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Jewish World Review / Aug. 12, 1998 / 20 Menachem-Av, 5758

Mona Charen

Mona Charen

Pro-choice extremist

UNTIL NOW, GEOFFREY FIEGER was known primarily as the lawyer who kept Dr. Jack Kevorkian out of jail, but the voters of Michigan have just handed him the Democratic nomination for governor.

You mean you haven't heard non-stop coverage about a pro-choice extremist receiving the blessing of a major party? No calls for party regulars to distance themselves from this candidate? Strange. You would have if the tables were turned -- if the Republicans were to nominate someone who favored, say, shooting abortionists.

Fieger (pronounced like tiger) was more than Kevorkian's lawyer. The two are soulmates -- though in a flash of insight, Fieger once told an interviewer that he had quite a time of it keeping from the public what a complete "lunatic" Kevorkian really is.

He hasn't succeeded. The most famous client of the Democratic nominee for governor of Michigan has now helped kill more than 100 people, only 20 of whom were terminally ill. As he wrote in his 1991 book Prescription: Medicide, Kevorkian has long believed in harvesting organs from "assisted suicide" patients, death-row inmates, the mentally incompetent and other undesirables. Though Fieger has attempted to paint Kevorkian as a humanitarian, his client's ghoulish obsession with death and mutilation surfaces again and again.

Last spring, as reported in The Weekly Standard, the body of a man was left at a Michigan hospital. In his back were two gaping holes from which the kidneys had been removed. Whoever did the job had not even bothered to remove the victim's clothes -- but had simply pushed them out of the way. The blood vessels were crudely off tied with twine.

The body belonged to Joseph Tushkowski. The mutilator was Jack Kevorkian. It's no surprise. He had written many years before that the "voluntary self-elimination of individual and mortally diseased or crippled lives, taken collectively, can only enhance the preservation of public health and welfare."

While Kevorkian fantasizes about doing away with thousands of undesirables at one fell swoop, Fieger does his best to insult those Kevorkian misses. He called Adam Cardinal Maida, the Catholic archbishop of Detroit, a "nut," likened the Council of Orthodox Rabbis of Greater Detroit to Nazis for opposing assisted suicide ("they're closer to Nazis than they think ... Orthodox Jews are not different than the right-wing Christian nuts") and speculated that Gov. John Engler's triplet daughters are not his own. "Unless they have corkscrew tails, those are not his kids," said Fieger.

As a tag team for assisted suicide, these two are perhaps the worst possible salesmen. Kevorkian is a fiend, and Fieger is a lout who has yet to meet the man he can't offend.

Michigan voters will face a ballot initiative on assisted suicide in November, and the nomination of Fieger should make the issue a centerpiece of the campaign. Then again, it might be more interesting to probe Geoffrey Fieger's other views.

Here's Fieger on drug policy: "What's the difference if we just let people do as many drugs as they want, crawl into a hole and die. ... If you put them in jail, another one pops up." (Detroit Free Press, October 1996)

He accuses Engler of racial bigotry. The evidence? Engler favors testing welfare mothers for drugs. Now watch this reasoning: "Implicitly (Engler is) making a reference to African Americans even though most welfare recipients are white."

Wait, it gets better. Fieger has also accused Engler of religious bigotry because the governor's office circulated news reports of Fieger's statements about Jesus Christ: "Do you think the Roman soldiers thought he was the Son of God or just some goofball who got nailed to the cross? ... In 2000 years, we've probably made somebody who is the equivalent of Elvis into God, so I see no reason why not to believe that in 2000 years Elvis will be God."

As for the rest of the human race, Fieger is not exactly enthusiastic. "You couldn't develop a virus that kills as many people as we do and destroys as many things as we do. We're just a pestilence with appendages."

Perhaps he is speaking for himself.


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©1998, Creators Syndicate, Inc.