DAILY CATHOLIC     THURSDAY     April 15, 1999     vol. 10, no. 74

from a CATHOLIC perspective

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          PONTIAC, Michigan (CWNews.com) - Assisted-suicide activist Jack Kevorkian was sentenced to 10 to 25 years in prison on Tuesday for second-degree murder in the lethal injection of a Lou Gehrig's patient last year.

          Responding to Kevorkian's earlier public challenge to be prosecuted in the death of Thomas Youk, Judge Jessica Cooper said: "You had the audacity to go on national television, show the world what you did and dare the legal system to stop you. Well, sir, consider yourself stopped." Kevorkian videotaped himself giving Youk a lethal injection on September 17 and turned the tape over to the CBS news show "60 Minutes" which later broadcast it.

          The 70-year-old Kevorkian could have received up to life in prison for the conviction. He was also sentenced to three to seven years for delivery of a controlled substance, to be served concurrently. He will be eligible for parole in six years and eight months.

          Since 1990, Kevorkian has acknowledged assisting in 130 suicides, and was previously acquitted in three trials on assisted suicide charges. The Archdiocese of Detroit issued a statement, saying Kevorkian's "'final solution' approach to pain management has been an unconscionable exploitation of the natural ambivalence to death and suffering." The statement added that now there is "no doubt that society will neither authorize physicians to kill nor look the other way if they do." The sentence was also praised by the American Medical Association and disabled-rights groups.

          Meanwhile, in Melbourne, Australia, Australia's leading euthanasia campaigner announced on Tuesday he would hold seminars to teach terminally-ill patients how to end their own lives.

          The next clinic, to be held in Melbourne later this month, follows two other clinics he held last month. Philip Nitschke said he will give advice on drugs to use and how the law applies to patients and their families. He said he admires US assisted-suicide advocate Jack Kevorkian, who will be sentenced on Tuesday for his part in an American man's death last year. "I think he is an immensely brave person and he really did push the boundaries," he said.

          The Medical Practitioners Board of Victoria is investigating Nitschke in response to a complaint from the Australian Medical Association (AMA), a spokesman said. "The board is taking this extremely seriously and is taking the time required to consider it thoroughly," board spokesman Nicole Newton said.

Articles provided through Catholic World News and Church News at Noticias Eclesiales. Both CWN and NE are not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC but provides this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.

April 15, 1999       volume 10, no. 74


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