'Assisted Suicide', By Any Other Name . . .
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
October 31, 2006
PORTLAND, OREGON--If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it most likely is a duck.
Likewise, if it looks like assisted suicide and sounds like assisted suicide, it most likely is assisted suicide.
Unless if you are trying to change public opinion about assisted suicide, or are worried about lawsuits from assisted suicide campaigners.
According to a brief story published in the news section of the American Medical Association's website, the Oregon Department of Human Services has bowed to pressure from the group Compassion & Choices -- formerly the Hemlock Society -- and decided to drop the term "physician-assisted suicide" when describing people who use the state's Death with Dignity Act. Instead, DHS will refer to people who use the law to die as, well, "persons who use the Oregon Death With Dignity Act."
Officials said the language would help the agency stay neutral about the issue.
The announcement came after Compassion & Choices brought their lawyers in to meet with agency officials to argue that the word "suicide" violates the state's law.
Apparently, the law states "actions taken in accordance with [the statute] shall not, for any purpose, constitute suicide, assisted suicide, mercy killing or homicide, under the law."
More importantly for assisted suicide crusaders, however, is the fact that polls show people are more likely to approve legalizing the practice when the word "suicide" is not used in describing it. The group no doubt hopes the move to less provocative language will help them in their efforts to legalize assisted suicide in other states.
Since Oregon's law was passed in 1997, assisted suicide supporters have been unsuccessful in multiple campaigns to legalize the practice in other states, including California and Hawaii.
Many disability rights advocacy groups, led by Not Dead Yet, have long opposed efforts to make assisted suicide legal. They have argued, among other things, that such laws would increase the vulnerability of people with disabilities, who are already marginalized by society and many medical professionals, particularly at a time when health care costs are so high.