Language as a battlefield: How we got from euthanasia to voluntary assisted dying

Language as a battlefield: How we got from euthanasia to voluntary assisted dying

“As a society, we are hesitant to talk about death, which is considered a taboo subject.”

So claimed the authors of the Victorian Parliamentary inquiry into end of life choices last year, one of a number of reports that helped shape the impending bill on assisted dying.

But whether in spite of or because of that reticence, we have developed a tangled web of words with which to discuss the “euthanasia debate”.

If it were a train, this debate would have set off from Euthanasia Central, stopped at Voluntary Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide, moved on to Medically Assisted Death and Assisted Dying, before arriving at Voluntary Assisted Dying, the form of words that our parliamentarians have settled on (and which some would further reduce to the neutral acronym VAD).

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