Nancy Cruzan and “The Right to Die”

George Anastaplo

in Reflections on Life, Death, and the Constitution

Published by University Press of Kentucky

Published in print June 2009 | ISBN: 9780813125336
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780813135243 | DOI:
Nancy Cruzan and “The Right to Die”

Show Summary Details


This chapter discusses the United States Supreme Court Opinion on the case of Nancy Cruzan who had been severely injured in an automobile accident on January 11, 1983. It notes that Cruzan remained in a coma for approximately three weeks and then progressed to an unconscious state in which she was able to orally ingest some nutrition. It further notes that subsequent rehabilitative efforts proved unavailing and Cruzan was in a persistent vegetative state: generally, a condition in which a person exhibits motor reflexes but evinces no indications of significant cognitive function. It states that the Cruzan Majority in the United States Supreme Court endorsed the Missouri Supreme Court's presumption in favor of human life. It notes that this approach is identified as deeply grounded in the common law tradition.

Keywords: United States Supreme Court; Nancy Cruzan; coma; unconscious state; persistent vegetative state; cognitive function; Missouri Supreme Court; human life; common law tradition

Chapter.  3059 words. 

Subjects: US Politics

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at University Press of Kentucky »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.