Language as a battlefield: How we got from euthanasia to voluntary assisted dying

by Karl Quinn, The Sydney Morning Herald, 12 October 2017

Call them dying words if you will, but the language around this issue has long been a battlefield, both here and in the handful of places worldwide where some form of euthanasia has already been legalised (Switzerland came first, in 1942).

In Australia, advocacy group Go Gentle has combed through historical opinion polls to show strong support for euthanasia legislation (as high as 85 per cent) dating back to 2007.

But as The Conversation noted in May when fact-checking author Nikki Gemmell’s claim on Q&A that 80 per cent of Australians “support euthanasia laws”, that support varies significantly depending on how the question is framed, and what language is used. Use the word “suicide”, for instance, and support plummets. 

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