Debate on Doctor-Assisted Suicide Gains Attention
The release from prison of Jack Kevorkian on Friday has drawn national attention to physician-assisted suicide as the California legislature prepares to vote on a measure to legalize the practice, the New York Times reports.
Kevorkian served eight years in prison for second-degree murder after administering a lethal injection to a man with Lou Gehrig's disease.
Assembly member Lloyd Levine (D-Van Nuys), who is carrying AB 374, said that Kevorkian "is the perfect reason we need this law in California," adding, "We don't want there to be more Dr. Kevorkians."
Several states have rejected measures to legalize physician-assisted suicide in recent years, sparking heightened interest in California lawmakers' debate of the issue.
Barbara Lee -- president of Compassion & Choices, which advocates for legalized assisted suicide -- said of the California bill, "If it doesn't pass there, that will be a pretty good sign to us that no legislative body will pass it" (Davey, New York Times, 6/2).
Summaries of broadcast coverage related to Kevorkian's release from prison appear below.
- CBS' "Evening News": The segment includes comments from Kevorkian; Terrence Youk, brother of Thomas Youk, whose death led to Kevorkian's conviction for second-degree murder; Arthur Caplan, a bioethicist at the University of Pennsylvania; and a terminally ill patient (Bowers, "Evening News," CBS, 6/1). Video of the segment is available online.
- CBS' "60 Minutes": The program on Sunday included a discussion with Kevorkian (Wallace, "60 Minutes," CBS, 6/3). Video of the segment and expanded CBS News coverage are available online.
- CNN's "Larry King Live": The program on Monday is scheduled to include a discussion with Kevorkian (Larry King Live Web site, 6/4).A transcript of the complete program will be available online Tuesday.