The man known as Dr. Death is released from prison, and that has people talking about assisted-suicides for terminally ill patients.
Wisconsin state Senator Fred Risser (D-Madison) has introduced the so-called "Death with Dignity" legislation about five different times, including in the current session of the legislature. It would legalize doctor-assisted suicides in our state.
The 79-year-old Dr. Jack Kevorkian claims to have helped more than 130 terminally ill people die in the 1990s. Opponents say it's wrong to kill no matter what, and they also worry about patients making a critical decision based on incomplete information or a misdiagnosis. However, Risser says there are many safeguards in his legislation, giving patients several opportunities along the way to change their minds about ending their lives in this manner.
The Madison Democrat says without such legislation, those suffering from extreme pain and others like Dr. Jack Kevorkian would simply take matters into their own hands. Oregon is the only state to legalize assisted suicides. California is set to vote in the coming days on similar legislation, called the "Compassionate Choices Act." Risser's bill has not had many hearings and has never gone to the full legislature for debate, but he says his bill has a lot of public support.
Now that Kevorkian will be a free man, he plans to advocate for assisted suicides, but he cannot participate in them. The assisted-suicide advocate is sprung from prison after serving more than eight years for his 1999 conviction of 2nd Degree Murder.