Illinois Federation for Right to Life

"Dr. Death" Says he was Convinced to Embrace Life - But Would not Return the Favor

Although Jack Kevorkian says his lawyer had managed to talk "Dr. Death" himself out of committing suicide in prison, the doctor admits that, should his lawyer come to him for help in committing suicide, he will not return the favor.

Kevorkian made this and other revelations in one of his first in-depth interviews since the lifting of his parole restriction against discussing death.

Kevorkian, infamously known as "Dr. Death," has boasted of helping end the lives of over 130 suicidal people - many of whom had no diagnosed physical illness.  He was released from jail in 2007, eight and a half years into a 10-25 year prison sentence for the second-degree murder of 52-year-old Lou Gherig's disease sufferer Thomas Youk.

In the wake of his latest murder charge, Kevorkian promised to no longer help kill suicidal individuals, but has vowed instead to dedicate himself to advocating for the legalization of euthanasia. 

"The reformer is generally called crazy until he's proven right," he told FOX News Detroit interviewer Brad Edwards.

The interview notes that GlimerIQs, reportedly a collection of paintings, music, and philosophy Kevorkian completed while in prison, is due out this month.  The cover features an image of a man screaming out of a black abyss while scraping with reddened claws at two narrow walls. 

Kevorkian said he contemplated starving himself to death while in prison before his longtime lawyer and trusted advisor, Mayer Morgenroth, talked him out of it.  Kevorkian has hepatitis C - whose sufferers, he claims, "as a rule" succumb to cancer.

But Kevorkian admitted that, if a terminally-ill Morgenroth expressed a wish to die, the outcome would be different.

"He says, 'Jack, I want to check out [commit suicide].'  Do you help him?" Edwards asked. 

"If nobody else would, I will - I would," Kevorkian replied.  "What can they do to me, but what's already happened?" 

Although Kevorkian's gruesome legacy has prompted euthanasia groups to uphold him as an early champion of "the right of consenting adults to choose the time and manner of their deaths," it was not for altruistic purposes that Kevorkian launched his controversial career.

Attorney and bioethics critic Wesley J. Smith points out that Kevorkian sought to perform experiments on living people as he was euthanizing them, as he had long held an avid interest in death and dying.

"Toward this end, he had spent years attempting to convince condemned prisoners and the authorities to permit him to cut open those being executed," Smith wrote in a 2006 article in the Daily Standard.

"Only after that effort failed did he turn his focus to the sick, disabled, and depressed, in the hope that through assisting their deaths he would eventually be permitted to conduct this macabre and useless research."

Kevorkian is scheduled to host a lecture entitled "Civil Rights, Civil Disobedience, and Criminal Justice" at Kutztown University on September 20.  Also, a documentary on Kevorkian entitled "You Don't Know Jack," starring Al Pacino, is expected to be released next spring.

Toward the end of the interview, Kevorkian alluded strongly to "one more coming which I can't talk about now," which he said was "bigger than 'rights,' or euthanasia."  "I can't talk about it til it happens," he said.  It was not clear in what context Kevorkian gave his statements. 

After his release from jail last year, Kevorkian claimed he would run for U.S. Congress, but nothing of his previous aspirations appeared in the interview video.

Oakland County prosecutor Dave Gorcyca, whose office prosecuted Kevorkian, said at the time of the doctor's claim that it was "probably more of a publicity stunt."  "To call attention to himself is standard protocol for Jack when he doesn't have the limelight focused on him," said Gorcyca.

Contact: Kathleen Gilbert
Publish Date: September 3, 2009
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The IFRL is the largest grassroots pro-life organization in Illinois. A non-profit organization, that serves as the state coordinating body for local pro-life chapters representing thousands of Illinois citizens working to restore respect for all human life in our society. The IFRL is composed of people of different political persuasions, various faiths and diverse economic, social and ethnic backgrounds. Since 1973 the Illinois Federation for Right to Life has been working to end abortion and restore legal protection to those members of the human family who are threatened by abortion, infanticide and euthanasia. Diverse though we are, we hold one common belief - that every human being has an inalienable right to life that is precious and must be protected. IFRL is dedicated to restoring the right to life to the unborn, and protection for the disabled and the elderly.   Click here to learn more about the IFRL.