Physician-assisted suicide laws and court battles have been high-profile affairs steeped in politics, religion, and philosophical arguments. While the nation’s highest court declined to rule that the right to die is protected under the Constitution, it stopped short of declaring the practice illegal (thus making it a state issue).
In 1997, the Supreme Court issued two decisions on the same day on the right to die: Washington v. Glucksberg, and Vacco v. Quill. Those two cases decided that the government’s interest in preserving life and preventing intentional killing outweighed the patient’s interest in the liberty to choose to die, regardless of the patient’s condition. Furthermore, the Court ruled that refusing life-saving medical treatment is different than asking a physician to end a patient’s life. the rulings gave the green light for states to make laws treating these two acts differently.”July 9, 2018