Peggy Battin

Philosopher and bioethicist Peggy Battin tells us the moving story of how and why her husband chose to die.

“That someone you love…would be enmeshed in the [thing] you had been thinking about academically for so long is an extraordinary experience.” - Peggy Battin, TEDMED 2014


Philosopher and bioethicist Peggy Battin has worked for decades to defend the right of terminally ill individuals to have greater control over the timing and manner of their deaths. Her academic work tackles issues around end-of-life care, suicide, euthanasia, and religion. In 2008, her personal and professional worlds collided when her husband Brooke broke his neck in a bicycle accident, becoming quadriplegic. When he eventually decided to die after years of struggling with his condition, Peggy found she was the one dragging her feet the most as he sought to have his ventilator and other life-prolonging technologies disconnected. Her personal experience made her re-examine her beliefs around an individual’s right to autonomy, as he sought to achieve the death he believed “least worst” for him.


Q&A with Peggy
Peggy Battin helps us better understand the current debate over physician-assisted dying and dives deeper into how this issue took an almost unbearably personal turn.

The Ethics of Suicide: Historical Sources.
Battin, M ed. Forthcoming from Oxford University Press. 2015 March.

Ending Life: Ethics and the Way We Die
Battin, M. New York. Oxford University Press. 2005 October.

The Death Debate: Ethical Issues in Suicide.
Battin, M. Pearson. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall. 1996.

The Least Worst Death: Essays in Bioethics on the End of Life.
Battin, M.  Oxford University Press. 1994 February 17.

Physician-Assisted Suicide: Expanding the Debate.
Battin, M; Rhodes, R; Silvers, A, eds. New York. Routledge. 1998.

The Case for Phsyician-Assisted Dying: The Case for Palliative Care and Patient Choice.
Battin, M; Quill, T eds.  Johns Hopkins University Press. 2004.

Brooke Hopkins & Peggy Battin
Hopkins, B & Battin, P. (Updated: 2013 August 23).