by Steven Ertelt
January 16, 2008
Gainesville, FL (LifeNews.com) — As dozens of pro-life advocates rallied outside, assisted suicide crusader Jack Kevorkian delivered an angry and rambling speech. Although he can only talk about euthanasia in a limited fashion, he advocates the legalization of assisted suicide and blasted President Bush, calling him a tyrant.
Kevorkian spoke to a sold-out crowd that officials estimated as over 4,000 — not surprising given the attention focused in the media and at the University of Florida campus on the speech.
The student government’s speaker’s bureau paid $50,000 to host the retired pathologist who was jailed for eight years after killing a disabled patient on national television.
He told the audience that he would be violating the terms of his parole to discuss euthanasia in an expanded sense. His attorney, Mayer Morganroth looked on during the speech.
However, he said that Greece and Rome used assisted suicide and said the ancient cultures are ahead of ours, even though America exists in a modern time.
Kevorkian said he killed about 20 percent of the people who came to him and asked him for his help in taking their lives.
"My aim in helping the patient was not to cause death," he said, according to the Springfield Times. "My aim was to end suffering. It’s got to be decriminalized."
"It’s got to be decriminalized and the law has to step out of the picture," he said of the grisly practice.
Kevorkian also blasted President Bush and urged people not to vote to send him a message.
"Everyone should refuse to vote," he said. "That’ll send the tyrant a message."
After the speech, Bobby Schindler, Terri Schiavo’s brother, spoke with AP about Kevorkian’s talk. The family’s foundation sent petitions from more than 5,000 people to the college asking officials there to cancel the speech.
"My concern is this, you are paying a convicted murderer $50,000," he said. "It is poor judgment that would allow this man to speak."
The Pro-Life Alliance, a UF student group, organized a protest that included both students and pro-life advocates from the local community.
Ben Bur well, a UF sophomore and member of the group, told the Independent Alligator that he was disappointed his student fees paid for the speech.
"He is not a doctor, and I’m embarrassed that our school, which has such a prestigious medical school, has invited someone here who claims to be a doctor but had his license revoked," he said.