(Bedminster, New Jersey) - Steve Forbes, Honorary Chairman of Americans for Hope, Growth and Opportunity, today made the following statement:
"What the American people witnessed on '60 Minutes' last night was not an act of compassion. It was a prime time murder. It was wrong and someone should say so. Why haven't President Clinton and Vice President Gore spoken out? Why have the Republican leaders been silent?
"There's no question that we must do everything we can to improve medical care for those who are terminally ill and those who are in excruciating pain. But we must not give up on people who are suffering, and we must not let them give up on themselves. We have the science and the technology to help people relieve pain. The question is: Do we have the love and compassion to stand by people who feel that they're all alone?
"All of us during our lives face dark moments when we feel we're facing the abyss. My own mother died six years ago from lung cancer. Near the end the doctors asked her if she wanted a living will. She thought they meant that they wanted to pull the plug, and she was outraged. She said, 'No way. I'm fighting this to the end.' Our family was inspired by her tenacity. Just as we drew strength from her courage in adversity, she drew strength because we rallied around her in adversity with love.
"But make no mistake. Euthanasia is not progress. It turns doctors from healers into killers. It encourages the elderly to believe that they are obstacles, not human beings. It is the path to barbarism, and we must fight it every step of the way.
"I urge Congress and the President to work together to make euthanasia a federal crime. Start by passing 'The Lethal Drug Abuse Prevention Act,' sponsored by Congressman Henry Hyde and Senator Don Nickles. This bill would protect the use of federally-controlled narcotics for genuine pain relief, but make the use of such drugs illegal for the purpose of taking a person's life.
"If it is proven that Dr. Kevorkian committed this murder, he should appropriately punished. Insanity may be his only defense."