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41. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Greg F. Burke, M.D., F.A.C.P. Medicine
42. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 10 > Issue: 2
William L. Saunders Jr. Washington Insider
43. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 10 > Issue: 2
Edward J. Furton Embryo Adoption Reconsidered
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The question of embryo adoption remains unresolved. Dignitas personae expresses reservations about the practice, but does not reject it. A proper interpretation of Dignitas personae n. 19 shows that the Vatican does not hold that human embryo adoption is intrinsically immoral, but that the question of its morality depends on the circumstances that surround the practice. Embryo adoption as practiced today is often compromised by illicit cooperation with objectionable reproductive technologies; nonetheless, it is possible to identify a best case scenario which may lessen or even eliminate these concerns. That best case is when a Catholic couple, who have not previously utilized in vitro fertilization to overcome a problem of infertility, adopt an abandoned embryo and choose to raise that child as their own. National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly 10.2 (Summer 2010): 329–347.
44. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 10 > Issue: 2
Alvin Wong, M.D. Dignitas personae and Cell Line Independence
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The recent Instruction Dignitas personae from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith formally addresses the issue of the use of biological material of illicit origin. We now face the challenge of applying the principles it sets forth to daily realities. While the issue of vaccines that use such illicit cell lines has been addressed, other scenarios involving the everyday scientist or researcher in the laboratory or clinic will have to be confronted. It is a critical time for the cell line issue, and much work is needed by the scientific community to find ethical solutions. This article hopes to encourage positive steps in that direction. National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly 10.2 (Summer 2010): 273–280.
45. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 10 > Issue: 2
Lawrence Masek On Some Proposals for Producing Human Stem Cells
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The author argues that an action is morally wrong if any of its steps serves no purpose apart from preventing the existence of a human being. This principle entails that contraception and some proposed techniques for altered nuclear transfer are morally wrong, but it does not preclude producing stem cells through parthenogenesis. His argument depends on the premise that human life always is a good, including human life produced through immoral actions. The immoral action, not the life caused by the action, is the evil that should be prevented. National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly 10.2 (Summer 2010): 257–264.
46. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 10 > Issue: 2
Mark S. Latkovic The Dignity of the Person: An Overview and Commentary on Dignitas personae
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This article provides a detailed overview and critical commentary on the Instruction Dignitas personae from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, a document that updates Donum vitae. First, it situates the Instruction in the context of modern society’s reliance on biotechnology to overcome infertility, while also examining technology’s wider impact on human persons—for example, on their relationship with God. It then examines the teaching of the document while at the same time offering critical comments on it, pointing out both strengths and weaknesses in, for example, its treatment of the issue of human embryo adoption. It concludes with some general comments on how the Instruction will influence Catholic bioethics in both theory and practice. Throughout the article, it is often noted how Dignitas personae compares with its predecessor, Donum vitae. National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly 10.2 (Summer 2010): 283–305.
47. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 10 > Issue: 2
John S. Grabowski, Christopher Gross Dignitas personae and the Adoption of Frozen Embryos: A New Chill Factor?
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The Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith’s Dignitas personae does not offer a definitive rejection of the practice of human embryo adoption as intrinsically evil, but neither does it simply leave the matter an “open question.” The document does indeed oppose the practice, but its reasons for doing so are not clearly stated and seem to be in tension with its own affirmations of the personal dignity of embryos and the goodness of adoption. The Congregation’s opposition is therefore best read as a prudential judgment that embryo adoption cannot be justified in the present circumstances due to the potential for scandal and the cooperation with the fertility industry which it involves. National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly 10.2 (Summer 2010): 307–328.
48. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 10 > Issue: 2
Rev. Nicanor Pier Giorgio Austriaco Using Morally Controversial Human Cell Lines after Dignitas personae
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Human cell lines are well-characterized laboratory cultures of human cells derived from a single source. In recent years, much moral controversy has surrounded human cell lines and biological materials obtained from aborted fetuses and destructive human embryo research. Dignitas personae instructs scientists of good conscience to avoid using biological materials of illicit origin, to distance themselves from evil, and to avoid scandal. The author suggests that the Instruction allows a scientist to delay discontinuing the use of a morally controversial cell line for a reasonable amount of time and allows a citizen of conscience to financially support—in a limited and restricted manner governed by prudence—philanthropic organizations that fund controversial biomedical research programs. National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly 10.2 (Summer 2010): 265–272.
49. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 10 > Issue: 2
Nicanor Pier Giorgio Austriaco Science
50. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 10 > Issue: 2
Christopher Kaczor, Ph.D. Philosophy and Theology
51. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 10 > Issue: 2
John M. Travaline, M.D., F.A.C.P. Medicine
52. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 10 > Issue: 2
John B. Shea, M.D. Only a Cell
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It is important to know as precisely as possible when a human being comes into existence. This can occur in ordinary circumstances after sexual intercourse. It can also occur in a nonsexual manner by various types of cloning and genetic engineering techniques and in naturally occurring monozygotic identical twining in vivo. Many scientists and physicians, in an effort to avoid being accused of abuse of human embryos in their research and in the practice of abortion, have falsified the facts about human conception for many years throughout the world, creating moral confusion and error. This essay is meant to clarify this situation. National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly 10.2 (Summer 2010): 251–256.
53. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 10 > Issue: 3
Richard M. Doerflinger Washington Insider
54. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 10 > Issue: 3
David T. Reiber The Morality of Artificial Womb Technology
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This paper explores the concept of ectogenesis in both the partial and the complete forms and argues for the moral permissibility of artificial womb technology in some restricted contexts. The author proposes that artificial wombs could licitly be employed for the purpose of saving the lives of infants born at very young gestational ages either by miscarriage or by delivery induced for very serious medical reasons. The author also proposes that artificial womb technology may be licitly used for the rescue of embryos created through in vitro fertilization and subsequently abandoned by their parents, but the technology would have no ethical application when used electively. National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly 10.3 (Autumn 2010): 515–528.
55. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 10 > Issue: 3
Nicholas Tonti-Filippini Secularism and Loss of Consensus about the Diagnosis of Death
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This paper explores the determination of death as it pertains to ethical decisions about organ and tissue donation. The Church holds that death can be diagnosed on the basis of evidence showing the complete cessation of all brain function and the corresponding loss of integration of the body. On the basis of evidence presented by D. Alan Shewmon and others, influential secular bodies have rejected the integrationist view, arguing instead for a much more liberal view that a loss of spontaneous breathing and loss of consciousness are sufficient for a diagnosis of death; that is, some brain function may continue after death. New laws and guidelines in various countries are based on this mode-of-being view. The author defends the Church’s integrationist view, arguing that loss of all brain function means loss of integration in the intercommunicative sense that pertains to the separation of the life principle, or soul, from the body in death. National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly 10.3 (Autumn 2010): 491–514.
56. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 10 > Issue: 3
Greg F. Burke, MD, FACP Medicine
57. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 10 > Issue: 3
Patrick Guinan, MD Is Assisted Nutrition and Hydration Always Mandated?: The Persistent Vegetative State Differs from Dementia and Frailty
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There is controversy in the Catholic medical ethics community surrounding assisted nutrition and hydration (ANH). Recently, the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services were amended to make ANH “obligatory.” The persistent vegetative state is cited specifically in the document, and the sentence following its mention states that ANH is “optional” when it cannot be expected to “prolong life” or when it would be “excessively burdensome.” For patients suffering from other medical conditions, such as dementia and frailty, ANH may be excessively burdensome and may not prolong life. For these patients, ANH may be of no real benefit and may even have significant morbidity and mortality. Competent individuals with these conditions can ethically elect to forgo ANH. National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly 10.3 (Autumn 2010): 481–488.
58. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 10 > Issue: 3
Christopher Kaczor, PhD Philosophy and Theology
59. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 10 > Issue: 3
Ashley Fernandes, MD The Loss of Dignity at the End of Life: Incommunicability as a Call and a Demand
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The permissibility of euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide is actively debated worldwide. Writers such as Ruth Macklin and Steven Pinker have argued that dignity is not a useful concept in bioethics and cannot be used legitimately by either side in the debate. In this essay, the author expands on a defense of the human person based in dignity and rooted in the work of Karol Wojtyla (Pope John Paul II) and Gabriel Marcel. He defends the idea, introduced by John F. Crosby, that a human person has dignity because of her “unrepeatableness,” a concept known as incommunicability. The author argues that the concept of dignity—far from being abstract, useless, or dangerous, as some writers have recently claimed—is a practical and vital protection for persons. National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly 10.3 (Autumn 2010): 529–546.
60. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 10 > Issue: 3
Timothy P. Collins, MD Is Gardasil Good Medicine?
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The HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccine Gardasil (Merck & Co.) was licensed for use by the FDA on June 8, 2006. The Centers for Disease Control and major physician professional organizations have recommended routine universal vaccination in young girls. However, questions remain regarding the safety and efficacy of the vaccine in this age group. Also, vaccine use will not eliminate the need for routine Pap screening, and it may not decrease future cervical cancer rates. This paper surveys the natural history of HPV infection as well as the controversies surrounding the vaccine’s use as currently recommended. National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly 10.3 (Autumn 2010): 459–469.