GBH Openvault

FRONTLINE; Death of Nancy Cruzan, The

Part of Frontline.

License Clip

This program cannot be made available on Open Vault.

More material may be available from this program at the GBH Archives. If you would like research access to the collection at GBH, please email

Death of Nancy Cruzan, The
Program Number


Series Description

FRONTLINE is investigative journalism that questions, explains and changes our world. Since 1983, FRONTLINE has served as PBS's flagship public affairs series. Hailed upon its television broadcast debut as "the last best hope for broadcast documentaries," FRONTLINE's stature is reaffirmed each week through incisive documentaries covering the scope and complexity of the human experience.

Program Description

In the early morning hours of December 26, 1990, 33-year-old Nancy Cruzan died in a Missouri hospital, surrounded by her family who had fought for the right to disconnect the feeding tube that kept Nancy alive. Outside, in the snow and cold, right-to-life protesters prayed for Nancy and claimed that her family was committing murder. To permit the removal of Nancy's life support, the Cruzans waged a three-and-a-half year legal battle that became the first right-to-die case heard by the supreme court. The program chronicles the family's final days with Nancy as they accept the reality of letting their daughter go.

Asset Type

Broadcast program

Media Type


Chicago: “FRONTLINE; Death of Nancy Cruzan, The,” GBH Archives, accessed December 7, 2022,
MLA: “FRONTLINE; Death of Nancy Cruzan, The.” GBH Archives. Web. December 7, 2022. <>.
APA: FRONTLINE; Death of Nancy Cruzan, The. Boston, MA: GBH Archives. Retrieved from
If you have more information about this item, we want to know! Please contact us, including the URL.