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Reflections on Life, Death, and the Constitution$
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George Anastaplo

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780813125336

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813125336.001.0001

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Nancy Cruzan and “The Right to Die”

Nancy Cruzan and “The Right to Die”

(p.156) 8 Nancy Cruzan and “The Right to Die”
Reflections on Life, Death, and the Constitution

George Anastaplo

University Press of Kentucky

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

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