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121. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 10 > Issue: 3
Rev. Benedict M. Guevin, OSB Vital Conflicts and Virtue Ethics
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In his book Vital Conflicts in Medical Ethics: A Virtue Approach to Craniotomy and Tubal Pregnancies, Martin Rhonheimer offers a virtue approach to vital conflicts in medical ethics. These vital conflicts are those medical situations involving pregnancy in which, if nothing is done, both the mother and her child will die. When analyzed by means of his understanding of the virtue of justice, Rhonheimer concludes that the so-called direct killing of children in the womb or in the fallopian tube is permissible since the child’s death is neither a means to saving the mother’s life nor an end sought for itself and is, therefore, not unjust. Because such a death is not unjust, it is also not a moral evil since only an unjust death can be called a moral evil. The author offers a critique of both his understanding of justice and what constitutes the “object” of the moral act. National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly 10.3 (Autumn 2010): 471–480.
122. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 10 > Issue: 3
Rev. Nicanor Pier Giorgio Austriaco Science
123. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 10 > Issue: 4
Rev. Grzegorz Holub, SDB Creating Better People?: Some Considerations on Genetic Enhancement
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Genetic engineering promises to change the human condition by changing certain human characteristics. Why not take control of such changes and secure positive outcomes, making use of our progressing knowledge about human genetic make-up and our increasingly sophisticated skills? This paper elaborates the meanings of the word “change,” a cornerstone of the enhancement debate, focusing not on technicalities of genetic engineering but on philosophical implications of its implementation. The paper then turns to some of the complexities and difficulties of the debate. Finally, it takes up a strictly philosophical investigation of what we mean by “change” as far as a basic structure of the human being (the human person) is concerned, and examines what conclusions can be drawn for genetic enhancement. National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly 10.4 (Winter 2010): 723–740.
124. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 10 > Issue: 4
Rev. Deacon Thomas J. Davis Jr. Plan B Agonistics: Doubt, Debate, and Denial
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Researches over many years have examined whether levonorgestrel emergency contraception (Plan B, Next Choice) has a postfertilization effect. In a recent article in the Catholic Health Association’s journal Health Progress, Sandra Reznik, MD, asserts that “levonorgestrel acts to prevent pregnancy before, and only before, fertilization occurs.” A companion article by Ron Hamel, PhD, argues for the moral certainty that Plan B is not an abortifacient. Reznik fails to address the principal model supporting a potential postfertil­ization mechanism of action, specifically, that preovulatory administration of levonorgestrel disrupts the delicate ratio of estrogen and progesterone essential to healthy endometrial development and induces the equivalent of luteal phase insufficiency, thereby jeopardizing implantation. Hamel’s argument for moral certitude is similarly inadequate. This article critically reviews both articles and the sources on which they rely. National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly 10.4 (Winter 2010): 741–772.
125. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 10 > Issue: 4
The Most Reverend Mark J. Seitz Check Your Faith at the Door: The Dilemma of the Catholic Citizen
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Since America was founded, faith informed its moral genius. From the Declaration of Independence to the work of Martin Luther King Jr., belief in God positively shaped the moral awareness of the nation. This article suggests that political discourse emerging in the middle of the twentieth century, which effectively prohibits the mention of faith in serious political conversation, is having devastating consequences on the moral capacity of contemporary society. It suggests that such faith-less political discourse contradicts America’s founding logic. This article also reasserts the Catholic claim that truth can be known and that in the face of faith-less political discourse, Catholics are morally bound to seek complete truth, which requires faith. National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly 10.4 (Winter 2010): 687–693.
126. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 10 > Issue: 4
Rev. Kevin D. O’Rourke, OP Catholic Principles and In Vitro Fertilization
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In the 2008 Instruction Dignitas personae (The Dignity of the Person), the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith presented once again the teaching of the Church on in vitro fertilization. Much of this teaching was contained in the earlier Instruction Donum vitae (The Gift of Life, 1987), but the new document brings the teaching of the Church up to date. Because the teaching is not accepted in the secular scientific community and is often unknown in the Catholic community, this article explores the process of IVF, the view of the Church concerning it, and the fundamental principles underlying the Church’s teaching. National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly 10.4 (Winter 2010): 709–722.
127. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 10 > Issue: 4
Rev. Linus Dolce, OSB Injustice Perpetrated on the Dead: A Christian Perspective on Body Worlds
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At a Body Worlds exhibition, human corpses are displayed as museum pieces for educational purposes. The bodies are preserved by plastination, a technique invented by Gunther von Hagens and engineered at the Institute for Plastination in Heidelberg, Germany. Because of the wide controversy surrounding the displays, it is necessary to study how justice obtains. Understood from a Thomistic perspective, the use of a plastinate by Body Worlds is unjust because it dishonors the donor. The goodness of that use fails in terms of object, end, and circumstance. National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly 10.4 (Winter 2010): 667–676.
128. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 10 > Issue: 4
Stan Dundon Denying Food and Water: The Real-World Implications
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Life-support technology may become a death-prolonging horror, and some people may fear that an over-intellectualized interpretation of traditional moral teaching has led us astray from what a compassionate God wills for the dying. The author addresses this fear. Those who defend “orthodox” teaching on end-of-life issues have a serious obligation not to obscure the compassion implicit in the traditional distinction between ordinary and extraordinary means. There is no medical or moral obligation to prolong dying or make it more burdensome with interventions that offer little benefit, and there is nothing immoral about pain relief. What is prohibited is killing: any action or omission that has the express or implicit purpose of ending a life. National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly 10.4 (Winter 2010): 695–705.
129. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 10 > Issue: 4
Rev. Nicanor Pier Giorgio Austriaco Science
130. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 10 > Issue: 4
Christopher D. Hare At the Original Position as a Fetus: Rawlsian Political Theory and Catholic Bioethics
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The approach of liberal political philosopher John Rawls on the issue of abortion relied on his construct of “public reason,” in which citizens in a pluralistic democracy restrict the use of deliberative arguments and reasons that are drawn from their “irreconcilable comprehensive doctrines,” including their religious worldviews. From this reasoning, Rawls concludes that a just society is one that includes the legal right to abortion. However, the author contends that the use of another of Rawls’s theories—“justice as fairness”—leads to an alternative conclusion: that legally sanctioned abortion represents the unjust persecution of a specific population—the unborn. Further, this same theoretical approach supports the egalitarian application of Catholic social thought to protect the fetus as a uniquely vulnerable position in society. National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly 10.4 (Winter 2010): 677–686.
131. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 10 > Issue: 4
William L. Saunders Jr. Washington Insider
132. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 10 > Issue: 4
John M. Travaline, MD, FACP Medicine
133. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 10 > Issue: 4
Christopher Kaczor, PhD Philosophy and Theology
134. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Lawrence Masek The Contralife Argument andthe Principle of Double Effect
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The author uses the central insight of the principle of double effect—that the distinction between intended effects and foreseen side effects is morally significant—to distinguish contraception from natural family planning (NFP). After summarizing the contralife argument against contraception, the author identifies limitations of arguments presented by Pope John Paul II and by Martin Rhonheimer. To show that the contralife argument does not apply to NFP, the author argues that agents do not intend every effect that motivates their actions. This argument supplements the action theory of Germain Grisez, Joseph Boyle, John Finnis, and other proponents of new natural law theory. National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly 11.1 (Spring 2011): 83–97.
135. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Michael E. Allsopp The Doctrine of Double Effect in U.S. Law: Exploring Neil Gorsuch’s Analyses
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The doctrine of double effect has a firm, respected position within Roman Catholic medical ethics. Neil M. Gorsuch, a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, believes that this doctrine also enjoys a central place within U.S. law. This essay examines and assesses Gorsuch’s thesis. National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly 11.1 (Spring 2011): 31–40.
136. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Christopher Kaczor Philosophy and Theology
137. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Rev. Nicanor Pier Giorgio Austriaco Science
138. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Helen Watt Bodily Invasions: When Side Effects Are Morally Conclusive
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What kind of interventions on the body of an innocent human being may be licitly intended? This question arises in relation to maternal–fetal conflicts such as ectopic pregnancy and obstructed labor, and to other cases such as organ harvesting and separation of conjoined twins. Many assume that harm must be intended for absolute moral prohibitions to apply; however, it is not always the case that foreseen harm is merely a factor to weigh against benefits we intend. On the contrary, foreseen harm (and absence of benefit) for someone we affect can be morally conclusive when linked to an immedi­ate intention to affect the person’s body or invade the space it fills. National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly 11.1 (Spring 2011): 49–51.
139. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Edward J. Furton Ethics Without Metaphysics: A Review of the Lysaught Analysis
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The recent moral analysis of Therese Lysaught concerning the death of a child by dilation and curettage is emblematic of a wider trend in Catholic moral theory that has forgotten Western metaphysics. Lysaught’s analysis depends on seeing the world as a mechanical system, lacking in all teleological order and thus incapable of providing the mind with moral guidance. The rejection of the traditional philosophical conviction that nature is under the governance of God, and its replacement with the view that nature is a merely physical order, explains why the new theorists do not see that direct killing of the innocent is wrong. National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly 11.1 (Spring 2011): 53–62.
140. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Rita L. Marker End-of-Life Decisions and Double Effect: How Can This Be Wrong When It Feels So Right?
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The doctrine of double effect has a firm, respected position within Roman Catholic medical ethics. In addition, public debate often incorporates this doctrine when determining the acceptability of certain actions. This essay examines and assesses the application of this doctrine to end-of-life decisions. National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly 11.1 (Spring 2011): 99–119.