Monday, September 21, 2009

"You Stink" Kevorkian Speaks at Kutztown University.

Yesterday assisted suicide's controversial and estranged elder statesman, Jack Kevorkian, drew a crowd of 850 people for a talk at Kutztown University. From the Allentown Morning Call:

But he later covered the same controversial comments that had become his calling card in the 1990s, calling for a pilot program for physician-assisted suicide. He blamed the legal debate over the issue as the religious sect ''politicizing'' it and said he did it to end a patient's suffering.''As a doctor, it was my duty,'' he said. ''Who else would do it? A benevolent layman?''


Edward Nearly of Reading stood outside Kevorkian's lecture with his mother, two sons, two nephews and niece to underscore the message that suicide in any circumstance is wrong.With signs with phrases such as ''Trust God and Not Man,'' Nearly said he opposed everything Kevorkian stands for.

''God is the only author of death,'' he said.

The newspaper interestingly chose, as Kevorkian does at times, to frame the assisted suicide debate, and indeed the controversy surrounding Kevorkian to some extent, as a religious argument.

When asked by an audience member whether he sought forgiveness from God, Kevorkian responded, ''Who's God?'' The comment was met by applause.

The talk gave Kevorkian a chance to further clarify his use of terminology:

He also doesn't believe in calling what he did euthanasia. That's a Greek word, meaning easy death. And that's not what Kevorkian said he did. He calls it patholysis, meaning illness solution or relief of suffering.

By making relief of suffering the focus of the debate, Kevorkian and other advocates are attempting to remove the "who cuts the thread" question out of consideration - under the Oregon, Washington, and Montana laws only terminal patients, those already condemned to death by an illness and of sound mind, are eligible for death with dignity. If the discussion focuses on ending suffering, less public resistence is likely.

Always cantankerous and quirky, Kevorkian responded to one questioner who asked what he thought happened after death, "You stink."

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