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.
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.
Patents for genetic material in the industrialized North have expanded significantly over the past twenty years, playing a crucial role in the current configuration of the agricultural biotechnology industries, and raising significant ethical issues. Patents have been claimed for genes, gene sequences, engineered crop species, and the technical processes to engineer them. Most critics have addressed the human and ecosystem health implications of genetically engineered crops, but these broad patents raise economic issues as well.
On March 20, 2004, Pope John Paul II issued a statement to the International Conference on "Life Sustaining Treatments and Vegetative State: Scientific and Ethical Dilemmas" on the provision of food and water to patients in a "vegetative state." The purpose of this allocution was to promote and protect the dignity of patients, even when they are in a seriously ill and disabled state. To promote the dignity of these patients, the Pope explicitly stated that "quality of life judgments" were not to be applied to the administration of nutrition and fluids.
Homosexual activist groups have targeted the Catholic Church and the American military as institutions especially in need of transformation. Associations of healthcare professionals are also under assault from homosexual activists. It is, nevertheless, appropriate for the Church and the military to defend themselves against this assault, to affirm that homosexuality is incompatible with Christian ethics and military service, and to help homosexuals free themselves from the vice of homosexuality. Arguments that homosexual reorientation therapy is unethical are unsound.
In his paper "The Catholic Church, the American Military, and Homosexual Reorientation Therapy," David W. Lutz ultimately concludes that it is "appropriate, and highly ethical" for the American military to offer reorientation therapy to help homosexuals overcome "the vice of sodomy." The major thrust of his paper, however, is to call for abandonment of the "Don't Ask/Don't Tell" policy currently in place in the military.
This essay argues for a renewed institution of an ancient Christian practice, the Order of Widows. Drawing on the Roman Catholic tradition's recent writings on the elderly, particularly the 1998 document from the Pontifical Council for the Laity entitled "The Dignity of Older People and their Mission in the Church and in the World," I argue that we find within the Roman Catholic tradition advocacy for a renewed understanding of the vocation of the elderly within the Church.
"While contemporary Catholic health care and other not-for-profit health care institutions excel in quality, innovation and technology, they remain community-benefit organizations, founded and sustained because of community need," Sister Carol Keehan, a Daughter of Charity who chairs the board of trustees of the Catholic Health Association of the United States, said in May 26 testimony in Washington before the House Ways and Means Committee, which conducted a hearing on the tax-exempt hospital sector. Keehan chairs the board of Sacred Heart Health System in Pensacola, Fla.
Ethics & Medicine: A Christian Perspective on Issues in Bioethics
Catholic movements within the centre of Roman Catholic doctrine recently have discussed Trinitarian theology as applied to sciences, arts, economics, health and other social areas. We explore the possibilities Trinitarian theology offers to bioethical debate, concentrating particularly on genetic screening and testing. It is important therefore to analyse the philosophical implications of this approach onto the bioethical world, where much disagreement occurs on fundamental issues.
Health care ethics USA: a publication of the Center for Health Care Ethics
Ethics committees are use [sic] to questions concerning the withdrawal of life-support. Such questions become increasingly complex when that life-support is implantable, like a pacemaker. This essay seeks to address the question of under what, if any, circumstances it would be permissible to discontinue the use of such implantable devices.