In 1994, the Oregon Supreme Court concluded that Measure 16’s activities should be referred to as “physician-assisted suicide” and this term also appeared in the ballot title on which Oregonians voted.
Until now, state public health officials used this standard term in their annual reports. This last month, our state officials were pressured by pro-assisted-suicide groups to use a euphemism rather than use the neutral, accurate, and accepted terminology.
Why would the promoters of assisted suicide do this? Why would they engage a public health agency with veiled threats of litigation? The reason is simple. They understand that verbal engineering precedes all social engineering.
Oregonians are divided on the issue of physician-assisted suicide, but we can all agree that state agencies—which are meant to benefit us all, and for which we all pay—should speak objectively, rather than employ the obviously slanted terms for which one side agitates.
Charles J. Bentz MD, FACP
Internal Medicine: Portland, Oregon