The Instigator
Pro (for)
2 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
9 Points

Assisted suicide should not be legalized in the United States

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Post Voting Period
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after 3 votes the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/24/2013 Category: Politics
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,449 times Debate No: 35942
Debate Rounds (2)
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Votes (3)




In most developed countries health services are funded through general taxation so that treatment is provided according to need rather than the ability to pay. However, in the United States health services are run along commercial lines.

With this being the case, assisted suicide clinics will be in the death-mongering game for the profit and, as commercial enterprises, the primary responsibility of the clinics' management will be to their shareholders rather than their patients. This creates an obvious potential for conflicts of interest.

Let's consider a hypothetical assisted suicide outfit: Pronto-Kill Life Termination Solutions Inc., advertising slogan: "Can't wait to get your hands on granny's cash? With Pronto-Kill she'll be dead in a flash!"

Now Pronto-Kill employs two qualified doctors, as regulations are likely to stipulate that patients are capable of making and communicating health care decisions for themselves and that they have been diagnosed with a terminal illness.

The first physician employed by Pronto-Kill is Doctor Kindheart, who is very conscientious and tries to ensure that no patient takes their own life unless there is absolutely no possibility of recovery and their decision was wholly their own, made without any undue influence from their family.

However, Dr Kindheart's professional approach means that he assists many fewer patients to take their lives than the other Pronto-Kill physician, Doctor Snuff, who dispatches patients on a wholesale basis without any regard for medical ethics.

So, one day the boss of Pronto-Kill calls Dr Kindheart into his office.

"What the hell are you playing at, Kindheart?" the boss rants. "The Cohen family are our best clients, we've euthanized three wealthy relatives of theirs so far this year but when you and Dr Snuff were asked to sign off the fourth, you refused to play ball."

The boss then takes out a report and reads from it. "Dr Snuff"s considered medical opinion," he says, "is that 'the patient is suffering from acute Allergic rhinitis with severe complications. It is only a matter of time before the patient dies and his life isn't worth living', while you have concluded that 'the patient is suffering from allergic rhinitis, more commonly known as hay fever, which is a treatable condition and not, in itself, fatal. The patient's condition is complicated by the fact that he is also clinically depressed and, therefore, is not in a fit state of mind to give his consent to be euthanized.' What do you say to that, Kindheart?"

"My report," replied Dr Kindheart, "was written in strict accordance with the guidelines and, furthermore, I consider it my professional duty to protect the interests of vulnerable patients from abuse of the system from families with vested interests in their deaths. In this case, as beneficiaries of the patient's estate and I concluded that the Cohen family had put their own financial interests ahead of the patient's best interests. I'm sorry, sir, but I firmly believe in upholding medical ethics."

"Screw medical ethics, Kindheart," raged the manager "I'm running a business here, not a charity, and unless you get your act together you'll be heading for the door. Now get out of my office and get back to what I pay you to do: that's kill patients."

The boss of Pronto-Kill doesn't seem like a very nice man, does he boys and girls? But ruthless businessmen operating in cut-throat commercial marketplaces where competition is fierce cannot afford to be nice and that's why I affirm that assisted suicide should not be legalized in the United States.

Thank you.


Thank you Pro, I shall make a case as to why assisted-suicide should be implemented legally for society today (within the context of the United States)

We Already Allow Suicides:

First of all, if a person is actually determined to commit a suicide and carries his/her actions out successfully, it does not make sense to have this action as illegal. We cannot imprison a body as a result, nor can we fault the family of the person committing suicide, ergo in this context of legality it simply makes more sense to legalize assisted-suicide by default. If the legal system is a set of state-enforced mechanisms to deter undesirable behaviours and to offer incentives to desirable behaviours, then we can see there is no reason to keep assisted suicides illegal, we cannot force that person to no longer want to kill themselves should they be successful.

Furthermore, the every day person can get away with this with the current medical loop-hole within the law, and doctors ethics. Lets take a more realistic hypothetical situation shall we? Say your life is only held onto by "life support", this machine is breathing for you, feeding you, and is the only thing actually keeping you alive due to a critical injury. You are in fact allowed to refuse it, causing your own death. In other words, by complicity the doctors allowing you to refuse treatment, they are de facto assisting your suicide. Now one might say the doctors ought to force the patient, however this would void power of attorney, and ergo would be illegal in such an event. Besides who would the doctor be to try and determine who me may and may not save in the face of refusing a patients wishes?

In fact, the following states already have legalized assisted suicides: Montana, Oregon, and Washington (State)

This Furthers the Liberty of the Individual:

While we already acknowledge that you do not have a choice in being born, you do have choices within the free-market to be who you want to be. For instance, you could be gay or straight, you could run or walk, you can voluntarily talk to someone, or refuse to do so. Why not enable the right to choose if you live or die? So long as you are not determining this upon someone else and only yourself, why should one not have the right to choose to die? I say again: you never were consulted as to if you wanted to be born or not, why not allow this option within today's society coupled with the above contention that we already allow for suicides?

This Does Not Always Mean A Rise in Private Firms:

My opponent draws a hypothetical of a private firm slaughtering people in a capitalist hell-hole bent on killing innocents. First, with the new Obama-care being implemented the US will effectively have a semi-private health care system. In other words individual mandate (the state insurance) is a state corporation competing with private insurance firms. That's about it, the rest of the hospitals are paid for by the state, and the system was already more socialist than it was capitalist, because doctors save lives regardless of injury and money. It may drive you bankrupt, but you can always get treatment should you seek it. Also, doctors cannot kill simply anyone they would like in an assisted suicide legalized state. In fact my opponent commits a bare assertion fallacy here: doctors still must adhere to medical ethics, and could lose their jobs, along with future potential jobs as doctors with their licenses removed. In fact, in medical ethics, the person being killed must have informed consent! Otherwise not only is the operation not allowed to be carried out, the doctor faces stiff punishments, and the person in question who deceptively killed the "granny" would be charged with murder. So this person would not get any money to kill someone, this does not cause a rise in private firms, nor would it cause a rise in pseudo-suicides. []

The Physical Can do His Duty to His Patients:

In medical ethics, the doctor must do his best within the limitations of the law to relieve the pain of the patient. Along with the fact that he must preserve the dignity of said patient. If a patient has a terminal illness, then in the name of relieving pain, that doctor can and should put to death his patient to lessen the suffering. (Again on the condition of informed consent)

Less Costly to the System Anyways, So You Wouldn't Have to Worry About Private Firms:

I shall quote a fellow DDO member on here in another debate, he put it elegantly.

"Whatever way one looks at it, dying costs money. In fact, a person in Miami will be spending around $23,000 on medical bills in the last six months of his/her life []This cost is for dying without the use of PAS. However, a person, using PAS, would only spend approximately $10,000 (in 1995 dollars) on medical bills []. I’d like you to think about that. If a person chooses to have a PAS, this would mean that his/her surviving relatives would have about $13,000 that they didn’t before to put toward a funeral (a traditional funeral ranges from $7,000 to over $10,000 []), or other debts that may need to be paid. Let’s say that this patient who wishes to have a PAS, may have un-wealthy relatives, or he/she may be un-wealthy. Not only is he/she suffering, but he/she is also paying quite a bit of medical bills to be kept alive, especially when he/she doesn’t wish to be in the first place. So, given the opportunity to choose, not only would he/she be relieving his/herself of suffering, but also saving money for his/her relatives or beneficiaries as well." ~ DetectableNinja

Finally, All Countries Named Have Universal Care When Giving Suicides:

Legally, the only person capable of administering said assistance to suicide would be the doctors, that is it, not some private firm. Even then, doctors make lots of money, why would someone work for a suicide only business when they have their own private practices (notwithstanding doctors working in hospitals)? My opponents hypothetical rests on an appeal to emotion, fear mongering of the capitalist system, and finally, an absurd notion that the US's system is capitalist (when after Obamacare it clearly is not with individual mandate, nor has it ever been which was a supporting argument for individual mandate!).

Thank you!

(1) Already allow it, cannot charge a body
(2) Furthers liberty
(3) Does not mean a rise in private firms
(4) Doctor does his duty more
(5) Save on costs

Therefore, we can conclude that the US ought to legalize doctor assisted suicides (a.k.a PAS)

Over to my opponent!

Debate Round No. 1


I truly apologise to my opponent, I am not going to have the time to respond to the rebuttals put forward in the comprehensive manner they deserve.

I, therefore, humbly concede this debate.

Sorry and thanks.


I thank my opponent for his concession, and I too am sorry to hear he will not have the time to rebuttal.
Hopefully in the near future we will be respective foes again!

Thank you and good luck

Audience please give me the win.
Debate Round No. 2
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3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by 1Devilsadvocate 5 years ago
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Total points awarded:13 
Reasons for voting decision: conceded.
Vote Placed by Mikal 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro conceded
Vote Placed by Ragnar 5 years ago
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Total points awarded:13 
Reasons for voting decision: Concession.