The Law: Karen's Precedent

If the concept of privacy failed to strike down sodomy bans, it nonetheless was used last week to create the most important precedent to date in the complicated area of a person's right to live and die. It came in a unanimous ruling by the New Jersey Supreme Court in the much-discussed case of Karen Anne Quinlan (TIME, Nov. 3). After apparently downing some pills and drinks a year ago, Karen, 22, had fallen into a vegetative coma, and her father asked for court authority to remove a life-supporting respirator so that she could...

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