The expression physician-assisted death is what is kindly known as a euphemism. Euphemism is defined as “the substitution of a mild, indirect, or vague expression for one thought to be offensive, harsh, or blunt.” Writing recently in The New Yorker, Adam Gopnik noted:
[E]uphemism is a moral problem, not a cognitive one. When Dick Cheney calls torture “enhanced interrogation,” it doesn’t make us understand torture in a different way; it’s just a means for those who know they’re doing something wrong to find a phrase that doesn’t immediately acknowledge the wrongdoing.
However, as Margaret Somerville eloquently notes, the issue at hand concerns not only
our rightful, profound sympathy for people experiencing serious suffering …, but also whether allowing physicians to intervene with a primary intention of inflicting death is inherently acceptable as a foundational principle and basic value.
CLOSING ARGUMENTS — NO
Dr Edward (Ted) St Godard - Consulting physician for Winnipeg Regional Health Authority Palliative Care in Manitoba.