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(CNSNews.com) – Advocates of assisted suicide are dismayed that the largest association of physicians in the U.S. has decided to continue using the term “physician-assisted suicide” rather than euphemisms such as “medical aid-in-dying.”
Meeting in Chicago on Monday, the American Medical Association, by a vote of 360-190, adopted a report by its Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs (CEJA) recommending that the term “physician-assisted suicide” continue to be used.
AMA - Code - Medical - Ethics - Policy
Significantly, the AMA also voted to reaffirm its Code of Medical Ethics’ current policy on assisted suicide – the view that allowing doctors to help patients to die “is fundamentally incompatible with the physician's role as healer.” That vote was 392-162.
In contrast to euthanasia – where a doctor actively ends a patient’s life – physician-assisted suicide occurs when a doctor provides the means or information that enables a patient to commit suicide.
CEJA - Policy - Suicide - States - District
CEJA had been commissioned to review the policy on physician-assisted suicide, which is now permitted in seven states and the District of Columbia, and also to examine “the need to distinguish between ‘physician-assisted suicide’ and ‘aid-in-dying.’”
Its report noted that the terms used by people on either side of the issue, “not surprisingly,” reflect the different ethical perspectives.
Proponents - Participation - Language - Practice - Light
“Proponents of physician participation often use language that casts the practice in a positive light,” CAJA said, adding that the term “‘aid in dying’ invokes physicians’ commitment to succor and support.”
This can be seen in the terminology featured in relevant state legislation: “Death with Dignity” appears in legislation enacted in Oregon, Washington and D.C.; “End of Life Options” in California and Colorado; “Our Care Our Choice” in Hawaii; and “Patient Choice and Control at the End of Life” in Vermont.
CEJA - Side - Argument - Language - Obscures
CEJA observed that those on the other side of the argument say such language is euphemistic and “obscures or sanitizes the activity.”
They in turn favor “physician-assisted suicide,”...
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