To change the way our society treats the vulnerable, we must begin by changing the way we speak about them. Below are some tools to do precisely that.
What is euthanasia?
Euthanasia, from the Greek words meaning "good death," is something we do or fail to do that causes, or is intended to cause, death, in order to remove a person from suffering. This is sometimes called "mercy killing"
What is assisted suicide?
This refers to an act by which one person assists another in taking his own life. For example, a physician who engages in "assisted suicide" would, upon the patient’s request, provide the deadly drugs for the person to use.
What is the difference between "active" and "passive" euthanasia?
Active euthanasia refers to an action one takes to end a life, such as a lethal injection. Passive euthanasia refers to an omission, such as failing to intervene at a life-threatening crisis or failing to provide nourishment.
It is important not to confuse passive euthanasia with the morally legitimate decision to withhold medical treatment that is not morally necessary. Foregoing a treatment that we are not required to use is not euthanasia in any form and should not be called by that name, even if death is hastened as a result.