Euthanasia is the deliberate advancement of a person’s death for the benefit of that person. In most cases euthanasia is carried out because the person asks to die, but there are cases where a person can’t make such a request.
A person who undergoes euthanasia is usually terminally ill. Euthanasia can be carried out either by doing something, such as administering a lethal injection, or by not doing something necessary to keep the person alive (for example failing to keep their feeding tube going).
In my opinion it’s not moral to kill a person even if they are terminally ill because this person need a chance to live along and see his life, but there are people that disagree.
I have a debate in my college about this topic and I’d like to hear if you agree or disagree with euthanasia.
All the Yes points:
- It frees up hospital beds and resources
- It ends the patient life because he/she is already terminally ill
- It relieves suffering
- Right to choose
- Relatives spared the agony of watching their loved ones deteriorate beyond recognition
- It reduces the spread of diseases
- The relationship between Law and Medical Ethics
- The Ethical Safeguards of PAS
- Discrimination in Palliative Care and how PAS can end it
- How to Save a Life
All the No points:
- It is not moral to end the patient’s life because he has the right to live longer
- It is murder
- Sanctity of life
- Making the decision for yourself, or others?
- Voluntary Euthanasia gives doctors too much power
- A Lack of Responsbility
- The Price They Pay
- The Worst Evil
It frees up hospital beds and resources
Terminally ill patients, or those in a permanent vegetative state, can take up valuable hospital beds for those who do want to get better. If they do not want to live, then they should not be allowed to take the beds and care of those that do.
Long term palliative care for the terminally ill is a huge and ultimately wasteful drain on medical resources. Why waste these precious resources on someone who has expressed a desire to die, when they could be improving the life of someone who wants to live?
In addition, these resources could be re-allocated to further the research of the specific disease the patient is suffering in order to allow future generations to either not have the disease or increase the quality level of care for future patients of this disease by alleviating the symptoms of the disease at the very least.
In addition, if the patient is an organ donator and the organs are healthy, it may save up several lives which are ultimately invaluable.
working in the care system with people with dementia i have to say in many cases its cruel to keep them alive, we are kinder to our pets when so ill. This is an awful disease which takes any quality of life away, One lady i know has been bed ridden for 5 years unable to communicate , move her limbs or anything if the nazis had done this to people it would be a war crime. This is not about god or any other belief its about common sense. Everyone should have the right to say while they are still of good mind if they get this or another illness at a certain stage they have their life ended,
What i see every day is slow often distressing painful deaths which is no more than cruelty,we really have to change the way we think
Just because beds in hospitals are needed by others is no reason to allow a person to die! Some can be cared for at home, or in special hospices. If we stopped caring for the terminally ill at all where would we draw the line? Is treating the elderly also a waste of resources because they are nearing the end of their lives anyway? I think that to describe palliative care as a “huge and ultimately wasteful drain on medical resources” is rather harsh! I’m not sure that families of the terminally ill would agree with you there.
It ends the patient life because he/she is already terminally ill
Terminally ill means terminally ill. This means that the patient, unless an absolute miracle happens, will die eventually regardless of how many interventions it takes to prolong his or her life expectancy. This time and money could be used to help others or cure others who aren’t mortally wounded or diseased.
The rebuttal presupposes that an individual needs to wait for a hypothetical existence of a treatment being developed on an assumption that decisions that are finalized is not a justification for terminating a patient’s life at one’s explicit consent. If decisions made in your life were to be stagnated each and every time in order for an opportunity to arise everytime, the basis for this principle would not be a good one at the very least.
Wait one day, wait one week, wait one month, we’ll stay back and see. An indecisiveness for something which might not exist within one’s lifetime would make a claim for which things ought to be reversible or decisions ought to be remade in order for things to be “controlled” in a manner. In this respect, of the practice of “Euthanasia”, death is the ultimate goal of avoidance and thus a finalized decision of upholding pain until the very last minute of life in respect to waiting for a treatment outweighs the ultimate outcome of death. The opposition makes a claim that reversibility of a decision that may be regretted later due to it being finalized is better on these grounds, however, if life was controllable in all aspects and under all possible circumstances, we were able to scroll back on our decisions, what meaningful would arise out of the circumstances for which our decisions are made on? What would the product of our actions, time and energy be? Aren’t these decisions philosophically what identify us as who we are even to the extent of a life or death situation? Also, even if a cure was possible, what complications will arise thereafter? What if the patient is of old age and will die anyways but has already lived a long healthy life? It cannot be justified to deem that waiting for something which might or might not exist in a future to occur outweighs the prospect of pain. Wait for a miracle “cure”, wait for a revolutionary science “discovery” to solve our problems, wait for a technological “innovation”…this line of thought may be wise in some situations but not necessarily in the case of Euthanasia.
The patient may be terminally ill but this statement aside from repeating other points discounts the possibility of new treatments being developed in time to cure the illness he or she is facing.
It relieves suffering
If a terminal patient faces a long, slow, painful death, surely it is much kinder to spare them this kind of suffering and allow them to end their life comfortably. Pain medications used to allieviate symptoms often have unpleasant side effects or may leave the patient in a state of sedation. It is not as if they are really ‘living’ during this time; they are merely waiting to die. They should have the right to avoid this kind of torturous existence and be allowed to die in a humane way.
Appeal to “naturalism” is a very bad argument. We take medical pills, we put up an umbrella to avoid having rain fall on us, we try to not live in a tribal manner like our ancestors where we deem ourselves to live a civilized life where we do not simply kill eachother and rape eachother because its the “natural conclusion” of our actions. Suffering may a part of the human condition and it can be argued to be useful in preventing us from self-destructive habits, physical dismemberment or physiological damage due to negligence of the body, etc. However, does that justify that we ought to endure a pointless pain just because it must be part of life’s experience? Just because life is unfair doesn’t mean we should start treating others unfairly, or just because sex is a part of the human experience, that we have an obligation to perform intercourse. Also, if an argument of biological existence is made, then why is it limited to humans in the treatment of this manner? What is the difference between existence and living? Do people want to live in a state where they cannot progress, breathe, talk, hear, see, suffer from paralysis and slowly die? People do want to live, and merely existing is not enough. If we just had to exist, then why do we need a spectrum of other human experiences? Why do not we just limit ourselves to sleep, eat, reproduce, etc? There is more to life than existing in such a state.
There is a straight answer for this: Suffering is part of the human condition and part of life’s experience. Also medication can be improved to help a person’s quality of life and make their deaths as humane as possible. Futhermore even if a person is in a state of sedation they are still biologically existing and still have what some would say an obligation to live their life until its natural conclusion.
i think that it is our fate and nothing happens in theis world just like that for no reason. Everything in this world happen for a reason that could be beneficial for that person but he or she may not realise it.
You may say know that how if a person is suffering severly from ilness would that be a good thing for him or her ?? Bu toyu never know. I mean that i take as murder. We all say and agree that murder is something really bad and is not allowed so how come killing a person is the right thing?? Even if that person is suffering.What would you call it? Wouldn’t you call it killing.
I will say that life is something complicated. It is not something that we could ever realise and understand 100 percent but each and every single person lives for a reason and when someone would die i definitly don’t have the choice to choose whether to kill that person or not even if he or she is suffering. Maybe yes a person would absolutely like to avoid suffering and have a relaxed life but sometimes and mostly always things don’t always turn out to be exactly like what we want. So I think it depends on how a person believes in God if he or she have faith in God then they will know that this is the will of God and will take it. We can’t say that there is a life with no suffering each and every person in his life have suffered in their life but it is how you deal with them that matters and not to run away because you’re afraid to face them or afraid that you would suffer because they alwaus say that you will always face your biggest fears in your life. So i would never kill a person and take the blame for it my entire life as i might someday sit alone and ask myself a question, did i kill my mother??
Right to choose
Our legal system accepts that people have a legal right to choose when to die, as demonstrated by the fact that suicide is legal. This right is denied to those who are incapable of taking their own lives unaided. Legalising euthanasia would redress this balance.
Our legal system also recognises that assisting a suicide attempt is a crime.
Human beings are independent biological entities, and as an adult, have the right to take and carry out decisions about themselves. A human being decides who they spend their life with, their career path, where they live, whether to bear children. So what is the harm in allowing a terminally ill patient to decide for themselves whether they die in a hospital or in their own home? Surely a terminally ill sufferer is better qualified to decide for themselves whether they are better off dead or alive? Their disease makes them so crippled they cannot commit suicide alone. A quote from The Independent in March 2002 stated that “So long as the patient is lucid, and his or her intent is clear beyond doubt, there need be no further questions” [[ The Independent” Editiorial Make euthansia available for those who can choose it http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/leading-articles/make-euthanasia-available-for-those-who-can-choose-it-653034.html Accessed 03.09]]. Human beings should be as free as possible and unnecessary restraints on human rights are strongly discouraged.
The opposition makes an arguement of inclination. However, it ought to be rejected that people, intuitions or legal entities should advocate the death of an individual. The life an individual rests in the considerations of the consequences of an individual’s actions. If we deny them this right, we make a claim that we own their life. We own the product of their time, energy and utility. This is something we must never fall into. Although it may be said from a financial sense, things aren’t good; we do attempt to put human life in an invaluable scale. It may be said that human beings are precious for various reasons, but the value of an individual’s life can never be determined by the state, another individual or entity. Even though life insurances are in place, the individual’s self-assigned worth is what gives the individual its own worth for its very own existence.
The right to choose is not something which our legal system has “accepted” we all have. This is far from the truth. Suicide was decriminalised in the UK solely for the reason that it is not a punishable offence – it is of course impossible to punish a dead person. This is by no means a reflection of the general opinion of society.
Furthermore the European Court of Human Rights ruled in the case of Diane Pretty that a person does not has a recognised right to die as stated in this quote: “No right to die, whether at the hands of a third person or with the assistance of a public authority could be derived.” [[ BBC Online News “British woman denied right to die” http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/1957396.stm%5D%5D
Unfortunately giving any sort of ‘right to chose’ also denies a right to choose for others. If Euthanasia is allowed then people who are terminally ill, critically injured or simply old may well feel compelled to choose and option they don’t really want to take. If Euthanasia is allowed in some cases these people whose treatment may be costing relatives or the state a lot of money may well feel that they are not worth the cost of keeping them alive. This is not something we would want anyone to feel as in essence it takes away their freedom of choice on the matter.
Relatives spared the agony of watching their loved ones deteriorate beyond recognition
A person dying from cancer feels weak; exhausted and loses the will to fight. Muscles waste away, appearance changes and the patient starts to look older. A cancer patient becomes confused, no longer recognising family and friends. Motor neurone disease causes the sufferer to lose mobility in the limbs, having difficulty with speech, swallowing and breathing. Those suffering with Huntington’s Disease develop symptoms of dementia, such as loss of rational thought and poor concentration. Involuntary movements, difficulties with speaking and swallowing, weight loss, depression and anxiety may also occur. Families of individuals suffering with such diseases see their bright, happy relative reduced to a shadow of their former self. Their loved one suffers a slow and painful death. Surely, it is kinder to put a mother, father, brother or sister out of their misery and allow them to die a peaceful death, as is their last wish.
Even if their relatives may be suffering from watching their loved one’s condition detiriorate, they have no right to either decide or put pressure on a person to end their own life because of their own sufffering. Just as it may be the individuals right to die it is also the right of the individuals right to “rage against the dieing of the light” with their support of their family so to speak.
While it may be an ‘agony to watch a loved one deteriorate’ many will also want to spend as long as possible with their loved ones, and more than likely a family will be split on the matter meaning that the views of the family would have to have no impact on the matter.
It reduces the spread of diseases
When a person is sick, there a chance that a contagious agent exists within the host. The longer the duration that the individual is kept alive, it may increase the risk of others being affected by the disease if the individual is not handled properly.
isn’t that what a hospital has i mean many people are sick and have diseases which are contagious but they try to get cured that’s why they go to hospitals. This is not a reason for not keeping them alive because what if they actually get cured and got the chance to start a new life. I don’t think that it will REDUCE the spread of diseases becasue there are other people in the hospital that may suffer from different diseases which may be contagious right? so does it stop on terminally ill people that they have a contagious disease that’s why they should be killed??
The relationship between Law and Medical Ethics
At the core of a legalized physician assisted suicide (PAS) system is the principal that medical ethics should be governed and regulated by the professionals instead of lawmakers. A PAS system puts the expertise of the doctor and the experience of the patient at the forefront of the issue and views both perspectives rightly as the most credible in a given situation. The law cannot adapt to the specificity and multitude of ethical problems that arise on a situational basis. The law can only take into account circumstances that it foresees and can elaborate on. The highly personal and situational nature of this issue deems it insufficient for legislation, which exists outside the realm of the personal.
The foundation of medical ethics relies upon the understanding of the consent (when applicable) of the patient to the procedure and the discretion, judgment, and experience of the medical profession to whom the patient has entrusted their care. The basis of good and ethical health and health systems relies upon the integrity of this.
Laws are codifications of what morals exist in a society. Side Opposition wonders how exactly ‘Medical Ethics’ would be defined in the status quo anywhere in the world if these things were not defined through the law. Furthermore, most nations have ways in which the law can in fact be changed, thus giving law the ability to adapt to the specificity and multitude of problems that do exist in regards to health care.
Also, without the law then attempts to even test a society with PAS wouldn’t exists anyway. Simply put, the law is what safeguards patients, doctors, and everyone else in the medical field, anywhere.
And still, any change in health care can directly affect not just what humans can do, but how humans think about being human (and, therefore, what rights and obligations humans should have). As issues of between medical ethics and the law come into play the importance of prudent use of law to protect health and safety becomes central. Finally, issues of social justice and resource allocation are presented more starkly in the medical care context than in any other context.
The Ethical Safeguards of PAS
To ensure that a system maintains the highest ethical standards, numerous safeguards will be implemented. To begin, The patient’s condition must be either a terminal one (meaning incurable) with no hope of recovery and death imminent (Two doctors must overlook the case to verify the diagnosis and prognosis) or suffering irreversible medical conditions that cause them suffering in ways they can no longer tolerate. Secondly, Euthanasia can only be undertaken at the request or with the permission of the patient (Oregon provides a good example by requiring two written requests at least 15 days apart, an oral request and other safeguards to ensure the capability of the patient to make such a serious decision. Also, two doctors must verify the decision-making capability of the patient.) Lastly, Doctors must perform the task of providing means and administering but only if necessary, otherwise the patient will self-administer.
In the medical profession, there is an unavoidable problem dealing with the prognosis of ‘terminal’ patients.
Many problems arise when physicians try to diagnose a disease that will be terminal or try to recognize the terminal phases of an illness. For example, a person who has recently been infected with HIV can be considered to have a condition that will be terminal, yet 10% to 17% of such persons are still without sequelae of immunodeficiency at 20 years. Cardiac disease is the leading cause of death in the United States , but persons with atherosclerotic disease are not considered to be terminally ill even though their deaths may occur at any moment.
This has much to do with why PAS is very hard to implement. These definitions will differ not just in the US, but in other nations around the world. At the point we recognize this to be true, proposition would be granting the right to PAS for some people, and yet not for others. This is why we look to palliative care, because, at the very least, the standards are clear.
Furthermore, we say that patients who are terminally ill may have a single disease process (such as a brain tumor) that will, in and of itself, cause death; they may have a disease (such as leukemia) that weakens them to the point where a second condition (such as pneumonia) may overwhelm and kill them; or they may have a combination of diseases, each of which makes the other incurable (for example, severe lung disease and cardiac disease). The prognosis will alter as the patient makes decisions about treatment of the primary disease or intercurrent illnesses.
But let’s talk about Oregon: In the first year Oregon voters put PAS into law, 15 patients had undergone PAS. However, only four of the candidates had psychological or psychiatric consultations. Eleven others did not. Since the way in which PAS has been provided in a current system has not been shown to be systematic, it has shown to not be fair either. Surgeons don’t operate without informing a patient of all their options, or doctors do not prescribe prescriptions without allowing for other options, yet PAS physicians have been able to let some patients undergo consulting while others don’t have as much help. Because of this, PAS is inherently unfair on the basis that some patients will have access to more knowledge than others – this is important because all patients are attempting to make the same choice.
Discrimination in Palliative Care and how PAS can end it
Those who have terminal disease that are less common often face more suffering. Without the lobbies and charities behind diseases like lung cancer, brain cancer, etc., palliative care cannot provide the same Quality of Life that other better-funded palliative measures do. [“This study suggests that patients with end stage COPD have significantly impaired quality of life and emotional well being which may not be as well met as those of patients with lung cancer, nor do they receive holistic care appropriate to their needs.”
Those in the third world are the most discriminated against in the area of palliative care. They are denied basic analgesics because of their economic situation. “Morphine is a cheap, safe analgesic, yet most patients in developing countries are denied access to this drug.” Palliative care is also weakened in the Third World by “the lack of effective models for…delivery.” The palliative care options are often limited to those available to the family. Though physicians may be available, long-term palliative care is often ineffective as the physicians must respond to a large area of need and the constant support is left up to the family of the patient, who are limited in resources and training.
Minority groups are less likely to be given palliative care. Dalits, African Americans, and other minority groups are systemically given poor health care coverage and treatment. The result is that they face more emergency care rather than preventative and more inpatient non-palliative deaths. Without the option for PAS, minority groups often face alienated deaths in the institutions that have alienated them.In the case of the Roma people, both an ethnic and a lifestyle minority are discriminated against without access to PAS. Because of their nomadic way of life, the European healthcare system allows them to fall through the many cracks. When they plead for the right to die, they are denied PAS on “ethical” grounds. The European healthcare system, like many worldwide, is inherently biased to those who have a lifestyle of the majority, i.e. with a permanent residence.
A inequality in palliative care in places around the world is not enough to justify its circumvention. If anything, the option of PAS not only decreases the growth of the success some palliative care has been able to prevent, but it will prevent it’s growth in the future as well.
Legalizing physician-assisted suicide is merely a part of the debate about improving end-of-life care. It cannot be viewed as a quick and easy fix, or a way to protect patients from inadequate care arrangements. Too many people still suffer needlessly, often because doctors and families just do not know how to serve people who are dying. The main problem lies with a lack of knowledge. Many suffer because doctors fail to provide adequate medication for pain. To legalize physician-assisted suicide would make real reform, such as better pain control, less likely. And ultimately hurts the growth of the medical industry. Without the reform of pain medication, patients end up with no prospects to live well while dying. In this scenario, making suicide an option is not offering a genuine choice but instead forcing a decision on the patient who again loses rights under this plan the affirmative have presented.
How to Save a Life
In addition, if there are those whose death is inevitable who would like to be put out of their suffering early, it means that doctors will have a chance to examine their vital organs to see if they can be donated. At later stages of many terminal illnesses, organs are severely weakened and, in some cases, failing – it may not be possible to use them at that point. This will help alleviate the long waiting list there is for organ donations. Thus permitting assisted suicide through euthanasia will not only put the victim out of his/her suffering earlier, but may also help save more lives. More than 102,389 men women and children are waiting for organ transplants in the US alone with only 14,203 eligible donors. PAS is an effective and ethical avenue to decrease this vast and fatal gap.
Regardless of whether or not a patient decides to under PAS, they have already made the decision to be an organ donor, or not, well before the procedure. There has not been a correlation shown between the number of people willing to be an organ donor if they underwent PAS (From the Oregon studies).
We would also say that a push for organs would decrease the amount of care given even with a PAS. Because now the focus is not on the patient but on their organs.
In the status quo, people who are registered donors are at times kept on life support against (against their will, something we though, the proposition did not like) to determine the organs sustainability for transplant.
Finally, if patients who have been cleared for PAS under the guidelines set out by the proposition, then they are already terminally ill, and thus, have failing organs already, not in good enough condition for transplant.
When Michelangelo was asked how he created his masterpiece David, he simply said “I saw David through the stone and I simply chipped away everything that was not David”. Since we on the proposition are on a similar pursuit as Michelangelo in creating a masterpiece, lets first look at what supporting physician-assisted suicide is not:
1) Supporting PAS is not supporting the end of palliative care. The opposition has stated time and time again how palliative care can be a good thing but just needs reform. This offers no direct clash with our plan and our line of argumentation throughout the entire debate. We recognize that palliative care as a viable option for patients, but we also have pointed out some of the pitfalls of palliative care and how PAS can be a benefit to those who have to suffer in these pits in some countries currently. Reform can be achieved in both PAS and palliative care under our plan. Fundamentally, we respect the preference of the patient to choose whichever option. The proposition is on the side of options and a death with dignity for citizens. We denounce the self-proclaiming moral arbiters that would force citizens to die only on the terms that they deem “natural” and “right” in the face of intense suffering and unbearable pain being felt by the patient.
2) Supporting PAS is not supporting the disproportional killing of coerced poor people and stigmatized groups. While this concern is certainly respectable, it is based simply on predicative fears. These fears have been discredited with the empirical evidence that we have provided from countries and states in which PAS is already supported. While we support these groups getting access to PAS, we certainly aren’t forcing them and neither is any outside party, as the data shows.
3) Supporting PAS is not supporting new cultural norms or ideologies that declare some lives are ‘not worth living’. What PAS promotes is that citizen’s are in control of the choice of how they want to end their lives. This idea finds opposition not in the prevailing attitudes of the people, but in the ideologies that someone or something should be in control other than the actual individual, whether it be the government, religion or someone’s definition of nature. It is time to break free from the shackles of these ideals into a world where citizens are individually empowered by supporting the right-to-die. Day by day more and more governments and citizens are recognizing this right and are strongly disavowing the antiquated positions that our opposition has argued for.
Now that we have removed what supporting assisted suicide is not, let’s look at what it is:
1) Supporting PAS is supporting a system that addresses the highly personal and situational manner of this issue while enforcing ethical safeguards that protect against any form of abuse to the utmost degree possible. Both sides agree that laws can indeed change, but when should these laws should change is where the debate lies. We refuse to maintain archaic laws in which the consent of the patient and expertise of the doctor is largely ignored. We believe that to support PAS is supporting a flexible and ethical system that can address this complex situation with the patient and doctor in mind and at the forefront.
2) Supporting PAS is supporting the idea that it is the state’s role to create conditions where citizens can make optimal decisions for themselves amongst viable options. We do not support an atmosphere where the state destroys options and makes the decision for its citizens, especially on the most sacred thing a person has, life.
3) Supporting PAS is supporting a system that not only ends lives more humanely, but saves lives as well. We are not advocating a vast increase in quantity but rather a quality increase in organ donation. We have stated that if these terminally ill patients are forced to live prolonged lives, vital organs will become increasingly weaker even if the disease does not directly affect specific organs. The system allows organ donation to be completed more efficiently, effectively and even at all in some cases.
The proposition offers quality of life over just mere quantity, choice on how to preserve this quality, and a way to preserve life of many people on organ donation waiting lists. We strongly believe we offer a far better system for these very reasons, masterpiece or not.
It is not moral to end the patient’s life because he has the right to live longer
Patients that are in comas and have not indicated that they wish to die have the right to continue thier lives until the natural end. Who are we to say that they should die when it is convenient to us? That should be left unto God to decide.
This point should be erased.
The debate specifically says “Do you agree or disagree with euthanasia or mercy killing?”.
What is being advocated is the right of an individual to make a decision, not to have a say or coerce an individual to make the decision to want to die. Although in some cases, involuntary euthanasia has a dark region (grey area).
Coma patients are not ‘living until their natural end’ because modern medicine has developed so we can support them artificially. Perhaps it was God’s will that they die, and we are interefering in this plan by treating them?
This point should be erased. The debate specifically says “Do you agree or disagree with euthanasia or mercy killing?”. What is being advocated is the right of an individual to make a decision, not to have a say or coerce an individual to make the decision to want to die. Although in some cases, involuntary euthanasia has a dark region (grey area).
It is murder
There are strong proponents on both sides of the debate for and against euthanasia. The word euthanasia comes from two Greek words, ôeuö meaning good, and thanatos meaning death. Proponents of euthanasia believe it is everyone’s right to die at a time of their own choosing, and in a manner of their own choosing, when faced with terminal illness rather than suffer through to the bitter end. Opponents argue that euthanasia cannot be a matter of self-determination and personal beliefs, because it is an act that requires two people to make it possible and a complicit society to make it acceptable .
They consider euthanasia the equivalent of murder, which is against the law everywhere in civilized society.So, we sould maintain the respect for human life in a secular pluralistic society
The first argument was removed. An appeal to a dictionary or a definition does not make it right or justified in its position. However, it may be speculated or conceived that it is not murder because the premeditated advancement of death by a person of another has been consented to in principle thereby the choice being made is a deliberate one for which one’s right in its very own nature permits the condition to be moral.
Secondly for describing euthansia the Germans use the term Sterbehilfe which means “help to die” so while the person and maybe society may be complicit in the “killing of a person” they are accessories and not the actual agents of the killing as they are helping a person to die rather than determining that a person should die, something that would be viewed as murder [[Collins lanugage dictionary]] .
Sanctity of life
Religious and secular morality decrees that no one has the right to take the life of another human being, A principle stated in the Quaran “[2.28] [Allah] will cause you to die and again bring you to life, then you shall be brought back to Him.” This surah states that if a creator has created an individual than it p.b.u.h will decide whether you live or die and you can not take matters into your own hands.[[ University of Michigan “The Koran” http://quod.lib.umich.edu/cgi/k/koran/koran-idx?type=simple&q1=life&q2=&q3=&amt=0&size=more%5D%5D
. This principle must be safeguarded by law, as moral absolutes of this kind are necessary for a functioning legal system.
While religious morality may be precise on who sets decides when a person dies secular values also recognise if a person is suffering unncessarilly they should be helped to eliminate that suffering. Futhermore a person may well be non religious and resent the imposition of religious or secular values on them, values which they may not belive in. [[ Dr Adams “Personal Story- Dignity in Dying” http://www.dignityindying.org.uk/personal-stories/uk/south-west/exeter/dr-adams-story-33.html Accessed 1.06.2009]]
Additionally if this arguement is extended, certain individuals pick and choose biblical scripture (not wiping out the land of a certainr ace) or selectively identify parts as something obselete (i.e. agricultural practices). If an individual does this, the individual believes that there is a morality outside of religious morality above the standard for which the biblical or context in which religion takes place and thus it is moot whether the bible says so or not.
Making the decision for yourself, or others?
The problem that I have always had with euthanasia is that terminally ill patients may choose to die through feelings of guilt. They may feel guilty about the burden that they are putting on their families and choose to die for this reason alone.
Whatever their reasons, a person should be allowed to do as they see fit. It is their life and they have the right to choose how and when it ends.
Voluntary Euthanasia gives doctors too much power
The prestigious position of doctors could quite easily be abused if euthanasia were to become legalised. A prime example of this would be the late Dr Harold Shipman, who killed between 215 and 260 elderly women[[ Bonnie Malkin et al ” Harold Shipman in dictionary of biography” http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1574271/Harold-Shipman-in-dictionary-of-biography.html Acccessed 01.06.09]] Vulnerable, ill people trust their doctor and if he confidently suggested a course of action, it could be hard to resist. A patient and his family would generally decide in favour of euthanasia according to the details fed to them by their doctor. These details may not even be well founded: diagnoses can be mistaken and new treatment developed which the doctor does not know about. Surely it is wrong to give one or two individuals the right to decide whether a patient should live or die? On the contrary, the majority of doctors would make well-informed, responsible and correct decisions, but for those few like Harold Shipman, they can get away with murder, undetected, for 23 years.[[ Bonnie Malkin et al ” Harold Shipman in dictionary of biography” http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1574271/Harold-Shipman-in-dictionary-of-biography.html Acccessed 01.06.09]]
Harold Shipman committed his crimes when euthanasia was illegal, which illustrates that psychopaths can commit crimes whatever the legal situation. Legalising euthanasia would have no effect on the 0.000001% of society who do this sort of thing.
In countries where euthanasia is currently legal, such as Switzerland and the Netherlands, strict legal guidelines are in place to ensure that the process does not include such problems. All patients who request euthanasia require the diagnoses of at least two doctors to verify the terminal nature of their illness, and undergo psychological examination by these doctors and often other experts to examine the reasons for their choice. It is not a situation of “Surely it is wrong to give one or two individuals the right to decide whether a patient should live or die?”; it is one of two medical professionals deciding whether the legal parameters allow them to enact the patient’s wishes. [[ Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs”A Guide to the Dutch Termination of life on Request and Assisted Suicide (review procedures) Act – April 2002″ p3 http://www.minbuza.nl/binaries/en-pdf/faq-2008/faq-euthanasie-2008-en.pdf%5D Accessed on 01.06.09]]
It is worth noting that, at the moment, doctors can effectively use euthanasia anyway. Firstly, under the “doctrine of double effect”, a doctor is allowed to give a patient, upon their request, a dose of painkilling medication which as a secondary effect speeds up the death of the patient. [[ Alison McIntyre “Doctrine of Double Effect” Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/double-effect/ Accessed 01.06.09 ]]Secondly, all patients have both the right to refuse treatment, and the ability to make a “living will”, which doctors are compelled to consider if the patient is unable to express their wishes during illness. [[ Direct gov “Government, citizens and rights- How to make a living will-http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Governmentcitizensandrights/Death/Preparation/DG_10029429 01.06.09]]
A Lack of Responsbility
Ethical safe-guards may not be achieved in the time frame allotted by the affirmative. Oregon physicians, as well as the physicians of Netherland, have been given authority without being in a position to exercise it responsibly. They are expected to inform patients that alternatives are possible without being required to be knowledgeable enough to present those alternatives in a meaningful way, or to consult with someone who is. Meaning that physicians or mental health professionals are advising patients without a complete understanding of end-of-life care available to them, which again goes against the Hippocratic Oath all medical personal must take. They are expected to make decisions about involuntariness without having to see those close to the patient who may be exerting a variety of pressures, from subtle to coercive. They are expected to do all of this without necessarily knowing the patient for longer than 15 days, which is clearly not long enough to fully gain perspective on a person. Since physicians cannot be held responsible for wrongful deaths if they have acted in good faith, substandard medical practice is encouraged, physicians are protected from the con-sequences, and patients are left unprotected while believing they have acquired a new right, and ultimately defeats the purpose of legalizing PAS.
We believe this Argument and the rebuttal for the proposition’s “Ethical Safeguards” argument can be clubbed together, and they have both been responded to together in “Rebuttal: Ethical Safeguards”
The Price They Pay
The opposition stands with critics of PAS who have found that once assisted suicide is accepted as an available option for competent terminally ill adults, it may be permitted for ever-larger groups of persons, including the non-terminally ill, those whose quality of life is perceived to be diminished by a physical disability, persons whose pain is emotional instead of physical, and so forth. Critics point to the fact that permitting euthanasia and assisted suicide, as is done in the Netherlands, does not prevent violation of procedures (e.g., failure to report) which occurs frequently in the medical profession, or abuse (e.g., involuntary euthanasia). It is further contended by the opposition that adequate safeguards are not possible. For example, requiring written requests to be repeated over a period of time, such as 15 days, and witnessed by two unrelated witnesses while simultaneously involving at least two physicians AND a psychiatrist’s or psychologist’s examination is unrealistic. Persons at the end of their lives typically have neither the energy nor the ability to meet such conditions. In addition, the option of assisted suicide for mentally competent, terminally ill people could give rise to a new cultural norm of an obligation to speed up the dying process and subtly or not-so-subtly influence end-of-life decisions of all sorts. Which ultimately costs the patient one of the three inalienable rights, the pursuit of Life.
1) Many people who choose PAS and are not terminally ill have a physical injury or disease attached to their emotional pain. For instance, Daniel James [[http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article4969423.ece]] was paralyzed from a rugby accident and Chantal Sebire [[http://uk.reuters.com/article/idUKL1918252520080319]] whom had a swollen tumor in her sinuses that made her face severely disfigured. These people felt like prisoners to their own existence, their quality of life was in fact diminished not “perceived”. We believe no person or government has a right to keep these people entangled in a web of suffering. We recognize that people can continue their lives even in dire situations, but we believe the government should not force them to continue a life of suffering.
2) The opposition says that a “violation of procedures” can occur, such as a failure to report. Unfortunately we do not live in a world where the medical practice can be absolutely infallible. This is more an argument against any sort of medical procedure, life saving or life ending because these problems are not unique to any medical procedure, whether it be perceived as simple or complex . Involuntary euthanasia is not a problem with our safeguards and able and competent doctors in place. Any doctor that would commit involuntary euthanasia with any form of consent from their patient would do so even without a legal PAS system because they have no regard for ethics.
3) Firstly, it seems the opposition is unclear as to why they object to the conditions that need to be fulfilled; because they are not stringent enough or because they are too stringent to be fulfilled by people who wish to exercise this right?
We are not exactly sure how our safeguards can be deemed “not possible” and “unrealistic” when they are the same safeguards put in place in the state of Oregon, which we have already stated in our opening arguments.[[http://www.leg.state.or.us/ors/127.html]] This is not a chimerical proposition as the opposition has dismissed it as but in fact an actual and real life working system that has been around for 11 years.
This system, under which in fact the right to physician assisted suicide has been exercised by hundreds of patients since the law was passed in Oregon.
4) Rights do not demand to be exercised. We support the inalienable pursuit of Life but we do not support force-feeding life to citizens whom declare that they no longer want to participate in this pursuit for the ethically justifiable reasons stated in our case. We also grant citizen’s freedom of speech but does that mean they we should ban silence? Where governments allow dissent, it would be ludicrous to demand that all citizens must dissent in order to exercise their right. Instead, any theory of rights must protect the exercising of rights as well as the citizen’s choice to not participate, to not exercise their right. The right to life has to be forfeited at some point, and we support the right for our citizens to choose when they want to forfeit it. We see this in the status quo already – governments have ceased to consider suicide a crime. Why should assisted suicide for terminally ill patients be any different?
The Worst Evil
A patient may accurately judge their current quality of life to be unacceptable, but adequate care would always increase their quality of life to the point where they would reconsider. In addition, there is also fear that accepting such thoughts as legitimate, rather than simply understandable, could comfort an ideology that considers some lives as being ‘not worth living’, even if the person living this life sees value in it. PAS limits the view of the patient to a mere biological mass. Palliative care providers emphasize compassion, and the will to care for the whole human being. The importance of caring for the whole individual rather than for an organ is underlined, as is the importance of interactions between psychological and physical suffering. For both PAS and palliative care, the worst evil is a poor quality of life. For palliative care providers, however, the worst evil is a poor quality of life that is an obstacle to valuing the time that is left, rather than seeking to destroy the natural life-cycle.
1) Legalizing physician assisted suicide does not mean that it will be forced on all suffering patients. The proposition strongly feels about the freedom of choice, but the opposition would like to eliminate options and funnel suffering people down a path they feel is the right one.
2) The only ideology that this supports is that a citizen’s life and its value is actually in the hands of and defined by citizens instead of some separate entity. We don’t see any sort of logical connection with this slippery slope that they would like us to ride down.
3) We are not advocating an end to palliative care; we believe both systems can co-exist. What we recognize is that there are some huge pitfalls in palliative care (See: “Discrimination in Palliative Care and how PAS can end it” argument) and that PAS can fill these ethically and efficiently. Stating why palliative care may be a good thing doesn’t address why a PAS should not also be a viable option for patients.
4) We don’t believe that anything that is “natural” is always inherently good and anything that is unnatural is inherently bad, as it seems the opposition believes. If we are to agree with this line of argumentation then any sort of medication, treatment and surgery, such as chemotherapy, that can save lives should not be exist either because they also destroy this “natural life-cycle” that our opposition has defined for all of humanity. We don’t believe that they are as omniscient as they seem to think and feel that they are trespassing into very dangerous territory when they attempt to define just how people should die, and force conformation to that definition.