Are assisted dying and euthanasia the same thing?
No. Assisted dying is when mentally competent, terminally ill adults take prescribed medication to end their lives. Assisted dying is therefore not an option for people who are lonely or depressed, for example. The patient must be terminally ill. Many terminally ill patients are not suicidal: they want to live, but they are dying and ask only for some control over the timing of the inevitable.
Assisted suicide is when someone who is not dying chooses death over life.
Euthanasia is the act of deliberately ending a person's life to relieve suffering. With euthanasia, a patient might be unable to give consent.
Why can't we just improve palliative care?
Even the best available palliative care isn't effective for everyone. Even the Catholic Church accepts that up to 5% of people cannot access palliative care in any form due to being allergic to opiates or having an underlying condition that makes them unsuitable. Palliative care is not a panacea. Not everyone wants it, and according to the official Oregon Health Authority report, 28.7% of assisted dying patients cited inadequate pain control as a factor in their decision.
It is important to note that palliative care and assisted dying are not mutually exclusive. Palliative care is excellent in Oregon, which ranks 9th out of 50 States in the US. Experts agree that palliative care has improved since the introduction of assisted dying. Read the palliative care report card here. Read the 2017 Death With Dignity Act Data Summary here.
What exactly does the requete hope to achieve?
The definition of assisted dying will be considered in the consultation phase. The debate and vote on May 16th seeks agreement in principle to introduce an assisted dying regime, but there will be two further States’ debates and votes. Firstly to review, amend and approve the recommendations of the working party. Secondly, to review, amend and approve the law when the detailed legislation comes back. Read the requete here
How will you protect vulnerable people?
By limiting the campaign to those who are mentally competent and terminally ill, we ensure that concerns about depressed people or people with dementia are answered. 20 years of evidence in Oregon has shown that there has been no adverse effect on vulnerable groups such as the disabled, the elderly or the chronically ill. Reference here
Where assisted dying is legal there have been no cases of abuse and no widening of the law. Fears of a slippery slope are simply not backed up by any evidence. Opponents of assisted dying often cite the growing number of assisted deaths in Oregon as evidence of a slippery slope, but they fail to point out that Oregon's population is also growing. The number of assisted deaths in Oregon is tiny - just 0.4%.
When Oregon first legalised assisted dying, the number of assisted deaths as a percentage of total deaths was much smaller. It took 20 years of growing awareness and experience before the number of assisted deaths reached even 0.4%.