Vacco v. Quill. United States Supreme Court. 1997. – “This Court has…recognized, at least implicitly, the distinction between letting a patient die and making that patient die.
In Cruzan v. Director, Mo. Dept. of Health (1990), we concluded that ‘[t]he principle that a competent person has a constitutionally protected liberty interest in refusing unwanted medical treatment may be inferred from our prior decisions,’ and we assumed the existence of such a right for purposes of that case. But our assumption of a right to refuse treatment was grounded not, as the Court of Appeals supposed, on the proposition that patients have a general and abstract ‘right to hasten death,’ but on well established, traditional rights to bodily integrity and freedom from unwanted touching. In fact, we observed that ‘the majority of States in this country have laws imposing criminal penalties on one who assists another to commit suicide.”