IS THERE A RIGHT TO DIE?

THE SUPREME COURT WEIGHS AN ISSUE THAT MAY PROVE TO BE AS CONTENTIOUS--AND ETHICALLY MURKY--AS ABORTION RIGHTS

Whatever one thinks about the Supreme Court's landmark Roe v. Wade decision of 1973, there can be little doubt of its judicial aggressiveness. At the time, the abortion issue, although hardly unsung, had been debated fully in only a few state legislatures. By grabbing the case, locating a previously unspecified right to abortion in the Constitution and telling the states to respect that right, the Justices effectively defined the issue and pre-empted a legislative solution. The result: the court was stuck particularizing its position for the next 20 years.

The last set of jurists one would expect to emulate that bravura...

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