Tuesday, December 19, 2006


Disability Activists Predict Kevorkian Parole Will Impact Euthanasia Debate

Disability activists were disappointed but not surprised by the announcement on December 13th 2006 that Jack Kevorkian will be paroled on June 1, 2007. Reflecting on years of experience with the euthanasia debate and with Kevorkian himself, the following predictions were made by members of Not Dead Yet, a national disability rights group that organizes opposition to legalized euthanasia, assisted suicide and other types of medical killings:

1. We expect that Kevorkian will show near-miraculous “recovery” from his alleged grave medical problems. He has announced that he plans to speak and write. We expect him to suddenly show enough health and energy to make numerous media appearances and speaking engagements. We could be wrong, but we were suspicious his health problems were greatly exaggerated when his lawyer filed appeals for four years in a row claiming Kevorkian was essentially on the brink of death.

2. Pro-euthanasia advocates will be scrambling to figure out how to maintain control of the debate over euthanasia and assisted suicide. Over the past few years, groups such as the Hemlock Society have reformed and sanitized their images – even changing their name. They’ve worked hard to maintain the
fiction that the goals of the euthanasia movement in the U.S. are limited to legalization of assisted suicide for people who are close to death from a terminal illness, despite the fact that Hemlock provided $40,000 for Kevorkian’s legal defense. With Kevorkian once again gaining prominence in the debate, the public will be reminded of his role as a hero to the pro-euthanasia movement, in spite of the well documented fact that the majority of his body count consisted of people with disabilities who were not terminally ill. It’s also doubtful that Kevorkian will cooperate with the sanitized euphemisms for assisted suicide being promoted by the pro-assisted suicide activists, which will help undermine some of the very expensive public relations work they’ve engaged in over the past few years.

3. Some things are harder to predict than others. Will Kevorkian preside over any more suicides or actively kill anyone? There’s no way to know, since the only rules Kevorkian cares about are his own. The fact that he’s made a promise doesn’t mean anything – he’s made promises to courts before and broken them.

4. Mike Wallace or Barbara Walters can be expected to do a very sympathetic and biased interview with Kevorkian. They’ll downplay his history of helping nonterminally ill disabled people commit suicide and
portray him as some kind of martyr. They won’t mention his advocacy of lethal experimentation on death row prisoners or disabled infants at all.

Whatever happens, Not Dead Yet and the disability community will be paying attention and responding to developments. We witnessed the long awaited justice that put him in jail. We won’t forget the struggling disabled people he preyed upon. And we won’t be silent.

For more information, contact:

Not Dead Yet
7521 Madison St.
Forest Park, IL 60130