- Who We Are
- Research Center
- Activists & Advocates
- Patients & Families
- Health Care Providers
- Support Us
In our movement, terminology is important to correctly indicate what we advocate for versus other terms which are often used.
- What we advocate for:
Death with Dignity/Physician-Assisted Death: Under the Oregon and Washington Death with Dignity Acts, terminally ill patients who are mentally competent to make their own medical care decisions may request a prescription of medication to hasten their deaths. These patients must also be able to self-administer and ingest the medication.
- Things we don't advocate for:
Assisted Suicide is a term used by opponents to scare people. Assisted suicide more accurately refers to criminals like this guy. "Suicide" is also inaccurate. A terminally ill patient making a request under the Oregon or Washington law is doing so to hasten an already inevitable and imminent death; therefore, the act cannot properly be equated with "suicide". None of the moral, existential, or religious connotations of "suicide" apply when the patient's primary objective is not to end an otherwise open-ended span of life but to find dignity in an already impending exit from this world. Individuals who use the law may be offended by the use of "assisted suicide," because they are participating in an act to shorten the agony of their final hours, not killing themselves. It's cancer (or other underlying condition) which is killing them.
Euthanasia often refers to the act of painlessly but deliberately causing the death of another who is suffering from an incurable, painful disease or condition. It's commonly thought of as lethal injection.
Please also refer to the following pages for more information about terminology and Frequently Asked Questions in the Death with Dignity movement.
Defend dignity. Take action.
You are the key to ensuring well-crafted Death with Dignity laws for all Americans. With your financial and volunteer help, the Death with Dignity National Center, a 501(c)(3), non-partisan, non-profit organization, has been the leading advocate in the death with dignity movement. Member contributions helped us pass a new Death with Dignity law in Washington, defend the Oregon law, and provide education and outreach programs for the vitality of the death with dignity movement.