with parental concent! Though the nation does not concider the child at liberty to make the call. (The medical practice of euthanasia in Belgium and The Netherlands: legal notification, control and evaluation procedures.
Smets T, Bilsen J, Cohen J, Rurup ML, De Keyser E, Deliens L
Health Policy. 2009 May; 90(2-3):181-7)

The euthanasias in Belgium have doubled since 1998. The involuntary and non-voluntary euthanasia rates have slightly increased from 1.5% in 2001 to 1.8% in 2007. In Flanders the euthanasia numbers have increased from 0.3% in 2001 to 1.9% in 2007. In the graph bellow we can see that the number of euthanasias have doubled since 2007 as well.

The definition of Euthanasia has actually changed over the years from it being killing in 1950 to a quick and easy death in 1981. In the bellow quote we can see that our prespective has changed to the point that we almost do not even associate death with euthanasia in the definition.

""Have we really forgotten that euthanasia is killing?"

From a pre-1950 dictionary: "Mode or act of inducing death painlessly or as a relief from pain."

From Webster's Third International Unabridged Dictionary (1968): "1. An easy death or means of inducing one. 2. The act or practice of painlessly putting to death persons suffering from incurable conditions or diseases."

From Taber's Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary (1981): "1. Dying easily, quietly and painlessly. 2. The act of willfully ending life in individuals with an incurable disease" (

You are also given the healing doctor a killing roll. This can have a huge effect on doctors as it was proved that it has an effect on doctors who are suppose to heal their patients and are now asked to kill. This also gives off a fear of the doctor as in Holland, the elderly are scared of the doctor, because they are scared that the doctor will euthanize them. (

Debate Round No. 1


First of all, obviously euthanasia is killing. It us an extremely ugly and uncomfortable topic. About youf first point, your numbers while I do not doubt thier accuracy, are entirley irrelevant. This debate is about whether or not voluntary euthanasia should be legalized and extremely strictly regulated. It amounts to sheer common sense that it is illegal to kill someone without their consent. As for Belguim allowing parents to euthanize children this is only done in cases of terminal illness and while I think it is wrong, you are simplifying the issue. The children are not old enough to make the decision and the parent discuss it with doctors and their children beforehand. Hiwever the issue I want to focus on us whether or not adults should be able to decide about their own futures.
In regards to your "slippery slope" theory I think that this is no reason not to legalize. Just because this may have happened in Belgium does not mean we here cannot use that as an example and use our own logic and reason to not let it get to that point. There is a signifigant gap between letting a terminally ill brain cancer patient with an inoperable tumor die painlessly on their own terms and strait up furst degree murder.


Contention 1: Unreported Euthanasia and Euthanasia without consent.

These numbers that I had brought up my first round are completely irrelivant, but the fact is that overtime legalization of one form of Euthanasia will eventually lead to the legalization of the others, which I'll continue about in my second contention. We can easily use both Belgium and the Neatherlands as key examples as they were the first places were such legalization took place. Though I know that there is a fine line between euthanasia and full fledge murder, but that does not mean that it should be legalized as we can see that even with legalization we have more of these illegal types of euthanasia which is overal harmful to the people living in the nation.

Now I know that my opponent is against some of these, but this plays a key factor in my slippery slope argument that I will get into next. In 2003, Terri Schiavo recovered from a vegetative state that she had been in for 13 years. She had been dubbed dying, but she began to recover and eventually woke up to be on the O’Rielily Show. ( They had removed her feeding tube and she had been without food and water for a few days even when she began to show signs of recovery. This is an event that occurred in the United States and we can see how this can easily go wrong when we try to give someone a peaceful end. In New York, Dr. Dimancescu's program has increased the ability for patients to get out of comas by a total of 91% compared to regular machines which have only 11%. (

My opponent dropps the right-state-of-mind argument so I will extend that across the board as well as him dropping the euthanasia patients consulting a pain specialist before they make the choice of euthanasia.

Contention 2: Slippery Slope Argument

My opponent does not refute this point as he only states that it is not a reason to act, but when it leads to things that he himself conciders murder then there is definately a reason not to do it. My opponent also dropps the fear of doctors argument here which is another key point that is dropped so I'll extend that across the board as well. As for what my opponent brings up with the children argument I bring forth Casey Anthony, we all know that she killed her children and know with Euthanasia as an option it makes a prime and easy target for poor people who want to get rid of their children or abusive parents to kill their children. Once again this is another example of Pro contradicting himself as we can see that this can be used for the wrong reasons and they can be done against the child's will which makes it, by Pro's own standards, murder.
Debate Round No. 2


The key to terminally ill patients having the rights to peacefully and painlessly end their own lives is just that. We cannot allow other people to make the decision for them. As I stated in my first argument, the patient must be deemed of sound mind to make the decision, which obviously means that they cannot be unconscious. The example you brought up about Terri Shiavo is excellent. If the proper regulations were put on the program I am supporting, Terri Shiavo would of course not be euthanized without her consent, as that is not a decision someone can make for another person. Again, what I am supporting is terminally ill adults of an acceptable mental state who make and independent decision and give their consent to end their own lives.
In regards to your slippery slope theory, I think that that argument is entirely irrelevant to the decision, though I do recognize it as a potential danger, though as you said I don't see it as a reason not to give terminally ill patients the right to control their futures after doing a cost-benefit analysis of the situation. The slippery slope scenario is where people's common sense has to play a role. Simply because something can potentially get to a point does not mean it is obligated to be carried to absurd extremes. For example, just because drugs like tobacco and alcohol are legal does not mean the that people are walking around smoking heroin. All that is necessary to prevent such an outcome is vigilance and regulation.
As for the argument about the children I admit that that is extremely difficult to find an acceptable answer to. However, I would like to point out that in the program I support, parents would not be able to just decide they want their children euthanized, the child would have to be terminally ill, suffering in constant pain, have very little to no hope of recovery, and give some indication they agree to the decision. However, since it is not my belief that children can make those decisions or give consent, I would only recommend extending this right to adults, and not to children.
I apologize for not addressing your argument to the guilt doctors may feel ending the lives of patients. Your arguments covered a lot of ground and I forgot to address the last part.
This portion of the problem I think is actually the easiest to solve out of all the issues relating back to the topic. First of all, it's not as though doctors would be directly pulling the plug on patients, but their are pills available that would be provided by the hospital, and doctors would have very little directly to do with the patients death. In addition, as these occasions would most likely not be everyday occurrences within a single hospital building, hospitals could offer their employees the option when they are hired if they are willing or unwilling to participate in this practice. I believe their are certainly doctors willing to do so, as many would see it as the individuals decision as well as a way for the patient to end their suffering. Another solution could be that if this program was made available, people studying to be doctors would just see it as part of the job description, and if anyone had strong moral objections they could find another profession, because in my opinion it is not up to the doctor what the patient ultimately wants their fate to be.However, I believe the first solution is more likely.
In addition, one must also consider the moral side of this issue. If a patient is suffering day in and day out and wants the right to end that suffering, what right does another person have to force them to continue that suffering? In my opinion, they have no more right to do that then to euthanize them without their consent.
I suggest you look into the case of Brittany Maynard.


Contention 1: Unreported Euthanasia and Euthanasia without consent.

For the first thing is that my opponent brings up that they must be in the deemed sound mind, but my opponent fails to refuted my sound mind argument which states that when they are in the correct state of mind then they will choose life. There was the proper regulations as my opponent brought up in his last round stating that the US would be able to do so, but this is something that had occured in the US and we can see that we do not have the proper regulations as we failed to protect Terri Shiavo.

My opponent continues to drop my statists and my counter-arguments from my last round of unreported euthanasias and those done without consent. Though I understand that he doesn't support this, it still shows that through the slippery slope, which I'll extend into in my second contention, that even if he legalizes this voluntary euthanasia that it will still lead to the latter.

Contention 2: Slippery Slope Argument

My opponent uses drugs as an anology on why my argument is irrelivant, but alchol was once illegal and now they are legalizing marijuana for recreational use and nations that have legalized euthanasia have also legalized weed, so we can see that the anology actually works in my favor.

My opponent attempts to argue against, but he once again only states that he gives this right to the parents while completely ignoring my own argument which I extend across. Also if my opponent is thinking of allowing the children to give concent, this means that we would have to lower the age of consent which would increase the teen pregnancy rates which would increase children with this said sickness and thus would create an endless cycle. (

My opponent states that my fear of the doctor is irreliant, but pounder this; why are children afraid of clowns? Many actually point to two prominate and well known clowns, Pennywise from It by Stephen King and Bozo the Clown. Bozo the clown who turned out to be a prominate serial killer and Pennywise is a self explanitory one, but these two caused a major fear of clowns and the same can be done to demonize doctors.
Physician-Assisted Suicide [euthanasia]:
  • 42% Had both a "religious and nonreligious objection" to physician-assisted suicide
  • 31% Had "no objection" to physician-assisted suicide
  • 21% Had a "nonreligious objection" to physician-assisted suicide
  • 5% Had a "religious objection" to physician-assisted suicide

Physician Characteristics:

  • 79% of Asian doctors in the US object to physician-assisted suicide
  • 71% of Hispanic doctors in the US object to physician-assisted suicide
  • 67% of White doctors in the US object to physician-assisted suicide
  • 65% of Black doctors in the US object to physician-assisted suicide
  • 79% of Catholic doctors object to physician-assisted suicide
  • 79% of Muslim doctors object to physician-assisted suicide
  • 75% of Protestant doctors object to physician-assisted suicide
  • 74% of Hindu doctors object to physician-assisted suicide
  • 54% of Jewish doctors object to physician-assisted suicide
  • 39% of doctors with no religious affiliation object to physician-assisted suicide
  • Physicians from the US Midwest are more likely to object to physician-assisted suicide than those from the US South

My opponent also drops my argument about the pain doctors and how those numbers have been decreasing though when in realtion to them they help cure people, but the numbers are declining. He also drops Dr. Dimancescu's pain pill which can help cure people and has an 91% cure rate compared to the machines that are a an 11% cure rate.

With that I thank you and please vote Con!
Debate Round No. 3
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2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by kasmic 1 year ago
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: Burden of proof unfilled, and con's arguments created enough of an issue to leave me unconvinced that doctor assisted suicide should be allowed. Pro had an entire lack of sources, points to con.
Vote Placed by 9spaceking 1 year ago
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: it feels like pro is insufficient, as he mostly rebuts con instead of building his own arguments. Also, con is only guy to use sources.