Terri Schiavo lay in a “persistent vegetative state” for 15 years until she died on March 31 after hospice staff removed her life-sustaining feeding tube. Schiavo's case touched off a wrenching, nationwide debate that continues in political, legal and medical circles over when, if ever, to withdraw life support from patients unable to express their own wishes. Many advocates and experts used the case to emphasize the need to write a “living will” and designate a “health-care proxy” to help make such decisions, but only a small minority of Americans have taken either step. Some in Congress want to make it harder to remove life support. But others say that no legal changes are needed and the issue is, in any event, for the states, not the federal government. Meanwhile, the U.S. Supreme Court is preparing to hear the Bush administration's attempt to effectively thwart an Oregon law legalizing physician-assisted suicide — a law twice approved by the state's voters but strongly opposed by right-to-life and disability-rights groups.