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  #1  
Old Mar 7, '07, 3:30 pm
nMbR1BaRlOwGiRl nMbR1BaRlOwGiRl is offline
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Default Does anyone know any good arguments against mercy-killing?

I'm doing a debate in school against mercy killing by physicians in hospitals. It's going to be really hard because most of the kids there are for it. I can't use religion in it at all (which really does make sense if I'm to convince an audience at a public school with a very wide range of religions, or none at all). Does anyone know anywhere I could look, or have any advice?

all4Him,
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  #2  
Old Mar 7, '07, 3:59 pm
Della Della is offline
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Default Re: Does anyone know any good arguments against mercy-killing?

Because no one deserves to be executed for the "crime" of being sick. When we start killing off people out of so-called "mercy" where does it end? When will society then decide that those who are different from the norm have to die for their own good? Or those who are not able to speak for themselves? It's a slippery slope that led Germany into mass murder--called the Holocaust.
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  #3  
Old Mar 7, '07, 7:47 pm
stanmaxkolbe stanmaxkolbe is offline
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Default Re: Does anyone know any good arguments against mercy-killing?

Should a person in a coma for many years be killed? I mean turn off the equipment, stop feeding the person, out of mercy so the family can move on and have closer. I don’t know maybe this is not a good idea? Check out the link:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/4515711.stm
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  #4  
Old Mar 7, '07, 11:18 pm
blessedtoo blessedtoo is offline
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Default Re: Does anyone know any good arguments against mercy-killing?

I'm sure that if you did a google search of "hopeless" cases that suddenly recovered, you would find many examples to help you make the case that there is always hope and doctors can sometimes be wrong.
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  #5  
Old Mar 8, '07, 5:56 am
MariaGorettiGrl MariaGorettiGrl is offline
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Default Re: Does anyone know any good arguments against mercy-killing?

People don't always think clearly, especially when they are in pain. I have hit lows when I have sadly prayed to God to just let me die, but soon recovered and was glad that I did not die. Not that my life became perfect, but when I was not in such deep pain, I was able to think clearer.

So a person who is having a bad day with their disease may make a bad decision that they would later regret.

There's a great scene in Star Trek 5 ( Nerd Alert!) that deals with regret over a mercy killing.

Good luck with the debate!

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  #6  
Old Mar 8, '07, 7:15 am
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Dwyer Dwyer is offline
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Default Re: Does anyone know any good arguments against mercy-killing?

If you go to the Catholic Answers Radio Program Archive, I know they've had some guests speak about this issue. Try looking around the time of the Terry Schiavo murder, or look under euthanasia. John Paul II made a few statements about this issue to the Catholic Medical Association, and there is a Catholic Bioethics Institute (or Center) somewhere.

My Catholic understanding of the issue goes something like this: Say if you have a terminal cancer, but you could extend your life through multiple operations for a few years. My understanding is that you could refuse the treatment and pass on. However, essential non-medical care, like food and water, must be given to a patient under all circumstances. Terry Sciavo was severely disabled, but she did not have any disease that was going to kill her. All she needed was food and water, basic essentials, to live. Her husband said she made some statement that she wanted life support pulled if she ended up in this situation. But this supposed statement was not confirmed by another witness, and he could have been making it up. That is, it was hearsay evidence which is not allowed in U.S. courts. Nevertheless, the courts, both Florida state and Federal ordered her to be killed, although she committed no crime against society except for being disabled.

This is a big topic; you probably could write a Ph.D. dissertation on it, but if I were you I might go to the U.S. Constitution's 14th Amendment, which says that no state can deny its citizens' life, liberty, or property without due process of law. The U.S. Constitution is the supreme law of the United States. Life is the ultimate good, because without life we do not exist. You can argue that the one of the fundamental duties of the state is to protect the lives of its citizens, as enshrined in the 14th Amendment. A civilized society should protect inalienable and fundamental rights like life, which is singled out in the 14th Amendment and the Declaration of Independence as being a right. For most of America's history it has protected life, except for the last 35 years or so.

A civilized society should always protect the weak and the lives of its citizens. That's why euthanasia and abortion are wrong.

Now, there are two counter arguments to the pro-life side, which will go like this: Oh, but a lot of people are in tremendous pain, and it costs a lot of money to keep these people in the hospital or treated medically, isn't it just better to kill them? I've never really seen the economic issue discussed in either Catholic or secular circles because it brings up a can of worms about the fiscal disparites in our societies. Also, without arguing religion, you'll probably lose on the pain issue. If suffering isn't considered redemptive, well, why suffer?

The best you can do is say that people recover from their injuries all the time, even if they are not expected to. Look at ABC news anchor Bob Woodruff. They were expecting him to have to be taken care of for the rest of his life, like an infant, but know he looks at least 80% better and is going to have a great life. This probably won't convince most people, but that's all you can do.

Then the money. Well, I would just say that we, as a society, should strive for something better than murdering the old, the infirmed, and the sick. It may take an expansion of Medicare or increasing taxes on stocks and bonds or corporate profits to fund a program to assist people with the costs of this type of care. There's talk about increasing the amount of medical care to members of the Armed service. Well, what about assisting all Americans who find themselves in this terrible situation. Almost all Americans have helped the nation in some way, even simply by paying taxes and doing their day to day business. In Terry Schiavo's case, she had the money to support herself from the money she got from a court case about the accident she was in. So, for her, it was no problem. Even so, the state and Federal courts went ahead and killed her. So, there's something deeper than money that's involved in this issue with its proponents.

America should always protect life. It is in our Declaration of Independence, and our Constitution, the fundamental documents of our nation. Killing other human beings or letting them kill themselves, like the weak, the sick and the unborn is barbaric and cruel, and the symptoms of a sick society obsessed with greed and utility. Let us stay true to our founding principles and protect human life in all its conditions.

I hope that helped.
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  #7  
Old Mar 8, '07, 7:51 am
George Craft George Craft is offline
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Default Re: Does anyone know any good arguments against mercy-killing?

Here's another link to a story about a woman that just woke up after being in a vegetative state for 6 years:

http://www.kktv.com/home/headlines/6347997.html

Kinda makes you wonder, doesn't it?
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  #8  
Old Mar 8, '07, 7:55 am
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Scott_Lafrance Scott_Lafrance is offline
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Default Re: Does anyone know any good arguments against mercy-killing?

Quote:
Originally Posted by nMbR1BaRlOwGiRl View Post
I'm doing a debate in school against mercy killing by physicians in hospitals. It's going to be really hard because most of the kids there are for it. I can't use religion in it at all (which really does make sense if I'm to convince an audience at a public school with a very wide range of religions, or none at all). Does anyone know anywhere I could look, or have any advice?

all4Him,
~Jaclyn~
Yes, it violates the Hippocratic Oath and the principle of Primum non nocere that most modern medicine operates under.
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  #9  
Old Mar 8, '07, 8:52 am
Daniel Kane Daniel Kane is offline
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Default Re: Does anyone know any good arguments against mercy-killing?

Humans are of the animal kingdom, but they are not animals per se, because the presence of reason. This reason accords a particular protection and enhances relationships, as even in suffering and apparent helplessness, humans can continue to relate, receive and give love.

Animals, even our beloved pets, cannot do this.

Accordingly, it is an act of injustice to remove this final activity of giving and receiving love even when, to the limits of science such an exchange is not discernable.

It is fine, and an act of love to put down one's dying pet. Their suffering does not provide for reciprocal love. It is quite the contrary for humans, a special kind of animal, which possesses reason and a will to act in a particular manner, to love selflessly. Versus animals who simply react in a natural manner, instinctive manner to those who treat them kindly. Animals do not choose to love, they react to love.

So, to euthanize a human person is an unjust act because it artificially removes from the person, their family and friends, the final acts that define humanity, the choice to love.
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  #10  
Old Mar 8, '07, 12:07 pm
Eileen T Eileen T is offline
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Default Re: Does anyone know any good arguments against mercy-killing?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott_Lafrance View Post
Yes, it violates the Hippocratic Oath and the principle of Primum non nocere that most modern medicine operates under.
Since abortions became legal, Medical schools have chosen to drop the Oath or administer a more ambiguous one that suits the new era.
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  #11  
Old Mar 8, '07, 12:11 pm
Eileen T Eileen T is offline
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Default Re: Does anyone know any good arguments against mercy-killing?

Try our website, where we have avoided pro-life and sanctity of life arguments. Basic Arguments against Euthanasia
http://www.life.org.nz/euthanasia3.htm

At the bottom of the page is a link to a debate between Australia's Dr "Death" and a Catholic Bishop. The only time religion was brought into the debate was by Dr Nitschke, so Bishop Fisher's arguments should help you considerably.

A student who was present later commented:
Quote:
"It was also very noticeable that Fisher did not mention the Church or morality once; he argued solely from a reasonable and ethical premise. His opponent, on the other hand, was complaining about the Church well within the first minute of his presentation, which was something I found slightly irrelevant, since the debate was about the ethics of euthanasia, not on who's fault it was that legislation was not passed."
If you wan't more I can dig out my notes of a debate where the Auckland NZ debating team took on a trio of euthanasia activists, including Dr Nitschke. But I have just come home from night shift and am heading for bed. PM me if you want more info.
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  #12  
Old Mar 8, '07, 3:11 pm
Catholic Action Catholic Action is offline
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Default Re: Does anyone know any good arguments against mercy-killing?

If you knew that your Doctor killed people that would kind of damage the Doctor patient relationship. Older people in particular would be very nervous about going to see a Doctor who might decide that treating them was more trouble than recommending them to be euthanised.

Older people might be pressurized by relatives who wanted to inherit from them. the elderly are often afraid of being a "burden" on others. Unscrupulous relatives or others with a financial interest in their death could play on that fear and make people accept a death before their time.

Health Care providers and insurance companies would find it more cost effective if people with incurable diseases died before they cost too much and would "encourage" physicians to sell the concept of euthanasia to their patients.

How do you imagine people would feel if they allowed a loved one to be killed and then a cure for their disease was found shortly afterwards?
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  #13  
Old Mar 8, '07, 3:26 pm
vern humphrey vern humphrey is offline
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Default Re: Does anyone know any good arguments against mercy-killing?

First of all, consider the Church's position. In the case of patients near death, we are not required to maintain life by extraordinary measures -- such as a heart-and-lung machine. We are not prohibited from giving painkillers to terminal patients, even if these painkillers (or the required dosage) may shorten life. We are required to provide food and water, as long as it can be metabolized -- we cannot allow a person to die of thirst or hunger.

Next, consider the question of competency. Most suicides are the result of depression. The fact that a person is severely depressed does not justify killing them -- we must treat the depression, not commit murder.

Finally, look at the organizational issue -- "Physician-assisted suicide" means the same person has the responsibility for saving your life and for killing you. Those nations which have Physician-assisted suicide" laws (like Holland) have found a steady increase in the number of people who die at the hands of physicians -- because once the line is crossed, many physicians become God-like in their decisions, condemning elderly patients to death for "utilitarian" reasons -- "It's better that Grandma die now than spend all that money to keep her alive."
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  #14  
Old Mar 8, '07, 3:43 pm
Catholic Action Catholic Action is offline
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Default Re: Does anyone know any good arguments against mercy-killing?

What the Church permits is summarised in the Charter for Catholic Health Care Workers at http://www.lifeissues.net/writers/do...4.html#para121
it includes-

Quote:
122. Among the medicines administered to terminally ill patients are painkillers. These, which help to make the course of the illness less dramatic, contribute to the humanization and acceptance of death. This, however, does not constitute a general norm of behavior. "Heroic behavior" cannot be imposed on everyone. And then, very often, "pain diminishes the moral strength" of the person: sufferings "aggravate the state of weakness and physical exhaustion, impeding the impulse of the spirit and debilitating the moral powers instead of supporting them. The suppression of pain, instead, brings organic and psychic relief making prayer easier and enabling one to give oneself more generously."...

The use of painkillers with the dying, however, is not without its problems.

123. First, their use might have the effect, of not only alleviating pain, but also of hastening death. When "proportionate reasons" so require, "it is permitted to use with moderation narcotics which alleviate suffering, but which also hasten death." In this case "death is not intended or sought in any way, although there is a risk of it for a reasonable cause: what is intended is simply the alleviation of pain in an effective way, using for that purpose those painkillers available to medicine."
Specifically on Euthanasia the same Charter (which I use to guide my own professional work) says
Quote:
149. "The pleas of gravely ill persons who sometimes ask for death are not to be understood as implying a true desire for euthanasia; in fact it is almost always a case of an anguished plea for help and love. What a sick person needs, besides medical care, is love, the human and supernatural warmth with which the sick person can and ought to be surrounded by those close to him or her, parents and children, doctors and nurses."283

The sick person who feels surrounded by a loving human and Christian presence does not give way to depression and anguish as would be the case if one were left to suffer and die alone and wanting to be done with life. This is why euthanasia is a defeat for the one who proposes it, decides it and carries it out. Far from being an act of mercy to the patient, euthanasia is a gesture of individual and social self-pity and an escape from an unbearable situation.

150. Euthanasia upsets the doctor–patient relationship. On the part of the patient, because he relates to the doctor as one who can assure him of death. On the part of the doctor, because he is no longer the absolute guarantor of life: the sick person will be afraid that the doctor may cause his death. The doctor–patient relationship is a life–trusting one and this is how it should remain.
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  #15  
Old Mar 8, '07, 4:48 pm
thistle thistle is offline
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Default Re: Does anyone know any good arguments against mercy-killing?

Quote:
Originally Posted by nMbR1BaRlOwGiRl View Post
I'm doing a debate in school against mercy killing by physicians in hospitals. It's going to be really hard because most of the kids there are for it. I can't use religion in it at all (which really does make sense if I'm to convince an audience at a public school with a very wide range of religions, or none at all). Does anyone know anywhere I could look, or have any advice?

all4Him,
~Jaclyn~
How about the Fifth Commandment: You shall not kill!
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