Words Matter

A blog post from HOPE: Preventing Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide, 4 September 2017

HOPE is a coalition of groups and individuals who oppose the legalisation of euthanasia and assisted suicide and support measures that will make euthanasia and assisted suicide unthinkable. 

Unmistakeably, [sic] in acts of euthanasia, the subject person’s life is ended by the direct and deliberate action of a doctor who, by his or her actions, kills the person. Unmistakably also, a doctor who provides assistance (usually in the form of a prescribed lethal dose) so as to enable a person to take their own life using that substance, assists in their suicide.

Yet repeatedly over recent years we have seen the adoption of euphemisms that attempt to disguise these realities. Bill titles worldwide such as, ‘Death with Dignity’, ‘Dying with Dignity’, ‘End of Life Options’ and, my personal favourite, ‘Patient Choice at the End of Life’ have obfuscated the truth.

The intention is clear: words like ‘euthanasia’ and even ‘suicide’ in this context have a clear ‘yuk factor’. That may be so. But surely the public have a right to the truth and the political classes, an obligation to legislate factually. Options? Choices? Dignity? Really?

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