Don’t Call It Assisted Suicide Anymore, New California Law Says “Self-Administered Aid in Dying”

Opinion   |   Wesley Smith   |   Oct 15, 2015   |   1:10PM   |   Sacramento, CA

The liberal political commentator, Kirsten Powers, has a piece in today’s Washington Post, in which (among other policy objections to assisted suicide) she decries the Orwellian word-engineering that has been a foremost tactic of the movement since its earliest days. (See here.)

Here is part of what Powers wrote. From, “Suicide by Any Other Name:”

We aren’t supposed to refer to self-inflicted death as “suicide.”

Rocky Shaw, president of the California State Coroners Association, told the Los Angeles Times that before California’s new law passed if someone took a lethal dose of drugs it would be ruled a suicide. But the new law states that “death resulting from the self-administration of an aid-in-dying drug is not suicide.” This, according to Shaw, “leaves a question about how to classify” a physician-assisted death.

This is no doubt because Compassion and Choices, a national “right-to-die” organization that lobbied for the California law is working furiously to, according to its website, “Normalize accurate, unbiased language throughout the end-of-life choice discussion (’aid in dying’ instead of ‘assisted suicide’).”

Like all Orwellian creeds, it states the opposite of its intention. The goal here is to ensure that inaccurate and biased language is used to obfuscate the truth.

It’s worse than that. Washington-state’s assisted suicide law requires doctors to LIE on death certificates by listing the underlying the disease as the cause of death.

Powers’ column is well worth your time, demonstrating that euthanasia is bad medicine and even worse public policy.

This is why I bring it up here. The Post published her piece under the heading: “Religion.” But read the piece: 

  • She never once mentions “God.”
  • She never once mentions “sin.”
  • She never once mentions “dogma.”
  • She never once mentions “the Bible.”
  • She never once mentions “religion.”

Indeed, her piece is entirely public policy-oriented. 

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True, her piece was distributed by the Religious News Service syndicate. But it isn’t a religious piece, in any I-dot, T-cross, comma, or period.

There is a purpose behind such mislabeling prestidigitation: When anti-euthanasia advocacy and arguments are branded “religious”–a meme ubiquitously pushed in media stories about assisted suicide–it furthers the pro-assisted suicide tactic of branding opponents theocrats who are trying to force their dogma on unbelievers.

That isn’t what Powers is doing in the least. Which is why the Post’s labeling is:

#mediabias Note: Wesley J. Smith, J.D., is a special consultant to the Center for Bioethics and Culture and a bioethics attorney who blogs at Human Exeptionalism.