The right to die with dignity is a controversial issue. In the absence of legislative guidance, court intervention is often necessary to protect a patient's right to the privacy of his own body. At the same time, courts must protect the state's interests in the preservation of life, the protection of innocent third parties, the prevention of suicide, and the ethical integrity of the medical profession.
Janice G. Murphy,
The Virginia Natural Death Act - A Critical Analysis,
U. Rich. L. Rev.
Available at: http://scholarship.richmond.edu/lawreview/vol17/iss4/10