An alternative view was expressed that the language of suicide should not be conflated with voluntary assisted dying because of the person's proximity to death due to illness.
Who expressed that view? Suicide is suicide; no amount of qualification changes that. But here's where the euphemism becomes really useful: Read the quote again and substitute 'suicide' for 'voluntary assisted dying' and the reasons for its use become clear. This is double-speak.
If any more proof was needed, the next occasion that the 'S' word appears is in the context of a discussion about record keeping and monitoring:
It was noted that if information about those whose request was denied was linked to other data such as suicides, it would provide a greater understanding of how the framework was operating.
So, if a person gets access to the law, then it's 'voluntary assisted dying'; if they fail to qualify for some reason and end their life by other means it can be called suicide. The premise here, of course, is that 'assisted dying' will reduce the incidence of other forms of suicide. This has proven not to be the case in Oregon and any expectation that it might be the case in Victoria is supposition at best.
There's more! In a discussion about legal liability it is noted that, 'acting outside the proposed legislation, such as aiding and abetting suicide, would still be a criminal offence.'
Indeed. The death might be by precisely the same method under precisely the same conditions - even with full consent - yet if one condition identified in the law is not met, then it is assisted suicide! You couldn't make this stuff up!
But the final mention of 'suicide' is really where obfuscation and euphemisms are so blatantly evident:
The impact of the listed cause of death on insurance eligibility was also highlighted in forums and submissions. It was noted that there should be no loss of insurance benefits as a result of exclusion clauses for suicide. This was one of the reasons many considered that voluntary assisted dying should not be listed on a death certificate. Others were of the view that it was clearly the underlying terminal illness or disease that was the cause of death so there should be no issues with insurance.
Like many other bills we've seen in Australia, this proposition would legislate further obfuscation and would make liars out of doctors by forcing them to falsify the cause of death. Insurance industry bodies have railed against this kind of inclusion previously and for good reason. They raised the same concerns in The Australian today. It opens up the possibility of someone signing up for a life insurance policy only months before their suicide for the benefit of their estate with a minimum of paid premiums. Think of the possibilities of 'inheritance impatience', otherwise known as Elder Abuse.
Further obfuscation came via Victorian Greens MLC, Colleen Hartland in the same article:
'It is the issue around insurance, and the reality is that the cancer or the neurological disease is what killed them, they have just allowed to die a bit earlier,' she said.
What kind of policy outcome are Victorians likely to gain from all of this if their elected representatives and appointed officials can't get past the fabricated expressions of the death dealing lobby?
Buddha is often quoted as having said that, "Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon and the truth." He never visited Victoria.
The final report is said to be due at the end of July.
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Paul is also Vice Chair of the International Euthanasia Prevention Coalition