This Week in Bioethics

by Christopher White, CBC Director of Research and Education on January 15, 2016

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1. NJ Physician Assisted Suicide Bill Fails

Earlier this week a bill to legalize physician assisted suicide in New Jersey failed due to lack of support in the state senate. While we’re grateful for this victory, we also know that supporters of physician assisted suicide will be eager to pounce again in the very near future. We’ll remain vigilant—and so should you!

2. NY Physician Assisted Suicide Bill Heats Up

Meanwhile, advocates for physician assisted suicide expanded their fight to New York State this week, where the group Compassion and Choices lobbied legislators in support of the bill. It’s unclear where the state’s lawmakers stand on the issue at the moment, but we’ll be monitoring this closely and will keep you updated.

3. Researchers Trying to Grow Human Organs in Animals

Due to the great need for transplant organs, some researchers are attempting to further efforts to grow human organs in animals. The process relies on erasing the animal’s DNA and inserting human pluripotent stem cells to replace what is missing. As CBC Board Member Dr. Aaron Kheriaty notes in a recent interview, not a single peer reviewed study has been produced on this procedure, and this type of experimentation of creating human and animal hybrids raises serious ethical concerns because there are so many unknown variables about what is actually being created.

4. Sherri Shepherd Appeals Surrogacy Ruling

Television celebrity Sherri Shepherd is appealing a Pennsylvania’s court ruling that declared her the legal mother of the child she contracted to have via surrogacy. While the child bears no biological relation to Shepherd, she was the one who contracted to bring the now one year old boy into existence, only to change her mind once she and her husband divorced. This is a tragic case that highlights the tangled webs of surrogacy that fails to protect the children created from the process.

5. CBC’s Paul Ramsey Fellow Book Released

Dr. Paul Kalanithi, a Stanford Neurosurgeon and CBC Paul Ramsey Fellow who passed away from lung cancer at age 37, spent his final days penning a memoir that was published this week. When Breath Becomes Air offers stunning reflections on medicine and mortality. The website Bookish has named it one of the hottest releases of the week. We’re honored to have had Paul as our colleague and offer our strongest endorsement of the book.
This Week in Bioethics Archive

Image by trygu via flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

 

 

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