After 8 years in jail, Doctor Death is being released from jail. The man who assisted in more than 100 suicides and created a national outcry is now being paroled. Jack Kevorkian is one of the more controversial figures in the past 20 years. His actions created a national conversation about the ability for medical professionals to participate in a suicide and what the ramifications were.
Kevorkian, whose health is failing, says he will not participate in assisted suicides, but has said he will continue his advocacy for the process.
His attorney told ABC News’ Law & Justice Unit that Kevorkian would not participate in any more assisted suicides. And he said that Kevorkian, who turns 79 Saturday, is in seriously declining health as he prepares for his parole next week.
For years, Kevorkian was at the center of a national debate around the highly controversial questions surrounding physician-assisted suicides or “mercy killings:” Do the terminally ill have the right to choose when and how they die? Do doctors have the ability, even an obligation, to help them die as they choose?
Polls suggest that a majority of Americans are in favor of physician-assisted suicide. Kevorkian’s attorney, Mayer Morganroth, said his client looks back with qualified regret at the more than 100 suicides he said he assisted throughout the 1990s. It was the assisted suicide of Thomas Youk, who had Lou Gehrig’s disease, whose story was broadcast on “60 Minutes” in 1998, that earned Kevorkian a prison sentence of 15 to 20 years for second degree murder.
“He realizes now that breaking laws are not going to help,” said Morganroth. Instead, “he has to speak out” for the legalization of assisted suicide, “and that’s it. He feels he’s lost over eight years of his life. That’s certainly something he’s not pleased with, but he looks at it as he did something that required him to be punished. He broke a law.” via ABC News