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1. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 16 > Issue: 4
Edward J. Furton, MA, PhD In This Issue
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2. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 16 > Issue: 4
Cara Buskmiller, MD Colloquy
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3. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 16 > Issue: 4
William L. Saunders Washington Insider
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essays
4. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 16 > Issue: 4
Gwyneth Spaeder, MD Bad Science Hurts Catholic Physicians
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Good intentions have propelled conservative-minded scientists and medical practitioners to argue that certain medical interventions may have dangerous and unintended consequences. Such positions are motivated by a hope that showing the negative consequences of immoral acts, such as abortion and sexual promiscuity, will help curtail the behavior. Unfortunately, when these positions are supported by faulty science—as are claims of a reputed link between certain vaccines and autism, and questions about the safety of the human papillomavirus vaccine, for example—they weaken the already tenuous relationship between Catholic medical professionals and the generally liberal scientific establishment.
5. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 16 > Issue: 4
Mary Shivanandan Relativism or Relativity: Religious Freedom and the Family
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This article addresses the issue of whether the Church has the right, even the duty, to inform public debate on reproductive issues. It argues that to deny this right is an infringement of religious freedom. Drawing on the writings of Pope St. John Paul II, it shows how truth, freedom, and the good are intrinsically related. Legislating against the good of human life detaches it from both truth and freedom. When secularism separates freedom from any relationship with God, it tends toward individualism, utilitarianism, and hedonism. The relativism at the heart of Roe v. Wade, which enshrined abortion in the Constitution, struck a blow at the dignity of the human person and the family. If the child is seen as an object to be manipulated, not a gift, a pseudo freedom prevails, which ignores the relational character of the human person. This endangers not only the family, but democracy itself.
6. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 16 > Issue: 4
E. Christian Brugger Catholic Hospitals and Sex Reassignment Surgery: A Reply to Bayley and Gremmels
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Catholic health care institutions presently face the question of whether it would be morally legitimate for them to participate in sex reassignment surgery for patients suffering from gender dysphoria. This essay replies to two articles published on this question in the Winter 2016 issue of the Catholic health care journal Health Care Ethics USA. It argues that both articles fail to attend to factors necessary for an adequate moral assessment of the question, and thus provide inadequate solutions. It goes on to argue that it would be intrinsically wrong for Catholic hospitals to counsel or perform sex reassignment surgery if in so doing they affirmed certain widely held erroneous assumptions about the nature of sex and gender. The essay ends by asking whether, if those erroneous assumptions were clearly and publically rejected, it could ever be licit to per­form surgical amputations or plastic surgical reconstructions to assist persons suffering from severe and intractable cases of gender dysphoria.
7. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 16 > Issue: 4
The National Catholic Bioethics Center Brief Statement on Transgenderism
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The claim that it is possible to change one’s sex, or that sexual identity is fluid, contradicts scientific evidence, reason, the nature of the human person, and key tenets of the Catholic faith. A small number of persons claiming to be “transgender” mistakenly believe that their true self and sexual identity contradict the sex of their bodies. They frequently experience profound suffer­ing due to intense psychological distress and due to the challenges of forming a healthy self-identity and basic human relationships, including friendships and marriage. Hormonal and surgical interventions, and other behaviors and practices that attempt to validate mistaken beliefs to relieve distress and suffering, are inappropriate responses to their condition. Persons claiming to be transgender must be accompanied on their difficult journey with true charity, and should be offered ethical, effective therapies based on sound anthropology and scientific evidence. The National Catholic Bioethics Center offers considerations to facilitate appropriate efforts to accompany and to help such persons.
articles
8. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 16 > Issue: 4
Graciela Ortiz The Ethics of Voluntarily Stopping Eating and Drinking
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Encouraging VSED (voluntarily stopping eating and drinking) to hasten a patient’s death is immoral. The practice results in an obvious conflict between the autonomy of the patient and the principles of beneficence and non-maleficence that must guide the physician and other health care workers. Because VSED is an act of passive euthanasia, it harms the patient and thus compromises the integrity of the physician–patient relationship. Health care providers must avoid any involvement in VSED, whether by providing information about the practice or by administering palliative care while a patient is voluntarily starving and dehydrating himself to death. Instead of cooperating in the evil of euthanasia, health care providers need to advocate for the patient by refusing to do any harm and by addressing the reasons why the patient is requesting a hastened death.
9. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 16 > Issue: 4
Katarina Lee Ethical Implications of Permitting Mitochondrial Replacement
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Mitochondrial replacement techniques (MRTs) have made headlines as some countries have passed legislation permitting the creation of “three-parent embryos” and because of the recent revelation that a child has already been born following the use of these techniques. MRTs assist women with severe mitochondrial disease to have children who are free from mitochondrial disease. Essentially, the mitochondrial DNA of an ovum or embryo is removed and replaced with the mtDNA of a donor. The purpose of this paper is to argue that MRTs are ethically impermissible but greater regulation is needed. There are five parts to this paper: (1) a brief history of mitochondrial manipulation, (2) a description of the MRT process, (3) ethical arguments in opposition to MRTs, (4) relevant counterarguments, and (5) a proposal for increased regulation.
10. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 16 > Issue: 4
Gerard V. Bradley The Future of Abortion Law in the United States
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In 1971, Judith Jarvis Thomson published what was then and still often is regarded as a trailblazing philosophical defense of a woman’s right to have a lawful abortion. It is time to revisit Thomson’s paper. The aim here is not to engage Thomson’s pro-choice conclusions, which are indeed mistaken, but to show that her question—to what extent can abortion be morally justified, assuming that it is the deliberate killing of one person by his or her mother—is the question today in American law concerning abortion. Pro-life people and groups argue among themselves about the prudence of political efforts to roll back Roe v. Wade by personhood initiatives, that is, by seeking to enact laws expressly recognizing that a human being with an equal right not to killed comes to be at fertilization, thereafter to pursue abortion restrictions as a matter of equal protection for all against unjustified uses of lethal force. Many if not most pro-life activists and bodies oppose such efforts as precipitous and almost certainly politically counterproductive. This article argues that, on the contrary, the unborn are already recognized as persons with a right not to be killed, and that the constitutional question of equal protection of unborn persons is already in the courts. Thomson’s question is, in other words, ripe and urgent, and it has been brought to the fore not by direct attack upon abortion rights, but indirectly by and through the many feticide laws enacted across the country since around the year 2000.
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11. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 16 > Issue: 4
Jos V. M. Welie, William F. Sullivan, John Heng The Value of Palliative Care: IACB Guidelines for Health Care Facilities and Individual Providers Facing Permissive Laws on Physician Assistance in Suicide and Euthanasia
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12. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 16 > Issue: 4
William F. Sullivan, John Heng Promoting Mental Health: IACB Statement toward a Shared Medical and Christian Ethical Framework
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notes & abstracts
13. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 16 > Issue: 4
David A. Prentice Science
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14. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 16 > Issue: 4
David J. Ramsey Medicine
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15. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 16 > Issue: 4
Christopher Kaczor Philosophy and Theology
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book reviews
16. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 16 > Issue: 4
Brian Welter Scholastic Metaphysics: A Contemporary Introduction
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17. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 16 > Issue: 4
Vince A. Punzo Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End
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18. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 16 > Issue: 4
Norbert C. Oparaji The End of Sex and the Future of Human Reproduction
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19. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 16 > Issue: 4
Matthew Dugandzic Suffering and Bioethics
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20. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 16 > Issue: 4
E. Christian Brugger The Gospel of Happiness: Rediscover Your Faith through Spiritual Practices and Positive Psychology
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