"Kevorkian is a serial killer of disabled people, and should have been jailed long ago," says Diane Coleman, founder and President of Not Dead Yet, a national activist group leading the disabled community's fight against legalization of assisted suicide and euthanasia. "If he were doing this to members of any other minority group, Kevorkian would be in jail by now and would never have gotten the bully pulpit of 60 Minutes."
According to Stephen Drake, Not Dead Yet's leading expert on Kevorkian, "The press have ignored his primary agenda to push for a class of human beings on which doctors can do live experimentation and organ harvesting. In his book, Prescription Medicide, he writes that assisted suicide is just a first step to achieving public acceptance of this agenda."
According to the Detroit Free Press, the overwhelming majority of Kevorkian's victims have been people with disabilities who were not terminal. The reasons they sought his help included fear of being forced into a nursing home due to insufficient home health services, abandonment by family and friends, loss of custody of a child, a husband's affair with another woman. Rather than addressing these underlying issues, the public and media looked only at the disability and found reason enough to deny equal justice.
"Are we worried about him becoming a martyr if he starves himself in jail?" asks Carol Cleigh, from the Board of Not Dead Yet. "No----the real martyrs are his victims, martyrs to society's bigotry----it's called able-ism. If he was a racist or a sexist killer, he'd be in jail. It's the only way to stop him. The Michigan prosecutor needs to do his duty."
Michigan voters, including a large majority of African-Americans, just defeated an assisted suicide referendum. Meanwhile in Oregon, where assisted suicide has been legalized, the Medicaid agency is cutting a variety of health services important to the disabled and chronically ill, and at the same time planning to fund assisted suicide. "Bioethicists are writing about health care economics and the duty to die, voluntarily or not," Coleman says. "Disabled people have a lot to be worried about."