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Assisted Suicide Should Be Legalized for those that are mentally stable and suffering

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Voting Style: Open with Elo Restrictions Point System: Select Winner
Started: 11/10/2015 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,564 times Debate No: 82069
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (36)
Votes (0)




I thank Zaradi for accepting this debate in advance. This debate was created due to a discussion in the forums which you can view here:

Resolution: Assisted Suicide Should Be Legalized for those that are mentally stable and suffering from a terminal illness

== Rules ==

1. No forfeits
2. Sources may be provided in the comments
3. No new arguments in the final round
4. Maintain a civil and decorous atmosphere
5. No trolling
6. No "kritiks" of the topic (i.e. arguments that challenge an assumption in the resolution)
7. No semantics; debaters will adhere to the common/average understanding of the topic
8. The burden of proof is shared
9. First round is for acceptance only
10. Violation of any rules is an automatic loss

== Definitions ==

Assisted Suicide is the act of a medically trained professional deliberately providing assistance to help somebody to willingly kill themselves (commit suicide).

Legalized is to make (something that was previously illegal) permissible by law (1).

Mentally stable is when you are able to make a justified and in formed decision without any problems that are affecting your thought processing and frame of mind.

Suffering is when you are in unbearable pain.

Terminally ill is when a person who is sick is diagnosed with a disease that will take their life in a few months or years (2).




I accept that the first round of this debate is not to post arguments. I'll pass the floor over to my opponent for him to kick us off.
Debate Round No. 1


Libertarian Framework

Death is a private matter and if there is no harm to others, the state and other people have no right to interfere. Death is one of the few serious situations in which it is okay to view things subjectively. The family and friends will be mourning and if they believe that their loved one is in extreme pain and is suffering then the person clearly has the right to an assisted suicide, the state cannot and should not intervene on such personal matters. If they have successfully completed all the required mental health checks and they are clearly sane then they have the right to choose. People that choose to kill themselves because they are in pain and will die very soon can arguably be considered insane however this debate is about whether or not they are mentally capable of making a decision. If this person has decided to allow themselves to die, due to immense suffering and terminal illness then what is the argument to stop them? These are unique circumstances. The person will die and this is inevitable, they are in extreme pain.If you believe that suicide is the alternative then you are mistaken. Assisted suicide is painless, you have a higher chance of success and that it is a decision that your family must agree upon. Suicide is not always painless, it can be a slow death and sometimes you fail to commit suicide and end up increasing your current pain. The issue with preventing them from having an assisted suicide is that you are sentencing them to a life of torture and agony which nobody should deserve to live with.We have the option to put down pets both in the UK and US. Why should pets have greater privileges than humans? Pets get to die painless and peaceful death, on the other hand, we must die painful deaths when we know that death is inevitable. Both of these options are by far better choices than for a person to have to die slowly and painfully due to terminal illness. Essentially, you are the person indirectly sentencing an innocent person (in most cases) to a life of torture and misery. You may claim that the disease is the cause of their torture, which is true. However, you are an indirect cause and therefore you are the murderer. The torturer.

Contention 1 - The Right To Die

In...cases where there are no dependants who might exert pressure one way or the other, the right of the individual to choose should be paramount. So long as the patient is lucid, and his or her intent is clear beyond doubt, there need be no further questions.

The Independent, March 2002

We clearly have the right to die (as stated clearly above). We are individuals that should have control over our own lives rather than letting the government to govern them. Rights works should work both ways. If we have the right to live then surely we should have the right to die. Do you wish to prevent an individual from possessing their basic human rights?

“The human right to die with dignity. The human right to spare yourself – and those you love – months and years of nothing but misery and pain. We watch our parents get old, and then we see them become ill, and then we watch them die. This is the everyday tragedy that touches all of our lives. But it is grotesque, inhuman and unnecessary that the dying should have to be humiliated and tortured by whatever is killing them.200 courageous Brits have ended their lives in Dignitas over the last ten years. They have been both young and old.There was Daniel James, 23, who was paralysed playing rugby.There was Sir Edward Downes, 85, and his 74-year-old wife Joan, who died within months of each other at Dignitas. Sir Edward was nearly blind and increasingly deaf. Lady Downes had terminal cancer. By ending their lives at Dignitas, they spared themselves needless misery – and they also spared their families needless misery, too.”

Many people (including me) think that each person has the right to control his or her body and life and so they should be able to determine at what time, in what way and by whose hand he or she will die. Behind this lies the idea that human beings should be as free as possible - and that unnecessary restraints on human rights are a bad thing. People should care that this human right is restricted. By allowing the government to control your death, you are essentially putting your lives in the government’s hands and allowing them to dictate both your life and your death. The freedom to assisted suicide is special and should not be ignored, we have control over our lives and logic tells us that if we have control over our lives then surely we should have control over our deaths. And behind that lies the idea that human beings are independent biological entities, with the right to take and carry out decisions about themselves, providing the greater good of society doesn't prohibit this. This is the principle that Assisted Suicide is based upon.

Contention 2 - Hippocratic Oath

Over time the Hippocratic Oath has been modified on a number of occasions as some of its tenets became less and less acceptable. References to women not studying medicine and doctors not breaking the skin have been deleted. The quoted reference to 'do no harm' is also in need of explanation. Does not doing harm mean that we should prolong a life that the patient sees as a painful burden? Surely, the 'harm' in this instance is done when we prolong the life, and 'doing no harm' means that we should help the patient die. Killing the patient--technically, yes. Is it a good thing--sometimes, yes. Is it consistent with good medical end-of-life care: yes.

"I swear by Apollo Physician and Asclepios and Hygeia and Panacea and all the gods and goddesses, making them my witnesses"

This is the opening statement of the original Hippocratic Oath. This is already unconvincing since sticking to this would require all doctors to follow the same religion and believe in the same Gods. However this is a minor issue compared to the absurdity of some of the promises that must be made. The Hippocratic Oath is sexist and here is an example of sexism within the original Oath:

- "What I may see or hear in the course of the treatment or even outside of the treatment in regard to the life of men..."

The absurdity of the original Hippocratic Oath is evident and that is why modifications were essential in order for us to expand and progress in society. The modern Hippocratic Oath implies that we have the right to assisted suicide and euthanasia because, as I have said previously, prolonging inevitable death is causing pain. This is a clear violation of the rules within this modified document. The oath is extremely important and cannot be disregarded. The oath binds many doctors to use their ethical conscience and do what is morally right. This moral conscience is the essence of the original oath.

Contention 3 - Religious Concerns

“Guided by our belief as Unitarian Universalists that human life has inherent dignity, which may be compromised when life is extended beyond the will or ability of a person to sustain that dignity; and believing that it is every person's inviolable right to determine in advance the course of action to be taken in the event that there is no reasonable expectation of recovery from extreme physical or mental disability…”

Be it further resolved: That Unitarian Universalists advocate the right to self-determination in dying, and the release from civil or criminal penalties of those who, under proper safeguards, act to honor the right of terminally ill patients to select the time of their own deaths.

Be it further resolved: That Unitarian Universalists, acting through their congregations, memorial societies, and appropriate organizations, inform and petition legislators to support legislation that will create legal protection for the right to die with dignity, in accordance with one's own choice.

Contention 4 - Living wills

Living wills can be used to refuse extraordinary, life-prolonging care and are effective in providing clear and convincing evidence that may be necessary under state statutes to refuse care after one becomes terminally ill. The right to refuse care is insufficient not only because it puts the patients under even more pain but because there is clearly a much stronger, safer and painless option that could easily be used - assisted suicide.

A recent Pennsylvania case shows the power a living will can have. In that case, a Bucks County man was not given a feeding tube, even though his wife requested he receive one, because his living will, executed seven years prior, clearly stated that he did 'not want tube feeding or any other artificial invasive form of nutrition'...

A living will provides clear and convincing evidence of one's wishes regarding end-of-life care.

Contention 5 - Social Groups at risk of abuse

One concern has been that disadvantaged populations would be disproportionately represented among patients who chose assisted suicide. Experience in Oregon suggests this has not been the case. In the United States, socially disadvantaged groups have variably included ethnic minorities, the poor, women, and the elderly. Compared with all Oregon residents who died between January 1998 and December 2002, those who died by physician-assisted suicide were more likely to be college graduates, more likely to be Asian, somewhat younger, more likely to be divorced, and more likely to have cancer or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis... Moreover, although 2.6 percent of Oregonians are African American, non African American patients have chosen assisted suicide.


I have clearly demonstrated that Assisted Suicide should be legalized and it should not remain illegal. I have done this using facts and reliable university studies and sources. I wish my opponent good luck for the following round and am looking forward to an interesting debate.

Sources are in the comments (as permitted in the rules of R1).


His argument is that only those who are mentally stable should have the right to decide when they die. This concept of being capable of making a decision is discriminatory against those who can’t make a decision. This discrimination against the unable is the start of ableism. Braswell[1]:

  • "autonomy" is … saturated with ableist norms. … the rise of liberal … autonomy … was predicated on ideals of self-government that were prejudicial against the disabled … The deviant corporeality of the disabled body refused the dictates of the autonomous individual. … the… dependence of persons with disabilities on social relations … was the … opposite of the autonomous self's constitutive independence. … disability represented the destruction of the autonomy ... the rise of the autonomous subject created disability as a pathology.

And, the aff mistakes the reasons people want to die and ignore the root cause of the ill person’s lack of will to live. The rhetoric of wanting to die because of illness is rooted in the ableistic mentality. Amundson and Taira[2]:

  • the arguments made by assisted-suicide advocates … was blatantly ableist. They would describe the person’s impairments, in the most demeaning possible terms, and then ask “Wouldn’t you want to die if you were in that position?” … they took the impairments themselves as the true reasons for the death wish. … these people wanted to die because of their social situation, not because of their impairments. … a quadriplegic man … was refused the support he needed to live independently near his friends and family. Wouldn’t you want to die if you were institutionalized against your will and taken away from your family? … the assisted suicide advocates … assumed that his quadriplegia alone, not his social circumstances, caused his despair. ... his death wish would vanish if he were given the support he needed to live freely ...

We have every reason to reject ableism - it leads to the discrimination and exclusion of people from moral consideration akin to racism and sexism. Siebers[3]:

  • Oppression ... is a form of intergroup violence. ... oppression involves “groups,” and not “individuals,” means that it concerns identities, ... Oppression is justified ... by … natural inferiority ... The representation of inferiority always comes back to the appearance of the body and the way the body makes other bodies feel. ... the study of oppression requires an understanding of aesthetics—not only because oppression uses aesthetic judgments for its violence but also because the signposts of how oppression works are visible ... where aesthetic judgments about the creation and appreciation of bodies are openly discussed. ... it is not a matter of reducing other minority identities to disability identity. Rather, it is a matter of understanding the work done by disability in oppressive systems. ... the ... properties of the body are ... constructed as disqualifying defects, ... the oppressed identity is represented in some way as disabled, … Racism” disqualifies … for the inferiority of certain skin colors, … Sexism” disqualifies on the basis of sex … Ableism” disqualifies on the basis of mental and physical differences, first selecting and then stigmatizing them as disabilities. … As racism, sexism, … fall away … the prejudice against disability remains in full force, … Disability represents at this moment in time the final frontier of justifiable human inferiority.

The alternative is to reject the aff to reject the ableist mentality.

The K negates in a number of ways:

First, it rejects the resolution normatively as a rejection of the categorization of people as “not mentally stable” and thus unable to make this decision for themselves.

Second, it turns the aff. Their attempt to protect the rights of these vulnerable groups only creates the possibility of endless oppression. This means that he’s not protecting vulnerable groups like his C5 says he is, rather only hurting them further.

Third, it turns the aff. His attempts to provide people with rights (i.e. C1) just leads to the discrimination and removal of rights from people we view as lesser than us (i.e. mentally unstable people).

Next is theory.

A - interpretation: Debaters may make any argument that defends their specific side of the resolution - it doesn’t matter what form the argument comes in so long as the argument affirms/negates.

B - violation: He says I can’t run Ks specifically because it’s a K

C - standards: The standard is ground skew. Saying I can’t run Ks is inherently unfair toward my position as it limits the amount ofoptions I have to respond to affirmative arguments without reciprocally limiting aff options. This makes the debate unfairly tilted in his favor as he has all possible options of arguments in front of him while I have to debate with an arm tied behind my back.

Moreover, saying I can’t run Ks hurts the educational value of the debate because it limits the scope of what all we can discuss within the round. The more we’re allowed to talk about within the round, the more we can learn from the round, so saying that I can’t run a specific kind of argument means that there’s just less we could potentially learn from this debate.

D - Voters: He ought to lose the debate because -

  • Fairness is a voter because the role of the judge is decide on who did the better job debating but that’s not possible if one side has an unfair advantage.

  • Education is also a voter because the only thing that gives debating value is what we learn from the debate. It’s the entire reason why competitive debate exists in the first place.

  • And, vote him down for this because a) I had to spend time checking the abuse, so the round can never be evaluated fairly again, and b) to disincentivise bad debating - he’s always going to continue to do this until he gets punished for doing it.

  • And, even if you don’t vote him down for it, you reject the rule which means that running the K is fair.

And, prefer theory to the rules he outlined in his first round because:

  • First, his rules only talk about how this single debate should work, whereas my theory shell talks about how debate as an activity should work, which is inclusive of every debate.

  • Second, just saying that “this is the rules” only begs the question of why that rule is a rule in the first place. We wouldn’t follow rules that hurt us, so if I’m winning that his rule hurts debate as an activity there’s no reason for us to follow it.

  • Third, I never accepted the rule in the first place. My first round was specifically saying that I agreed not to make an argument that round, not that I accepted to not run a K. There’s no reason I should be held to a rule I don’t agree with.

And, don’t buy the “don’t accept the debate” response that’s going to come because this creates an awful precedent for debating because a) debating is entirely about challenging people’s mindsets and exploring different ideas and ways of approaching problems, so saying people can’t use different methods to approach a topic is entirely counter-productive to debating, b) this only encourages people to make stricter rules to narrow who can argue for what and how they can make arguments in general, which hurts creativity and only encourages people to specifically design rules and definitions around ways to make it easier for them to win (i.e. violating the rules results in him just straight winning without any discussion of the topic) and c) just saying I shouldn’t have accepted doesn’t mean that his rules aren’t abusive and harmful. If anything I’m specifically the person who should’ve accepted as I’m one of the few people on here who not only knows to call him out on this kind of behavior, but also on how to call him out.

So, this makes the round super easy to evaluate. First, you’re looking to theory. His ruleset that he creates that restricts negative options is harmful to debate as an activity. You vote him down and negate the resolution because of it. But even if you’re not straight giving him the loss because of it, it means you drop the no Ks rule and evaluate the K, which is turning the aff in multiple places and negates the resolution normatively.

But even if you don’t buy literally any of that, on-case responses.

Start on his libertarian framework argument.

  • First, this is one of the links to ableism. His rhetoric of people wanting to die from the extreme suffering they’re undergoing is exactly what Amundson and Taira are talking about.

  • Second, turn this against him. Legalizing assisted suicide permanently embeds the state in decisions about death. Now instead of the state denying people the right to die when they want to, people who are suffering have to grovel before the feet of the state and beg for their permittance to let doctors give them medication to kill themselves with. This permanently embeds the state in things, not removes it.

  • Third, there’s no solvency here. If we’re denying assisted suicide from people who aren’t mentally stable, then no one who actually wants to kill themselves will be allowed access to it since suicidal thoughts and tendencies are commonly associated as a warning sign for mental illness[4]. This means that it’s literally impossible for the aff to grant anyone rights under the resolution.

Then, on the Hippocratic Oath/Religious Concerns/Living Wills

  • First, there’s literally no relevance to this argument. I couldn’t care less about these arguments and there’s nothing making me care.

  • Second, there’s no impact to this argument. Even if he’s winning 100% of this debate, there’s no reason why this actually means you vote aff.

Then, on Social Groups.

  • First, ableism turns this against him. Instead of protecting minorities, he’s denying their rights and opening the door for perpetual and eternal discrimination.

  • Second, there’s no actual warrant to his argument. His stats don’t actually show how assisted suicide isn’t abusing minorities.

Debate Round No. 2


famousdebater forfeited this round.


Well let's try and keep this debate going after it got screwed by the glitch.
Debate Round No. 3


I don't really have time for this now, so I guess I'll concede. Vote Con!



Oh that's so lame...c'mon I wanted a theory debate...
Debate Round No. 4
36 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by tejretics 2 years ago

Why is that even a K? Ableism sounds like a legitimate argument that's relatively unique to the AC... I don't see the need for the T shell, etc. Like, IMO the way you phrased it is as if it's an ordinary argument.
Posted by famousdebater 3 years ago
Maybe we can debate again another day ...
Posted by Zaradi 3 years ago
Either way is fine. I couldn't care less.
Posted by famousdebater 3 years ago
Do you wanna continue or just take the win? The rules say that forfeiture is an automatic loss.
Posted by Zaradi 3 years ago
Eyyyyy it's fixed
Posted by TheJuniorVarsityNovice 3 years ago
Lol, nice, ableism
Posted by famousdebater 3 years ago
It's a glitch. I need Zaradi's permission before Max resets it and apparently Zaradi doesn't want it reset because he's been ignoring my messages regarding a reset.
Posted by tejretics 3 years ago
Updated: 1 week ago.

Posted by famousdebater 3 years ago
@Taj - Have you read his arguments? I will quote from Zaradi:

"I never accepted the rule in the first place. My first round was specifically saying that I agreed not to make an argument that round, not that I accepted to not run a K. There"s no reason I should be held to a rule I don"t agree with.

And, don"t buy the "don"t accept the debate" response that"s going to come because this creates an awful precedent for debating because) debating is entirely about challenging people"s mindsets and exploring different ideas and ways of approaching problems, so saying people can"t use different methods to approach a topic is entirely counter-productive to debating, b) this only encourages people to make stricter rules to narrow who can argue for what and how they can make arguments in general, which hurts creativity and only encourages people to specifically design rules and definitions around ways to make it easier for them to win (i.e. violating the rules results in him just straight winning without any discussion of the topic) and c) just saying I shouldn"t have accepted doesn"t mean that his rules aren"t abusive and harmful."
Posted by tajshar2k 3 years ago
Con you violated rule 6.
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