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Should we allow euthanasia

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/5/2017 Category: Health
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,039 times Debate No: 102423
Debate Rounds (2)
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If the patient is in a very bad physical state and the doctors have said there is nothing they can do and the patient would be in constant pain to still be alive then the patient should be able to choose as long as he is in a fit mental state.
"The right of a competent, terminally ill person to avoid excruciating pain and embrace a timely and dignified death bears the sanction of history and is implicit in the concept of ordered liberty. The exercise of this right is as central to personal autonomy and bodily integrity as rights safeguarded by this Court's decisions relating to marriage, family relationships, procreation, contraception, child rearing and the refusal or termination of life-saving medical treatment. In particular, this Court's recent decisions concerning the right to refuse medical treatment and the right to abortion instruct that a mentally competent, terminally ill person has a protected liberty interest in choosing to end intolerable suffering by bringing about his or her own death.
Humans should have the right to die that is our choice as humans.


Such an emotionally charged topic is sure to inspire feelings of disgust and fear in some of the audience. However, we must be brave and consider the position we're debating clearly and in an organized manner if we wish to discover truth. Human beings have the right to their own person as their body is considered a property right under the fourth amendment. Even the philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer said, "There is nothing in the world to which every man has a more unassailable title than to his own life and person."

However, let us be exquisitely clear. We are not discussing euthanasia in the privacy of one's own home. We're discussing patients which means the hospital is the custodian and has a legal duty of care to the patient. Chapter 5.8 in the AMA Code of Medical Ethics, it clearly states:

"Euthanasia is fundamentally incompatible with the physician"s role as healer, would be difficult or impossible to control, and would pose serious societal risks. Euthanasia could readily be extended to incompetent patients and other vulnerable populations."

This is important from an ethical point of view but also a legal point of view. If euthanasia was allowed, it's not entirely clear how regulation could be reliably maintained. I present evidence of this in the form of an excerpt from the research article entitled "Legalizing euthanasia or assisted suicide".

"For example, about 900 people annually are administered lethal substances without having given explicit consent, and in one jurisdiction, almost 50% of cases of euthanasia are not reported. Increased tolerance of transgressions in societies with such laws represents a social "slippery slope," as do changes to the laws and criteria that followed legalization. "

Also, physicians have a clear duty of care to their patients and harming them is inconsistent with the legal obligation and oath they swore. Therefore, it is not only ethically right but also legally right to forbid physicians to engage in such harmful practices.

Debate Round No. 1


"Dying is not a crime" " Jack Kevorkian
Euthanasia is not shortening life whatever people say terminal illness is the last stop before death which is a very hard thing to say however it is true. In 1991, a Dutch report into euthanasia found that in 86 percent of cases, euthanasia shortened life by a maximum of a week and usually only a few hours. In other words, it was a last resort"an escape hatch used by patients in unbearable agony who would rather that agony ended now than in two days" time.
Now, this isn"t to say that miracle recoveries never happen: They occasionally do. But the reason you hear about them is because they"re so statistically improbable. For the vast majority of patients, such a recovery is less likely than winning the lottery and getting struck by lightning in the same afternoon.
Legalising euthanasia will actually save lives this is very strange as the process does the opposite but a study in 2005 by the New England Journal of Medicine found that only 0.4 percent of all euthanasia procedures were carried out without the patient"s explicit permission. You might argue that that"s 0.4 percent too many, but get this: A 1991 report"written a decade before euthanasia was legalised"put the number at 0.8 percent. In other words, giving a nationwide go-ahead for doctors to legally end their patient"s lives actually halved the number of unwanted deaths.
It also makes economic sense. Most people would be shocked to think economics factored into their life-or-death decisions, and rightly so. However, there"s no getting around how absurdly expensive end-of-life care is in America: According to CNN, one in every four Medicare dollars spent goes to the five percent of beneficiaries in the last year of their life. The upshot of this is often crippling debt for the families of terminally ill patients, with the care of a single individual at the end of their life costing an estimated $39,000. For 40 percent of households, the bill exceeds their financial assets. This might be acceptable if end-of-life care was worth the money, but it"s objectively not. Doctors will readily attest to the ability of modern medicine to slightly prolong life"at the cost of totally destroying its quality. If you can"t be bothered to read that last link, I"ll sum it up here: End-of-life care is often brutal, nasty, traumatic, and very expensive, putting patients through long stretches of unnecessary suffering just to give them an extra month or two. And when the terminally ill patient undergoing these nasty, expensive treatments has repeatedly insisted that they"d rather be dead, you have to start wondering who all this expenditure is really benefiting.
The Alternatives Are Horrifying, when we think about death, most of us imagine passing serenely away surrounded by our loved ones. But death isn"t like that. Death is usually slow, painful, and undignified. And by refusing people the "right" to end their own lives, we"re increasing that pain and indignity to a horrifying extent.


Aside from totally ignoring my arguments, thus implicitly either agreeing or not knowing how to ague against them, the sources cited for the 1991 Dutch report on euthanasia, 2005 study by the New England Journal of Medicine and CNN of all sources are either outdated or unreliable. Surely CNN is not an academic authority. Surely, studies from the 1990's are superseded by the article I cited from 2011. Finally, deliberately appealing to emotion doesn't insulate medical professionals from ethical and legal responsibility.

Healthcare is remarkably expensive and I fully agree more should be done to make healthcare more affordable or at least accessible to the population. But healthcare accessibility has absolutely nothing to do with legal and ethical ramifications for euthanasia, especially when we see some countries that permit these laws to be guilty of killing innocent people without their consent. I find such a stance to obfuscate the issue at hand and morally reprehensible. Obviously, enacting euthanasia is against the healthcare professional's duty of care to their patient and regulating it is impossible. Not only has the theoretical regulation been logically unmanageable, it has been practically unmanageable resulting in thousands of deaths without consent.

I full agree that dying should be in the context of family support and dignity but I also agree this isn't reality for all persons. Assisting a patient in death results in obvious harm to the patient which is against a clinician's duty of care and thus unethical.

It's difficult for me to see my opponent's arguments as logical when so many of the points presented are emotionally charged assertions. Suffering exists. Irremediable suffering exists. But law and ethics also exists and we cannot bridge the legal or ethical gap with arguments built on clouds. We must stay firmly rooted in reason, ethics and legislation. If we desire the best for all people, we must avoid legal decisions that can spiral out of control with supreme ease like euthanasia has had the track record of doing. Let's learn from the past to design a more ethical future. Thank you.
Debate Round No. 2
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by TheLibertyChristian 3 years ago
Is your premise asking for a federally-imposed authorization of euthanasia or just that it can be a private option? If it's a mandated legislation, I will take this debate. But if it's a "some people deserve the option thing", then I won't. (Mainly because I personally oppose euthanasia due to my religious beliefs but do not deny others their rights.)
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