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As he sits in jail, Dr Jack Kevorkian may have had a change of heart — not about his dedication to the “death with dignity” movement, but on how he went about promoting it.

Specifically, his lawyer suggests, he questions the more than 100 suicides he said he assisted throughout the 1990s. One assisted suicide — the death of Lou Gehrig’s disease patient Thomas Youk, which was taped and broadcast on “60 Minutes” in 1998 — earned him a prison sentence of 15 years to 20 years for second degree murder.

“He did what he did, and it brought it to public awareness [of physician-assisted suicide],” said Kevorkian’s attorney, Mayer Morganroth.

“He now realizes that having performed it when it was against the law, wasn’t the, probably, appropriate way to go about it. . What he should have done was work towards its legalization verbally. . Pursuing that cause, and not performing it because it still was against the law.”

Derek Humphry
comments: “I tried to persuade Kevorkian in the l980s to make his platform one of law reform. But he was hell bent on changing the minds of the medical profession on assisted dying. I argued that law reform must come first because otherwise U.S. doctors were too nervous to help. So far only the state of Oregon has legalized physician-assisted suicide — under certain conditions. (27 May 06)

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