American Association of Suicidology
Suicide Is Not The Same As "Physician Aid In Dying"
Approved October 30, 2017
The American Association of Suicidology recognizes that the practice of physician aid in dying, also called physician assisted suicide, Death with Dignity, and medical aid in dying, is distinct from the behavior that has been traditionally and ordinarily described as “suicide,” the tragic event our organization works so hard to prevent. Although there may be overlap between the two categories, legal physician assisted deaths should not be considered to be cases of suicide and are therefore a matter outside the central focus of the AAS.
In general, suicide and physician aid in dying are conceptually, medically, and legally different phenomena, with an undetermined amount of overlap between these two categories. The American Association of Suicidology is dedicated to preventing suicide, but this has no bearing on the reflective, anticipated death a physician may legally help a dying patient facilitate, whether called physician-assisted suicide, Death with Dignity, physician assisted dying, or medical aid in dying. In fact, we believe that the term “physician-assisted suicide” in itself constitutes a critical reason why these distinct death categories are so often conflated, and should be deleted from use. Such deaths should not be considered to be cases of suicide and are therefore a matter outside the central focus of the AAS.
The full document is here.