Zaritsky raises the issue of our inalienable right to commit suicide – whether ill or not. Kevorkian considers laws that ban suicide and iatric euthanasia "worse than immoral. They are downright illegal." In Cornucopia, Kevorkian defends the Ninth Amendment as "the twenty-one most important words in the U.S. Constitution."
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
Human rights are not limited to those named in the Constitution, and laws that block those rights are unconstitutional. Just as a woman has a natural born right to abort a fetus, and everyone has a natural right to choose whom to love and marry, all humans have a right to choose the timing and manner of their own demise. In Cornucopia, Kevorkian details several natural rights that he deems the "hallmark of a truly enlightened democracy." He prefaces them with:
"The first one listed below subsumes all the others which are mere corollaries, and its emphasized qualifying admonition also pertains to all of them. Therefore, I have a basic natural right:
To do or not to do and to say or not to say anything, anywhere, to anybody, at any time, in any way, so long as anyone else and/or his or her property are not verifiably threatened or harmed, and no personal obligation is imposed on anybody without the latter's consent;
To choose with whom and/or what to associate and/or deal, and whom or what to shun;
To refuse to cooperate with and/or participate in any coercive endeavor;
To choose where, when, and how to live and to die;
To express openly anywhere, at any time, in any way, and by any means one's opinion;
To possess and/or carry anything on one's person;
To create and/or destroy anything of one's own;
To eschew public or religious education for one's children to be tutored privately;
To operate any vehicle without using helmets or belts;
To choose to indulge in mutually voluntary commercial or recreational coitus;
To choose whom one will live with, love, and/or marry;
To choose to do anything that may affect one's own body externally or internally, including the purchase of another's or the sale of one's own, bodily organ(s) or part(s) thereof for medical purposes;
To choose to read and/or write anything, for any purpose, and to create and/or see any visual presentation;
To choose to legally procure and to display or to destroy one's private property, or on property for use by the public, any symbols or flags of any group or nation;
Etc., etc., etc."
Dr. Jack Kevorkian's compassionate and common sense approach to ending human suffering is but one facet of his decades-long advocacy of the Ninth Amendment. Like Henry David Thoreau, Nelson Mandela, and Aung San Suu Kyi, Kevorkian was wrongfully imprisoned for advocating human rights. He warned the audience, "To be active, you must be committed. To be committed is dangerous." That is especially true in a police state with the highest incarceration rate in the world.
For more information, see this partial international list of right-to-die organizations or this one. Also recommended is Susan Stern's 2005 award-winning documentary, The Self Made Man.
Cited in the Tampa Bay Examiner.
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