August 1st 1997
In a long-awaited decision that culminated often anguished public debate and agonizing over moral and ethical concerns, the U.S. Supreme Court in June reversed the opinions handed down by the 2nd and 9th Circuit Courts of Appeal and held unequivocally that there is no constitutional "right to die." The controversy over physician-assisted suicide will now spread, as each of the 50 states becomes a separate battleground. "Throughout the nation, Americans are engaged in an earnest and profound debate about the morality, legality and practicality of physician-assisted suicide," said Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist. "Our holding permits this debate to continue, as it should in a democratic society."