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The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly

Volume 19, Issue 1, Spring 2019

Thomas Heyne, MD, Nancy Hernandez, MD, Lisa Gilbert, MD
Pages 63-88

A Catholic Approach to Adolescent Medicine

Adolescence is an important yet vulnerable period of transition from childhood to adulthood. An increasing number of studies support the traditional Catholic view, which sees teens as prone to making poor decisions when influ­enced by emotions or peer pressure but capable of thriving when guided by parents and religion. However, newer policies of medical societies undermine the traditional supports of family and faith with a permissive approach toward sexual exploration. To counter this unhealthy trend, which seems to be based more on postmodern ideology than robust science, Catholic physicians should become experts in adolescent behavior and sexual health. Physicians should be sensitive to opposing viewpoints but participate only in treatments which are ethical and beneficial for their patients. Specifically, Catholic physicians must avoid contraceptives, abortion, and “gender-affirming” therapies. By using good science and emulating the models of service, Socratic dialogue, and accompaniment, physicians can guide adolescents toward a virtuous, healthy adulthood.

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