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Activists Confront Kevorkian; Jack Says 'Let The Crippled People Demonstrate'
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
June 5, 2007

SOUTHFIELD, MICHIGAN--About a dozen disability rights activists went to Southfield Tuesday to greet Jack "Dr. Death" Kevorkian at his first press conference since he was released from prison last Friday.

"I want people to know that living life with a disability is not a death sentence," activist Susan Fitzmaurice said.

The protesters were from Not Dead Yet, a Chicago-based grassroots group that formed to oppose Kevorkian's crusade to make physician assisted suicide legal. He has admitted to "helping" more than 130 people to die to advance his cause.

While Kevorkian, his supporters, and much of the mainstream media have focused on allowing doctors to help people with terminal illnesses to die, Not Dead Yet has pointed to studies that have determined that more than 70 percent of Kevorkian's "clients" were not in the advanced stages of terminal illness, as Kevorkian has insisted, but instead either had disabilities, were afraid of developing disabilities, or worried about becoming dependent on others.

"The press seems to be suffering from some sort of collective delusion or amnesia," said NDY research analyst Stephen Drake in a press statement. "Reporters from the New York Times, the Associated Press and other major news organizations have consistently referred to Kevorkian's body count as people who are 'terminally ill.'"

Kevorkian served 8 years of a 10-year sentence for second-degree murder in the death of Thomas Youk, who had ALS, more commonly known as "Lou Gehrig's disease". At the time, Kevorkian was challenging Michigan law that made it illegal to assist in a suicide. He even went so far as to videotape himself injecting Mr. Youk with a deadly drug, then sending the tape to CBS television's Mike Wallace to be aired on the "60 Minutes" news magazine.

As Not Dead Yet had predicted last December, Kevorkian's first stop after his release was another interview with Wallace, which was aired Sunday night.

"Wallace and Kevorkian carefully avoided any mention of nonterminal 'clients' of his, referring only to his advocacy for the 'terminally ill,'" said the organization's president, Diane Coleman.

"Obviously, Wallace doesn't believe the principle of 'full disclosure' applies to him since he should have told his audience that the interview Sunday wasn't intended to be anything other than a one-sided promotion of Kevorkian, complete with a whitewashed version of his history and agenda."

Not Dead Yet also predicted last year that Kevorkian, whose attorney has insisted since 2003 that he would not survive another six months, would enjoy a "miraculous" recovery after his release. The Detroit Free Press noted Tuesday that "Kevorkian appeared stronger than he had at his release from prison," that he stood the entire 90 minutes of the press conference, and mentioned that his hepatitis is no longer bothering him at this time.

During the press conference, Kevorkian said he would not assist in any more suicides, but would instead work to change the laws. He also compared himself with the authors of the U.S. Constitution, saying he is on a new crusade -- to educate people about the Ninth Amendment, which, he said, guarantees certain "natural" rights, including the right to have a doctor kill a patient who is "suffering".

Kevorkian said at one point: "I'm the reincarnation of Thomas Jefferson."

When asked about the Not Dead Yet protesters, Kevorkian said: "Let the crippled people demonstrate."

Kevorkian's earlier crusade appears to have backfired: According to the International Task Force on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide, of the 75 legislative proposals in 21 states between 1994 and 2006 that would have made assisted suicide legal, not one has become law.

"Combative Kevorkian defends right to die" (Detroit Free Press)
"Kevorkian turns to Constitution" (Detroit Free Press)
"Kevorkian's 'reincarnation'" (CanWest News Service)
"Failed Attempts to Legalize Euthanasia/Assisted-Suicide in the United States" (International Task Force)
"Jack Kevorkian: Dr. Death" (Inclusion Daily Express Archives)

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