The Case of Nancy Cruzan
BEGINNING IN THE SPRING OF 1988, Nancy Cruzan began the second chapter in the education of the American public about the right to die. Three major cases over thirty years have shaped public opinion on this issue and all of them involved young women: Karen Ann Quinlan, Nancy Cruzan, and Terri Schiavo. I don’t say this to diminish the anguish or importance of all of the other families who have been through public right-to-die cases: Hugh Finn, Robert Wendland, Paul Brophy, Daniel Delio, and many more, including my client and friend Pete Busalacchi, the father of Chris. But Quinlan, Cruzan, and Schiavo are the three cultural lightning rods around which our policies and ideas formed.
With Karen Ann Quinlan in 1976, the societal discussion was