LAPEER, Mich. (AP) – If released from prison, Jack Kevorkian plans to use the legal system to campaign for changes to assisted-suicide laws, the former doctor said in an interview from prison.
Kevorkian spoke with MSNBC’s Rita Cosby during a televised interview that was scheduled to air on the network at 9 p.m. yesterday.
In excerpts from the interview released to the media in advance of its airing, the 77-year-old said that if he is granted parole in 2007, his earliest possible release date, he plans to travel and visit family as well as resume his efforts to legalize assisted suicide.
But Kevorkian emphasized that he would not help those who want to die by breaking the law again, or encourage other doctors to do so until it’s legal.
“I have said publicly and officially that I will not perform that act again when I get out,” he said. “What I’ll do is what I should have done earlier, is pursue this from a legal standpoint by campaigning to get the laws changed.”
When asked by Cosby if he regretted the actions that put him in prison, Kevorkian replied: “Well, I do a little.”
“It was disappointing because what I did turned out to be in vain, even though I know it could possibly end that way,” Kevorkian said. “And my only regret was not having done it through the legal system, through legislation, possibly.”
Kevorkian, who is being held at the Thumb Correctional Facility in Lapeer, is serving a 10- to 25-year sentence for second-degree murder after being convicted of giving a fatal injection of drugs to a Lou Gehrig’s disease patient in 1998.
Kevorkian has said he assisted in at least 130 deaths, and Gov. Jennifer Granholm has said she won’t consider pardoning him.
During the interview, Kevorkian also discussed the case of Terri Schiavo, the brain-damaged Florida woman whose feeding tube was removed after her husband won a court order to do so.
Kevorkian said that had the woman’s situation come up 10 years ago, he would have considered taking her on as a patient because her husband was her legal next-of-kin and because medical officials had determined that nothing could be done to help her.
Kevorkian has signed off on a book and a movie about his life, both of which are expected to be released sometime next year. Producers have mentioned Ben Kingsley as a possible choice to play Kevorkian.
“He’s a great actor,” Kevorkian said. “And beside that, he carries the implication of Gandhi, which is OK with me also.”