Health Law

'Dr. Death' Continues Suicide Mission

Freed from prison on Friday after serving eight years for helping an ailing man commit suicide, Jack Kevorkian lost no time in stirring up new controversy.

The former Pontiac, Michigan, pathologist and right-to-die activist, who by his own count has helped 130 persons commit suicide, promises to comply with the terms of his parole. Among other provisions, the so-called Dr. Death cannot help others commit suicide, even if his only assistance is offering advice, according to news reports. But from the moment Kevorkian, 79, stepped outside a prison and was hugged by CBS correspondent Mike Wallace, controversy followed.

The network’s Public Eye column noted today that Wallace still “succeeded in getting the big questions asked” despite the embrace. For instance, Kevorkian told Wallace he had no regrets about helping kill Tom Youk, whose assisted suicide sent him to prison, CBS reports. This one case was prosecuted after Youk’s death was filmed and broadcast by the network’s 60 Minutes television program.

Now Kevorkian plans to help lobby for more, and stronger, laws permitting physician-assisted suicide. At present, there reportedly is only one such law, in Oregon. But his notoriety could hurt this cause rather than help it, contends Father Jonathan Morris in a Fox opinion column. “Dr. Kevorkian’s proposals may seem over the top to many (and it is precisely this impression of extremism that assisted suicide advocates fear).”

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