Washington’s Legal Aid-in-Dying: What’s Next? A Broader Right to Die, or is this Life on a Slippery Slope?

Date: Saturday April 15, 2017
Time 4:30-6:30pm
Location: Unexpected Market Theater, at the Pike Place Market, Seattle

At this informal panel discussion, each speaker will give a brief talk on an issue associated with legal aid-in-dying, encouraging lively discussion with the audience.

Aid-in-dying is now legal in Washington State. But questions about the future of a broader right to die naturally arise. Should aid-in-dying be restricted to people who are terminally ill and can swallow and take the pills themselves, as the Washington statute requires? What about those who have serious, painful, or severely disabling conditions that will end in death, but probably not within six months? What about those who are not now competent, but have made their wishes clear through advance directives? And what about the very very old, who insist that they are “tired of life”? Would such expansions risk a slippery slope, or be rational extensions of a right to die? Disagreements over these issues can be intense; this session will explore them.


Peggy Battin

Margaret Battin, Moderator • University of Utah

Margaret Battin, known as Peggy, teaches philosophy and medical ethics at the University of Utah. She has authored, co-authored, edited, or co-edited some twenty books, including The Least Worst Death; Ending Life; and a comprehensive sourcebook, The Ethics of Suicide: Historical Sources: its freely accessible online Digital Archive is available online.

Samuel Gorovitz

Samuel Gorovitz • Syracuse University

Samuel Gorovitz, former Dean of Arts and Sciences at Syracuse University, brings philosophical insight to matters of public concern through his newspaper articles, radio and television appearances, and lively public lectures. He is one of the founders of the field of bioethics and an editor of its first textbook, the famous Moral Problems in Medicine.

Bonnie Steinbock

Bonnie Steinbock • State University of New York/Albany

Bonnie Steinbock, professor emerita at SUNY/Albany, specializes in reproductive ethics and end-of-life issues. She is the author of Life Before Birth: The Moral and Legal Status of Embryos and Fetuses, several edited collections, and over 65 articles.

Sara Goering

Sara Goering • University of Washington

Sara Goering is Associate Professor of Philosophy and member of the Program on Values and the Disability Studies Program at the University of Washington, Seattle. Her work in bioethics emphasizes the importance of including perspectives from disabled and other marginalized people.

Paul Menzel

Paul Menzel • Pacific Lutheran University

Paul Menzel, a philosophy professor who has held every level of academic administration at Pacific Lutheran University—chair, dean, provost—does “public philosophy” through short articles and talks to wider audiences. He has published widely on moral questions in health economics and on end-of-life issues, including advance directives to hasten death in dementia.

Joseph Stramondo

Joseph Stramondo • San Diego State University

Joseph Stramondo is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at San Diego State University and has a particular interest in how various systems of oppression, but especially ableism, have influenced bioethical thought and education.