DR. JACK KEVORKIAN was present Saturday at the carbon monoxide death of Margaret Garrish, the 21st death the nation's most prominent advocate of assisted suicide has attended since 1990.
Authorities ruled the death a homicide. Garrish died at her home in Royal Oak, the Detroit suburb where Dr. Kevorkian used to live.
Kevorkian lawyer Michael Schwartz said that the doctor was present when Garrish ``chose to end her suffering by mercifully ending her own life at her home.'' It was the first death involving Kevorkian in more than a year.
Neighbors were sympathetic. ``I don't consider it a tragedy,'' Katy Gregory said. ``Obviously it was well thought out and planned.''
A Michigan law temporarily banning assisted suicides, passed to stop Kevorkian, may have expired Friday. Interpretations of the law's expiration date differ. The timing of Garrish's death and that expiration were coincidental, Mr. Schwartz said.
The state Supreme Court is considering several challenges that the Michigan ban on assisted suicides was unconstitutional, all but one in cases that involve Kevorkian.
The last death Kevorkian was present for was on Nov. 22, 1993. Since then Kevorkian was acquitted by a Detroit jury for an August 1993 death.
Welfare mothers protest treatment
A WELFARE advocacy group has asked the Rhode Island Public Transportation Authority to stop its bus drivers from asking mothers on welfare to prove who they are before using free bus passes.
``There's a basic prejudice in a lot of people and it's coming out in this issue,'' said Henry Shelton, coordinator for Rhode Island Parents for Progress, many of whose members attended a Friday meeting with RIPTA officials at a Providence church.
Women at the meeting claim drivers treat them rudely, make them wait for other passengers to board the bus - and sometimes do not allow them on the bus at all if they are slow in producing a card issued by the Aid to Families with Dependent Children program or welfare.
RIPTA started issuing the free passes, to AFDC recipients in November 1993.
The idea was to help low-income residents get to medical appointments and job interviews. About 3,000 passes are issued monthly.