The Law and the Right to Die
THE LAW GROWS out of the needs of society. Our environment grew polluted from factories and cars, so Congress studied the issue and passed the Clean Air Act of 1970 and the Clean Water Act of 1972 to address the problem. As society has grown more complicated and dependent on technology, the laws needed to govern that society have expanded. Like the rapid developments in the medical technology, the complexity and sheer volume of new laws has increased exponentially in the last thirty years.
The laws that govern death and dying provide a perfect case study of this exponential growth. These laws also help illustrate how the law is intertwined with the technology that it seeks to regulate; the law does not exist in a vacuum. The case of Terri Schiavo is the most