NEW YORK (Reuters) - Euthanasia proponent Dr. Jack Kevorkian, dubbed "Dr. Death" for assisting in some 130 suicides, vowed on Sunday he will no longer help people end their lives, even if they come to him in desperation.
"It would be painful for me, but I'd have to refuse them, because I gave my word that I won't do it again," Kevorkian told CBS's "60 Minutes" in an interview following his release from prison on Friday after serving eight years for a second-degree murder conviction.
Instead, he said he would "work with activist groups trying to get it legalized ... either through legislatures or through courts if possible."
Kevorkian, who said he didn't feel like a free man since being on parole constituted "a virtual tether," said he did not regret helping terminally ill patient Tom Youk die in 1998. The tape of the procedure led to Kevorkian's conviction.
"Why would I regret that?" he told reporter Mike Wallace, adding that Youk's "life didn't measure up anymore," by the patient's own standards and choice.
Kevorkian contended that even with only Oregon having an assisted suicide law on the books, "Doctors now are sneaking around and doing it."
"There's where the law creates immorality in medicine," Kevorkian said. "Any ... medical act should never be done in an atmosphere of fear and concern and secrecy."
Kevorkian thwarted four attempts by prosecutors to convict him and flouted a Michigan ban on assisted suicide aimed at him. State regulators revoked his medical license in 1991.
As to his own health, Kevorkian, 79, said he is "just fair ... That liver disease is a fright ... it concerns me."
But, he insisted, he is "content" with his life now. "I'm doing what I think is important."