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41. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 10 > Issue: 2
John M. Travaline, M.D., F.A.C.P. Medicine
42. 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.
43. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 10 > Issue: 3
Richard M. Doerflinger Washington Insider
44. 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.
45. 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.
46. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 10 > Issue: 3
Greg F. Burke, MD, FACP Medicine
47. 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.
48. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 10 > Issue: 3
Christopher Kaczor, PhD Philosophy and Theology
49. 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.
50. 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.
51. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 10 > Issue: 3
Francis L. Delmonico, MD The Concept of Death and Deceased Organ Donation
52. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 10 > Issue: 3
Rev. Benedict M. Guevin, OSB Vital Conflicts and Virtue Ethics
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In his book Vital Conflicts in Medical Ethics: A Virtue Approach to Craniotomy and Tubal Pregnancies, Martin Rhonheimer offers a virtue approach to vital conflicts in medical ethics. These vital conflicts are those medical situations involving pregnancy in which, if nothing is done, both the mother and her child will die. When analyzed by means of his understanding of the virtue of justice, Rhonheimer concludes that the so-called direct killing of children in the womb or in the fallopian tube is permissible since the child’s death is neither a means to saving the mother’s life nor an end sought for itself and is, therefore, not unjust. Because such a death is not unjust, it is also not a moral evil since only an unjust death can be called a moral evil. The author offers a critique of both his understanding of justice and what constitutes the “object” of the moral act. National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly 10.3 (Autumn 2010): 471–480.
53. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 10 > Issue: 3
Rev. Nicanor Pier Giorgio Austriaco Science
54. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 10 > Issue: 4
Rev. Grzegorz Holub, SDB Creating Better People?: Some Considerations on Genetic Enhancement
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Genetic engineering promises to change the human condition by changing certain human characteristics. Why not take control of such changes and secure positive outcomes, making use of our progressing knowledge about human genetic make-up and our increasingly sophisticated skills? This paper elaborates the meanings of the word “change,” a cornerstone of the enhancement debate, focusing not on technicalities of genetic engineering but on philosophical implications of its implementation. The paper then turns to some of the complexities and difficulties of the debate. Finally, it takes up a strictly philosophical investigation of what we mean by “change” as far as a basic structure of the human being (the human person) is concerned, and examines what conclusions can be drawn for genetic enhancement. National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly 10.4 (Winter 2010): 723–740.
55. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 10 > Issue: 4
Rev. Deacon Thomas J. Davis Jr. Plan B Agonistics: Doubt, Debate, and Denial
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Researches over many years have examined whether levonorgestrel emergency contraception (Plan B, Next Choice) has a postfertilization effect. In a recent article in the Catholic Health Association’s journal Health Progress, Sandra Reznik, MD, asserts that “levonorgestrel acts to prevent pregnancy before, and only before, fertilization occurs.” A companion article by Ron Hamel, PhD, argues for the moral certainty that Plan B is not an abortifacient. Reznik fails to address the principal model supporting a potential postfertil­ization mechanism of action, specifically, that preovulatory administration of levonorgestrel disrupts the delicate ratio of estrogen and progesterone essential to healthy endometrial development and induces the equivalent of luteal phase insufficiency, thereby jeopardizing implantation. Hamel’s argument for moral certitude is similarly inadequate. This article critically reviews both articles and the sources on which they rely. National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly 10.4 (Winter 2010): 741–772.
56. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 10 > Issue: 4
The Most Reverend Mark J. Seitz Check Your Faith at the Door: The Dilemma of the Catholic Citizen
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Since America was founded, faith informed its moral genius. From the Declaration of Independence to the work of Martin Luther King Jr., belief in God positively shaped the moral awareness of the nation. This article suggests that political discourse emerging in the middle of the twentieth century, which effectively prohibits the mention of faith in serious political conversation, is having devastating consequences on the moral capacity of contemporary society. It suggests that such faith-less political discourse contradicts America’s founding logic. This article also reasserts the Catholic claim that truth can be known and that in the face of faith-less political discourse, Catholics are morally bound to seek complete truth, which requires faith. National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly 10.4 (Winter 2010): 687–693.
57. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 10 > Issue: 4
Rev. Kevin D. O’Rourke, OP Catholic Principles and In Vitro Fertilization
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In the 2008 Instruction Dignitas personae (The Dignity of the Person), the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith presented once again the teaching of the Church on in vitro fertilization. Much of this teaching was contained in the earlier Instruction Donum vitae (The Gift of Life, 1987), but the new document brings the teaching of the Church up to date. Because the teaching is not accepted in the secular scientific community and is often unknown in the Catholic community, this article explores the process of IVF, the view of the Church concerning it, and the fundamental principles underlying the Church’s teaching. National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly 10.4 (Winter 2010): 709–722.
58. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 10 > Issue: 4
Rev. Linus Dolce, OSB Injustice Perpetrated on the Dead: A Christian Perspective on Body Worlds
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At a Body Worlds exhibition, human corpses are displayed as museum pieces for educational purposes. The bodies are preserved by plastination, a technique invented by Gunther von Hagens and engineered at the Institute for Plastination in Heidelberg, Germany. Because of the wide controversy surrounding the displays, it is necessary to study how justice obtains. Understood from a Thomistic perspective, the use of a plastinate by Body Worlds is unjust because it dishonors the donor. The goodness of that use fails in terms of object, end, and circumstance. National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly 10.4 (Winter 2010): 667–676.
59. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 10 > Issue: 4
Stan Dundon Denying Food and Water: The Real-World Implications
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Life-support technology may become a death-prolonging horror, and some people may fear that an over-intellectualized interpretation of traditional moral teaching has led us astray from what a compassionate God wills for the dying. The author addresses this fear. Those who defend “orthodox” teaching on end-of-life issues have a serious obligation not to obscure the compassion implicit in the traditional distinction between ordinary and extraordinary means. There is no medical or moral obligation to prolong dying or make it more burdensome with interventions that offer little benefit, and there is nothing immoral about pain relief. What is prohibited is killing: any action or omission that has the express or implicit purpose of ending a life. National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly 10.4 (Winter 2010): 695–705.
60. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 10 > Issue: 4
Rev. Nicanor Pier Giorgio Austriaco Science