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1. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 17 > Issue: 2
Edward J. Furton In This Issue
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2. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 17 > Issue: 2
Matthew Dugandzic, Becket Gremmels, Francis Etheredge Colloquy
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3. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 17 > Issue: 2
William L. Saunders Washington Insider
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4. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 17 > Issue: 2
John A. Di Camillo Gender Transitioning and Catholic Health Care
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This essay discusses basic concepts that Catholic health care ministries should understand concerning so-called gender-transitioning interven­tions. Since genuine healing encompasses the whole person, transgender issues must be addressed in the full realistic terms of a body–soul union not merely in relation to experienced desires and feasible physiological modifications. For necessary clarity, the essay explains key distinctions between the terms disorders of sex development, gender dysphoria, and transgender. It argues that only bodily acceptance efforts can offer authentic healing in response to gender dysphoria, while all forms of gender transitioning, from psychological counsel­ing to cross-sex hormones and surgical “reassignment,” always contradict the good of the whole person. The essay concludes by emphasizing the significance of the educational role of Catholic health care and its call to witness even in the face of problematic recommendations by respected medical associations.
5. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 17 > Issue: 2
Stephen L. Mikochik Broken to the Hope: The Right to Life, the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and Canada’s Medical Assistance in Dying Act
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The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is a landmark international agreement recognizing the rights and equal status of disabled people. States Parties commit to protect the right to life of all such people and to promote their equal dignity. Canada ratified the convention in 2010. However, Canada’s Medical Assistance in Dying Act, which received royal assent in 2016, allows for assisted suicide and euthanasia of those dis­abled people who have a grievous and irremediable medical condition. This essay contends that the act violates Canada’s treaty obligations not to enact legislation inconsistent with the convention by jeopardizing the right to life of such people and placing them in a significantly unequal status within Canadian society.
6. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 17 > Issue: 2
Marissa L. Mullins When Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation Becomes Harmful
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Cardiopulmonary resuscitation is a standard emergency medical procedure. Since its inception in the late 1960s, CPR has been performed on patients unless they or their proxies refuse it. However, like all medical inter­ventions, CPR has its benefits, risks, and consequences. Although the expected benefits of the procedure often outweigh its potential harm, CPR is not always clinically appropriate, especially for the dying, who have a very small statistical chance of surviving the intervention. Just as antibiotics are not prescribed for viruses and surgeries and treatments are withheld when clinically inappropri­ate, CPR should not be offered as a clinical treatment when it has a very low probability of success and is thought to be futile. Health care providers have an ethical and moral responsibility to withhold clinically inappropriate CPR, even when patients or their proxies request the procedure.
7. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 17 > Issue: 2
Frederick J. White III, MD Lessons from Recent Polls on Physician-Assisted Suicide
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Physician-assisted suicide is an active political issue, and recent polls have indicated shifts in public opinion in favor of its permissibility and moral acceptability. However, structural errors and biasing effects exist in these polls, including several subtle logical fallacies as well as cognitive and reporting biases. Analysis of the polls suggests that public support for physician-assisted suicide is more conditional and much softer than the popular news headlines indicate. An understanding of how these factors function beneath the headlines provides important lessons for the discussion of physician-assisted suicide.
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8. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 17 > Issue: 2
Francisco Javier Insa Gómez, Pablo Requena Meana Is Medical Futility an Ethical or Clinical Concept?
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The concept of medical futility first appeared at the end of the 1980s, was developed throughout the 1990s, and now is widely cited in medical literature and clinical practice to justify refraining from or limiting the use of life-sustaining therapies. The definition of medical futility, however, is not very clear or universally accepted. In this article, we examine the strengths and limitations of a particular concept of medical futility, based exclusively on clinical considerations, that enables the physician to make unilateral decisions about whether to withhold, withdraw, or continue treatment without being required to consult the patient or his family. To respect the patient’s spiritual, philosophical, and ethical values, several significant ethical issues need to be narrowly defined, and the concept of medical futility must be rarely invoked to justify such unilateral decisions.
9. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 17 > Issue: 2
Joshua Evans The Catholic Tradition on Vital Conflicts: A Critique of Charles Camosy and James Mumford
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In two important books on the ethics of abortion, Charles Camosy and James Mumford appeal to the concept of “material aggression” to justify direct abortion in cases of vital conflict. Both authors argue that just-war theory justifies the direct killing of merely material aggressors by private citizens and suggest that papal condemnations of unjust-aggressor arguments fail to consider the distinction between formal and material aggression. However, both authors omit any reference to the historical context of the papal condemnations, do not recognize that the justification for killing in just-war theory is fundamentally political, and do not consider how the special relationship between mother and baby might affect the ethics of vital conflicts.
10. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 17 > Issue: 2
Jacob Harrison Karol Wojtyla, Sex Reassignment Surgery, and the Body–Soul Union
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Dialogue about the moral permissibility of sex reassignment surgery (SRS) in Catholic health care has recently received considerable attention. In an effort to further this discussion and bring clarity to the debate, the author uses Pope St. John Paul II’s robust theological and philosophical anthropology to evaluate the morality of SRS and enter dialogue with current arguments that suggest SRS is morally licit. The author argues that John Paul II’s anthropology renders SRS morally illicit. Moreover, current arguments supporting SRS rely on an anthropology of body–soul dualism. This conclusion suggests that future arguments for the permissibility of SRS in Catholic health care will always be invalid if they fail to uphold the body–soul unity of the person.