Pro-Life Advocates Say Media Reviving Jack Kevorkian’s Reputation

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 29, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pro-Life Advocates Say Media Reviving Jack Kevorkian’s Reputation Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
May 29
, 2007

Lansing, MI ( — Assisted suicide crusader Jack Kevorkian gets out of prison on Friday and the event has sparked a slew of media stories focusing on his release. But pro-life advocates in Michigan who battled with the former pathologist for years before he went behind bars are worried that the media is reviving Kevorkian’s reputation.

Kevorkian was sent to prison in 1999 after showing a videotape on CBS News of him euthanizing Thomas Youk, who was in the latter stages of Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Right to Life of Michigan president Barbara Listing points to a man responsible for killing some 130 people and preying on the elderly and disabled and says he should be condemned, not celebrated.

“We call on all members of the media to refrain from participating in any attempt by Kevorkian to rewrite history or rehabilitate his reputation," she told

Kevorkian has promised not to kill any more people but to lobby for the passage of laws in other states to have them join Oregon in legalizing assisted suicide. He made similar false promises prior to a string of deaths, the last of which led to his imprisonment and Listing says they are no guarantee that he won’t kill again.

"Past experience with this uncontrolled, unethical and unlicensed physician gives us reason to be suspicious of his future behavior," Listing worries.

Listing is also upset that Kevorkian is trading his infamy for money. The only thing that may stop Kevorkian from fostering more assisted suicides is the promise of between $50,000 and $100,000 for speaking appearances to advocate the grisly practice.

While he may find some supporters, Listing says the people of Michigan and most Americans reject his practice of promoting death for those with disabilities or serious medical conditions.

“In 1998, the people of Michigan soundly defeated a proposal to legalize assisted suicide
in Michigan by a margin of 71 percent to 29 percent. Assisted suicide has been rejected
by 49 of 50 states. Kevorkian and his radical agenda have failed as our society recognizes
that killing is not a solution to suffering,” Listing told

Kevorkian as supposed to serve 10 to 25 years, according to his sentence but was eligible for parole this year.

He likely won’t have the opportunity to do engage in assisted suicides because he will be on parole for two years and the conditions of it ensure that he can’t treat patients or be a caregiver of elderly or disabled people.

Kevorkian’s attorneys tried numerous times to get an early release or pardon because of various health problems — which may limit his ability to get around the country.

He reportedly suffers from a number of health ailments, including diabetes, hepatitis C, vertigo, high blood pressure and hardening of the arteries.

Kevorkian attorney Mayer Morganroth described him as "not a well man" and worried he would die in prison before the official parole came up.

"He’s not real keen on (giving speeches), but there are bills to be paid," Morganroth said.

Kevorkian has been jailed in the Lakeland Correctional Facility in Coldwater, about 100 miles southwest of Detroit.

Prison officials are also worried about the media hoopla surrounding Kevorkian’s release. He’s already has done an interview with Mike Wallace of CBS’s "60 Minutes" that will air on June 3, and is slated to be on Larry King Live" shortly after his release, according to the Detroit News.

"Some national (media) people said they would rent helicopters if needed to get their ‘money shot’ of him leaving prison," Russ Marlan, spokesman for the Michigan Department of Corrections, told the News. "We hope not. Some prisoners already think he gets preferential treatment and there are three facilities all in this area. We don’t need a riot over his release."

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 web sites:
Right to Life of Michigan –