"Ball's arguments are concise, compelling, and backed with considerable case law. This volume is highly recommended for upper-level undergraduates and above in law, philosophy, and the medical humanities interested in the 'right to die' debates. Summing up: Highly recommended." --Choice Over thepast hundred years, average life expectancy in America has nearly doubled, duelargely to scientific and medical advances, but also as a consequence of saferworking conditions, a heightened awareness of the importance of diet andhealth, and other factors. Yet while longevity is celebrated as an achievementin modern civilization, the longer people live, the more likely they are tosuccumb to chronic, terminal illnesses. In 1900, the average life expectancywas 47 years, with a majority of American deaths attributed to influenza, tuberculosis,pneumonia, or other diseases. In 2000, the average life expectancy was nearly80 years, and for too many people, these long lifespans included cancer, heartfailure, Lou Gehrig's disease, AIDS, or other fatal illnesses, and with them,came debilitating pain and the loss of a once-full and often independentlifestyle. In this compelling and provocative book, noted legal scholar HowardBall poses the pressing question: is it appropriate, legally and ethically, fora competent individual to have the liberty to decide how and when to die whenfaced with a terminal illness? At Liberty to Die charts how, the rightof a competent, terminally ill person to die on his or her own terms with thehelp of a doctor has come deeply embroiled in debates about the relationshipbetween religion, civil liberties, politics, and law in American life.Exploring both the legal rulings and the media frenzies that accompanied theTerry Schiavo case and others like it, Howard Ball contends that despite ragingbattles in all the states where right to die legislation has been proposed, theopposition to the right to die is intractable in its stance. Combiningconstitutional analysis, legal history, and current events, Ball surveys theconstitutional arguments that have driven the right to die debate.