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Abstract

Biomedical advances nowadays enable physicians to keep patients hovering at the brink of death for many years. These new technologies have evoked challenging ethical dilemmas that test society’s moral resources. But some have been unwilling to patiently search for new moral wisdom, believing a bold stance is required and they are using legal means to achieve their goal. Attempts to legalize physician assisted suicide and euthanasia are one example, and the literature is replete with analyses of these practices. Far less attention has been paid to opposite attempts at legally enforcing life-sustaining medical interventions. In the mid 1990s, a group called "Nebraskans for Humane Care" sought to amend the Nebraska Constitution to require that nutrition and hydration is administered to any person and with any means available. In this article, the history behind and the text of the proposed amendment is critically analyzed, revealing the serious consequences that adoption of such legal regulation of medical treatment can have.

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