LAWFUEL – From the New York Times – Jack Kevorkian, the former pathologist once known as Doctor Death, says he will never again counsel a terminally ill person on how to die. But eight years behind bars and a strict list of promises to gain parole have done nothing to mellow the blunt, passionate, combative advocate for physician-assisted suicide.
In an interview here on Sunday, two days after his release from prison, Mr. Kevorkian, 79, let loose a rush of fierce words about a nation that did not pass any new laws allowing assisted suicide while he was in prison. Again and again, he called the government “the tyrant.” He called the public “sheep.” He called some of his harshest critics “religious fanatics or nuts.”
Mr. Kevorkian says he assisted with more than 130 suicides in the 1990s, when he drew national attention to questions about what rights people have when it comes to dying. Asked whether he would turn away a gravely ill person seeking his guidance now, he said gruffly, “I can’t help them.”
Mr. Kevorkian, convicted in one of those 130 cases of second-degree murder, has agreed in his parole provisions not to help anyone else commit suicide. “Sorry,” he said. “Don’t blame me. Blame your government for passing the laws.”
Mr. Kevorkian seemed gloomy, too, about whether laws allowing assisted suicide would ever expand much beyond Oregon, the only state that has legalized the practice under certain circumstances. Of the United States becoming one of the countries to allow it, he said: “It’ll be the last one, if it does ever. It’s a tyrannical country.”
Mr. Kevorkian also criticized the existing Oregon law — and other proposed legislation, including a bill being considered in the California Legislature this week — as not going far enough. Most proposed laws require ill people to administer the lethal drugs themselves, which Mr. Kevorkian said would exclude people unable to move or swallow on their own and in need of a physician’s direct help.
“What they’re pushing for is not complete,” he said. “They always accused me of being radical. I’m not radical. I’m making sure it’s complete and well done.”