The Instigator
Pro (for)
1 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
7 Points

Death: Should There Be A Choice

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Post Voting Period
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/2/2014 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,256 times Debate No: 58504
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (5)
Votes (2)




So I have to complete 3 debates to be considered a 'true' member of this site. This debate number 2.
Back in college I wrote a pretty awesome report on this issue. Wished I'd kept it.
Okay, not the point. I've worked in the medical field for the last twenty years and I've witnessed some pretty awful things. If a patient is dying and no amount of medical intervention is going to save them, why can't they have the choice to go quietly and without all that pain and misery. Trust me, death can be hard and I don't mean on the living.
I know if I had a deteriorating, no cure disease I'd like the option of choosing a quiet, easy death but only once my disease reached the point where I was reduced to living from bed. I'm not speaking just from a medical perspective but from experience. I watched as my mother and a beloved aunt both withered, physically and mentally, from a neurological disease that kills very slowly, but before it does it reduces a person to a bedridden husk. It's not easy and that's where I think the real problem lies - family. They hate to see a loved one suffer and yet they refuse to consider death as an option even when nothing else is left. It's true we don't have legal euthanasia but a person can choose to stop all medical treatment. A hard way to go. And then, what if that person can't make the choice, what if the very thing killing them has also robbed them of their ability to think, to speak, to tell us what they want. It's left to the family and loved ones cling, always hoping for a miracle.
Okay, I'm a little of topic, sorry but this is one issue I am truly passionate about.
I would have liked to ease my mother and aunt's suffering and yet killing someone is against the law, right? It's morally wrong and I agree but there comes a time when death is wrong, it's the only thing left. Allowing someone to suffer, to gasp and struggle for each breath, to writhe and moan in pain is morally wrong. So though it may be wrong, both morally and legally, to murder someone in cold blood, is really wrong to help ease an already dying person into death? I don't think.

Okay, as I understand it I'm supposed to be laying out ground rules and such but that's not going to happen.
It's my opinion that no one's opinion is wrong. If you don't agree with me, well that's how you feel but I do love arguing such things so go ahead and argue away.
I don't believe there can a resolution (not the way I understand it) and I don't much care who wins though winning would be total awesome sauce.
What I'm looking for is someone who can argue the opposite side and have fun doing it. That's all.


Arguments For Legal Euthanasia

euthanasia is “inevitable, so it's better to have it out in the open so that it can be properly regulated and carried out.

Murder is also inevitable, so should we have that out in the open and regulate it? The obvious answer is no, and which is why inevitability is never a good argument to propose for anything.

2. Euthanasia may provide a cost-effective way of dealing with dying people. Where health resources are scarce, not considering euthanasia might deprive society of the resources needed to help people with curable illnesses.

This is repulsive to think we are going to be judging people if they are worth the resources to give them possibly life saving procedures, and there is already evidence of such actions going on in places where the practices are legal. One notable case isBarbara Wagner in Oregon in which an insurance company refused to pay for a drug to help her with her lung cancer, but the company was willing to pay for the drugs for physician assisted suicide [1].

3. It is cruel and inhumane to refuse someone the right to die, when they are suffering intolerable and unstoppable pain, or distress.

It ignore advancements in medical technology to relieve pain, but euthanaisa are not pain relieving or improves quality of life. Pain relief technology has come a long way “A century ago, high blood pressure, pneumonia, appendicitis, and diabetes likely meant death, often accompanied by excruciating pain. Women had shorter life expectancies than men since many died in childbirth” [2]. Now we have methods like using morphine, which is over 80% effective for everyone at relieve pain; also, we have opiates, which have been effective for chronic pain [3]. Further, euthanasia doesn’t actually relieve pain. To explain, sedation just makes you unresponsive to the pain, but once you wake up the pain would still be there because nothing was done to target the pain. Euthanasia is like sedation in the way that it just makes you unresponsive to pain, and nothing was done to target the pain itself. Medicine should be focused on killing the pain not the patient. To say euthanasia relives pain would be equivalent to saying that euthanasia stops cancer from spreading. In a way they are both sort of right, but no doctor would ever recommend euthanasia to fight cancer, so why they do so for pain?

4. Human beings have the right to decide when and how to die.

it is becoming less of a choice and more coercion; further, in countries where VE is legal the quality Palliative care, end of life care, is becoming harder to obtain which is actually limiting choices rather than expand it like proponents claim. For example in the Netherlands where euthanasia is legal there are problems.

Although the Dutch government has attempted to stimulate palliative care at six major medical centres throughout the Netherlands, established more than 100 hospices and provide for training professionals caring for terminally ill patients, many physicians choose the easier option of euthanasia rather than train in palliative care [4].

Further, according to Herbert Hendin, MD, “Data from patient interviews, surveys of families of patients receiving end-of-life care in Oregon, surveys of physicians' experience and data from the few cases where information has been made available suggest the inadequacy of end-of-life care in Oregon” [5].

Arguments Against Legal Euthanasia

1. It is opposed by all major religions, including Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Jainism, Shinto, Islam, and Buddhism.

They all believe that human life is a gift from God, and no human being should get rid of such a gift” [6]. Critics will be the first to point out that we have a separation of church and state, and they are partially right. In the United States we still print “In God we trust” on our money and have “under God” in the pledge; however, this may give people a personal reason to oppose it, but may not be enough to enforce laws against it. There are also secular reasons to oppose Euthanasia.

2. It is easier for doctors to administer euthanasia, than learn techniques for caring for the dying which undermines the quality of medicine available

The American Medical Association, along with many other health organizations filed a brief with the Supreme Court during the Washington v. Glucksberg case, stating “properly trained health care professionals can effectively meet their patients’ needs for compassionate end-of-life care without acceding to requests for suicide” [7]. Dr. Hendin also shown “Studies show that the less physicians know about palliative care, the more they favor assisted suicide or euthanasia; the more they know, the less they favor it”, and “Euthanasia, intended originally for the exceptional case, became an accepted way of dealing with serious or terminal illness in the Netherlands. In the process, palliative care became one of the casualties, while hospice care has lagged behind that of other countries”

3. Euthanasia is un-ethical for the patient and people cease to have strong feelings once a practice becomes legal and widely accepted.

. When it comes to normative ethics, there are two schools of thought utilitarianism, and Kantianism. Utilitarianism is “to act in the manner that determines the most positive consequences and the less negative ones” [8]. “The motive behind this pragmatic approach lies in the finding of a disproportionate growing trend of health expenses in the last month of the terminal patients’ life” [8]. This model of ethics makes it ethical to use euthanasia because it saves medical resources, and unethical to keep living and using those medical resources. This re-enforces the idea that legal Euthanasia actually limits choices and coerces people. Since, in this theory, the focus of moral evaluations is based on the consequences of the action towards others, it is impossible to know if you are doing a moral action. If because a patient chooses euthanasia to save medical resources, and now they are able to save a future mass murder from dying then they would have done an immoral action. This makes this theory a poor way to figure out if euthanasia is actually immoral or not. Further, in this moral theory there is no human rights since any action like murder could be moral if the majority benefited, so this isn’t a moral theory that people would want to follow. The other theory of Kantianism which gives a clearer answer. Kant believed we derive morality from rationality in which he proposed an unwavering moral law called the categorical imperitive [9]. Kant said to determine if an action is moral or not you would have to make that action a universal law that everyone must follow, and if that action caused any contradictions then it is an immoral action. “Kant would not agree with anybody who out of self-love decides to take his/her life. This is because this is a system that aims at destroying life; hence this maxim could not possibly exist as a universal law” [9]. This moral theory better explains if euthanasia is immoral or not, and better matches what the average person would believe, since in this theory we have human rights.

4. that it is un-ethical for doctors to give such procedures; such practices violate the Hippocratic Oath, and Voluntary euthanasia gives power which can be too easily abused

The Hippocratic Oath was made to define the doctor’s proper role and medical ethics. Hippocrates states “the doctor to do whatever is for the benefit of the patient, and to give no deadly medicine if asked, nor suggest such counsel” [10]. To have legal euthanasia would violate centuries of well established and respected medical ethics. These medical ethics have been carried on by modern medical associations like General Medical Council, and British Medical Association [10]. Without this rule, doctors can abuse their role as a trusted professional. For example, “The government-sanctioned studies suggest an erosion of medical standards in the care of terminally ill patients in the Netherlands when … more than 50% of Dutch doctors feel free to suggest euthanasia to their patients, and 25% admit to ending patients' lives without their consent” [5]. Frankly, it is disturbing that any ending patients’ lives without consent is even accepted little alone so wide spread. Also, if doctors suggest euthanasia, they are essentially giving up at their position as trying to help/cure the patient.


Debate Round No. 1


Wow, sources and everything. Sorry but I'm not going to do all that work so I'm just going to comment on my view and from my heart.

You're really going to compare compassion to murder? Euthanasia and murder are completely different ends of the pole. Murder happens for greed, jealousy and any other number of stupid reasons. Oh and not lets not forget, done without the victim's informed consent. Euthanasia is about ending someone's suffering from a disease that has taken their lives from them and yes, with their complete understanding that they are going to die. Not a big change for them, however, since they're already on that road.

I'm not even going to touch the health care one since it's not about cost for me. A matter like this should never be about money and cost.

Your number 3, "it is cruel... is right on target. Advancement in pain medication doesn't improve quality of life. If the disease they have is stealing their ability to think, to move, to live, then what good is pain medicine? Medications only allow that person to feel nothing while they remain confined to bed, unable to do much else. I don't think a person has the right to choose death while there is still quality to that life, but that person should be able to say, when it comes to that point, when I'm no longer able to think, or move, or live, then yes, please help me end it, don't let me suffer. And yes, it should always remain a choice not a coercion as you point out. All options, including palliative care, should be presented. I really believe that the choices people make might come as a surprise.

As for religion, well, I've got nothing nice to say there so I'll just say that if a person's religion opposes euthanasia than it's up to that individual as to what he/she wants. If the person is willing to take the risk at their judgment (whatever that is for their particular faith) then it's their choice.

Doctors aren't going to push death on a patient no matter what the studies say. I work in the field and have never seen a doctor push for one option over another. All the options are presented and truthfully, usually those options aren't presented to the patient by a doctor but by a social worker or a nurse who has been trained to present all options.

How is euthanasia unethical? Because those opposed say it is? Because religion says suicide, assisted or not, is wrong and immoral? (As a side note, I am opposed to suicide in general and I'm in no way supporting or promoting suicide for those with non life threatening diseases.) Who are we to tell someone their suffering is okay, that they have to go on suffering, taking pain medications and being unable to leave their beds because helping them end their lives is unethical, immoral and will send them straight to hell.

If a person is above the age of consent and has a life threatening disease that will eventually steal their ability to live and then kill them, that person should have the chance to have every available option (including euthanasia) presented to them and then given the chance to decide for themselves. If they choose assisted death, well then, it doesn't have to happen right then and there, but at a time when they specify, such as when the quality of their life has been reduced to living in a bed and more or less a shell of the person the once were.


Sorry, I will be unable to respond this round due to time constraints, but I will look forward to making my case in the next round.
Debate Round No. 2


I stand by what I have already stated.


Guidestone forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by Ragnar 7 years ago
I've reported the vote from the professional fluffer. Harder to be deleted after the debate is over, but this is a pretty extreme case.
Posted by Jelera 7 years ago
@telisw37 - How was my attitude unprofessional? And I did mention that I wasn't going to go all out and find sources to back up MY OPINION!
(now the above was unprofessional of me)
Posted by Jelera 7 years ago
I don't see it as a suicide and though I'm not religious, I don't think Jesus would either.
Posted by Strycora 7 years ago
I agree with you, Jel.
Posted by FuzzyCatPotato 7 years ago
but but but JESUS!
Jesus always opposes suicide, because there's nothing more important than staying, painfully alive.
Would Jesus kill himself?
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by telisw37 7 years ago
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Total points awarded:07 
Reasons for voting decision: I found Pro's attitude was unprofessional, and his argument totally weak, Did not meet BoP, and his sources suck. Good Job Con!
Vote Placed by lannan13 7 years ago
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Total points awarded:10 
Reasons for voting decision: FFf

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