Euthanasia Legalization in the Philipines

Firstly, I disagree with your definition of euthanasia. Euthanasia is the putting to death, by painless method, of a terminally-ill or severely debilitated person through the omission (intentionally withholding a life-saving medical procedure, also known as passive euthanasia) or commission of an act (active euthanasia), as defined by the leanlegal dictionary online. I also find your first point confusing; in what way does the legalisation of euthanasia affect the close family ties in Filipinos? I, being a Filipino, can relate, and I fail to see your point.

Secondly, define what you mean by "the doctor's ethics"? In a case to case basis, a doctor will not be performing euthanasia if he/she is against it, therefore it is a fallacy to generalise to all doctors. Lastly, euthanasia is against the constitution, that is why the topic is should it be legalised. Saying it is currently not legal is restating the topic, no relevance.

Now for my arguments. Firstly, the financial costs of keeping a person on a life support machine are enormous, not to mention hospital bills and 24-hour medical care. 80% of the Filipinos live in poverty, how many people can afford this? What happens then if the family cannot afford keeping the relative on life support? Do they get arrested?

Secondly, the emotional distress that is caused by seeing your loved one in a vegetative state for an extended period of time while doctors continually tell you that there is no hope for recovery is potentially traumatizing. Some people who consider this as suffering for the vegetable loved one will want euthanasia, but they haven't the option. Legalising this will not force everyone to take this course, but rather only provide an option.

Lastly, the medical facilities and time that is devoted towards the vegetative patient with low chances of recovery could be spent helping someone else in greater need. Already in the Philippines we have a shortage of medical personnel and equipment, this additional burden will only cause more damage.

[http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/joepublic/2009/jul/01/euthanasia-assisted-suicide-uk] Author: Dr. Kailash Chand The issue of euthanasia, or assisted dying, is incredibly controversial and there are legitimate concerns on either side of the debate. Today I will propose a motion to the British Medical Association's annual conference in Liverpool, which states:

This meeting supports the introduction of legislation to allow people who are terminally ill but 'mentally competent', the choice of an assisted death. Further, the law should not criminalise people who accompany those who make rational decisions to end their suffering The motion will seek to take the issue forward in a compassionate and fair way that I believe will serve the interests of the terminally ill and our society.

The starting point has to be in the law, which at present is failing, as shown by the recurrence of cases in the courts that often place relatives, already dealing with the painful loss of a loved-one, in the middle of distressing legal battles. There is clearly a desire – whether we like it or not – among a number of patients at the end of often terrible battles with debilitating, incurable diseases to end their suffering with the support of their relatives. To deny this right is to prolong the suffering for individuals and families, something that I can simply not condone.

I do accept though that this is not like any other clinical decision – and that if society is to offer this solemn choice it must also build in safeguards to its laws that not only rectify the inadequacies of the current situation, but also protect the vulnerable, the weak and all those – doctors and nurses included – who are involved in this incredibly difficult situation. As a start we must enact legislation to decriminalise acts of euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide. Some of the reasons that are compelling enough for us to change our laws are: Prevention of cruelty and protection of human rights

To allow a terminally ill individual to end their life is the only humane, rational and compassionate choice. The current prohibitions require a person with great physical and/or mental suffering to continue to endure their suffering against their wishes, which cannot be right. The right to life and the right to private and family life under the European convention on human rights should be interpreted broadly to include decisions about quality of life, including decisions about death if the life is no longer one of quality. Regulatory Control

The terminally ill are travelling abroad to countries where the right to end of life in terminal cases is recognised and is lawful. We cannot regulate the laws of foreign lands. We must make provisions within our laws to regulate this issue within our boundaries under our control and supervision. We must not prosecute loved ones for "encouraging or assisting" suicide who enable or assist a terminally ill individual to travel abroad to end his or her life lawfully. Ambiguity in the application of the current law

The current law conflicts with the law as it is being enforced. If the laws as written were being enforced, over a hundred people would have been prosecuted for accompanying their loved ones abroad to help them end their lives. This ambiguity and uncertainty leaves all concerned, including physicians, unprotected. Discriminatory effect of the laws

The ability of the wealthy to travel to countries where it is lawful for the terminally ill to end their lives has the discriminatory impact of treating the haves and have-nots unequally.

The Safeguards Many people are opposed to legislation that would allow "end of life" choices. But our concerns relating to abuses and protection of the vulnerable can be addressed by ensuring that certain objective safeguard conditions are met prior to allowing a terminally ill individual from exercising his or her right to die with dignity. Some of the safeguards include the following: • The patient must be terminally ill.

• The patient must be an adult. • The patient must be mentally competent.

• The patient must be in severe pain. • Two independent physicians must be satisfied that the above conditions are present. In conclusion, the only humane choice is to allow individuals who are suffering to choose to end their suffering. Further, the discrepancies in the laws as they exist and how they are being enforced have led to uncertainty. This uncertainty leaves the doctors, their patients and patient's loved ones unprotected.

If we do not address these issues openly and head-on, we will have continued uncertainty and unregulated practice of euthanasia or assisted suicide with the fear of prosecution hanging over the heads of all concerned. The goals of the medical profession should continue to remain one of saving lives but this should not be at the expense of compassion and a terminally ill individual's right to choose to end his or her life and die with dignity.

[http://www.debate.org/debates/mercy-killing-should-be-legalized./1/] Author: Anonymous Sources: [1] http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/euthanasia [2] http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/competence [3] http://euthanasia.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=126

[1] Also called mercy killing. The act of putting to death painlessly or allowing to die, as by withholding extreme medical measures, a person or animal suffering from an incurable, esp. a painful, disease or condition.

This definition is more appropriate for several reasons. First, it establishes the link between euthanasia and the specific wording of 'mercy killing' in the resolution; they are in fact one in the same. Second, it proves that euthanasia can be accomplished through medical means, i.e. doctors and other medical professionals. Third, euthanasia regarding animals is mentioned -- neither the definition nor my opponent in her opening argument excluded animals from the argument. And finally, the definition takes notice of the fact that the actual terms euthanasia and mercy killing specifically deal with INCURABLE ailments, one that cause a particular amount of discomfort or pain.

Arguments (Con):

1. Traumatic family decision 2. Only God has the right to take lives 3. People will choose this route for the wrong reasons 4. One's competence cannot be defined or determined

Rebuttal (Pros):

1. The idea of euthanasia being a traumatic decision for a family can be successfully argued two different ways. One, often euthanasia is decided by the individual - not a family member, thus negating your point. Two, as likely as this decision can be painfully traumatic for a family member, it can also be a deed that promotes closure and making peace with a particular situation. It some cases, it has the potential to reestablish one's relationship with spirituality, soul searching, etc. In any case, it can be equally as healing as it can destructive, thus negating this argument.

2. I noticed that my opponent is from India. Well then, where would she be had not the Indians enacted the Sepoy Rebellion against England in 1857? Enslaved, perhaps. Ahh my point here is that in some cases - for instance, war - killing is not only justified, but perhaps even beneficial (as it freed India from British control). In addition to war, there are other cases that even humanists would agree that a taking of one's life is justified. Self-defense, perhaps? Thus the notion that "only God should take lives" is speculative, at best, and therefore is debatable in particular situations -- it's not an absolute. This argument is negated.

3. The fact that people will choose certain actions for the wrong reasons does not mean that those actions should be criminalized. People have children for the wrong reasons all the time -- does that mean that having kids should be illegal? If not, then again you are agreeing that this vague reasoning is faulty and flawed, and again this point is negated.

4. Finally my opponent suggests that competence cannot be defined or determined. I disagree. In fact, I found several definitions of the word, one of which reads:

[2] sufficiency; a sufficient quantity.

This definition suggests that who/what is competent is deemed sufficient, and since humans use their mental sense to determine sufficiency... which is subject to change, but nevertheless requires a minimum of standards at any given point in time... then obviously people both can and do define/manage competence based on their particular inclinations at any given time.

This competence is usually established by a minimum of standards. For instance, competence to practice law has been determined (via the governing bodies) that one must have completed an acknowledged law school. Now if Con's argument is that no one is competent enough to take a human life in general, please refer back to my rebuttal of point 2 which reminds us that people kill others all the time (i.e. war). If we can kill others for what we feel is a 'good' reason, than why not ourselves? And who says you are competent enough to answer that question? Either way, this argument is negated.

CONTENTIONS:

1. Rights of the individual 2. Pain & Suffering 3. Letting nature run its course 4. Quality of life; risks of criminalization 5. Animal rights

1A. Indeed I have established how in some cases, taking the life of another can be deemed either necessary or justified. Just as such a justification exists for ending another's life, so too a justification exists for taking one's own life.

1B. "The right of a competent, terminally ill person to avoid excruciating pain and embrace a timely and dignified death bears the sanction of history and is implicit in the concept of ordered liberty. The exercise of this right is as central to personal autonomy and bodily integrity as rights..." -- ACLU [3]

2. To deny a 'competent' individual the right to end their own pain and suffering is undignified and oppressive, not to mention tyrannical and condescending. Who are you to force someone to cope with unbearable, agonizing, excrutiating pain? Just because YOUR moral beliefs may point you in the direction of God does not mean that everyone elses does. In that case, you are forcing your own beliefs and religious observances onto others, which is not only abusive to their rights, but causes them extended pain and suffering (which could be a crime in itself).

3. Sometimes the opposite of mercy killing includes prolonging the inevitable -- doing everything one can in order to sustain life, which is not always the right thing to do. With all of our medical answers in this day and age, death can be prolonged for months or even years at the expense of the individual. We must ask ourselves: When do we stop doing all we can do and let nature run its course?

4A. At some point, one's medical condition and pain + state of mind no longer makes life enjoyable or even worth living. We cannot possibly determine whether that is the case for another -- only they can make that choice. In that instance, we must accept their wishes should life become more of a burden than a blessing.

Of course this is not so with every condition, however, the definition specifically refers to causes in which one suffers from an extremely painful and incurable ailment for which there is miniscule hope for recovery. While that miniscule hope is enough for some and their faith, that is not the case for everyone. Again, we cannot impose our own values onto others regarding death anymore than we can with life and the way some choose to live it.

4B. By criminalizing euthanasia, two things can occur. One, the individual may be in so much agony that they go ahead and kill themselves anyway, whether it's legal or not (at least by legalizing it we can ensure the assistance of a medical professional). Two, we have the capacity to make one hate life so much, that they despise living and think horrible thoughts instead of peaceful ones remembering life's joys.

5. Mercy killing is already legal regarding animals -- many dogs are 'put to sleep' for instance each year in order to minimize suffering. Why then should human beings not be granted the same rights as animals? We are merciful to our pets but not with fellow man? What kind of backwards logic is that?!

Granted in some cases dogs are more loyal than man; however, in that case you are asserting that they are worthy of mercy killing, proving that it is in fact often a good thing. Euthanasia of animals for the right reasons means that euthanasia of humans for the right reasons can also exist. And since in most cases people aren't "getting anything out of it" in terms of choosing to kill their pets, that means that people do have values and don't believe that selfish forced suffering should be one of them.