Euphemisms, words to diminish or withhold objectionable information, have existed throughout human history. Most, but not all, euphemisms are benign. However, historical evidence proved some lethal. Social evils not limited to abortion, euthanasia, and the Holocaust have been justified using euphemisms that measure each individual’s personhood upon his or her utilitarian worth. People who care to define justice and preserve human life should remember these examples and discern whether or not each euphemism diminishes a person’s humanity. These individuals speak against using such definitions for those who risk rejection and genocide when the public generally accepts these terms.
The words abortion and euthanasia themselves are euphemisms for directly killing people, and each has its own euphemisms. Euphemisms for euthanasia include mercy killing, death with dignity, compassion, and physician assisted suicide. Abortion’s euphemisms are legion. A right to choose, termination of pregnancy, emptying the uterus, and interrupting the pregnancy are but a few terms abortion’s proponents use. The medical names [including Dilation and evacuation (D&E), dilation and extraction (D&X), suction aspiration (SA), and selective reduction] for different procedures in abortion themselves are also euphemisms and many of which abortionists deliberately abbreviate them to further hide the truth.
Abortion and euthanasia are justified using the same principles as the Holocaust. Arguments for all three were founded upon eugenics, a practical philosophy that classified people superior or inferior to one another, denying reproductive choice to the latter. Individuals at risk for abortion or euthanasia today are labeled beyond unfit for reproduction but for life itself. Comatose patients and anyone else with additional medical needs risk euthanasia when labeled brain dead, vegetables, or burdens. Pro-abortion adults dismiss a preborn child’s personhood referring him or her as tissue, a product of conception, parasite or potential person rather than fetus or baby.
Euphemisms for killing remain so perverse within our language that they obscure the evils of abortion, euthanasia, and vivisection today just as they obscured the Holocaust in Hitler’s Germany. Pro-lifers must refuse to apply these terms. Instead, we should warn the general public about euphemisms’ consequences for our essential human rights, especially life and free access to information.