Today a jury voted to convict Jack Kevorkian of second-degree murder and delivery of a controlled substance in the death of Thomas Youk, a 52-year-old man who had Lou Gehrig's disease when he died from a lethal injection administered by Kevorkian.
"Today's conviction of Jack Kevorkian should come as a relief to people with disabilities. The danger is great that any so-called 'right to die' would quickly become a 'duty' to die," said Burke Balch, J.D., Director of the Department of Medical Ethics at the National Right to Life Committee.
Derek Humphry, founder of the Hemlock Society, America's leading pro-euthanasia group, has suggested in a book published late last year that there may be "a duty to die 'responsibility within the family unit' that should remain voluntary but expected nonetheless . . . Persons with chronic conditions account for a disproportionately large share of health care use, both services and supplies." Humphry wrote that, "economics, not the quest for broadened individual liberties or increased autonomy, will drive assisted suicide to the plateau of acceptable practice."
On December 3,1997, Faye Girsh, Executive Director of Hemlock USA, said that even in cases where a person is incapable of making decisions and has never asked to be killed, "A judicial determination should be made when it is necessary to hasten the death of an individual whether it be a demented parent, a suffering, severely disabled spouse or a child." Girsh later said that position was not "endorsed by the Hemlock Society USA" and "was mentioned as one suggestion about the question of ending suffering," but noted that it was developed by Professor Eike Kluge and proposed by the Right to Die Network of Canada.
For more information, contact: National Right to Life, 419 7th St. NW, Ste. 500, Washington, DC 20004