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Legalizing Euthanasia

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/19/2018 Category: Society
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,006 times Debate No: 108263
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (1)
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Death is final. For people battling illness, one day they may get out of bed and be ready to give up, and the next day they may be prepared to fight. This is just part of the human condition. But legalizing euthanasia would be like giving someone a loaded gun. On a day when they"re depressed or in pain " like when they"ve just received a terminal diagnosis " they may just pull the trigger.
First, euthanasia undermines medical research. This is true because one of the major driving forces behind the exceptional medical advances of this century has been incentives to develop treatments for previously fatal illnesses, and the eagerness to alleviate unmanageable symptoms. But when the focus changes from curing the condition to killing the individual with the condition, this whole process is threatened. According to Dr. Paul McHugh of Johns Hopkins Hospital, "When there is an increasing acceptance of euthanasia and assisted suicide for terminally ill patients, it threatens the very dramatic progress made in the management of these diseases, especially over the last two decades." Rather than being employed to care and console, funds are being diverted to fuel the strategy of 'search and destroy'. Medical research is essential if medicine and other pharmaceutical drugs are to advance further. If euthanasia is legalized, we will suffer a major setback in medical research and technology.
Second, doctor predictions are not always accurate and often inconsistent, which can lead to less informed patient decision making in deciding deaths. A study done by the University of Chicago Medical Center found that for the estimated amount of time left to live for terminally ill patients, 20% of doctor predictions were accurate, within 33% of actual survival, 63% of predictions were too optimistic, meaning patients passed away before the predicted date, and 17% of predictions were too pessimistic, meaning patients passed away after the predicted date. Overall, the study reported that doctors overestimate survival by a factor of 5.3. This is important because the whole concept of euthanasia revolves around the patient making the decision to end his or her life, but one cannot make an informed decision without a precise forecast of the time they have left to live. In other words, a prediction that is too optimistic can lead to resentment by patients later on, and a prognosis that is too pessimistic is overwhelming and brutal.
Because of the inaccurate lifetime predictions of doctors and damage to medical advances that legalizing euthanasia would create, it is imperative that we do not legalize euthanasia. I ask you to consider the valuable lives of American citizens when you make your decision and vote. Let"s live with dignity.


DIGNITY. PRIDE. PRESTIGE. Just the few words that rush in mind when you think about euthanasia. I do believe people are born for a reason and everything happens to lead to that particular point. Yet having said that, people do have their own choices in life and they have their rights to leave this world whenever they feel it is too much for them.

Whenever we fail to contribute money to all the different famine relief efforts do we count that as murder, when the people die from starvation. When we fail to donate blood or an organ to someone dying don't we count as an accessory to murder. No. We're too busy seeing and picking up on all the other things that happen in this world.

Everyone has their rights to ending their life because at the end of the day its their life not yours. It's just like saying you see your parents suffering so much in pain each day and you immediately say no to putting them down. How can you stand there and say as a person that everything is ok. Maybe the whole reason why people are against euthanasia is for themselves. They are afraid of letting someone go. But at the end of the day, if you love someone you have to let them go, in order for your happiness and most importantly the person who was in pain.
Debate Round No. 1


Let's talk about your first point, that a person should have the power to control their death. While I do agree with you that autonomy is important, personal autonomy has its limits. Rights need protection but must be balanced against responsibilities and restrictions if we are to be truly free. We are not free to do things that limit or violate the reasonable freedoms of others. No person makes the decision to end his or her life in isolation. There are others who are affected: friends and relatives left behind, and the healthcare staff involved in the decision-making process. A person's decision to take his or her own life can have profound, often lifelong effects on the lives of others. There may be guilt, anger or bitterness felt by those left behind. Personal autonomy is never absolute. The effect of personal decisions on others now living or in future generations must be considered.
Second, you failed to recognize my argument that doctor predictions are inaccurate and inconsistent. This supersedes the basis of your entire argument -- how can people choose to end their life without knowing how much time they have left to live? To answer this question, I would like to introduce you to Jeannette Hall, a resident of King City, Oregon, who was diagnosed with inoperable colon cancer at the age of 55. She was told that she had six months left to live, and could choose between chemotherapy to fight cancer and euthanasia to end her life. But while lying in the hospital waiting to end her life, Hall's doctor convinced her to refuse death and "see her child graduate and get married." Fifteen years later, Hall is now cured of cancer and celebrating her 70th birthday with her son, who has since graduated and married. By legalizing euthanasia, you are, as I previously stated, essentially handing a patient a "loaded gun." This is extremely dangerous when you consider the fact that survival is underestimated and overestimated very frequently.
Additionally, you argued that the right to die should be a fundamental human right. However, you chose to disregard the fact that the U.S. Supreme Court case Washington v. Glucksberg held that a right to euthanasia in the United States was not protected by the Due Process Clause, and therefore not a constitutionally-guaranteed freedom. So when you say that people have the right to leave our world at their leisure, you are wrong.
Moreover, you assert that laws against euthanasia and assisted suicide are like government mandated suffering. But this claim would be similar to saying that laws against selling contaminated food are government mandated starvation. Laws against euthanasia and assisted suicide are in place to prevent abuse and to protect people from immoral doctors and others. They are not, and never have been, intended to make anyone suffer.


Sorry for the very late reply. I do understand the part where you're coming from. The fact that its a decision of life or death. You can either chose to end your suffering now or wait longer and see where the world would take you. Its just like a leap into the unknown and maybe for some, it may turn out to be the best jump of their lives. But I'm standing at the point where I see euthanasia as being a way to let lose of your suffering. The whole reason why people do take matters into their own hands to end their lives is to escape reality and the pain that they are enduring. I personally would rather end my life without feeling the worst of the worst pain because maybe, just maybe, my spirit will be happier. People have their own rights and they are entitled to their own opinions. Referring back to your story of the woman who had cancer, the doctor doesn't only decide for themselves. It's a big process where lots of people talk and come together to form one judgment. Not everyone will listen to the doctor because we are entitled to speak our own minds and think for ourselves. People who do undergo euthanasia have an incurable condition that is tested and come to a conclusion that there is nothing they could do. All you can possibly do for a person in pain is just give them pain killers, but how long will that pain killer last? Many people feel useless and unwanted once they come to a stage where they can't even help themselves. They decide that this is the best option. The best way for them to end their lives with dignity and love for themselves. Dying is not a crime especially when you have come to a stage where self love means nothing to you. Would you live a life hating yourself more than anything else. That's what pain does to you and we personally cannot say that euthanasia is right or wrong because we aren't the ones who eat, sleep and breathe on a sick bed in the hospital each day in pain, not knowing what will happen next.

Euthanasia protects self hood and dignity for ourselves. Think of euthanasia not as a way to kill someone but to help someone from their misery. Here's an example. Recently I saw a dog whose leg was broken that later turned into an infection. That infection spread to its entire body where its fur changed from being a beautiful brunette to fur less. The dog had infections everywhere. All the vets that it was taken to said their was nothing they could do, the condition went from bad to worse, nor could the dog even walk and eat. The best decision for that dog was to put him down, to end all his suffering. The poor dog that couldn't even walk around and barely ate anything was put down. Don't think of it as a bad thing but think of it as the dog was relieved from its pain. It died a painless death than one where it was hit by a car and then bleed out to death. Just one of the many instances that euthanasia has been applied.

But euthanasia is not as simple as black and white, there is also grey.
Debate Round No. 2


You have still ignored my argument that doctor predictions cannot be trusted and relied upon for determining whether or not one should be euthanized. Once again, this supersedes your whole stance, because if euthanasia is for dignity and to end suffering, then would you say that a person's death is dignified if they would have survived their disease and lived on? Would you say that ending your life when you are oblivious to the fact that you have more time to live is dignified?

I believe you misunderstood the story of the women with colon cancer -- let me attempt to explain it again. A terminally ill woman considered euthanasia to end her life, but after changing her mind, she lived for 15 more years. In fact, she is still alive today, and this is important because it exemplifies how erroneous and faulty forecasts of death are in society. What if Jeannette Hall did not change her mind, and decided to be euthanized, unaware that she was going to survive the condition and live on? Her life would have been thrown away and she would not have experienced the feeling of seeing her son graduate or marry. She is not alone; this is the story of hundreds, maybe thousands, of other terminally ill patients. Thus, by legalizing euthanasia, you are increasing the deaths of people who would have either survived the condition altogether or lived for a longer period of time.

You mentioned painkillers as the only means through which a doctor can alleviate unmanageable symptoms of patients. But I would like to introduce you to the world of palliative care, where the pain is killed instead of the patient. In recent years, palliative care has become very sophisticated, and hospitals now have the ability to mitigate pain and suffering. In 2015, the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reported on 97 terminally ill patients who died after life support was withheld or withdrawn. Sixty-eight of the patients received painkilling drugs or sedatives to relieve pain and other distress while dying"and they lived longer than the patients who did not receive drugs. Additionally, the study found that the symptoms of patients who received palliative care were "substantially alleviated and relieved" -- thus, those who are terminally ill can die a painless death without euthanasia, contrary to what you stated in the 2nd round.

It is also worth pointing out that euthanasia denies patients the final stage of growth in life. It is during the time of a terminal illness that people have a unique opportunity to reflect on the way they have lived their lives, to make amends for wrongs done, to provide for the future security of loved ones, and to prepare mentally and spiritually for their own death. Not all make full use of this opportunity, but those involved in hospice work often observe a mending of family relationships and rediscovery of mutual love and responsibility that may not have been evident for years. It is often through facing the hardship that terminal illness brings, and through learning to accept the practical help of others that human character and maturity develops most fully. Death, if properly managed, can be the final stage of growth in one's life. Likewise, it is a time when words are spoken and strength imparted that will help sustain 'those left behind' through the years ahead. Losing the opportunity of caring for vulnerable people denies us an essential part of our humanity. We conquer suffering, not by being insulated from its realities, but by facing it. Euthanasia, by artificially shortening life, denies these possibilities.

You even admitted that euthanasia is a grand process in which family members, relatives, and friends come together and "form one judgment." Well, you just invalidated your argument that a person should be able to end their life because "it's their life, not yours." You see, it's not just their life, as I stated in the prior round; rather, there are many others who are affected: friends and relatives left behind, and the healthcare staff involved in the decision-making process. Euthanasia has a profound, lifelong impact on the lives of others.


I believe you misunderstood my point and whereabouts I stand in this issue. Whether or not you legalise euthanasia people are still going to find ways in order to end their sufferings. I have not ignored your argument about doctors because I clearly stated that it just isn't only about the doctors decision. When people are well enough to read they make the decision for themselves it's nobody else's call but theirs. The examples you have given are valid right up to a certain point. Legalising euthanasia won't be like we picture it. Life will still go on as per normal. Everyday in hospitals around the world people are taken off life support because there is no other treatment that can possibly be given to help treat the patient. How long will painkillers last, it obviously won't last for the rest of their lives without harming them back. I see how you talked about family members suffering after their relative pass due to aided suicide, but how long will you stand and watch someone suffer to a point were they are numb with pain.

Anyway, your points are very interesting and sorry i will not be finishing this debate because obviously the real winner is in our presence.
Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by KZC 3 years ago
I'll need more time to read, but I had always disliked that Euthanasia is synonymous with Assisted Suicide because people get them mixed up. Either way, Dying with Dignity is not completely true. The fact is that most people with assisted suicide are listing reasons such as loss of autonomy and not being able to enjoy activities. I find that kind of offensive. In fact, this is less about pain than anything else.
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