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1. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 16 > Issue: 1
Stephen Rocker Colloquy
2. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 16 > Issue: 1
Becket Gremmels, Dan O’Brien, Peter J. Cataldo, John Paul Slosar, Mark Repenshek Opportunistic Salpingectomy to Reduce the Risk of Ovarian Cancer
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Substantial medical evidence shows that about half of ovarian cancers originate in the fallopian tube. Some medical organizations and clinical articles have suggested opportunistic salpingectomy to reduce the risk of ovarian cancer in patients at average risk of developing it. This entails removing the fallopian tubes at the same time as another procedure that would occur anyway. The authors argue that the principles of totality and double effect can justify such salpingectomies, even though there is a low incidence of ovarian cancer. Since screening tools for ovarian cancer are ineffective and treatment options are poor, the good effect of reducing the risk of death from this type of ovarian cancer can be proportionate to the bad effects of the minor increase in surgical risk over the other procedure, the unintended side effect of infertility, and the removal of normally functioning tissue. The authors conclude that it is within the purview of a patient and physician to determine whether the benefits are proportionate to the risks in a particular case.
3. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 16 > Issue: 1
Francis Etheredge Frozen and Untouchable: A Double Injustice to the Embryo
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The ethical limbo in which frozen human embryos exist is, tragically, a real limbo, and in their untouchability lies an apparent contradiction: that God cannot rescue a person whom man, in his pride, has co-created outside the truly necessary incorporation within a family. The author explores the possibility that ethical objections to embryo adoption are based on a flawed conflation of two problems: (1) the immorality, injustice, and harm of the procedure that supplants the marriage act; and (2) the rights of the child conceived outside the welcoming nature of the marriage act—the primary rights of every conceived person to completing, wholesome, and relational nurture. The author argues for the humanitarian right to embryo adoption, within marriage, from the point of view of the rights of the person conceived.
4. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 16 > Issue: 1
John E. Fitzgerald Long-Acting Contraceptives for Adolescents: A Critique of the Policy of the American Academy of Pediatrics
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In 2014, the American Academy of Pediatrics published its policy statement on contraception for adolescents, which provides, in effect, a mandate to temporarily sterilize all adolescents with long-acting reversible contraceptives for five to ten years. The author reviews the AAP guidelines and their effects on Catholic adolescents, their families, and adolescent health care providers. He then discusses medicolegal issues raised by the policy, outlines Catholic strategies for combating it, and proposes a diocese-based physician-led program for teaching and counseling elementary and high school students.
5. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 16 > Issue: 1
Pope Francis “Service to the Sick”: Message for the Twenty-Fourth World Day of the Sick: September 15, 2015
6. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 16 > Issue: 1
Richard M. Doerflinger Washington Insider
7. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 16 > Issue: 1
Joshua Madden Marriage, “Bodily Union,” and Natural Teleology: A Response to Rebekah Johnston and the New Natural Law Theorists
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In recent years the account of natural law that has come to be known as the “new natural law theory” has come under criticism. Rebekah Johnston has engaged quite seriously with the NNL account of marriage and sexuality and has deemed it insufficient and internally inconsistent, going so far as to argue for the legitimacy of homosexual “marriage” based on the NNL’s own system. The author argues in this essay that the NNL does not fully realize the implications of its position in this regard, and that Rebekah Johnston’s critique fails similarly in providing an account of marriage and sexuality. To remedy these errors, the role of normative, natural teleology must be investigated thoroughly.
8. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 16 > Issue: 1
Gerald D. Coleman Pope Francis, Mercy, and the Meaning of Marriage
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Pope Francis has called for the Church to be a sign of mercy and hope to the world. Mercy stands at the center of the Gospel, and the family is a fundamental seat of mercy within the culture, responsible for bestowing the most valuable of God’s gifts, human life. Because of its mission to bestow life, marriage is necessarily a “lifelong covenant of love and fidelity between a man and a woman” (Francis). As the Church upholds the view of marriage exclusively as the union of a man and a woman who are capable of reaching the deepest kind of unity, she also affirms that persons of the same sex can achieve unity in meaningful ways. Upholding the traditional, comprehensive view of marriage does not belittle the dignity of homosexual persons, because all are our brothers and sisters.
9. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 16 > Issue: 1
Nancy Valko Brain Death: Do We Know Enough?
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Every year, people make decisions based on trust in the certainty of diagnoses of brain death. These decisions range from signing an organ donation card to withdrawing life support from a loved one. Two recent developments have revived concerns about medical standards for determining brain death. One is a recent study on variability in brain death policies in the United States; the other is the filing of a federal lawsuit to rescind the death certificate of Jahi McMath, a teenager who appears to have survived a 2013 declaration of brain death. The author examines these developments and asks whether trust in the certainty of brain-death determinations is currently warranted.
10. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 16 > Issue: 1
Samuel E. Hager Against Salpingostomy as a Treatment for Ectopic Pregnancy
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Ectopic pregnancy, when not resolved naturally, can be fatal to the mother if left untreated. A number of medical solutions exist, though none that save the life of the embryo. This article assesses the ethical value of one of these solutions, the salpingostomy, by examining the moral object of the salpingostomy and whether the procedure constitutes a direct abortion. The author responds with William E. May and Maria DeGoede to salpingostomy proponents Albert Moraczewski, Christopher Kaczor, John Tuohey, and others. Because of the lack of moral certitude that the trophoblast is neither a vital organ of the fetus nor a member of the fetus’s body, the author concludes that the salpingostomy may not be considered a licit procedure in the treatment of ectopic pregnancy, and challenges readers to admit that medical science lacks a direct, active solution to ectopic pregnancy.
11. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 16 > Issue: 2
William L. Saunders Washington Insider
12. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 16 > Issue: 2
Cynthia Jones-Nosacek, Kathleen M. Raviele, Les Ruppersberger, Anthony J. Caruso Colloquy
13. 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.
14. 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.
15. 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.
16. 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.
17. 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.
18. 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.
19. 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.
20. 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