Segments in this Video

Debate Introduction (04:30)


Moderator John Donvan introduces Chairman Robert Rosenkranz. Rosenkranz discusses the statute about legalized assisted suicide and outlines the debate.

Debate Housekeeping (06:52)

Donvan discusses Death With Dignity Act statistics. He states the motion, explains the debate format, and introduces the panel members for each side.

Preliminary Vote (00:59)

Donvan reminds audience members of the debate and asks them to vote.

For the Motion: Andrew Solomon (07:28)

Author and professor of clinical psychology at Columbia University, Solomon believes nobody should be pressed into assisted dying, nor be denied that right. Aid in dying is about dignity and control; he cites Hospice care.

Against the Motion: Daniel Sulmasy (07:33)

Doctor and Professor of Medicine and Ethics at the Dept. of Medicine and Divinity School, Sulmasy believes physician-assisted suicide is bad ethical reasoning, bad medicine, and bad policy. He cites individual preferences and human value.

For the Motion: Peter Singer (07:39)

Author and professor of bioethics at Princeton, Singer considers why death is a bad thing. He discusses the autonomous choice of dying in special circumstances and the value of life.

Against the Motion: Ilora Finlay (07:16)

House of Lords member, palliative care physician, and president of the British Medical Association, Finlay discusses: euthanasia, social dynamics as a result of physician assisted suicide, and inaccurate prognoses.

Choice and Ethics (04:38)

Donvan reiterates the positions of each party. Solomon (for) discusses the personal choice of dying having social implications. Sulmasy (against) argues that suicide is not a self-regarding act.

Patient's Decision (03:15)

Singer (for) believes legalized assisted suicide has very few social ramifications and cites refusal of treatments. Finlay (against) argues that they are completely different decisions.

"Natural" vs. "Unnatural" Dying (02:42)

Solomon (for) argues that the withdrawal of life support requires an active role by the physician. Sulmasy (against) argues the distinction between killing and allowing to die; he cites the Karen Ann Quinlan case.

Dying is Beyond Our Full Understanding (03:55)

Singer (for) discusses killing someone prematurely and forcing someone to suffer. Solomon (for) discusses the fear of losing the capacity to make the choice to die. Finlay (against) distinguishes euthanasia and physician assisted suicide.

Healthcare Systems (03:28)

Finlay and Sulmasy (against) discuss futile over treatment and providing care that respects dignity and choices while remaining pain free. Singer (for) discusses requests for assisted physician suicide in several countries.

Physician Involvement (02:39)

Finlay (against) discusses the role of assessments and doctors not being the gatekeepers; doctors should look after the entire family. Solomon (for) discusses the psychological effects of assisted suicide on family members.

Q/A: Reconciling Depression and Capacity (03:33)

Solomon (for) discusses the importance of a psychological assessment and set regulations. Finlay (against) argues that the regulatory system is failing. Singer (for) discusses system improvements.

Q/A: Ethical Slippery Slope (04:16)

Sulmasy (against) justifies why legalized assisted suicide leads to euthanasia. Solomon (for) states that many practices taken to the extreme can be detrimental. Finlay (against) discusses abuse.

Q/A: Societal Affect (02:29)

Sulmasy (against) states that legalized assisted suicide is not needed for patients to avoid pain. He discusses the concept of being a burden.

Q/A: Differentiating Life Support and Progressive Illness (07:32)

Finlay (against) argues that you cannot be certain about death and discusses personal worth. Singer (for) argues the impact of lethal sedation. Solomon and Sulmasy debate "back alley" euthanasia and intent.

Q/A: Are We Asking Physicians to Risk Their Integrity? (01:26)

Singer (for) discusses asking physicians to act with integrity and the fallibility of physicians.

Q/A: Hypothetical Uncontrolled Pain (04:41)

Sulmasy (against) discusses eliminating pain to the point of hurrying death and physician intent. Finlay (against) discusses efforts to control symptoms and relieve suffering.

Closing Statements For: Singer (02:20)

Singer believes patients should be the one to decide if their life is worthwhile. He discusses alleviating suffering and distress, and quotes a supporter of the Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act.

Closing Statements Against: Sulmasy (02:07)

Sulmasy discusses respect for patient dignity and their individual needs; suicide is always interpersonal and physician assisted suicide should not be routine.

Closing Statements For: Solomon (02:05)

Solomon takes exception to the idea that all pain is treatable and that we value life by insisting that somebody "not become a nobody;" we should not disregard the wishes of those we love.

Closing Statements Against: Finlay (02:06)

Finlay argues that humans are interconnected and that agreeing to give lethal drugs supports the idea that the patient's life is not worth living.

Time to Vote (03:35)

Donvan instructs the audience to vote, thanks panelists and supporters, and introduces the next Intelligence Squared Debate.

Audience Voting Results (01:09)

Predebate For: 65% - Against: 10% - Undecided: 25% Post-debate For: 67% - Against: 22% - Undecided: 11%

Credits: Legalize Assisted Suicide: A Debate (01:06)

Credits: Legalize Assisted Suicide: A Debate

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Legalize Assisted Suicide: A Debate

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In 1994, Oregon voters passed the Death with Dignity Act, which legalized physician-assisted suicide for people with terminal illnesses. Since then, more states have passed such laws, and others are considering them. Is physician-assisted suicide, as the American Medical Association’s code of ethics states, “fundamentally incompatible with the physician’s role as healer?" Will such laws lead to a slippery slope, where human life is devalued and vulnerable people are pressured to choose death? Or do people possess a basic right to autonomy and independence regarding end-of-life decisions that include the right to end pain and suffering, and the right to choose to die with dignity? Should physician-assisted suicide be legal?

Length: 102 minutes

Item#: BVL65942

ISBN: 978-1-60057-694-2

Copyright date: ©2014

Closed Captioned

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