The Instigator
zach12
Con (against)
Losing
17 Points
The Contender
TheSkeptic
Pro (for)
Winning
24 Points

To be decided in this debate

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 7 votes the winner is...
TheSkeptic
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/21/2009 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,129 times Debate No: 7034
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (6)
Votes (7)

 

zach12

Con

My opponent is to choose a topic and I will argue against it.

Please don't make me argue a double negative like "Disney channel isn't a good channel" (i'm con)
TheSkeptic

Pro

I thank my opponent for making this debate, and I will go on to propose a topic.

I affirm the resolution: "Euthanasia is Morally Justifiable".

=====Arguments=====

When we decide what to do with someone, it is the person himself who takes the highest priority. As a rational adult, any person should be allowed to make decisions about their body. If they want to drink heavily, then they should. If they want to kill themselves, then they should be allowed to. If they want a painless death to escape an excruciating terminal illness, then they should.

Euthanasia should be allowed because it allows a person to exercise control over their body. A doctor is not murdering anybody; actions themselves are never "evil' or "good". It is the intend behind it that judges it's morality.

This is all I will leave for now.
Debate Round No. 1
zach12

Con

First I would like to thank TheSkeptic for accepting my debate and posting such an interesting topic.

Based on what my opponent has said in his first post I am assuming that when he says "euthanasia" he is referring to voluntary active euthanasia as opposed to passive or non-voluntary euthanasia.

My opponent says "If they want to drink heavily, then they should" This is a completely unethical statement because of the consequences of this act that my opponent sees as exercising control over their body. Someone who drinks heavily poses many hazards to society. Heavy drinkers cause hundreds of fatal car accidents per year. Drinking during pregnancy can cause Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS), which involves mental retardation, stunt growth and birth weight, damage neural structures, and cause behavioral problems. As we can see, making decisions about your body don't always affect just you.

Many patients who desire to be euthanized are not thinking rationally as my opponent states. They can be on heavy doses of morphine, despairing over their condition, or fearful of the economic strain they are putting on their families due to extended hospital stays. Fear, despair, and drugs can easily cause a person to think irrationally.

Then my opponent says that people should have the right to choose whether or not to be euthanized. This debate is not about whether they should have the right; rather it is over whether or not the whole idea of euthanasia is morally justifiable.

Euthanasia is not always painless. (not even most of the time really). The time from when the patient receives their last dose of lethal injection until the patient ultimately dies varies from a relatively painless four minutes to an excruciating 15 hours. Many doctors in Belgium are unused to performing Euthanasia and therefore use relatively ineffective chemicals to achieve death.

There is also the problem of the slippery slope. Once death is re-defined from being bad and taboo to good, we see a much more varied group of patients being administered euthanasia. Now, instead of merely the terminally ill, people with chronic diseases, persistent pain which renders them, at least in their mind, to be unable to partake in activities which make life enjoyable, depressed teenagers, people with mental disorders, handicapped persons are being euthanized. Then, you have cases of involuntary euthanasia, as we have seen in the Netherlands and Belgium. People who are in a coma are euthanized. Eventually it gets to a point where we can't distinguish between one's freedom to die and one's duty to die.

I will end my negations here and save some of my arsenal for later.

Thank you for reading, vote con!
TheSkeptic

Pro

I thank my opponent for his speedy response, and I hope we have a good debate :)

>>>Based on what my opponent has said in his first post I am assuming that when he says "euthanasia" he is referring to voluntary active euthanasia as opposed to passive or non-voluntary euthanasia.<<<

Yes, I agree with your assessment.

=====Counterarguments=====

>>>As we can see, making decisions about your body don't always affect just you.<<<

This is indeed true, and I no doubt support it. However, not every decision you make about your own body affects others. Euthanasia does NOT physically affect others but you yourself.

>>>Many patients who desire to be euthanized are not thinking rationally as my opponent states. They can be on heavy doses of morphine, despairing over their condition, or fearful of the economic strain they are putting on their families due to extended hospital stays. Fear, despair, and drugs can easily cause a person to think irrationally.<<<

There are several things wrong with this argument. First, for the patient to even be considered for euthanasia they have to fulfill 5 requirements. The first is to be diagnosed with a terminal illness. The second is to be in a situation where there is likely no hope for their cure. The third is that they be in immense pain and a unnecessary dependence on others (family). The fourth and important is that they have to have an enduring, voluntary and competent wish to die (or if they specify before their surgery/diagnosis that in cases of terminal illness they be put in euthanasia).

Secondly, well regulated systems with euthanasia, Oregon as an example[1], have safeguards against these problems. Euthanasia isn't something they do on a whim in one day. Common things they do, and I quote, "include presenting patients with the option for palliative care; ensuring that patients are competent to make end-of-life decisions for themselves; limiting the procedure to patients who are terminally ill; ensuring the voluntariness of the request; obtaining a second opinion on the case; requiring the request to be persistent, i.e., made a second time after a two week interval; encouraging the involvement of the next of kin; and requiring physicians to inform OPHD of all cases in which they have written a prescription for the purpose of assisted suicide."

>>>This debate is not about whether they should have the right; rather it is over whether or not the whole idea of euthanasia is morally justifiable.<<<

Obviously whether or not they should have the right is PART of the ethical debate over euthanasia.

>>>Euthanasia is not always painless.<<<

This has nothing to do with the ethical aspect. As technology and more open research goes into euthanasia-related fields, then we can find better ways to kill them. I always thought that a shotgun shot to the back of the head was best ;D. But you know what I mean, we can find ways. And citing Belgium as an example isn't great, since our medical technology and safeguards are of a much higher standard.

>>>There is also the problem of the slippery slope...<<<

The problem with most slippery slope arguments is that they usually end up becoming a slippery slope FALLACY. To be certified as a valid argument, the onus is on you to show how it will lead from assisted-suicide to "depressed teenagers".

The fine line is quite explicit and defined. Euthanasia is only for those who are terminally ill, in tons of pain, and who voluntarily and competently ask for suicide.

>>>Eventually it gets to a point where we can't distinguish between one's freedom to die and one's duty to die.<<<

There is no "duty to die". Everyone has the freedom to die at their own choice.

=====Conclusion=====

My opponent fails to realize that the euthanasia procedure is very meticulous and safeguarded. Similarly so, he has barely touched on the ethics of euthanasia, so my point still stands that euthanasia is morally justifiable.

---References---
1. http://www.spiorg.org...
Debate Round No. 2
zach12

Con

I would like to thank TheSkeptic for his equally speedy response, his intelligent answer, and Debate.org for making this debate possible.

Now to the actual debate:

My opponent first says that candidates for euthanasia must fulfill five criteria and then goes on to list only four.

I agree with the idea behind these four criteria that must be filled in order to be lawfully euthanized. However, I have negative speculations as to whether or not these regulations and the other safeguards my opponent has quoted are being practically carried out.

>>> [Common things physicians do] include presenting patients with the option for palliative care. <<<

This, however, according to my opponent, is not a requirement of the physician. I have read my opponent's reference for his post and found some interesting things.(including the fact that the article isn't promoting euthanasia) There is a woman named Helen who insists on being euthanized (an easily recognizable sign of irrational motives). The physician halfheartedly attempts to talk her out of it, suggesting chemotherapy and hormone therapy to alleviate pain and stall progression of the cancer in her lungs. He never refers a doctor more knowledgeable on the subject or tries more than once to dissuade her. How can we morally and ethically accept euthanasia if this occurs? He then states in an article to the British journal "Lancet" that reluctance to disappoint Helen's family and embarrassment of backing out were important motives in his decision to comply with Helen's requests of euthanasia. It is not ethically right for euthanasia to be requisite of a physician's emotions. This takes the decision to die out of the patients hands and thus makes the physician less likely to feasibly present alternatives to assisted suicide. Later on in the article, another physician, more adept at providing alternatives managed to help a patient better control pain and her desire to be euthanized disappeared and she died peacefully and naturally. This could be done with most candidates for euthanasia. In fact, nearly half (46%) of the patients who received feasible alternatives and pain management from their physicians changed their mind about Physician Assisted Suicide (PAS)

>>> [Common things physicians do is to] "ensure the voluntariness of the request" <<<

However, there are no monitoring regulations to actually make sure and enforce that this is accomplished and Oregon is taking no measures to improve this. As we can see in the case of Kate(euthanasia candidate) and Erika(sister), coercion can play a large role in the patients "voluntary" request. First off, assisted suicide is much cheaper than prolonged care for terminally ill patients. Secondly, Erika and her husband had the burden of caring for Kate in their home during the duration of her illness. After a while Erika and her husband needed a break from the constant care of Kate and sent her temporarily to a nursing home. They said it would only be for a week. It turned out to be considerably longer than a week and when Kate returned to the house she was under the impression that she was a burden to her family. Instead of reassuring Kate that they cared deeply about her and would do anything to ease the burden of her terminal illness they said "when will you take them?" when Kate suggested using the killing drugs. This is what I was talking about when I talked about the patient's "duty to die."

Then in response to my comment about how euthanasia is not always painless my opponent said: "This has nothing to do with the ethical aspect"

I think it has a huge relevance as to whether euthanasia is ethically acceptable. It seems crazy to end pain by causing pain. If my opponent thinks deliberately causing pain has no moral repercussions he is sadly mistaken.

>>> And citing Belgium as an example isn't great, since our medical technology and safeguards are of a much higher standard. <<<

This is simply not true. This is a quote from https://www.cia.gov... regarding Belgium. "The country prospered in the past half century as a modern, technologically advanced European state and member of NATO and the EU." This doesn't sound very much to me like the third-world, technologically lacking ancient society my opponent is hinting at.

Then my opponent says the slippery slope problem is a fallacy. However it is already happening in Belgium. Belgium now sells over the counter "Euthanasia packs" to anyone who wants them. Before this happened Belgium had nearly the exact same set of laws that Oregon had.

======================================================

Now I'm going to post some more original reasons why Euthanasia should not be morally embraced.

1.) I think it is refreshing that neither me nor my opponent has yet involved religion as a reason to oppose or accept euthanasia. However I feel it is necessary for it to be given consideration. Generally, Catholics, Protestants, and Orthodox Jews all consider euthanasia as a grave sin. This would be a huge moral hurdle to euthanasia.

2.) There was a case I read about on http://euthanasia.procon.org... in which there was a Swedish woman who wished to be euthanized. She was in severe psychological pain but not physical pain. As her execution date neared, her mental pain increased greatly and she developed actual physical pains to double the sorrow. She was televised as she was killed. If she had been taken care of and put on pain management programs I believe her will to be killed would have gone away.

I hope you can see through my argument the moral problems with euthanasia and vote con. Thank you TheSkeptic for a very interesting and challenging debate.
TheSkeptic

Pro

I thank my opponent for his timely response, and I wish the best of us :).

My opponent agrees that the current, and possibly more in the future, safeguards and regulations for euthanasia help prevent abuse and accidents. Unfortunately, my opponent takes a major part of his argument attacking technicalities and the procedures of euthanasia. He, however, is missing the point of the debate. Is euthanasia FUNDAMENTALLY MORAL?

=====
Option for palliative care
=====

The article doesn't present euthanasia in the brightest light, but only in the context of Oregon's protocol. You will notices that they STILL support euthanasia, but only are giving other options for which Oregon can improve on. My opponent's argument here rests on the fact that there are some unqualified and not enough "hands-on" physicians to meet the psychological requirements of patients deciding euthanasia. This, at most, can be seen to be just a problem concerning faculty stuff, of who to accept and what requirements they need to go through.

=====
Ensuring the voluntarily of the request
=====

Yes, certain burdens such as financial cost on partners take a toll. While I concede the point that this can affect the euthanasia process, I deny it's moral consequence. Suppose a person was at home, and he also financially dependent on his spouse. If he decides to kill himself, then he is in ALL his right to. Suicide may be painful for others (and some may say it's selfish), but ultimately it's the person's choice.

Second, the response Kate got from her family is not the hospital nor euthanasia's fault. A family who asks when she will off herself probably sent the wrong message (or they're just plain evil). The patient's duty to die may be influenced by mixed messages, but it is in no way immoral. Suicide happens everyday due to many causes - if we were to catch someone before they kill themselves they should not be punished. Same with euthanasia. It may seem like an emotional tragedy, but it is not a moral outrage.

>>>I think it has a huge relevance as to whether euthanasia is ethically acceptable. It seems crazy to end pain by causing pain. If my opponent thinks deliberately causing pain has no moral repercussions he is sadly mistaken.<<<

As technology progresses, and more regulations are in existence, the pain aspect will go away.

>>>This doesn't sound very much to me like the third-world, technologically lacking ancient society my opponent is hinting at.<<<

Yes, but is the hospital as facilitated or "good" as American hospitals? Probably not, but let's say it is. Even so, my contention stands. Technology will improve and eventually the painful aspects will go away.

>>>Then my opponent says the slippery slope problem is a fallacy. However it is already happening in Belgium. Belgium now sells over the counter "Euthanasia packs" to anyone who wants them. Before this happened Belgium had nearly the exact same set of laws that Oregon had.<<<

No, it's not to everyone. These euthanasia packs are sold only to physicians[1.

=====
Religious reasons
=====

>>>Generally, Catholics, Protestants, and Orthodox Jews all consider euthanasia as a grave sin. This would be a huge moral hurdle to euthanasia.<<<

Just because people believe it's immoral doesn't make it so. Most Christians believe Gay Marriage is a grave sin, so is it ethically immoral then?

=====
Woman with psychological problems
=====

If she had control of herself, she would've killed herself even faster (gun to the head, wrist slash, etc.). This was only a failure in technology to save her, nothing ethically immoral.

=====
Conclusion
=====

What my opponent doesn't seem to grasp is that the majority of his argument is centered on the current laws, regulations, and technology for euthanasia. The ethical aspect will eventually supersede this. The pain aspect - which my opponent uses - will soon be gone with increasing technology. New regulations can help prevent third-party influence, and technology can help people recover with psychological or physical pain.

However, suicide is left up to the person. He or she has the HIGHEST priority when concerning rights over their body. Thus, my opponent's arguments have been defeated and you should like freaking vote for PRO.

---References---
1. http://findarticles.com...
Debate Round No. 3
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by TheSkeptic 7 years ago
TheSkeptic
The undoing of vote-bombers.
Posted by zach12 7 years ago
zach12
woah... all meh votes went away... :(
Posted by zach12 7 years ago
zach12
holy crap. who's doing the voting?
Posted by zach12 8 years ago
zach12
interesting topic choice
Posted by TheSkeptic 8 years ago
TheSkeptic
Screw that, I'll accept haha.
Posted by TheSkeptic 8 years ago
TheSkeptic
If you make the voting period infinite, I'll accept.
7 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Vote Placed by Gabby042 7 years ago
Gabby042
zach12TheSkepticTied
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106627
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Vote Placed by TheSkeptic 8 years ago
TheSkeptic
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Vote Placed by TheSexicanMexican 8 years ago
TheSexicanMexican
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Vote Placed by zach12 8 years ago
zach12
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saamanthagrl
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