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The End of Life

Learn about the constitutional issues surrounding end-of-life care.


Imagine that a patient received a terminal cancer diagnosis. The patient might want to try to prolong her life, to end her life peacefully, or to do something else. What laws impact these choices?

I. Right-to-Try Laws (Access to Investigational Treatments)

We’ll start with right-to-try laws. Assume the cancer patient wanted to try an investigational treatment that hadn’t been legally approved. In 2007, a federal circuit court held that terminal patients don’t have a constitutional right to try...