Category: Catholic Bioethics

Stop What You Are Doing!
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Stop What You Are Doing!

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Run to your local theater and see OCTOBER BABY as soon as you are able! Bring as many of your family and friends with you as possible! This film completes the incomplete public discussion of abortion and the dignity of all human life. The frank beauty and power of its message will anger some but […]

A Healthy Child Can Never Be Guaranteed
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A Healthy Child Can Never Be Guaranteed

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A couple in Texas is suing a sperm bank in New England because their child has cystic fibrosis.  Cystic fibrosis is a devastating disease that is caused by mutations in the CFTR gene.  People with cystic fibrosis have mutations in both their copies of the CFTR gene; one mutation from their father and one mutation […]

Controlling Human Genetic Engineering Before it Controls Us
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Controlling Human Genetic Engineering Before it Controls Us

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We do have the ability to control human genetic engineering without it controlling us.  To do that we must draw a line in the sand between morally laudable therapy and human altering enhancement. My previous article, What is the Catholic View on Genetic Engineering, was all about the distinction between gene therapy and genetic enhancement.  Now, […]

What is the Catholic View on Genetic Engineering?
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What is the Catholic View on Genetic Engineering?

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The genetic engineering of humans is not yet a reality.  But, with advancements in gene therapy and cloning, it will be and it is critical that Catholics be ahead of the rhetorical curve on this one, instead of behind. Now is the time to look at the genetic engineering of humans and what the Church […]

Scientists Want to Engineer "Three-Parent" Human Beings
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Scientists Want to Engineer “Three-Parent” Human Beings

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The 3-genetic parent embryo is back in the news.  This time it is Australia that wants to attempt to genetically engineer a human embryo to have 3 genetic parents. Why would scientists want to engineer an embryo with the genetic material from 3 people?  Because, they think it will “prevent” the inheritance of mitochondrial disease.  Not all […]

Reverberations of Roe v. Wade Go Far Beyond Abortion
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Reverberations of Roe v. Wade Go Far Beyond Abortion

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Thirty-nine years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled, in Roe v. Wade, that the laws outlawing abortion in Texas were unconstitutional because a woman had a right to privacy, guaranteed by the Constitution.  Suddenly, the unborn had no legal protection in the United States.  But Roe v. Wade did not just deny legal protection to […]

New Drug for Depression Likely Developed with Cells from Aborted Fetus
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New Drug for Depression Likely Developed with Cells from Aborted Fetus

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I have suffered from depression my whole adult life.  Symptoms of depression and anxiety run in my family.  So any story about new treatments for depression always catch my eye.  But this one caught my eye for another reason.  One of the indications of depression is a reduced hippocampus, a part of the brain that […]

Transhumanism's Roots in Eugenics
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Transhumanism’s Roots in Eugenics

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I talk about transhumanism a lot because I believe it is the greatest threat to humanity that no one knows about.  Transhumansim is a philosophy that wants to use technology to surpass treating or preventing disease and use it to enhance otherwise healthy humans beyond natural capabilities.  They envision a world where you can leave […]

The Best and Worst in Biotechnology for 2011
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The Best and Worst in Biotechnology for 2011

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Reflecting on 2011, I began thinking of the 5 events in biotechnology that were the greatest threats to the sanctity of human life. True to my mission though, I couldn’t just talk about what is bad in the biotech arena. I also have to celebrate the 5 ways biotechnology has improved or preserved human life. […]

IVF: Is This Really Good for the Children?
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IVF: Is This Really Good for the Children?

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I have heard countless times that parents that undergo in vitro fertilization (IVF) must love their children so very much to go through such an expensive and invasive process to have children.  I have no doubt that parents undergoing IVF believe they are doing what is best, but looking at the realities of IVF that […]

Is the U.S. Behind the Rest of the World in Advancing Embryonic Stem Cell Research?
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Is the U.S. Behind the Rest of the World in Advancing Embryonic Stem Cell Research?

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I am beginning to believe that it is true that Americans in general have no idea about how things really are in the rest of the world.  For example, I am sure that many in the “Occupy” crowd have no idea that they are among the richest people in the world.  And the cancellation of […]

Why Does the Catholic Church Oppose Embryonic Stem Cell Research?
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Why Does the Catholic Church Oppose Embryonic Stem Cell Research?

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A reader recently asked the following fantastic question about the Catholic Church teaching on embryonic stem cell research: While my views in connection with research are opposed to those of the Pope and the Catholic church, I am very open to dialogue.  Simply for the sake of clarity (and not in any way seeking to […]

Nutritional Support and Human Dignity within the End-of-Life Context
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Nutritional Support and Human Dignity within the End-of-Life Context

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The Problem “Quality of life” and “death with dignity” have more than a few folks erroneously asserting that the range of legally-acceptable end-of-life options should include “voluntary euthanasia,” and/or “physician-assisted suicide” also known as “physician aid in dying.” [1]  In a recent commentary entitled Human Dignity and the End of Life, Cardinal Rigali and Bishop […]

CL26 - hbratton notxt
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The Role of Conscience — Vocation of Catholic Health Care Professionals? (Part 2)

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How are Catholic health care professional to act, morally and professionally, in a culture where legislative mandates diminish the exercise of the moral conscience of the clinician and threaten human dignity and freedom?  The following principles are offered to guide moral action of health care professionals when confronted with a decision to disregard mandated unethical […]

CL26 - hbratton notxt
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The Role of Conscience — Vocation of Catholic Health Care Professionals? (Part 1)

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  When he listens to his conscience, the prudent man can hear God speaking (Catechism of the Catholic Church, n.1777).   We live in a culture where health services are driven by moral relativism, commodification of the human person, the technological imperative, profitability in health services, the creep of utilitarian and impersonal ethical paradigms, escalating […]

Building a Catholic Bioethics Knowledge Base Amidst a Busy Life
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Building a Catholic Bioethics Knowledge Base Amidst a Busy Life

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Many people today are very busy, sometimes wondering “who’s got time to read?”  And yet, given the rapid and varied scientific breakthroughs which render contemporary research and healthcare contexts evermore complex and morally confusing, relevant reading is arguably imperative given our responsibility to the common good as voters, donors to charities, and investors in corporations […]

What is Human Dignity and the Sanctity of Life?
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What is Human Dignity and the Sanctity of Life?

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Pope Benedict XVI has aroused some opposition but also worldwide hope for dialogue and discovery of shared truths about our humanness, God, and moral and social crises of our times. He has focused much of his initiative on the core question of “human dignity” and, by implication, “the sanctity of life.” There is good reason […]

What Role Does Virtue Play in Catholic Bioethics?
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What Role Does Virtue Play in Catholic Bioethics?

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Virtues empower folks to reliably, freely, and happily engage in truly noble acts by which they become even more virtuous than they already are.  Like a surgeon who has progressed into a surgical virtuoso — a fully flourishing surgical artist whose patients rightly trust with their lives and their limbs — clinicians of various stripes […]

What is the Church's Teaching Role in Bioethics?
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What is the Church’s Teaching Role in Bioethics?

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When God created Adam and Eve, he placed them in a garden and blessed them. He told them, “Be fertile and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it. Have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and all living things that move on the earth” (Gen 1:28). The Catholic Church […]

Anointing of the Sick: A Healing Intervention at the Bedside
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Anointing of the Sick: A Healing Intervention at the Bedside

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A Response to a Problem Within clinical practice, I frequently encounter well-intentioned people who erroneously confuse “healing” with cure, people such as fellow health care professionals, Catholic patients and their family members, health care proxy decision makers, among others. Following upon this confusion, they misunderstand the place of the “healing sacraments” such as the Eucharist, […]

Why is Respect for the Common Good Important in Catholic Bioethics?
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Why is Respect for the Common Good Important in Catholic Bioethics?

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What is the common good?  The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains:  “By common good is to be understood “the sum total of social conditions which allow people, either as groups or as individuals, to reach their fulfillment more fully and more easily”. The common good concerns the life of all. It calls for prudence […]

Exploitation: Legal Protections for Human Embryos Eroding in France
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Exploitation: Legal Protections for Human Embryos Eroding in France

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The cold weather in recent months seems to have brought a flurry of news stories about embryos.  In October the 2010 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded to the inventor of in vitro fertilization.  In November the journal Human Reproduction published a study in which researchers at the University of Barcelona implanted silicon […]

An Ethical Defense of Conscience Clauses
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An Ethical Defense of Conscience Clauses

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Last week, the Obama administration revised controversial government regulations intended to protect the conscience rights of medical professionals. Put into place by the Bush administration, these conscience rules had allowed health care workers to opt out of performing medical interventions that they believe are morally objectionable. The new rules limit the medical procedures what medical […]

How Does One Determine The Goodness Or Badness Of An Act?
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How Does One Determine The Goodness Or Badness Of An Act?

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How do we determine the goodness or badness of an act? For instance, what makes murder evil and almsgiving good?  Simply, acts are good if they perfect human beings.  They make us the persons we were made to be by fulfilling those needs that we have by virtue of our common human nature.  Bad acts, […]

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