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Taking stock: Where are we now?

January 30, 2016 • Posted in Blog

D. Joy Riley, M.D., M.A.

Taking stock of where one is at the beginning of a new project or a new year is a good idea. Where we are in the entire realm of bioethics is beyond the scope of one blog post, but what follows are some landmarks discernible in January 2016…

Physician-Assisted Suicide

On Sunday, 24 January, John Jay Hooker, Tennessee lawyer, politician, and activist, died. Mr. Hooker had most recently championed “death with dignity” — physician-assisted suicide — in a proposed bill and in the courts. By the time of his death, neither the legislature nor the courts had provided ...read more

We Were There…

December 29, 2015 • Posted in Blog

As the year 2015 comes to a close, we at The Tennessee Center for Bioethics & Culture look back over a year of involvement in a number of important bioethics issues.

1) We were there when the Tennessee Senate Health and Welfare Committee met in Legislative Plaza Room 12 on 9 June 2015 to hear testimony regarding “Death with Dignity,” otherwise known as Physician-assisted Suicide (P-AS). We heard the testimony of John Jay Hooker and others promoting the bill. The Tennessee Center for Bioethics & Culture stayed after a prominent news anchor and her television crew left the hearing. We stayed so we ...read more

CRISPR: What is it? Who decides what we do with it?

November 30, 2015 • Posted in Blog

D. Joy Riley, M.D., M.A.

What is it?

Imagine a word processor for genes, where you could search for a defective gene, find the mutation, cut it out, and replace it with the proper DNA sequence. The cutting and replacing part of the process is what CRISPR and its associated (Cas) systems do. They are enzymes used to clip out particular sections of DNA in a cell’s nucleus, and replace the removed sections with other DNA segments, presumably replacing “defective” DNA with “good” DNA.

Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats (CRISPR) were first described in 2012, and the technique was used in human ...read more

Why Did Gosnell Keep Severed Fetal Feet?

October 25, 2015 • Posted in Blog

D. Joy Riley, M.D., M.A.

Regrettably, in defending human dignity, we are often confronted with circumstances in which humanity is degraded. Warning: The following graphically details some of those circumstances brought to light.

The 2011 report of the Grand Jury investigating abortionist Kermit Gosnell included a number of strange details about his place of business, including, “The investigators found a row of jars containing just the severed feet of fetuses” (p. 21).

Image from LifeNews.com.

Why would anyone do this?

Fast forward to the summer of 2015 and the Center for Medical Progress, which released a series of ...read more

Chancellor McCoy and the Way of Wisdom

September 30, 2015 • Posted in Blog

D. Joy Riley, M.D., M.A.

What does Tennessee have to do with Switzerland (featured in the fake ad pictured below)? Less than it could have, given yesterday’s decision to uphold the State of Tennessee’s ban on assisted suicide. The decision by Chancellor Carol L. McCoy has the rather counter-intuitive effect of the State winning without someone losing their head. Read on below for the details . . .

Fake ad image from Salvo, used with permission.

“If you can keep your head when all about you, Are losing theirs and blaming it on you . . ...read more

Bioethicist C. Ben Mitchell, Ph.D., is interviewed on The Eric Metaxas Show

August 31, 2015 • Posted in Other Voices

C. Ben Mitchell, pictured left, is a board member of Tennessee Center for Bioethics & Culture. He also serves as Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Union University in Jackson, TN, and coauthored Christian Bioethics with D. Joy Riley.

Listen Now

Shifting Gears on Physician-Assisted Suicide?

August 31, 2015 • Posted in Atlas

D. Joy Riley, M.D., M.A.

How “neutral” can one be regarding assisted suicide? How about a medical organization? This past week, The Tennessee Center for Bioethics & Culture sent a letter of concern to the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization:

Date: Wed, 26 Aug 2015 12:52:22 -0500

Subject: Physician-assisted suicide

Dear Board Members and Staff of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization:

It has come to my attention that you, the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO), are now considering changing your position statement from “opposing” physician-assisted suicide (P-AS) to taking a “neutral” ...read more

Slip Slidin’ Away

July 31, 2015 • Posted in Blog

D. Joy Riley, M.D., M.A.

I doubt that Paul Simon had Physician-Assisted Suicide (P-AS) in mind when he penned the words to “Slip Slidin’ Away,” but they seem strangely apropos. The terms in the debate are the first to slip, slide away: the Hemlock Society became Compassion and Choices. The latter, which is involved in the Tennessee debate, is hopeful that physician-assisted suicide will become “aid-in-dying”; that is, before it slips into voluntary euthanasia, and then slides away into involuntary euthanasia.

What would happen if physician-assisted suicide (P-AS) were legal?

The role of physicians would be drastically altered. Guaranteeing ...read more

Severing Our Roots

June 29, 2015 • Posted in Blog

The Little Fool by Karen Swenholt. Image by Ian Riley Photography.

D. Joy Riley, M.D., M.A.

A couple of years ago, I was encouraged to meet a figurative artist (sculptress, in this case). So I drove many hours to meet Karen Swenholt, and the drive was worth it. One of her pieces is pictured above. It is a metaphor that resonates with many of us: the man feels rooted, bound to the earth, or his circumstances, etc., and yearns to be free. So he takes an instrument into his hand — a knife — to free himself from his hateful condition, not ...read more

Physician-Assisted Suicide: NOT Exactly What Its Proponents Advertise It To Be

May 30, 2015 • Posted in Blog

This Australian stamp was issued in celebration of the General Assembly of World Medical Associations almost 50 years ago. At that time, the hypodermic syringe was a symbol of cure. Now, the picture of gloved hands administering an injection can represent something much more menacing.

D. Joy Riley, M.D., M.A.

The topic of physician-assisted suicide (P-AS) is a persistent one, especially when people are in pain or are worried about impending death. We need to think deeply and well about this issue. To help, the Tennessee Center for Bioethics & Culture is addressing P-AS from a different perspective for the second time in as many ...read more