What is the difference? Words used in the debate
Often people who are new to the euthanasia & assisted suicide debate muddle medical concepts. Sometimes euthanasia advocates deliberately muddle the concepts to manipulate peoples ignorance.
Euthanasia vs Assisted suicide
‘Euthanasia’: Killing another person or animal from the claimed motivation of mercy to put them out of suffering. Includes military (using a weapon) and medical euthanasia (using drugs).
‘Assisted suicide’: Helping someone else to commit suicide – most commonly by giving them lethal drugs to take themselves.
Our pro-life/Hippocratic medicine position opposes euthanasia (active or passive) and assisted suicide, but not the withdrawl of extra-ordinary care.
While assisted suicide and euthanasia have the same result, in practice legalising ‘euthanasia’ (e.g. Belgium, Netherlands, Luxemborg) results in many more deaths than ‘assisted suicide’ (e.g. Oregon & Washington State, USA) because of the natural instinct of people not to kill themselves.
Hippocratic medicine: Ancient Greek medical ethics oath sworn by doctors which includes: “I will use treatment to help the sick according to my ability and judgment, but never with a view to injury and wrong-doing. Neither will I administer a poison to anybody when asked to do so, nor will I suggest such a course. Similarly I will not give to a woman a pessary to cause abortion” Adopted by medical practice in countries under Judeo-Christian and Islamic ethics. Eroded in Western civilisation from around the 1960s.
Active vs Passive Euthanasia
‘Active Euthanasia’: Actively killing another person or animal from the claimed motivation of mercy to put them out of suffering.
‘Passive euthanasia’: Killing a person by withdrawing basic care such as food, water and warmth. ‘Passive euthanasia’ does not include the withdrawl of ‘extra-ordinary medical care’ such as life support machines.
‘Assisted dying’: A euphemism/code word used by euthanasia and assisted suicide advocates to refer to both practices, but misleadingly hides the fact that active killing is taking place. It sounds like and muddles the issue with ‘palliative care’. Please do not use this term.
‘Palliative care’: Medical practice of helping people to die peacefully and painlessly without killing them. For example, giving them pain killers, sedatives and comfort.
Ordinary vs Extra-ordinary care
‘Ordinary care‘: Food, clothing, warmth, comfort, medicines that can be dispensed at home.
‘Extra-ordinary care‘: Medical care using modern equipment such as life support machines only found in hospitals.