The Kevorkian Papers

You are here: Papers Papers Apologia I - My response to Circuit Court No. 90-390963 AZ

Apologia I - My response to Circuit Court No. 90-390963 AZ

E-mail Print

Preliminary Order of Injunction

17 August 1990

Your Honor: I will present evidence to prove that all of the findings of this Court as set forth in the preliminary injunction are false and without rational justification.

The first charge states my willingness to continue using my device or some other modality to implement a "rational policy of planned death." That statement is misleading by being incomplete. In the first place, my willingness is conditioned primarily through a sense of obligation to patients who themselves deem their continued existence to be intolerable,--- an obligation which transcends anyone's merely personal and often maudlin sentiment or emotions. Secondly, a willingness and obligation not only to continue, but also to expand use of some such modality as a legitimate and honorable component of the armamentarium of ethically revitalized and thereby a more complete medical profession. Only by reinstituting and universally implementing this unique and long neglected medical service can the profession even begin to assume its rightful responsibility in promulgating and practicing a rational policy of planned death,---just as it eventually was compelled to do with its long neglected responsibility regarding a rational policy of planned birth.

The Court's second charge; namely, that the device can be quickly and easily acquired, assembled, and used, is only partially correct. The Court's subtly ulterior implication of uncontrolled use of such a device by anyone is misleading, because only duly qualified medical personnel are specially licensed to prescribe and use the necessary chemicals.

The third charge,--that publicity about my action and crusade may attract others interested in committing suicide--is improper, irrelevant and immaterial. That's like saying that publicity about a heart transplant surgeon's actions may attract others interested in having a heart transplanted, whether or not justified. What the Court omits here is the key word need. No matter who is interested, the only potential candidates are those who are interested and who need it; and that decision is the sole responsibility of patients and the duty of medical doctors and surgeons. This charge is merely obfuscating conjecture on the part of the Court. From my actual experience of having been the only physician to openly offer and practice the euthanasia of medically-assisted suicide, I can offer factual evidence to refute the Court's purely fanciful opinion.

Letters and phone calls to me from many apparently healthy and ailing elderly men and women reveal that simply the unencumbered guarantee of availability of competent assistance for medically justified suicide relieves their mental panic and thereby improves what quality can be enjoyed in their remaining lives. It is mental panic, perhaps intermittently fleeting, which they find intolerable, and eventually drives them to commit suicide in solitude and in sometimes brutal ways. As one chief of geriatrics in a major New York hospital put it, "There's a much greater awareness of...incurable disease, and people know they're going to become helpless, and costs are going to be great."1

Especially in the case of the often forlorn elderly, contrary to the baseless opinion of this Court, I know that my new service will reduce substantially the incidence of unnecessary or untimely suicide. The question here, then, is which approach serves objective jurisprudence and human welfare better: the Court's vacuous and wholly emotional opinion, or my extensive real-life experience? I can tell you how Hippocrates would have answered this question. In his treatise entitled The Law, he states: "There are indeed two things, knowledge and opinion, of which the one makes its possessor really to know, the other to be ignorant."2 In our own time, Justice Holmes said that "our system of morality is a body of imperfect social generalizations expressed in terms of emotion. To get at its truth, it is useful to omit the emotion and ask ourselves what those generalizations are and how far they are confirmed by fact accurately ascertained."3

In charge no.4 the Court cites a local patient suffering from multiple sclerosis who contacted me for assistance in ending her torturous life. The charge is woefully incomplete; almost 50 suffering patients have pleaded with me by letter and by telephone, to help end their suffering from various causes ranging from terminal cancer to emphysema, crippling arthritis, and incapacitating neurological diseases. The requests came from many of our states, as well as from countries as far away as Russia, Italy, Japan, and Australia. The Italian patient was so desperate that she had already purchased an airline ticket to Detroit, despite the fact that there had been only initial contact without my personal consultation or commitment. All of this demonstrates beyond question the seriousness of patients' desires and motivation, and the dire necessity for my new service which the Court so callously ignores.

The fifth charge is especially onerous: that I accepted a patient outside of my specialty as a pathologist, and that I am not trained or certified in apposite specialties such as gerontology, oncology, neurology, and psychiatry. Firstly, a pathologist is a physician qualified and in certain circumstances authorized and even obligated to diagnose, evaluate, and treat patients. The mention of psychiatry is totally superfluous, because as I have repeatedly stressed to this Court and to the media, at the present time only patients afflicted with obviously physical diseases or trauma can be candidates for my services, and only after an immediately mandatory psychiatric evaluation. In most cases even the laity can ascertain mental competency. As was the case with Janet Adkins' Alzheimer's disease, it is usually family members who first make the diagnosis.

In every case I demand copies of the patients' medical records, and advise and encourage them to exhaust every potentially beneficial form of therapy before they can hope for my help; and despite their reluctance to do so, or their distrust of their own

personal doctors, their dissipating mental panic enables them to postpone the idea of suicide and go on with the current therapeutic regimen. That was true with Janet Adkins who had tried the latest experimental treatment without benefit, and who then faced a repugnant decline to an ignoble end as a victim of an undeniably terminal disease—very slowly and agonizingly terminal.

As a duly licensed medical doctor in this state, I am authorized by law to pursue a general practice. By thus having tried to impugn my competence with the Court's mere opinion implying disparagement of a certified pathologist's competence, the Court has insulted, perhaps unwittingly, all dedicated, reputable, and unquestionably competent general or family practitioners as well all pathologists. After all, any rational adult, doctor or not, can verify adequate mental competency of an understandably anxious or even depressed patient facing the horror of inescapable and agonizing death wrought by terribly crippling disease. At such times who needs a specialist?

The sixth charge states that I admitted having used a "death machine" or device , and that I know it is not accepted medical practice. I resent the Court's presumption in claiming to know exactly what I do and do not know. Contrary to the Court's ill-advised guess, I know that euthanasia and assisted suicide are acceptable medical procedures—not in the United States at present, but certainly in a comparably, and perhaps much more civilized country, the Netherlands, and endorsed by a large majority of that nation's unarguably ethical, compassionate, and competent medical community. Indeed that is doctor-mediated euthanasia which requires that the doctor does the actual intravenous injecting of the lethal substances. My new service is even less vulnerable to criticism or moral censure, because I merely supply the means for, and medical supervision of, the merciful suicide. It has already been declared to be ethical in the United States by a distinguished group of American doctors4.

According to the International Code of Medical Ethics of the World Medical Association5, "any act or advice which could weaken physical or mental resistance of a human being may be used only in his interest." Now, it cannot be denied that my assistance to help a suffering patient end his or her agony with finality entails the reduction of physical resistance definitely and exclusively in his or her interest. And in 1981 the Judicial Council of the American Medical Association stated that "ethical standards of professional conduct may exceed, but are never less than nor contrary to, those required by law.6 The fact that my action with regard to Janet Adkins exceeded ethical standards required by law does not, in and of itself, impugn the ethical nature of the benevolent act. On the contrary, in exceeding the narrow legal standards it actually gains in ethical stature. The AMA's Judicial Council continued: "For human reasons, with informed consent a physician may do what is medically necessary to alleviate severe pain...but he should not intentionally cause death."6 I did what was necessary to relieve Janet Adkins' severe pain in the form of excruciating mental anguish devoid of significant or purely psychiatric or physical origin; and I did not intentionally cause her death I merely made it as humanely, painlessly, and quickly as possible for her to cause her own death. My action did not infringe the Council's stipulation.

Furthermore, and of paramount importance, the Court's sixth charge failed to take account of fundamental historical and spacio-temporal aspects of bioethics. According to Ludwig Edelstein, the world's preeminent expert with respect to the old Hippocratic Oath7: "In antiquity...if the sick felt that their pains had become intolerable, if no help could be expected, they often put an end to their own lives. This fact is repeatedly attested and not only in general terms. Even the diseases are specified which in the opinion of the ancients gave justification for a voluntary death (Aristotle). Moreover, the taking of poison was the most usual means of committing suicide, and the patient was likely to demand the poison from his physician who was in possession of deadly drugs and knew which brought about an easy and painless death (Tacitus, et al). On the other hand, such a resolution naturally was not taken without due deliberation....The sick wished to be sure that further treatment would be of no avail, and to render this verdict was the physician's task....If the latter, in such a consultation (with the patient and his friends), confirmed the seriousness or hopelessness of the case, he suggested directly or indirectly that the patient commit suicide (Pliny)....Men could and did go on living in spite of all their suffering, Yet the fact remains that throughout antiquity many people preferred voluntary death to endless agony. This form of 'euthanasia' was an everyday reality."

Edelstein continued (page 13): "Ancient jurisdiction did not discriminate against suicide; it did not attach any disgrace to it, provided there was sufficient reason for such an act. And self-murder as a relief from illness was regarded as justifiable, so much so that in some states it was an institution duly legalized by authorities." (Aristotle)

"Platonists, Cynics, and Stoics...held suicide permissible for the diseased...The Aristotelian and Epicurean Schools condoned suicide...Pythagoreanism, then, remains the only philosophical dogma that can possibly account for the attitude advocated in the Hippocratic Oath. For indeed among all Greek thinkers the Pythagoreans alone outlawed suicide and did so without qualification (Phaedo)...And even in later centuries the Pythagorean School was the only one represented as the sole opponent to suicide (Phaedo)....It seems safe to state this much: the fact that in the Hippocratic Oath the physician is enjoined from aiding or advising suicide points to an influence of Pythagorean doctrines."

"It stands to reason, then, that the Hippocratic Oath, in its abortion clause no less than in its prohibition of suicide, echoes Pythagorean doctrines...In no other stratum of Greek opinion were such views held or proposed in the same spirit of uncompromising austerity....Far from being the expression of the common Greek attitude towards medicine or of the natural duties of the physician, the Oath rather reflects the opinions which were peculiarly those of a small and isolated group."

Edelstein concludes: "I can say without hesitation that the so-called Oath of Hippocrates is a document uniformly conceived and thoroughly saturated with Pythagorean philosophy, that the Oath is a Pythagorean document, ...a Pythagorean manifesto, and not the expression of an absolute standard of medical conduct. (page 64; emphasis added).

Edelstein's authoritative work effectively discredits the Court's charge in the first paragraph under charge 7, that abetting suicide is not acceptable medical practice. To be accurate the Court should have added the words "throughout most of the civilized world".

But it was an accepted and very prevalent practice in the ancient, surely civilized Greco-Roman world. Changing socio-political, geographical, and economic circumstances of life through long spans of history will understandably result in many honorable practices inexorably fluctuating between use and disuse; but that conditional activity cannot permanently nullify their inherent and tenuously intermittent acceptability enhanced by the people's avowed need for them, as currently demonstrated by almost every public poll.

Today it is only the Netherlands that, like the ancient classical civilizations, openly acknowledges, accepts, and implements the practice as completely ethical medical practice. The subsequent Middle and Dark Ages presaged our present situation in which the acceptance vanished because of high-blown clerical sophism tenuously based on the often silly dicta concocted by the pretentiously secret, tobacco-smoking, ancient pagan sect called Pythagoreanism, the incredibility of which as a legitimate source of sound medical ethics can be discerned from some of its outlandish rules: for example: "Not to abstain from beans; not to pick up what has fallen; not to touch a white cock; not to break bread; not to step over a crossbar; not to stir the fire with iron; not to eat from a whole loaf; not to pluck a garland; not to sit on a square measure; not to eat the heart, not to walk on highways; not to let swallows share one's roof; when the pot is taken off the fire, not to leave the mark of it in the ashes, but to stir them together; do not look into a mirror beside a light; and when you rise from the bedclothes, roll them together and smooth out the impress of the body."21 And that somewhat lunatic pagan sect is supposed to be the honored source of the ethics guiding the profession!

The mores of the times and current public need have forced the AMA and its lackey "ethicists" to admit defeat when they endorsed and tried to save face with the creation of a "modern updated" Oath which, in connection with euthanasia, timidly (and most likely deceitfully) states: " Most especially must I tread with care in matters of life and death. If it is given me to save a life, all thanks. But it may also be within my power to take a life." (Of course, all doctors and all human beings definitely have the power to kill, and admit that they often do, through unintended negligence and accidents which are irrelevant); "This awesome responsibility must be faced with great humbleness (sic) and awareness of my own frailty." Talk about gingerly pussy-footing---to avoid bluntly admitting that "on occasion it is my duty to purposefully end a life of a hopelessly and irremediably suffering patient who pleads for such relief."

Two other chief secular factors also accounted for the vanishing mentioned above. The first was arbitrary fiat decreed by feudal lords who felt that they had to prevent suicide in order to maintain enough manpower of serfs to preserve the economic and military integrity of their fiefdoms. The second was a perceived need to maintain adequate human populations during a time of devastating pestilence. The latter was also critical for the Catholic Church bent on increasing its power and influence through numbers. Yet the Church is ambivalent, if not hypocritical, or outright dissembling, because over four centuries ago, Sir Thomas More, an ardent Catholic, in his book, Utopia, unequivocally advocated both euthanasia and assisted suicide.8 More wrote: "but if a person suffers from a disease which is incurable and continually excruciating, the priests and magistrates come and urge him...not to hesitate to die when life is such a torment, deliver himself from the scourge and the imprisonment of living or let others release him...for by death he would lose nothing but suffering....Those who are moved by these arguments either starve themselves to death of their own accord or through the aid of an opiate die painlessly. If a man is nor persuaded to this course, they do not force him to it against his will, nor do they lessen their care of him. To choose death under these circumstances is honorable." (emphasis added)

Thus, the Church's deceit and hypocrisy are plain to see, and emphasized in its toleration of the establishment in Florida, by a wealthy Catholic businessman, of a Catholic law school headed by the Michigan prosecutor who fervently, even fanatically, tried to imprison me! And to compound the travesty, which also impugned the character and integrity of now Saint Thomas More, with incredibly brazen gall they named it "The Thomas More Law Center!

Deceit and hypocrisy indeed, no less brazen than that now evident in the Court's attitude and behavior.

The Court is grievously wrong in the second paragraph of charge 7: as already stressed, I did not cause anyone's death. Janet Adkins caused her own death. Furthermore, the Court demeaned itself by adding the meaningless and inappropriate banality that "nothing is more permanent than death". That ploy simply underscores the totally emotional basis of the Court's stand. As already mentioned, Justice Holmes emphasized that an emotional approach to any legal or ethical problem is unjustifiable at best (pp 70-1).3 It is worth repeating here that my stand necessitated a politely dispassionate approach devoid of emotionalism

In the third paragraph of charge 7 the Court feebly tried to justify imposition of its injunction "in order to protect the life of this population, to preserve public health, safety, and welfare;" and because "the state has a public policy against suicide". The lingering strong influence of the afore-mentioned Dark Ages mentality is obvious here. By what stretch of the imagination did Janet Adkins' suicide threaten the life of this population? Doctor-assisted suicide is a one-on-one affair between doctor and suffering patient. The sporadic and entirely voluntary self-elimination of individual lives taken collectively might have meant something to the total population during those Dark Ages; but in today's environment of exploding populations, that is a ludicrous concept. Furthermore, the voluntary self-elimination of mortally diseased lives, taken individually or collectively, can only enhance the preservation of public health and welfare. Again, stripped of overpowering emotions, the Court's attitude and pronouncements become unworthy of a true, common-sense arbiter of justice.

In paragraph 2 the Court sees irreparable harm in my action. What does the Court mean by that? Where is the harm? Certainly there is not, and could not be, physical harm to anyone else other than Janet Adkins. The only physical effect she experienced consciously were the mild stings of a hypodermic needle, and that cannot be deemed to be significant harm, in view of the millions of times it is perpetrated on human beings every day. Certainly there was no harm for Janet Adkins in painlessly, quickly, and unconsciously experiencing her own subjective death. Nobody else can comment on or evaluate that experience. It is undeniable that as a general rule no sane, rational human being voluntarily seeks harm; and Janet Adkins was rational. Where, then, is the harm perceived by the Court? It can only be a sort of psychical harm in the "wounded" minds of the prosecutor, his agents, and the judge whose irrational injunction is written evidence of the Court's own abstract psychical debility.

Justice William O. Douglas made this point better:9 "Those who construct a political system on the basis of their 'truth" create totalitarianism. Those who passionately believe in democracy...leave room for all searchers of "truth" and never impose by law one doctrine, one creed, one dogma, one faith on anyone....Truth is not a goal, for in most areas no one knows what truth is. The search is for a way of life that offers the individual the greatest possible opportunity for fulfillment." This Court would deny Janet Adkins and all other agonized patients that opportunity.

Justice Douglas continued with keen insight: "There are always watchmen who rally the city fathers, the state legislature, or the board of education to fasten their religious or philosophical codes onto the community moral code,...who have thereby mutilated freedom and left society paralyzed with prejudices that hamper free inquiry" This Court's injunction does just that. Finally, Justice Douglas laments the fact that "everyone who proselytizes one creed or faith is apt to have a list of heretics whom he pursues and whom he would crush, if he could. The true sponsors of the Free Society are those who defend the advocates of creeds they despise. If there is someone at the controls who, as censor, refuses to let some ideas to be expressed, if prosecutors are free to pursue promoters of offending ideas, the newspaper prints...only the news that fits the owner's party line, the debate and discussion become truncated and the people become a captive audience. It is not surprising that that is our condition today."

And it is not surprising that that is the condition with respect to my action and the Court's unjustified reaction. It is not surprising that despite numerous polls which show overwhelming approval and endorsement of my action by a majority of the public at large, the Court has joined forces with the minority wellspring of political power in the form of newspaper editorial writers and designated spokesmen for organized medicine to act as the censors Justice Douglas denounced.

Despite the fact that suicide is no longer a mortal sin or deemed to be illegal, the Court presumptuously arrogated to itself the right to proclaim an unofficial state policy against suicide (charge 7, paragraph 3). This is merely another manifestation of its emotional outrage, for the word "suicide" does not appear anywhere in the Index of Codified Laws of the State of Michigan. If there is no official and legal state policy, whence the authority for arbitrary proclamation of such a policy from a source of indubitably inferior jurisdiction—other than pure whimsy? The coercive force of such a machination would be negligible at best. In this action the Court appears to have exemplified and magnified through governmental bodies Einstein's admonition that "the attempt to combine wisdom and power has only rarely been successful and then only for a short while."10

Contrary to the Court's contention, it is the absence of my new service which threatens public health, safety, and welfare. The recent murder-suicide of a local elderly couple in Oakland County cited by the Court is a case in point and underscores a developing crisis which must be dealt with. I can state without fear of rational contradiction that had my service been legitimately and freely accessible to that tragic couple, neither victim would have died at that time. From extensive experience I know that I could have persuaded Mrs. Gear to undergo further treatment by her own doctor, or at least to wait for further consultation before taking any violent action. As a consequence there would have been no need for her husband to commit suicide because of a combination of overwhelming guilt and the fear of strident and inescapable prosecution for having been compelled to murder his ailing wife. Whereas my actions would have reduced the inevitable tragedy to only a single instance of justifiable suicide, the Court unwittingly and brashly assumed the guilt of involuntary manslaughter by virtue of having (unnecessarily) forced the involuntary murder of Mrs. Gear committed basically involuntarily by her trapped husband. And the Court's guilt will increase exponentially as long as its immoral injunction continues the barbaric compounding of such unnecessary, devastating, and easily preventable tragedies. It should not be forgotten that the Court's undeniable guilt is shared by organized medicine's appalling, even criminal indifference.

Despite legal and philosophical or religious restraints, there has always been a great need and demand for doctor-assisted suicide and euthanasia. The immortal Dr. William Harvey, physician to kings, died in 1658, it is said from the effects of opium he had taken with suicidal intent to escape the torment of acute pangs of gout.11 On a boat trip from Bermuda to New York in April, 1910, an ailing Mark Twain beseeched his business partner to kill hum and put him out of his misery from intense pain due to chronic heart disease.12 At the age of 83 and after 33 operations and 16 years of suffering from cancer of the jaw, Dr. Sigmund Freud Committed suicide by an overdose of morphine with the help of his personal physician.13 At the suggestion and with the approval of the royal family, King George V, suffering the agony of terminal pneumonia, was put to death in

1936 by a lethal combination of morphine and cocaine injected by his physician, Lord Dawson (also a member of Parliament).14 In a letter dated 14 July 1813, Thomas Jefferson wrote: "received the first supply of capsicum...the poison plant....It seems far preferable to the venesection of the Romans, the hemlock of the Greeks, and the opium of the Turks...Could such medicament be restrained to self-administration, it ought not to be kept secret. There are ills in life as desperate as intolerable, to which it would be the rational relief, for example, the inveterate cancer".15 The Court evidently disagrees with Jefferson by insisting that the relief is not rational and that the means should be kept secret.

The validity of the Court' injunction is highly questionable for several reasons. Its imposition alone is vulnerable to criticism, in that such action is tantamount to legislation by the courts. And that is improper, according to legal experts. In his latest book, Robert Bork, an acknowledged authority on constitutional law, laments our "new, growing, and dangerous culture striving to make the courts fundamentally activist in nature, and...legislating rather than interpreting law—or, 'politicization' of the courts....It is a matter of who governs us and how, about our freedom to make our own moral choices and about the difference that makes in our daily lives and in the lives of generations yet to come".16 According to Justices Powell and Frankfurter (1951)17, "History teaches that the independence of the judiciary is jeopardized when the courts become embroiled in the passions of the day and assume primary responsibility in choosing between political, economic, and social pressures." Justice Cardozo concluded that "it is not the lawgiver that makes the law; the folk-spirit does it. The lawgiver has only to write down what the spirit of the people dictates."18 In acting as an unauthorized lawgiver, the Court ignored this warning, and worse yet, the dictates of the folk-spirit.

Cardozo continued: "...Human actions and human decisions precede the rules and principles that, at any moment in time, constitute the formal 'law'(p. ix)...Jurisprudence has never been able, in the long run, to resist successfully a social or economic need that was strong and just". The Court would be well advised to heed his words.

Finally, in 1965 Dr. Jacob Robinson, Special Consultant on Jewish Affairs to the chief counsel of the U.S. at the 1947 Nuremberg War Crimes Trials, wrote that "to deposit...any unsolved problem resulting in lacunae in laws into the lap of a trial judge is universally considered to be an unsuitable method of filling gaps in the law. It is certainly inappropriate to demand of a court that it pass judgment without any assistance from existing law".19

Accordingly, I choose to believe the folk-spirit and the consensus of these unimpeachable sources on the philosophical basis of law, and to asperse the validity of the Court's injunction. Rather, I invoke the written testimony of Justice Holmes, for whom "the foundation value in the Constitutional ideal was the proposition that all organized private and public power over men's wills had legitimacy only as it served individual life".3 And I also invoke the opinions of Einstein, for whom "conscience supersedes the authority of the law of the state" (p.36); and I would add, certainly supersedes the authority of a court to impose an injunction where no law exists. Furthermore, Einstein continued: "There is nothing divine about morality; it is a purely human affair" (p.40)...Where life and death are at stake, rules and regulations go by the board (p.94)—and baseless injunctions do, too.

My actions seem to be quite consistent with Einstein's rules of correct conduct; for he states that "in the long intervals I have expressed an opinion on public issues whenever they appeared so bad and unfortunate that silence would have made me feel guilty of complicity" (p.35)...A man's ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties and needs; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death. It is therefore easy to see why the churches have always fought science and persecuted its devotees." (p.39)

If an injunction or law is to bar the practice of assisting a justifiable suicide, then it behooves legislators and courts at least to exempt the necessary exception of medically justified assistance. This approach was endorsed when, in connection with a 1968 Congressional hearing for creation of a commission to adjudicate ethical implications of medical research, Senator Walter Mondale stated, "I think the medical profession has a right to ask us to give it the resources and the elbow room it needs to fulfill its function,...and that (doctors) must understand that society must know not only what they are doing, but also the implications of their efforts"(p.1104).5 I ask no more than that of this Court.

Medical testimony at the same hearing by the famous surgeon, Prof. Owen H. Wangensteen5, corroborates my suggestion to leave the matter of apposite ethics entirely to the doctors involved. The surgeon continued: "Senator, I would urge you with all the strength I can muster to leave this subject to the conscionable people in the profession who are struggling valiantly to advance medicine. We are living through an era in which the innovator is often under suspicion, being second-guessed by self-appointed arbiters more versed in the art of criticism than in the subject under scrutiny. We need to take great care lest the wells of creativity and the spring of the mind of those who break with tradition are not manacled by well-intentioned but meddlesome intruders. I would urge you to leave these matters in the hands of their proponents, the persons who are actually doing the work. They know more about all this than any of us possibly could. They have wrestled with the problem day and night, almost invariably over many years. Theirs are not overnight judgments or convictions...Discussion should not be restrained, but legislative action, never!" (p.311, my emphasis).

"If you are thinking of theologians, lawyers, philosophers, and others to give some direction here for the ongoing development in this field, I cannot see how they could possibly help. I think it is about like peeling an apple. The fellow who holds the apple can peel it best. I cannot conceive of 20 people holding an apple, and a man trying to get in there to peel it." (p.1108)

In imposing the injunction to block my efforts to establish what might be called medical death control, this Court embarked on the identical erroneous course of action that society took with regard to Margaret Sanger's benevolent efforts a couple of generations ago to establish the now indispensable practice of medical birth control. It is appropriate, then that I end this testimony with her own terse and very accurate assessment.20 "Shall we fold our hands and wait until a body of sleek and well fed politicians get ready to abolish such slaughter (abortion)? Shall we look upon a piece of parchment (law) as greater than human happiness, greater than human life? I shall attempt to nullify the law by direct action and attend to the consequences afterward."

"Shall we who respond to the throbbing pulse of human needs concern ourselves with indictments, courts, and judges, or shall we do our work first and settle with these evils after?"

Tragically, for many years she had to endure the scorn and vituperation of her benighted colleagues in an obviously less than noble profession, the vitriolic outrage of incredibly hypocritical religiosity which doubtlessly lamented the demise of its super-punishment called "auto-da-fe," and of vengeful imprisonment before inevitable success proved Sanger right.

It should be pointed out that the Court appears to be biased through association with members and institutions of the medical profession, legislating its views through biased injunctions. In so doing, the Court acts legislatively in violation of the separation of powers doctrine in both federal and state constitutions. Finally, there is nothing in the rules of the State Board of Medicine, nothing in statutes regulating the medical profession, and nothing in statutes prohibiting my conduct in like cases.

Therefore, this preliminary injunction should be immediately vacated; and I took the first step to symbolize it by brashly lifting my copy high and ceremoniously burning it on the steps of the state building in Detroit, Michigan,--- flicking the ashes into the air as an expression my utter contempt for the ignoble court and the corrupt judge who serves as its servile lackey.


1.The Detroit Free Press, 19 July 1989, p.6A.

2. Hippocrates: Ancient Medicine and Other Treatises. Henry Regnery, Chicago,

1949, p.123.

3. Hurst, J W: Justice Holmes on Legal History, Macmillan, NY, 1964.

4. NEJM, vol. 230: 30 Mar 1989, 844-49.

5. Katz, J: Experimentation with Human Beings. Russell Sage Foundation, NY,


6. Current Opinions of the Judicial Council of the AMA, 1981.

7. Edelstein, L: The Hippocratic Oath. Text, Translation, and Interpretation. Johns

Hopkins Press, Baltimore, 1943.

8. More, T: Utopia. Appleton-Century-Crofts, NY, 1949.

9. Douglas, W O: Freedom of the Mind. Doubleday, Garden City, NY, 1964.

10. Einstein, A: Ideas and Opinions. Bonanza, NY, 1954.

11. Nimmo, W P: Clergymen and Doctors. Curious Facts and Characteristic

Sketches. J B Lippincott, Philadelphia (No date).

12, The Detroit News, 10 Nov 1988, p1.

13. Cant, G: Deciding when death is better than life. Time, 16 July 1973, p.37.

14. Watson, F: The death of George V, History Today, 36:Dec 1986, pp. 21-30.

15. Koch, Adrienne:The Life and Selected Writings of Thomas Jefferson. Modern

Library, NY, 1944, p.629.

16. Bork, R H: The Tempting of America. The Free Press, NY, 1990.

17. Krantz, S: Supplement to the Law of Corrections and Prisoners' Rights. West

Publ. Co., St. Paul, MN, 1977, p.28.

18. Cardozo, B: The Growth of the Law. Yale Univ. Press, New Haven, 1924.

19. Robinson, J: And the Crooked Shall Be Made Straight. Macmillan, NY, 1965.

20. Sanger, M: My Fight for Birth Control. Farrar & Rinehart, NY, 1931, pp.94-95.

21. Russell, B: A History of Western Philosophy. Simon & Schuster, NY, 1945, 31.

Add comment

Security code