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The arguments of the merits and de-merits of the words ‘assisted suicide’ and ‘suicide’ have been going on in the right-to-die movement for 30 years. They don’ t trouble me, but as a writer, in order to vary my style, I also use alternatives, such as ‘self-deliverance’, ‘hastened death’,

But none of us can get away from the hard fact that the law (in English anyway) uses ‘suicide’ and ‘assisted suicide’ and also do the majority of medical papers and academic studies. So you can’t eliminate those words, much as you might like to.

As one example, the 8th annual report on the Oregon Death With Dignity Act, issued by the Oregon Department of Human Services, begins its summary with the words “Physician-assisted suicide (PAS) has been legal since November l997, when………” And continues to use the same term throughout the report.

Dr. Kevorkian tried to popularize ‘medicide’ and ‘obitiatry’ as alternatives but they did not catch on.

It seems to me to be running against the tide to try and banish the term ‘assisted suicide’. Let’s just use it judiciously.

—————————Derek Humphry, Oregon, USA 8.24.06

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