Krista - posted on 06/03/2011 ( 9 moms have responded )
Assisted suicide advocate Jack Kevorkian, who spent eight years in prison for second-degree murder, died early Friday in a Detroit-area hospital after battling respiratory and renal problems, his lawyer confirmed to CBC News.
The Armenian-American pathologist, who claimed to have assisted in 130 suicides, advocated the rights of the terminally ill, famously saying, "Dying is not a crime."
In 1999, Kevorkian, who became known by the nickname Dr. Death, began serving eight years of a 10- to 25-year prison term, and was released in 2007 on the condition he not offer suicide advice.
Despite his controversial preachings, "I think the great majority were in [Kevorkian's] corner, no question about it," Morganroth said. "You always get that percentage that will go for anything and take an antagonistic position. But the very substantial majority ... will mourn his loss.
Reacting to Kevorkian's death, Canadian medical ethics expert Udo Schuklenk, a professor at Queen's University in Kingston, Ont., said he might disagree with his methods, but there's no question Kevorkian left a legacy in the U.S. on assisted suicide.
He said Kevorkian forced society to examine an issue it would like to sweep under the carpet — death and dying — and that debate translated into the decriminalization of assisted dying in several parts of the U.S.
But Schuklenk also decried Kevorkian's "Wild West attitude" and "appalling" way he helped put people to death in the public spotlight.
Regardless of anybody's opinion, I think his actions and his statements led to some extremely valuable public dialogue about the right to death and patient dignity. We all owe him a debt of gratitude for jump-starting that conversation.
What are your thoughts? Was Kevorkian a villain or a hero?