1938 - On Jan. 16th, 1938 Charles Francis Potter announces the founding of the National Society for the Legalization of Euthanasia (NSLE), which is soon renamed the Euthanasia Society of America (ESA).
1950 - The World Medical Association votes to recommend to all national medical associations that euthanasia be condemned "under any circumstances." In the same year, the American Medical Association issues a statement that the majority of doctors do not believe in euthanasia.
1967 - The first living will is written by attorney Louis Kutner and his arguments for it appear in the Indiana Law Journal.
1972 - The U.S. Senate Special Commission on Aging (SCA) holds the first national hearings on death with dignity, entitled "Death with Dignity: An Inquiry into Related Public Issues."
1973 - The American Medical Association adopts a "Patient's Bill of Rights" which recognizes the right of patients to refuse treatment.
1976 - The New Jersey Supreme Court rules in the 1976 In re Quinlan case that 21-year-old Karen Quinlan can be detached from her respirator.
1980 - Derek Humphry forms the Hemlock Society, a grassroots euthanasia organization, in Los Angeles.
1990 - Jack Kevorkian, MD, assists Janet Adkins, a Hemlock Society member, in committing suicide in Michigan. Adkins death is the first of many suicides in which Dr. Kevorkian assists.
1994 - The Oregon Death With Dignity Act is passed, becoming the first law in American history permitting physician-assisted suicide.
1997 - The Supreme Court rules in Washington v. Glucksberg and Vacco v. Quill that there is not a constitutional right to die.
2005 - The Terri Schiavo case garners national media attention. After a Florida Circuit Judge ruled that Terri Schiavo' feeding tube be removed and the Florida Supreme Court overturned "Terri's Law," a law intended