Euthanasia Crusader Jack Kevorkian Weighs in on Terri Schiavo

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 25, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Euthanasia Crusader Jack Kevorkian Weighs in on Terri Schiavo Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
March 25
, 2005

Lapeer, MI ( — Euthanasia activist Jack Kevorkian weighed in on the Terri Scvhiavo debate on Friday. "Dr. Death," responsible for the assisted suicide deaths of more than 130 people, is in prison after showing a euthanasia on national television.

Kevorkian, who hasn’t done an interview in nearly six years, spoke by phone Friday with the ABC television program "Good Morning America."

He told the program that he was "dismayed" by the Schiavo case and opposed efforts by lawmakers to get involved.

"What bothers me is the bit of hypocrisy in all of this," said Kevorkian. "When the president and the Congress get involved because life is sacred and must be preserved at all costs, they don’t say anything about the men on death row, and their lives are just as precious."

Terri Schiavo’s supporters say the arguments go both ways and that Terri has not been afforded the same due process rights as death row inmate, who normally receive a review of their case from federal courts. Federal judges have denied stepping in to stop Terri’s painful starvation death or to hear her parents’ lawsuit.

Kevorkian said the best thing to come of the Terri Schiavo debate has been a renewed focus on end-of-life issues and discussions among family members of the kind of medical care and treatment they prefer.

"One thing, it has raised the issue, and many more people would be willing to face it and discuss with families and society in general," he said.

Kevorkian was convicted in 1999 of killing Thomas Youk, a Detroit-area man with Lou Gehrig’s disease whose death was shown on the CBS television show "60 Minutes." He argued the murder was a mercy killing, but was sentenced for 10 to 25 years in prison. He is not eligible for parole until 2007.

In December, a state parole board again denied a request for parole and his attorney Mayer Morganroth hoped to get his client out of jail based on his poor health, including the hernia problems.

However, the Michigan Parole Board refused to grant him parole or commute his sentence. The board indicated another request could be filed in November.

Morganroth was also hoping Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm will intervene on Kevorkian’s behalf.

But, Granholm indicated she would not get involved.

In November, the Supreme Court refused to hear a request to overturn the conviction.

Michigan authors and Kevorkian friends Neal Nicol and Harry Wylie say they have been helping Kevorkian to prepare a 300-page manuscript, tentatively titled "The Life of Dr. Death." Kevorkian has been shopping it around to publishers.

Oscar-winning director Barbara Kopple and producer Steve Jones plan to begin filming a movie version in Michigan later this year.

Jones says Oscar winner Ben Kingsley would head the short list of people he would like to play the imprisoned coroner. Kingsley is a three time Oscar nominee who won the award for best actor in 1982 for his role in the film Gandhi.

Related news stories:

Terri Schiavo Case Reveals How We Treated Disabled Americans

Neurologists: Terri Schiavo Not in Persistent Vegetative State

Terri Schiavo’s Hospice Nurses Want Her to Die, Dissenter Fired

Media Slanting News Against Terri Schiavo, Report Says

Terri Schiavo Tried to Tell Parents’ Attorney She Wanted to Live

Related web sites:
Terri Schiavo’s parents –