The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly

Volume 23, Issue 2, Summer 2023

Recommendations for Revising the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services

DiAnn Ecret; RN, Tracy Winsor, Jozef D. Zalot
Pages 285-302

Commentary on Revisions to the Ethical and Religious Directives, Part Four
Issues in Care for the Beginning of Life

We suggest edits to Part Four of the Ethical and Religious Directives (ERDs) to help the US bishops address and clarify essential Church teachings on specific beginning-of-life issues facing Catholic health care today. As a teaching tool, Part Four must be updated so that Catholic health care professionals and the lay faithful can understand and apply Church teachings to new ethical challenges. Further, more direction and clarity from the ERDs is needed in applying general principles to assisted procreative technologies, pre- and post-viability induction of labor, ectopic pregnancies, genetic screening and diagnosis, and contraception. Catholic health care clinicians and administrators also need to receive ongoing instruction on the ERDs’ teachings as well as the theological and philosophical rationales that undergird them.