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‘Assisted suicide’ or ‘aid in dying?’ The semantic battle over SB 128
Southern California Public Radio

As the California legislature considers whether to make it legal for doctors to provide lethal prescriptions to certain terminally ill patients, a related rhetorical battle is raging behind the scenes.

It’s a high-stakes fight over how to frame the debate over SB 128, also known as the “End-of-Life Option Act.”

The crux of the issue is the use of the word “suicide” when describing the act. KPCC is among the media outlets that refer to the practice as doctor- or physician-assisted suicide, which generally follows the Associated Press Stylebook. Opponents of SB 128, such as Californians Against Assisted Suicide also use those terms, while Compassion & Choices and the bill’s other supporters strongly oppose that language.