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61. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 16 > Issue: 4
Gerard V. Bradley The Future of Abortion Law in the United States
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In 1971, Judith Jarvis Thomson published what was then and still often is regarded as a trailblazing philosophical defense of a woman’s right to have a lawful abortion. It is time to revisit Thomson’s paper. The aim here is not to engage Thomson’s pro-choice conclusions, which are indeed mistaken, but to show that her question—to what extent can abortion be morally justified, assuming that it is the deliberate killing of one person by his or her mother—is the question today in American law concerning abortion. Pro-life people and groups argue among themselves about the prudence of political efforts to roll back Roe v. Wade by personhood initiatives, that is, by seeking to enact laws expressly recognizing that a human being with an equal right not to killed comes to be at fertilization, thereafter to pursue abortion restrictions as a matter of equal protection for all against unjustified uses of lethal force. Many if not most pro-life activists and bodies oppose such efforts as precipitous and almost certainly politically counterproductive. This article argues that, on the contrary, the unborn are already recognized as persons with a right not to be killed, and that the constitutional question of equal protection of unborn persons is already in the courts. Thomson’s question is, in other words, ripe and urgent, and it has been brought to the fore not by direct attack upon abortion rights, but indirectly by and through the many feticide laws enacted across the country since around the year 2000.
62. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 16 > Issue: 4
Jos V. M. Welie, William F. Sullivan, John Heng The Value of Palliative Care: IACB Guidelines for Health Care Facilities and Individual Providers Facing Permissive Laws on Physician Assistance in Suicide and Euthanasia
63. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 16 > Issue: 4
David J. Ramsey Medicine
64. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 16 > Issue: 4
David A. Prentice Science
65. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 16 > Issue: 4
Brian Welter Scholastic Metaphysics: A Contemporary Introduction
66. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 16 > Issue: 4
Christopher Kaczor Philosophy and Theology
67. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 16 > Issue: 4
Vince A. Punzo Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End
68. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 16 > Issue: 4
Matthew Dugandzic Suffering and Bioethics
69. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 16 > Issue: 4
Norbert C. Oparaji The End of Sex and the Future of Human Reproduction
70. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 16 > Issue: 4
E. Christian Brugger The Gospel of Happiness: Rediscover Your Faith through Spiritual Practices and Positive Psychology
71. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 16 > Issue: 4
Rev. Gerald D. Coleman, PSS Living the Truth in Love: Pastoral Approaches to Same-Sex Attraction
72. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 16 > Issue: 4
Index to Volume 16
73. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 17 > Issue: 1
Nicanor Pier Giorgio Austriaco In This Issue
74. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 17 > Issue: 1
Greg Schleppenbach Washington Insider
75. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 17 > Issue: 1
Nicanor Pier Giorgio Austriaco Healthier than Healthy: The Moral Case for Therapeutic Enhancement
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How should we morally evaluate protocols to edit the human genome? In this essay, the author argues that the therapy–enhancement distinction commonly used in debates over genetic engineering is not a robust one. Using the example of lipid-lowering pharmacological interventions, he argues that a strong case can be made for the morality of therapeutic enhancements that blur the distinction between therapy and enhancement. He proposes, therefore, that the therapy–enhancement distinction should be replaced by a therapy–nontherapy distinction that acknowledges that some beneficial and morally acceptable therapies are enhancements. However, the benefits–burdens distinction should also be deployed, as it commonly is with other technologies that affect the human person, alongside the therapy–nontherapy distinction, to judge whether a particular technological intervention to edit an individual’s genome should be permitted or not. Gene editing to make patients healthier than healthy should be allowed.
76. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 17 > Issue: 1
Paul Scherz The Mechanism and Applications of CRISPR-Cas9
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The recently developed CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing technology is transforming basic biomedical research, but it also may have therapeutic applications. This essay examines how the technology works, its possible applications in somatic and germline cell therapy, and the use of gene drives to control disease vectors like mosquito-borne illnesses. While potentially valuable, all of these applications present ethical problems, including the specific risks of unintentional mutations; pre-existing concerns over the relationship between biomedical technology, power, and procreation; and CRISPR’s unintended consequences for the environment.
77. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 17 > Issue: 1
Joseph Tham Resisting the Temptation of Perfection
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With the advance of CRISPR technology, parents will be tempted to create superior offspring who are healthier, smarter, and stronger. In addition to the fact that many of these procedures are considered immoral for Catholics, they could change human nature in radical and possibly disastrous ways. This article focuses on the question of human perfectionism. First, by considering the relationship between human nature and technology, it analyzes whether such advances can improve human nature in addition to curing diseases. Next, it looks at the moral and spiritual dimensions of perfection by analyzing the cardinal virtues. It argues that seeking perfection in the physical sense alone may not be prudent or wise and may produce greater injustices and weaken the human spirit in the long run. Understanding our true calling to perfection can help us resist the temptation of hubris to enhance the human race through technology.
78. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 17 > Issue: 1
Jennifer A. Doudna Rewriting the Code of Life: CRISPR Technology and Its Impact on the Future of Humanity
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DNA encodes the information necessary for life, but sometimes this code also leads to disease. Scientists have long envisioned the ability to change the DNA sequence in cells to correct disease-causing information. A technology known as CRISPR now enables precise rewriting of DNA sequences, offering unparalleled potential for altering the code of life in human beings as well as other organisms. CRISPR technology holds the promise of curing genetic disease and provides methods to reshape the biosphere for the benefit of human societies and the environment. However, along with these enormous opportunities come safety risks and ethical concerns. This article discusses the uses of CRISPR technology, its potential applications, and the actions we must take to prepare for future developments.
79. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 17 > Issue: 1
David A. Prentice The Genetic Engineering of Animals and Plants and the Boundaries of Stewardship
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Genetic engineering can change the biology of a plant or animal by altering its genome. Historically, selective breeding, induced mutation, and screening have been used to adapt animals and plants for human uses. The advent of specific, more accurate gene editing systems, coupled with cellular and embryological systems for selecting genetically engineered organisms, provides even greater possibilities for altering animals and plants to meet human needs but necessitates an analysis of when and how such tools should be used. Bioethical questions concerning the reasonableness of a genetic experiment, the well-being of the modified organism, the integrity of a species and the environment, and the potential benefit to humans should be addressed before any genetic manipulations are undertaken. Animals and plants can be genetically engineered ethically, but certain lines should not be crossed if we are to be good stewards.
80. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 17 > Issue: 1
David Albert Jones Editing Out the Embryo: The Debates over Human Genome Editing in the United Kingdom and the United States
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Two conferences on genome editing held in December 2015 offer a lens through which to contrast bioethics policies in the United Kingdom and the United States. The Progress Educational Trust, which has no parallel in the United States, hosted the London conference and illustrates the close collaboration between government departments, scientific bodies, funding organizations, and lobby groups in the United Kingdom. The rhetoric of responsible regulation used in the United Kingdom protects not the embryo, but the practice of embryo destruction, and advocates of embryo experimentation are eager to guide the debate about genome editing. It would be perilous for the international community to allow the United Kingdom to frame the debate in this way.