As Dr. Jack Kevorkian was released Friday from a Michigan prison after serving eight years for second-degree murder in the assisted death of a man with Lou Gehrig’s disease, new polls suggest his cause retains strong support.
An Associated Press-Ipsos poll released this week showed that 53 percent of Americans believe Kevorkian never should have gone to jail for the assisted suicide campaign he championed in the 1990s; 40 percent supported Kevorkian’s imprisonment.
Just 30 percent of the 1,000 adults questioned agreed that doctors and nurses should do everything possible to save the life of a patient. More than two-thirds said there are circumstances where a patient should be allowed to die with help.
The survey had a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points, and was conducted from interviews done between May 22 and May 24.
Religion had much to do with people’s answers, according to the AP. Only about one-third of those who attend religious services at least once a week said it should be legal for doctors to help terminally ill patients end their lives. In contrast, 70 percent of those who never attend religious services say doctor-assisted suicide should be legal.
A plurality, 48 percent, said the law should not bar doctors from helping terminally ill patients end their own lives by giving them a prescription for lethal drugs; 44 percent said it should be illegal.