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A Project for Our Time

September 30, 2020 • Posted in Blog

D. Joy Riley, M.D., M.A. Executive Director

The responses to the COVID-19 pandemic have been by turns dramatic and disconcerting, and, at times, draconian. I read about Steve Reiter’s deplorable experience and his new project in a BreakPoint commentary in July, and he was kind enough to speak with me by telephone on 24 July.

Steve’s beloved wife, Elizabeth, had diagnoses of lupus and pulmonary hypertension, among other difficulties. She had had a lengthy hospitalization in 2014, but had recovered. Steve attributes her recovery to excellent medical care and the 24/7 presence of her family. She had a Hickman line placed, and Steve ...read more

Life Without Us?

November 2, 2019 • Posted in Blog

By Jane Patton, Guest Columnist

It is not new that some people say that they do not want to bring children into the world. And, as far as the do’s and don’ts of being environmentally responsible, the carbon footprint of a single human being tops the list of avoidable behaviors. One presidential candidate even advocates abortion as a way to combat climate change. So, it may be okay to have one or two children. Any more than that and parents might be called selfish.

But, a growing movement is taking the idea of limiting births to the next level—preventing all births. Who ...read more

Our Summer Non-Vacation

September 23, 2019 • Posted in Blog

D. Joy Riley, M.D., M.A. Executive Director

“What I did on my summer vacation” is an assignment many of us have had to complete in the late Augusts or early Septembers of our lives, when we returned to school after the summer break. Given that Summer 2019 has just ended (although the high temperatures have yet to abate), an update on our activities is in order:

21 June 2019 — First Day of Summer

We hosted “Chicago Meets New York: Dinner and a Movie” at the Center for Bioethics & Human Dignity’s 26th international bioethics conference on the campus of Trinity International University outside ...read more

When Can Others Help Themselves to Our Organs?

July 25, 2019 • Posted in Blog

D. Joy Riley, M.D., M.A. Executive Director

We have an opt-in organ donation system in the United States. That is, you have to say, “Yes,” to organ donation in order to donate. Opting in is very easy, and you can usually do that through your local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Even those too young to vote can opt-in for organ donation. Why is this service available through the DMV? A few moments’ thought can yield an answer.

England has recently changed its law governing organ donation. The new “opt-out” law takes effect in 2020:

Everyone in England over the age of 18 will ...read more

AMA Resists Embracing “Neutrality” on Physician-Assisted Suicide

June 11, 2019 • Posted in Blog

D. Joy Riley, M.D., M.A. Executive Director

Yesterday, the American Medical Association (AMA) House of Delegates voted to retain the current position of the AMA RE physician-assisted suicide. That was the recommendation of the AMA’s Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs (CEJA), and the CEJA report was accepted by a 65:35 majority, according to the National Right to Life News.

CEJA is responsible for maintaining and updating the AMA’s Medical Code of Ethics, and promoting “adherence to the Code’s professional ethical standards.” Last year, CEJA recommended maintaining the long-held AMA stance against physician-assisted suicide, but the House of Delegates rejected that recommendation. Further ...read more

Shift and Puzzle: What do an ape and a donkey have to do with bioethics?

January 31, 2019 • Posted in Blog

Unmasking the Cultural Lies, One at a Time

D. Joy Riley, M.D., M.A. Executive Director

In C. S. Lewis’ The Last Battle, Shift is a shrewd, crafty ape, and his neighbor, Puzzle, is a meek, somewhat simple donkey. It has been a long time since Aslan, the all-powerful lion, has been seen in Narnia. Therefore, when Shift spies an old lion skin, he decides to have Puzzle dress up in it and pretend to be Aslan. Shift constantly insists that Puzzle do all the heavy-lifting involved in any of their escapades, but in such a way that Puzzle thinks he is getting the ...read more

What if we call it “Medical Aid in Dying”?

October 31, 2018 • Posted in Blog

 

A Lesson from History

In the aftermath of WWII, Leo Alexander penned the following as part of an article published in the New England Journal of Medicine:

The Example of Successful Resistance by the Physicians of the Netherlands There is no doubt that in Germany itself the first and most effective step of propaganda within the medical profession was the propaganda barrage against the useless, incurably sick described above. Similar, even more subtle efforts were made in some of the occupied countries. It is to the everlasting honor of the medical profession of Holland that they recognized the earliest and most subtle ...read more

The Rubicon

July 30, 2018 • Posted in Blog

D. Joy Riley, M.D., M.A. Executive Director

The law in the Roman Republic in 49 B.C. was very clear about an army crossing a small stream outside Rome: it was considered an act of war. Julius Caesar knew this, and led his 13th Legion across that stream, declaring, in the historian Suetonius’ words, “The die is cast!” Caesar and his army did not turn back, but continued on to war, and ultimately defeated Pompey the Great. This turning point in history is referenced whenever we talk about approaching a point of no return and utter the phrase, “crossing the Rubicon.”

“The Rubicon” sculpture ...read more

The ACP Releases a Position Paper on Physician-Assisted Suicide

September 27, 2017 • Posted in Blog

D. Joy Riley, M.D., M.A. Executive Director

On 19 September 2017, the Ethics, Professionalism and Human Rights Committee of the American College of Physicians released their position paper on physician-assisted suicide (P-AS). A brief synopsis of it follows…

Re: Ethics and the Legalization of Physician-Assisted Suicide: An American College of Physicians Position Paper

The statement released last week builds on previous work:

1997 report by the Institute of Medicine (IOM), Approaching Death: Improving Care at the End of Life, which cited “inadequate end-of-life care” in the U.S. 2001 statement by the American College of Physicians, in which the ACP did not support the legalization of P-AS. ...read more

Helping Patients Live vs. Helping Them Die

June 6, 2017 • Posted in Blog

D. Joy Riley, M.D., M.A. Executive Director

Cultural Suicide On Sunday, 28 May 2017, The Tennessean published a full page set of articles on the problem of suicide amongst the armed forces in our nation. The year 2012 saw a peak of 22 U.S. veterans killing themselves per day (Jake Lowary, “‘I can’t do barbecues:’ Veteran says“). The Department of Veterans Affairs plans a 7.5 percent budget increase to $186.1 million in 2018 — all to address suicide prevention, the department’s “highest clinical priority” (Jake Lowary, “Suicide rising in the military, but some programs give veterans hope“).

In light of these sobering statistics, it ...read more