Physicians for Compassionate Care Education Foundation (PCCEF) is very concerned regarding the influence that proponents of physician-assisted suicide (PAS) have on the Oregon State Department of Human Services. Rather than using the phrase “physician-assisted suicide” to describe this practice, the state agency will now use the vague and misleading language favored by one side in our statewide debate on assisted suicide.
DHS appears to have been bullied by the leaders and attorneys of the pro-PAS organization in Oregon.
PCCEF Vice-President, Dr. Kenneth Stevens, commented, ”Advocates of assisted suicide are not content with having written the physician-assisted suicide law in Oregon, facilitating suicide in several instances, and campaigning to spread it to other states. Now they are trying to control how Oregonians think about suicide—and to do this, they’ve been threatening public agencies.
He added, “The proponents of assisted suicide have always tried to manipulate the public and the press by manipulating the language. They use euphemisms like ‘death with dignity’. When they feel those euphemisms have become worn-out they invent new ones. ’Suicide’ is the plain English term that means taking one’s own life, whether assisted by a physician or not.”
“Substituting a euphemism does not clarify what is happening in either a legal or medical sense. It is a transparent attempt to cloud the debate on this issue.”
We call on DHS not to give in to intimidation by pro-PAS lobbyists, and to use standard, objective terminology when issuing its reports.
PCCEF believes that all human life is inherently valuable.
· undermines trust in the patient-physician relationship
· changes the role of the physician from healer to executioner
· endangers the value that society places on life, specifically for those who are most vulnerable
Physicians for Compassionate Care and its members will continue to help individual patients and their families to obtain excellent and humane care at the end of life.