A survey of the attitudes and practices of general practitioners in Northern Ireland regarding contraception and abortion was carried out in 1994 and 1995 with a randomized sample of 154 physicians. The vast majority of doctors who received requests for contraceptives from their patients fulfilled those request (94%). Overall, 13% of the doctors said a married patient had requested an abortion in the past three months, and 34% had had a similar request from an unmarried patient.
This study analyzes the involvement of men in abortion in Vietnam, where induced abortion is legal and abortion rates are among the highest in the world. Twenty men were interviewed in 1996 about the role they played in their wives' abortions and about their feelings and ethical views concerning the procedure. The results showed that both husbands and wives considered the husband to be the main decisionmaker regarding family size, which included the decision to have an abortion, but that, in fact, some women had undergone an abortion without consulting their husbands in advance.
In November 1998 biologists announced that they had discovered a way to isolate and preserve human stem cells. Since stem cells are capable of developing into any kind of human tissue or organ, this was a great scientific coup. Researchers envision using the cells to replace damaged organs and to restore tissue destroyed by, for example, Parkinson's disease, diabetes, or even Alzheimer's. But, since stem cells are taken from aborted embryonic and fetal tissue or "leftover" in vitro embryos, their use raises large ethical issues.
Religious discussion of human organs and tissues has concentrated largely on donation for therapeutic purposes. The retrieval and use of human tissue samples in diagnostic, research, and education contexts have, by contrast, received very little direct theological attention. Initially undertaken at the behest of the National Bioethics Advisory Commission, this essay seeks to explore the theological and religious questions embedded in nontherapeutic use of human tissue.
Disagreement over the legitimacy of direct sterilization continues within Catholic moral debate, with painful and at times confusing ramifications for Catholic healthcare systems. This paper argues that the medical profession should be construed as a key moral authority in this debate, on two grounds. First, the recent revival of neo-Aristotelianism in moral philosophy as applied to medical ethics has brought out the inherently moral dimensions of the history and current practice of medicine.
Discussions of genetic enhancements often imply deep suspicions about human desires to manipulate or enhance the course of our future. These unspoken assumptions about the arrogance of the quest for perfection are at odds with the normally hopeful resonancy we find in contemporary theology. The author argues that these fears, suspicions and accusations are misplaced. The problem lies not with the question of whether we should pursue perfection, but rather what perfection we are pursuing.
By 1800, the Roman Catholic Church and organized medicine faced the dilemma of how to resolve cases of obstructed births. American physicians usually practiced destructive operations, like craniotomy, in an attempt to save the lives of mothers. The church allowed such operations after the death of the infant. A new technique of surgery, the cesarean operation, offered hope that both patients would survive childbirth.
University of Toledo Law Review. University of Toledo. College of Law
This essay reviews how cloning techniques may be used for therapeutic purposes, analyzes ethical implications, and makes recommendations for public policy discourse. Although cloning may bring many potential benefits, they remain uncertain. Furthermore, human embryo research is morally problematic. Therefore, alternatives to human cloning for therapeutic aims should be sought at present. In addition to central ethical issues, public discourse should maintain an emphasis on the value of the human embryo over scientific expediency, the relativity of health, and the principle of justice.
The author presents an overview (completed on September 15, 2001) of three issues involved in the ethics of human embryonic stem cell therapy: the ethical implications of some of the scientific issues involved, the specific ethical issues of the moral standing of the early human embryo and the problem of cooperation, and a consideration of two public policy issues: should the research go forward, and what kind of health care system should the United States adopt. The author argues that the public policy questions are the most important agenda.