The Instigator
Con (against)
8 Points
The Contender
Pro (for)
0 Points

You Choose the Resolution!

Do you like this debate?NoYes+1
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/17/2016 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,163 times Debate No: 94796
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (9)
Votes (2)




If you're willing to accept the debate, you must present a minimum of five resolutions from which I'll pick the one that is most appealing to me. I'll also choose the position I'll be arguing on; despite the fact that I'm listed as con. The opposition cannot use any definitions, frameworks, introductory statements, or sources when presenting his / or her resolutions. After I've chosen the topic, the debate will begin.

1. I reserve the right to change any resolution that is abusive, truistic or nonsensical. For example, a good example would be as follows: "America's economy would surge if we return to the gold standard" or "Progressive tax is unlawful by the constitution". You get the idea.
2. BoP is shared
3. Citations are mandatory when listing information / evidence and quotes. There is no specific format for listing your sources. If you wish, you may shorten your URLs by using Bitly or Tinyurl.
4. Please keep it civil
5. Please vote based on how well the arguments were presented, not on your opinions or personal beliefs.
6. Forfeiture = automatic loss

==Debate Outline==
R1: Resolutions
R2: Pro arguments / Con arguments
R3: Rebuttals and 1 new argument for both
R4: Defense of arguments / concluding statements
If you want to accept the debate, but you're dissatisfied with some of the rules, please notify me and I'll change them. I'm trying to make this debate as free as possible, please feel free to use any format to present your arguments.


Acceptance. I would like to say that it is a pleasure for me to be debating you once again. Here are the resolutions to choose from:

1. That we should ban animal testing
2. That we should label foods made with GM-ingredients
3. That we should embrace GM technology
4) That physician assisted suicide should be legalized
5) That the US should establish a single-payer health care system
6) That we should distribute condoms in schools
7) This House Would Make Vaccination Compulsory
8) This House would legalize the sale of human organs
9) That voting ought to be mandatory

I eagerly await for your opening statements and to see which resolution you have chosen.
Debate Round No. 1


It is a great pleasure to be debating with you once again, ThinkBig.

*I'll be debating as Pro for "That physician-assisted suicide (PAS or euthanasia) should be legalized".*

Full Resolution (Focus is the U.S.)
Resolved: PAS must be legalized in all 50 states of the U.S.

Preface / Understanding the debate
Before we begin, I shall present my policies and framework for this debate. It is also necessary for me to address that the BoP will be shared in this debate. I'll also dedicate this clause explaining how to fulfill the BoP: Con's burden is to present the disadvantages of euthanasia / PAS and how these disadvantages harm the U.S. The premise of this debate is centered on utility (to not be confused with the theory of Utilitarianism), which I'll define soon. To be explicit, this means that the burden of each debater is to provide evidence substantiating that PAS is either useful to the U.S., meaning that it benefits the people of the nation (Pro's objective) or alternatively, it harms the people of the U.S. and is overall damaging / and or dangerous to the nation (Con's objective).

My framework is pretty simple, my arguments will focus on autonomy (the right to death in this case), the alleviation of pain of terminally ill patients and the problems with current laws. I will as well focus on the Hippocratic Oath and what part it plays in PAS. Succinctly, if a patient is under excruciating pain caused by his or her sickness, he / or she should have the right to decide if they want to be permanently relieved of that pain through the means of pain-free lethal medication (assisted suicide).

Legalize: "to make legal; authorize."

Utility: “the state of being useful, profitable, or beneficial.”

Autonomy: "Independence or freedom, as of the will or one's actions: the autonomy of the individual."

Physician-assisted suicide: "suicide with help from another person (such as a doctor) to end suffering from severe physical illness"(1).

Without further ado, let the debate begin!

C1: Autonomy and Alleviation of Pain
One of the points that I will touch on in this debate will be a person's right to have control of their own life / self-determination. Today, more and more countries are recognizing a patient's right to die. Countries like Canada, Germany, Netherlands, and Belguim have already passed legislations concerning this issue. However, the U.S. is stubborn, with only 20 states that have (only recently) started taking a call for legislative action to pass a bill of this sort, and only 4 states allow it (3). The reason the court disagrees is because they have failed to realize that just like human life, the self-determination of a person is valuable as well. The reason this has often been neglected is simply because "ending" / or relieving someone of their painstaking illness is considered morally diminishing; however, by this criteria, prolonging the pain of that certain individual to the point where he / or she succumbs from it isn't morally unacceptable or diminishing at all. The Economist conducted a survey in 15 countries where they asked people if it is a morally justifiable act for doctors to assist in their terminally ill patients' suicide by prescribing them lethal medication. Based on the results, Russia and Poland were against, but America and Western Europe were strongly in favor. Oregon, a state that has condoned PAS with their Death and Dignity Act have prescribed lethal medication to 1,327 people so far, and less than 50% of those individuals used it to alleviate their death. Undeniably, it is not the Netherlands where assisted suicide is accountable for 3% of deaths of the total population, and that's explainable, patients there are heavily relied upon and trust their medical professionals (2).

Surely, my opponent may argue that we don't need PAS because the advancement of medical technologies will help to extend our lives and palliate the illness we may be succumbing to. However, here's the conflict. Due to the fact that many jurisdictions are discarding PAS, they're actually doing their citizens a disservice by prolonging the individual's pain and suffering (3). Australian gynaecologist Dr. Rosemary Jones says, "We stand for a group of doctors distressed about the small number of patients, who, at the point of death, get no relief from palliative care" and further, "We thoroughly endorse the practice of palliative care for 95 [percent] of all palliative care [patients] and understand that for five per cent, there are persistent problems beyond relief provided for by palliative care" (4). Succinctly, palliative care isn't always the answer. The attitude U.S. should adopt towards PAS is that it's the final stage of proper care and prolongation of life, and life cannot exist without death.

C2: Current law does more damage
A 57 year old British national by the name of Paul Lamb who became paralyzed after a near fatal car accident has currently spent 23 years of his life lying in bed immobilized. Because of this, he filed for assisted suicide, which was immediately discarded, despite that he described his life as a "living hell"; specifically, he is taking heavy dosages of drugs to alleviate his excruciating spinal pain caused by the accident. The court also said that any medical professional who would dare help him commit suicide will be penalized (5). According to Lamb, the reason his case was discarded is because policymakers simply don't want the UK to be another European country that permits PAS. In fact, he said that the authority is "scared to death". He further commented, "Politicians are scared to death. It is a case of `Oh no, we can't do that - it's too risky'. If there was a politician with the guts to take it on it would be alright but I don't think they have got it in them" (6). Because of the court's rejection, Lamb took further legal action: "I am doing this for myself as and when I need it. I'm doing it for thousands of other people living what can only be described as a hell. Many of them have been in touch with me begging me to continue this fight. The more it goes on the stronger I am getting" (6). His daily routine includes taking analgesic drugs like morphine to mitigate his pain. Lamb is not alone on this, a (now deceased) man who had suffered from(6).

As for the US, a popular case would be Britanny Maynard's case, a woman who was diagnosed with brain cancer. Maynard knew that her odds were slim; hence, she decided to relocate to Oregon where PAS was legal. Although she was a supporter of euthanasia, her actions show us that self-determination is one of the most important aspects of our life (7). Although there are numerous cases of this sort, I believe the concept behind several PAS-related cases is simple and clear. People want to end their suffering. Surely, the medication and technology that soothes the pain does exist, but the issue doesn't change. The person is not cured, and frankly, sometimes there isn't a cure, which is the case for many terminally ill patients. The sufferer will still be in bed, taking drugs and feeling the pain with or without medicine, which only temporarily soothes the pain. Sometimes the best way to help someone is permanently relieving them of that pain; it is better to die painlessly rather than to experience suffering for the remaining years of your life, and waiting until you succumb from your disability / or sickness.

C3: The Hippocratic Oath isn't violated
I believe one of the main factors to acknowledge when instigating PAS is the role of the Hippocratic Oath. Now, in Hippocrates' era, there was no ban placed on assisted-suicide in Greece. Nevertheless, many medical professionals still argue that based on the Hippocratic Oath--to not give their patients lethal drugs--PSA is a violation. Interestingly enough, in ancient Greece, doctors had permission to give their patients lethal medicine if asked by their patients. Aside from that, should we even rely on the Hippocratic Oath anymore? Despite it being a sacred, ancient document, the oath has been revised several times. For instance, verses about women in the medical field and a verse about "not breaking the skin" have been removed (8). Doesn't this just show us the faultiness of the document? But to remain on-point, let's adhere to the oath being a sacred document that every practicing physician must follow. Based on the oath, doctors must (obviously) care for their patients. Discernibly, the patient's suffering must also be the doctor's top priority. However, when he / or she is constantly suffering and there's no cure for the suffering / or the chances of curing the illness is slim; then, isn't the doctor obliged to end his / her suffering. Because by the criteria, if the patient is suffering, the doctor's duty to care for the patient isn't being fulfilled (8).

According to the modernized version of the oath, the right to death is being emphasized: "Most especially must I tread with care in matters of life and death. If it is given me to save a life, all thanks. But it may also be within my power to take a life; this awesome responsibility must be faced with great humbleness and awareness of my own frailty. Above all, I must not play at God" (9). Evidently, the revised, international document proves that it's not against assisted-suicide (by the context). As stated by the document, the "power to take a life" is one of the most profound burdens a physician could carry.

By my contentions, I've fulfilled my BoP by showing that without the choice of assisted suicide, a person's autonomy, self-determination, and right to choose what is best for him or her is violated. Since I'm running out of characters, I'll reserve the conclusion for the final round.

Back to you, Con!



I would like to thank my opponent for providing his opening arguments. As a pre-med student, this is one issue that I care very deeply about. I am strongly opposed to any form of PAS or euthanasia. I’m looking forward to an excellent exchange.


This debate centers around PAS/Euthanasia. We need to understand that the two are not mutually exclusive and they are not synonyms for each other. Although the end goal is the same (death), the procedure is much different. Euthanasia is usually defined as an intentional act undertaken by the physician that intentionally ends the life of a person at his/her request. PAS, on the other hand, a person self-administers a lethal substance provided by the physician (1).

Although these differences appear to be moot and non-consequential, they both have a differing set of ethical questions. For purposes of this particular debate, however, it appears that both of them are being treated as synonyms. Therefore, pro will have to show that both PAS and euthanasia should be legalized. I will, however, attempt to negate the resolution by showing that both PAS and euthanasia should not be legalized under any circumstances.


My framework will be centered around medical ethics and the harms that legalizing PAS or euthanasia will cause to the medical profession. Legalizing PAS or euthanasia would greatly harm the medical profession and violates the rights and dignity of patients.

Corruption of Medicine

Legalized PAS would forever change the culture and purpose in which medicine is practiced. Legalization of PAS would corrupt medicine by permitting the tools of healing to be used for killing. Furthermore, it distorts the physician-patient relationship, and could eventually lead to forced euthanasia. Finally, the risks of misdiagnosis among terminally ill patients are far too great to allow a physician to determine who should live and who should die.

The bedrock to medical ethics is the Hippocratic Oath (more on this in the next round) which states: “I will keep [the sick] from harm and injustice. I will neither give a deadly drug to anyone who asked for it, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect.” (2) This is the foundation of medicine. As doctors, we have the responsibility to treat our patients and stay on the side of life. Legalizing PAS would greatly undermine the first roll that a doctor has.


PAS is seen as a merciful way out for the terminally ill. Under current law in Oregon and other places, the terminally ill can request PAS if they have been given less than 6 months to live. Unfortunately, misdiagnosis among the terminally ill is not uncommon. According to a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, medical errors, when added up, may be the third leading cause of death (3).

Joseph Perkins asks, “How many of those patients, depressed by the prospect of imminent death, might ask a doctor to prescribe them lethal medication so that they can end their lives, as euthanasia proponents euphemistically put it, ‘on their own terms’?” (4)

Distorting the Physician-Patient Relationship

As noted by Dr. Ryan T. Anderson, PhD.: “PAS changes the culture in which medicine is practiced. It corrupts the profession of medicine by permitting the tools of healing to be used as techniques for killing. By the same token, PAS threatens to fundamentally distort the doctor–patient relationship because it reduces patients’ trust of doctors and doctors’ undivided commitment to the life and health of their patients.” (5)

The Duty to Die

When does the right to die become the duty to die?

Although the laws put safeguards in place to prevent forced PAS, no guarantee is made that it won’t occur and the safeguards are woefully inefficient. Because it is cheaper to kill a patient rather than treat one, insurance companies will be incentivized to cover medication of PAS rather than keep them covered long-term. This happened in 2008 to Barbra Wagner as CNN reports:

“In 2008, came the story that Barbara Wagner, a Springfield, Oregon, woman diagnosed with lung cancer and prescribed a chemotherapy drug by her personal physician, had reportedly received a letter from the Oregon Health Plan stating that her chemotherapy treatment would not be covered. She said she was told that instead, they would pay for, among other things, her assisted suicide.” (7)

The slippery slope is real and quite alarming.

J. Pereria et al. noted that In Belgium, non-voluntary euthanasia (that is, without explicit consent of the patient) is 3 times higher than the Netherlands and accounts for more than 1% of all euthanasia. Their study concluded:

“In 30 years, the Netherlands has moved from euthanasia of people who are terminally ill, to euthanasia of those who are chronically ill; from euthanasia for physical illness, to euthanasia for mental illness; from euthanasia for mental illness, to euthanasia for psychological distress or mental suffering—and now to euthanasia simply if a person is over the age of 70 and “tired of living.” Dutch euthanasia protocols have also moved from conscious patients providing explicit consent, to unconscious patients unable to provide consent. Denying euthanasia or pas in the Netherlands is now considered a form of discrimination against people with chronic illness, whether the illness be physical or psychological, because those people will be forced to “suffer” longer than those who are terminally ill. Non-voluntary euthanasia is now being justified by appealing to the social duty of citizens and the ethical pillar of beneficence.” (7)

This is certainly undesirable and has no place in medicine.


The great harm that it would cause to the medical profession cannot be overstated. Doctors must remain on the side of life and actively work to preserve life, not take it away. Moreover, the risk of misdiagnosis is far too great to risk terminating life prematurely. Instead of encouraging death, we must work to improve end-of-life care.

The resolution is soundly negated.

7. Pereira, J. “Legalizing Euthanasia or Assisted Suicide: The Illusion of Safeguards and Controls.” Current Oncology 18.2 (2011): e38–e45. Print.

Debate Round No. 2


Thank you for your contentions, ThinkBig. I would also like to address that I'm fully aware of the differences between euthanasia and PAS, but seeing that you have superior knowledge over me on this topic, I am honored to be debating with an opponent like you. I wish you success in your studies.

Due to my consecutive grammar errors, I tend to make when writing longer debates, this round will be kept succinct. It is also important to address that the opponent may not extend or defend any arguments in this round as it is reserved only for the rebuttals. (Since the debate rules weren't updated, no new argument must be added in this round).

Without further ado, I shall begin my refutations

R1: Law and Individual
"...medical ethics and the harms that legalizing PAS or euthanasia will cause to the medical profession."
As my opponent has mentioned in his framework, his argument will be built upon the premise of medicals ethics, and that a violation of those medical ethics will occur should PAS be deemed legal; however, that's the first issue in my opponent's contentions. Just like the court always rules against the favor of assisted suicide; it's not what matters to the individual, but rather what is written in the handbook.

By doing so, the court is suppressing that person's individual liberty and his/her autonomy as an individual. Derek Humphry, the ex-president of World Federation of Right to Die Societies asserts, "this manifesto [assisted suicide] proclaims that every competent adult has the incontestable right to humankind’s ultimate civil and personal liberty -- the right to die in a manner and at a time of their own choosing" (1).

I believe that both, my opponent and I can concur that liberty and self-determination are one of the most crucial aspects of a person's life and decision-making. Consequently, though, when a court discords assisted suicide for an individual who requests for it; it is a violation of that person's autonomy and right for him/or her to take destiny in his/her own hands (govern own life). This is the inexorable injustice and unfairness my opponent's arguments don't touch on. This can sidetrack me into arguing about legal and ethical principles, but let's save that for another debate.

R2: Person's dignity
"violates the rights and dignity of patients".
Though my opponent only addresses the rights of the individual, little is said about dignity. Regardless, I'll still address dignity. I'll argue the former, disallowing the right for assisted suicide for an individual takes away that individual's dignity. We don't know what somebody truly desires without them giving us the answer. If a person requests to be euthanized, and that person's request is denied, then he / or she will be forced to submit to their sickness until they eventually succumb to it. Meaning, that this person is condemned to die in an unwanted manner; ergo, this strips him/her of his/her dignity and self-esteem. However, it would've have been vice versa, only if euthanasia was legally enforced (which it is not).

R3: Physician-Patient Relationship
"Furthermore, it distorts the physician-patient relationship, and could eventually lead to forced euthanasia."
Firstly, my opponent doesn't provide any evidence or explanations of how it could lead to "forced" euthanasia. Secondly, to address the physician-patient relationship issue, the Hippocratic oath is what constitutes the relationship; it's the bedrock of medical ethics and the relationship (as my opponent and I agree). I'll use an example from my previous arguments to negate his contention.

The Hippocratic oath is a (roughly) 2000-year-old document that has been edited numerous times to satisfy the contemporary society's current status quo. The modernized version of the oath acknowledges that a doctor carries a profound responsibility to end somebody's life: "But it may also be within my power to take a life; this awesome responsibility must be faced with great humbleness and awareness of my own frailty. Above all, I must not play at God" (2). Speculatively, this can be interpreted as that the doctor could fail to preserve his patient's life, or he has the right to permanently palliate his patients suffering by assisted suicide. We should also take into consideration that during Hippocrates' era, assisted suicide was allowed.

Now, it's still a very controversial and moot statement to make. But let's also take into consideration that the older version of the oath prohibits the physician to use a knife on the patient (3), does this mean we should still abide this guideline? Of course not. Incontestably, times are changing. Meaning, that we cannot rely on an ancient document to continue governing our medical industry (this is the reason it was edited in the first place).

R4: The Barbara Wagner Case
A large controversy and uproar had been sparked in Oregon because Barabara Wanger "had reportedly received from the Oregon Health Plan stating that her chemotherapy treatment would not be covered. She said she was told that instead, they would pay for, among other things, her assisted suicide". I've emphasized "had reportedly" for a reason. Based on my (somewhat) heavy and extensive research on this case, this allegation seems like another form of money-hungry, typical con-artistry because of the lack of evidence: there is no actual, photographic evidence of this letter. Plus, not a single lawsuit has been filed by her against the insurance company.

R5: Duty to Die Fallacy
"Because it is cheaper to kill a patient rather than treat one, insurance companies will be incentivized to cover medication of PAS rather than keep them covered long-term."
My opponent and I could both concede on the colossal expenses of health care. However, according to economic evaluations, PAS doesn't reduce the substantial spending. Martin Levin, JD, MPH, MTS, who is against PAS's legalization, argues that killing Americans to keep costs down is absurd:

"What is absolutely incredible to me is that someone would honestly argue that we should consider the cost savings to America by killing, or assisting in the suicide, of human beings ... even if we were to consider these figures, the savings only total approximately $10,000 per assisted suicide victim. The total savings of approximately $627 million is less than one percent of the total United States health care expenditures" (4). He also asserts that not many Americans qualify for PAS, the difference is 1/3 of 1% (4).

I have also noticed a study pertaining to Dutch PAS protocols. Firstly, this is impractical only if my opponent can somehow substantiate that based on this study, U.S. will take the same turn if it were to legalize PAS in all 50 states (remembering that our debate is focusing on U.S. laws). Because of this,
I will not respond to the study.

R6: Misdiagnosis:
"According to a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, medical errors, when added up, may be the third leading cause of death (3)."
This argument is erroneous because it doesn't list any examples/instances about the misdiagnosed, terminally ill patients who died as a result of PAS allowed by their diagnoses. The study that my opponent quotes surely is thought-provoking, but then again, it only leaves to speculate due to the absence of concrete evidence. Therefore, it remains a challenge for my opponent to find an instance where a misdiagnosed patient died as a result of PAS, allowed by the diagnosis.

Notwithstanding the claims, let's take a look at how many people die as a result of PAS. According to the data, in 2015, out of 1,545 patients in Oregon who were prescribed lethal medication, 991 of them decided to take their own lives. In 2014, Washington state had 712 deaths as a result of lethal medication. And in Vermont, only 24 (5). Evidently, not that many die as a result of PAS. Though misdiagnosis is a prevalent issue that must be contained under all costs, the data has no concrete correlation with the deaths of misdiagnosed PAS patients.



Thank you for your response.

Re: Autonomy and Alleviation of Pain

Pro argues that bodily autonomy recognizes that there is a right to die. However, one of the greatest fears for those who are opposed to PAS is that bodily autonomy will violated and pressure those to use PAS (I'll give some examples of this when I rebut the second contention). Furthermore, if there is a right to die, then why should we limit it to those who are terminally ill? Surely anyone with depression or wants to die should be able to go and request PAS. This could lead us down a dangerous slippery slope.

Secondly, it is important to recognize that rights are not absolute. Even if we accept the right to die, why should we force physicians to partake in their death and aid them in an irreversable decision? Aaron Kheriaty notes: “To abandon suicidal individuals in the midst of a crisis—under the guise of respecting their autonomy—is socially irresponsible: It undermines sound medical ethics and erodes social solidarity." (1) As physicians, we have a duty to help patients and guide them in a time of crisis. To abandon them and give them medicine to kill themselves goes against those values.

The most serious issue with this contention is how do we know that the patient is acting freely and under their own choice? Kheriaty also notes (2):

"Suicidal individuals typically do not want to die; they want to escape what they perceive as intolerable suffering. When comfort or relief is offered, in the form of ­more-adequate treatment for depression, better pain management, or more-comprehensive palliative care, the desire for suicide wanes. We know that the vast majority of suicides are associated with clinical depression or other treatable mental disorders; yet alarmingly, less than 6 percent of the 752 reported cases of individuals who have died by ­assisted suicide under Oregon’s law were referred for psychiatric evaluation prior to their death. This constitutes gross medical negligence."

In summary, the bodily autonomy and the right to die argument fails on the account that rights are not absolute. Because terminally ill patients are often under duress and suffer from depression, it is not clear whether they are acting under their free choice. Finally, there are no safeguards to ensure that the patient is acting under competence or to guard against coercion. This strongly violates bodily autonomy.

So, what are alternatives to physician-assisted death and how do we best help those who are suffering? As I already pointed out, those who are suicidal don't necessarily want to die. Rather, they need tools and resources to be able to manage their pain. Victoria Kennedy, the wife of the late Senator Edward Kennedy, stated:

"My late husband Sen. Edward Kennedy called quality, affordable health care for all the cause of his life. [PAS] turns his vision of health care for all on its head by asking us to endorse patient suicide—not patient care—as our public policy for dealing with pain and the financial burdens of care at the end of life. We’re better than that. We should expand palliative care, pain management, nursing care and hospice, not trade the dignity and life of a human being for the bottom line." [3]

Dr. Leon Kass further notes:

"We must care for the dying, not make them dead. By accepting mortality yet knowing that we will not kill, doctors can focus on enhancing the lives of those who are dying, with relief of pain and discomfort, moral and social support, and, when appropriate, the removal of technical interventions that are merely useless or degrading additions to the burdens of dying." [4]

Re 2: Current law does more damage

My opponent's examples are an argumentum ad passiones - an appeal to emotion. Pro contends that the current law does more harm by forcing those who are sick and those who are suffering to live. The argument is built on a logical fallacy. I will instead, attempt to show that legalization of PAS will do significantly more damage.

In my opening statements, I mentioned that misdiagnosis was unfortunately the case with many patients - especially among the terminally ill. I was specifically waiting for this round to be able to discuss specific examples as I did not want to see my round 2 opening statements to be seen as a rebuttal.

Example 1: Erica Riel [5]

Erica Riel was diagnosed with terminal illeness three times and later learned that it was untrue. She wanted to give up and sought PAS to end her life. Her family, however, encouraged her to see one more doctor in Massachusetts who told her she would live many more years. In testifying before the Senate committee, Riel, in testifying against PAS, stated, "How many other people are getting wrong diagnosis?

Example 2: 66 year old woman in Mississippi [6]

In a tragic case, a 66 year old woman was moved to hospice care for cancer that she never even had. She died of a massive overdose of pain killers. The Mississippi Supreme Court upheld a $4 million judgement against the hospice.


If a patient is misdiagnosed, choosing PAS could potential violate their bodily autonomy (see re: c1) because their judgement and action is based upon an error on the physician's part.

Finally, the PAS laws will do more harm because physicians are not held to any standards, nor are any recourses possible should they administer PAS in negligence, as Judge Gorschue notes:

"[I]t is also rather remarkable that, while physicians in Oregon are held to a standard of professional competence in administering all other treatments they provide, the Oregon assisted suicide statute creates an entirely different regime when it comes to administering this “treatment,” specifically and uniquely immunizing doctors from criminal prosecution, civil liability, or even professional discipline for any actions they take in assisting a suicide, as long as they act in “good faith.” Thus, while a doctor may be found liable for mere negligence in any other operation or procedure, there is no recourse for family members when a doctor kills a patient even on the basis of gross negligence by misdiagnosing the patient as terminal or by misassessing the patient as competent." [7]

In summary, there is no guarantee that a patient is being diagnosed correctly. When a patient is misdiagnosed, their bodily autonomy is violated because their judgement, regardless of what they choose, is based on an error. Furthermore, it is alarming that Doctors are immunized from any legal or professional consequences of their error. Consequently, legalization of PAS would cause significant harm to patient choice and to healthcare.

Re 3: Hippocratic Oath

This is a contention from both sides. Even if we were to accept Pro's interpretation of the H.O. and conclude that PAS does not violate such an oath, it does not logically follow that PAS should be legalized.

First, Pro cites ancient Greece as an example to show that it is not in violation of the oath. However, Dr. Paul McHugh notes [8]:

"Since ancient Greece physicians have been tempted to help desperate patients kill themselves, and many of those Greek doctors must have done so. But even then the best rejected such actions as unworthy and, as the Hippocratic Oath insists, contrary to the physician’s purpose of “benefiting the sick.” For reasons not too different, doctors traditionally refuse to participate in capital punishment; and, when they are inducted into military service, do not bear arms."

Secondly, Pro notes that the document and the oath has varied over time. While this is true, it does not follow that the document is inherently flawed and that PAS should be seen as consistent with the oath.

I look forward to your reply.


1. Aaron Kheriaty, “Apostolate of Death,” First Things, April 2015, p. 19
7. Gorsuch, The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia, p. 119
Debate Round No. 3


Thank you for your response.

(This is the last round of the debate: Defense of your arguments)

(Since the rules weren’t updates, concluding statements are optional)

D1: Autonomy and Alleviation of Pain

My opponent argues that terminally ill patients are being pressured to use PAS; albeit, he never explains how exactly patients are pressured or forced into choosing PAS over further palliative care. He presents a quote about how the psychological unstableness of patients isn’t considered. Before I touch on that, I would like to address that it is true that the end goal for PAS is to help the terminally sick palliate their suffering in the form of death, but it must also be acknowledged that it wouldn’t do any better with palliative care either, in fact, it would only temporarily alleviate the pain. That’s something that my opponent has failed to invalidate. British Clinical neuroscientist and physician Prof. Raymond Tallis asserts, “Unbearable suffering, prolonged by medical care and inflicted on a dying patient who wishes to die is an unequivocal evil … What’s more, the right to have your choices supported by others, to determine your own best interest when you are of sound mind, is sovereign” (1).


Matthew Donnelly was involved in a radiation accident when doing research on X-rays, which lead him to become sick with skin cancer: “…skin cancer-riddled his tortured body. He had lost his nose, his left hand, two fingers on his right hand, and part of his jaw. He was left blind and was slowly deteriorating. The pain was unrelenting. Doctors estimated that he had a year to live [,] lying in bed with teeth clenched from the excruciating pain, he pleaded to be put out of his misery” (2). Donnelly was denied of PAS, which only condemned him to die in inevitable pain and unwanted manner. Matthew’s right to die peacefully was taken away.

The anecdote takes an abysmal turn when Matthew’s brother ended his life instantaneously by shooting him with a .30 caliber pistol; it was intolerable for him to see his brother suffer, but at the same, he committed a crime that most may find unscrupulous. The reality is that some illnesses cannot be cured (or the possibilities are very sheer); hence, there’s a reason they’re called “terminal”. Regardless of how sophisticated technology becomes if that technology can reverse an illness, then assisted suicide wouldn’t be needed; conversely, this technology doesn’t exist (2). But what does exist and still stands is the person’s choice.

Psychological evaluations:

Another crucial part of the quote is that patients willing to partake in PAS aren’t psychologically evaluated; however, that’s untrue because under the new bill passed by the Supreme Court in 1997 the physician is mandated to psychologically evaluate the patient if he suspects that patient to be mentally unstable:

Examine the role of psychology in end-of-life decisions and quality of care issues;

Address the invisibility of psychology around the issue of end-of-life decisions and recommend methods to increase the visibility of psychology and the role of psychologists in this arena;

Consider and make recommendations on whether it might be appropriate for APA to take a position on the issue of assisted suicide and end-of-life decisions” (3).

It is also stipulated that before PAS / euthanasia can be allowed, more than one physician must confirm the patient’s terminal illness to evade possible misdiagnosis: “The patient must be an adult, two independent physicians must confirm the diagnosis, and the patient must sign a written request in the presence of two witnesses attesting that the patient is competent and acting voluntarily” (4).

D2: Current Laws do more Harm

My opponent asserts that my arguments are invalid because I use emotional appeal to influence my audience’s opinion; henceforth, creating a logical fallacy. However, I would like to point out that my opponent’s second example about a 66-year-old misdiagnosed woman contains a logical fallacy as well; her death wasn’t the cause of PAS, but rather a failed palliative/analgesic treatment. Yet again, my opponent purports syllogism between the two, without giving us evidence to substantiate that this syllogism even exists (PAS and misdiagnosis). This is a logical fallacy because he has appealed to ignorance. My opponent implies that misdiagnosis is a threat; irrespective, I could also assert that improper palliative care and mishandling analgesics is a threat as well. It has to be noted that he hasn’t given us a single example of an incident where a misdiagnosed PAS patient died as a result of euthanasia (or) other forms of PAS, allowed by his misdiagnosis.

Secondly, my opponent states that “physicians aren’t held to any standard” to undertake PAS. Although that may seem just at first glance, but isn't a patient's (considering we're in a state that permits PAS) right to death and alleviation of suffering a doctor's main priority (I will touch on this in my later contention). The quote that my opponent uses has a completely subjective sentiment because it disseminates the idea that physicians in Oregon who administer assisted suicide should be viewed as criminals because of the following reasons: “Immunizing doctors from criminal prosecution, civil liability, or even professional discipline”. The reality is Oregon’s law permits it because they believe it is a justifiable act. Therefore, there’s no reason to attempt to chastise their field of work.

To provide more evidence to support this contention, a British woman by the name Diane Pretty—though, this happened in Britain, instances like this are manifested across the US as well—who was a mother of 2 children had motor neuron disease, from which she succumbed from. Despite experience terrible pain (breathing issues causing her to choke and asphyxiate), the court rejected her appeal for assisted suicide She told her husband, “The law has taken all my rights away”. Due to her illness, she fell in a coma, and died shortly after at the age of 43. Her husband said in an interview that there was nothing he could’ve done: “Diane had to go through the one thing she had foreseen and was afraid of - and there was nothing I could do to help” (5).

D3: Hippocratic Oath

Though the H.O. states to refrain from harming the patients, the ancient Greek and Roman physicians didn’t perceive they were committing harm to their patients:

“The ancient Greeks also not only condoned the suicide of people suffering extreme pain and incurable illness, but did not stop physicians from doling out poison. Even Plato, whose reasoning influenced centuries of philosophy and political thinking, believed: ‘Mentally and physically ill persons should be left to death; they do not have the right to live’” (6).

My opponent acknowledges that the H.O. has been updated to satisfy the current standards and status quo of our contemporary society, however, he has neglected that the modernized version condones doctor’s right to take away another life: “But it may also be within my power to take a life; this awesome responsibility must be faced with great humbleness and awareness of my own frailty. Above all, I must not play at God” (7).

Lastly, my opponent asserts that I interpret the document as being “inherently flawed”. However, I only interpret some verses of the H.O. to be inherently flawed as they do not submit to your current society’s status quo.











I would like to thank my opponent for this debate. Unfortunately I am going to have to concede. My opponent clearly had better rebuttals and better arguments than I did and congratulate him.
Debate Round No. 4
9 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 9 records.
Posted by ThinkBig 2 years ago
I'm hoping my opening statements won't sound too much like rebuttals, as my opening statements will focus on the right to die and the Hippocratic oath.
Posted by Darenskiy 2 years ago
I apologise for the typos I tend to make when writing my debates. I"m dyslexic, but I hope I got the point across. In the second contention at the end of the paragraph, I intended to present another example, but since I ran out of characters and was too concerned focusing on my other arguments, I forgot to delete the sentence.
Posted by ThinkBig 2 years ago
Not a problem
Posted by Darenskiy 2 years ago
Should* instead of must in resolution. I had to abridge it due to the limitation of characters
Posted by ThinkBig 2 years ago
Sounds good. Which side are you taking
Posted by Darenskiy 2 years ago
Sorry, but I wouldn't be able to post the arguments today. However, I will reveal that I chose the 4th option.
Posted by Darenskiy 2 years ago
I enjoyed debating with you last time, hope we could have the same experience.
Posted by Darenskiy 2 years ago
@ThinkBig seeking for revenge I see. Sure, please go ahead ))
Posted by ThinkBig 2 years ago
Can I accept?
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Bored_Debater 2 years ago
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:50 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro conceded, arguments & sources goes to con.
Vote Placed by warren42 2 years ago
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: RFD: Forfeit. It's a shame Pro conceded, as I was still undecided and very excited to see what Pro had to offer in round 4.