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1. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 16 > Issue: 2
William L. Saunders Washington Insider
2. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 16 > Issue: 2
Cynthia Jones-Nosacek, Kathleen M. Raviele, Les Ruppersberger, Anthony J. Caruso Colloquy
3. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 16 > Issue: 2
Cara Buskmiller, MD Cryopreserved Embryo Adoption: Not Now, Maybe Later
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Cryopreservation and vitrification are techniques employed in fertility clinics to preserve embryos not used in in vitro fertilization cycles. These frozen embryos carry the dignity of persons, and it has been suggested that they could be unfrozen and adopted. Experts have offered divergent opinions on the legitimacy of this practice. This essay reviews the debate and offers a phenomenological description of embryo adoption considered in itself, as well as reflections on current circumstances which the author proposes make embryo adoption not only imprudent but illicit.
4. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 16 > Issue: 2
Rev. Tadeusz Pacholczyk Suffering in Extremis and the Question of Palliative Sedation
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The difference between partially and completely eliminating an individual’s state of consciousness through the use of pharmacological agents seems particularly significant in the final phases of dying. Remediating pain and suffering by means of palliative sedation and the complete shutting down of consciousness raises ethical and spiritual concerns about categorically precluding participation in one’s own death. Given that, at the end of life, suffering almost invariably imposes itself on us in some form, we are challenged to reflect on how our dying process should appropriately incorporate and take cognizance of that suffering, even as we acknowledge the value and importance of palliative steps to remediate the suffering.
5. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 16 > Issue: 2
Gary Michael Atkinson Humanae vitae, Rape and the Zika Virus: Five Remarks
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Zika virus infection in a pregnant woman may cause severe brain malformations (microcephaly) and other birth defects in her child, and women living in or traveling to areas where it is endemic are urged to postpone pregnancy. Do the dangers posed by microcephaly justify the use of contraceptives under the principle of double effect? The author discusses ambiguities in Humanae vitae n. 14 and the claim that the use of contraceptives was approved by Pope Paul VI for nuns at risk of rape, and uses the principle of double effect to show that the answer to this question is no: the use of the anovulant pill by married couples for the purpose of preventing conception of a microcephalic child cannot be licit.
6. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 16 > Issue: 2
Kent J. Lasnoski Are Cremation and Alkaline Hydrolysis Morally Distinct?
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This article morally assesses alkaline hydrolysis as a means of final bodily disposition. Arguing from the Catholic social and theological principles of human dignity, the doctrine of bodily resurrection, subsidiarity, and the common good, the author shows that, while alkaline hydrolysis has some advantages over burial and cremation (incineration), Catholic conferences should be encouraged to resist its legalization, provided they focus renewed energy on teaching the faithful about the significance of Christ’s victory, by the Resurrection, over the corruption of bodily death.
7. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 16 > Issue: 2
Elliott Louis Bedford The Reality of Institutional Conscience
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Opponents of conscience protections for Catholic Health Care institutions claim that, since institutions are not autonomous individuals, they are not subjects of conscience. Therefore, since institutional conscience does not exist, it does not deserve protection. In this article, the author demonstrates not only that institutional conscience exists but that it is an activity that pervades all human institutions. He provides a metaphysical sketch that illustrates how institutions are organic outgrowths of human social nature which mitigate the natural limitations of human individuals. Consequently, the activity of conscience is inherently a component of the life of human institutions.
8. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 16 > Issue: 2
Gwyneth A. Spaeder, MD The Moral Obligation to Vaccinate: Autonomy and the Common Good
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The widespread availability of effective vaccines against life-threatening infections has been one of the greatest public health achievements. Unfounded but widely circulated safety concerns about some vaccines and ethical concerns about the derivation of others have caused a decline in the number of immunized individuals in the United States. Exploring distinctions between formal and material cooperation in evil provides reassurance that, in the absence of alternatives, Catholics may, in good conscience, receive vaccines originally derived from fetal tissue obtained from abortions. Examining Catholic teaching on the individual’s responsibility to the common good shows that, in the absence of medical contraindications, each person has a duty to receive currently recommended vaccinations.
9. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 16 > Issue: 2
Paul Babcock Paying Workers as if People Mattered
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This article examines capitalist, socialist, and solidarist wage theories to determine which theory is best suited to our health care system. It argues for solidarist wage theory, which is based on Catholic social teaching, relying on the notion that wages are inexorably entwined with providing for oneself and one’s family as a consequence of the Fall. It then discusses several unique features of health care wages that threaten the sustainability of the system, and explores how application of the solidarist model can address these problems.
10. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 16 > Issue: 2
Archbishop Bernardito Auza Position of the Holy See on the UN Political Declaration on HIV and AIDS June 8, 2016
11. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 16 > Issue: 3
Greg Schleppenbach Washington Insider
12. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 16 > Issue: 3
Brother Ignatius Perkins, OP, RN Accompanying the Destitute and Dying: The Character of the Clinician and the Healing Relationship after Treatment Ends
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The experiences of clinicians who care for the sick and dying after withdrawal of treatment are rarely documented. This may be because these narratives, which offer insight into the intentionality and character of the clinician, do not lend themselves to clinical reports. The experience of palliative care touches clinicians in different ways and often confronts them with complex ethical dilemmas about care and treatment. This article explores the character of the clinician in relation to the telos of medicine and the experience of accompanying the dying after withdrawal of treatment.
13. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 16 > Issue: 3
Teresa Yao Can We Limit a Right to Physician-Assisted Suicide?
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In each US state that has legalized physician-assisted suicide, the law stipulates that it may be pursued only by terminally ill patients with a prognosis of six months or less to live. It appears that this requirement makes euthanasia laws more palatable for the general public. However, this restriction is not justified by the reasoning commonly used to support assisted suicide. The desire to alleviate suffering and uphold personal autonomy should require that assisted suicide be allowed for individuals who do not have a six-month prognosis. The author concludes that a moral contradiction arises for individuals who support limited assisted suicide but oppose unrestricted suicide because acceptance of the former logically leads to acceptance of the latter.
14. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 16 > Issue: 3
Alan Vincelette Maternal–Fetal Conflict and Periviability
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A recent statement of consensus held that the principle of double effect would allow the induction of a previable fetus in order to eliminate a grave and present danger to the life of a mother suffering from peripartum cardiomyopathy. The author responds to this declaration, points out some limitations preventing it from being a vehicle for broader agreement, and offers an alternative, namely, medical induction of labor in cases of maternal–fetal vital conflict can be justified if the fetus has at least a fair chance of survival. This support of induction in cases of periviability considers the interests of both fetus and mother and, unlike the earlier consensus statement, can be defended by those who hold that one’s moral intention includes both the ultimate and proximate ends, or the immediate consequences of one’s act.
15. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 16 > Issue: 3
Charles Robertson Navigating an Impasse in the Embryo Adoption Debate: A Response to Elizabeth Rex
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This essay responds to an article by Elizabeth Bothamley Rex titled “The Magisterial Liceity of Embryo Adoption” (NCBQ, Winter 2015), specifically to Rex’s critique that his objections to the liceity of embryo transfer distort magisterial documents. He then draws out the implications of the differences between his view and Rex’s on the relation between maternity and pregnancy. The essay concludes by pointing out that, if they are to change their minds, opponents of embryo adoption need to be convinced that it is morally licit to impregnate, or “introduce an order to birth,” in a woman by means other than the marriage act.
16. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 16 > Issue: 3
Ann M. Heath Advance Directives to Withhold Oral Food and Water in Dementia: A Surrogate’s Moral Obligations
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Euthanasia advocates have recently begun counseling people to create advance directives calling for oral food and water to be withheld if the person reaches a certain stage of dementia. The author shows that these directives are in fact requests for euthanasia, and they leave vulnerable people subject to poor-quality care. Both surrogate decision makers (health care proxies) and Catholic institutions have a moral obligation not to implement such directives, and surrogates, rather than withdrawing as proxies, have a moral obligation to advocate for the life and proper care of the incompetent person. Finally, the author argues that society is morally culpable if it does not strongly resist euthanasia in all its forms. National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly 16.3 (Autumn 2016): 421–434.
17. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 16 > Issue: 3
Barbara Golder, MD, E.Wesley Ely, MD, John Raphael, Ashley K. Fernandes, MD, Annmarie Hosie, RN Assisted Nutrition and Hydration as Supportive Care during Illness: Bedside Application of Catholic Moral Teaching
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Confusion surrounds Catholic teaching on the use of assisted nutrition and hydration (ANH), specifically the question of when, if ever, its refusal or removal is ethical. This paper focuses on two often-neglected considerations: (1) the relationship between means (feeding) and mechanism (how the food is delivered), and (2) an assessment of proportionality of the mechanism from the patient’s perspective. The authors draw on two critical principles of Catholic moral teaching: only ordinary means are required, and proportionality is subject to the perspective of the patient, not just that of experts or the culture. The mechanisms that provide food and water have distinct benefits and burdens. Their proportionality is properly subject to analysis by the patient or surrogate, who determines which mechanism is acceptable in the patient’s situation.
18. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 16 > Issue: 3
Christian Medical and Dental Association Transgender Identification
19. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 16 > Issue: 3
Janet E. Smith, John S. Grabowski, J. Budziszewski, Maria Fedoryka Self-Gift: The Heart of Humanae vitae
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It is possible to defend the Church’s teaching that contraception is incompatible with God’s plan for sexuality in many different ways. This essay sketches the fundamental views of reality common to all the defenses and the main lines of the most prominent defenses, some based on natural law (of which there are several versions), on the theology of the body, and on the physical, psychological, and social consequences of the use of contraception. While all the defenses have merit, the argument based on the recognition that sexual intercourse is meant to be a complete self-gift has a special power of its own.
20. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 16 > Issue: 4
William L. Saunders Washington Insider