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Ethics of Procreation and the Defense of Human Life

Contraception, Artficial Fertilization, and Abortion

Martin Rhonheimer

Publication Year: 2012

Building on the renewal of Thomistic ethics encouraged by key moral encyclicals including Humanae Vitae, Veritatis Splendor, and Evangelium Vitae, Swiss philosopher Martin Rhonheimer revisits some of the most difficult questions regarding the ethics of procreation and human life.

Published by: The Catholic University of America Press


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Title Page, Copyright

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pp. i-iv


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pp. v-vi


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pp. vii-viii

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Editor’s Preface

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pp. ix-x

The present volume brings together, for English language readers, a collection of essays in which the Swiss philosopher Martin Rhonheimer addresses some of the most difficult and contested questions regarding the ethics of procreation...

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Introduction: Human Life: Between Protection and Threats

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pp. xi-xxiv

Never before in the course of history has such great importance been given to the protection of human life (and with such protection being realized in so broad and effective a manner) as in the modern liberal-democratic societies in which a large part...

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1. Natural Law and the Thomistic Roots of John Paul II's Ethics of Human Life

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pp. 1-30

No previous pope dealt with the theme of natural law, in his own magisterium, as extensively as did John Paul II, inserting it with great clarity in the context of the relationships of an anthropology that coherently understands man as a creature...

Part I. Sexuality and Responsibility: Contraception as an Ethical Problem

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Prologue: Contraception and Virtue

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pp. 33-38

Since 1968 the public debate about Humanae Vitae has been undermined by the erroneous and confusing assertion that the encyclical specifically rejects artificial birth control, considering this to be an illicit interference...

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2. The Post-conciliar State of the Question on Contraception: The Encyclical, Relevant Case, Arguments, and Description of Contraception

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pp. 39-70

The encyclical Humanae Vitae teaches that contraception violates natural law. “Natural law,” however, is a rational standard for dividing actions into morally “good” and “bad” ways of behaving—a standard springing from man’s natural reason...

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3. Toward an Adequate Argument in Support of Humanae Vitae: The Necessary Integration of Anthropology, Action Theory, Virtue, and Natural Law

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pp. 71-132

Like all basic principles, the Inseparability Principle must be “shown” rather than demonstrated. It is an anthropological principle expressing the fundamental unity of human persons as compound beings of body and spirit. In his consciousness...

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4. The Use of Contraceptives under Threat of Rape: An Exception? Clarifying a Central Teaching of Veritatis Splendor

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pp. 133-150

In light of the tragic circumstances of the war in Bosnia- Herzegovina,1 the question was again raised whether, in the face of a direct threat of rape, a woman could legitimately make use of contraceptive measures in a preventative way so...

Part II. Injustices Regarding Human Life: Reproductive Technology and Abortion

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5. The Instrumentalization of Human Life: Ethical Considerations Concerning Reproductive Technology

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pp. 153-178

In the following I will evaluate from an ethical point of view the technologies and modes of action associated with what is commonly called “artificial procreation.” When one speaks of “artificial procreation,” “genetic engineering...

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6. Human Fetuses, Persons, and the Right to Abortion: Toward an Absolute Power of the Born?

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pp. 179-227

In his book Abortion in the Secular State: Arguments against §218 (hereafter ASS),1 the German legal philosopher Norbert Hoerster develops in a compact and systematic manner an argument that, in its various versions, has been discussed in the English-speaking world...

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7. The Legal Defense of Prenatal Life in Constitutional Democracies

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pp. 228-284

The defense of human life in its physical integrity is, unquestionably, a traditional duty of the state. This duty, however, is currently being contested in two specific areas: the beginning and the end of life. The encyclical Evangelium Vitae (1995) denounces...

Appendix: An Initial Response to Todd A. Salzman and Michael G. Lawler

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pp. 285-290


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pp. 291-300


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pp. 301-311

E-ISBN-13: 9780813218052
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813217222

Page Count: 335
Publication Year: 2012

OCLC Number: 820009894
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Ethics of Procreation and the Defense of Human Life

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Human reproductive technology -- Religious aspects -- Catholic Church.
  • Abortion -- Religious aspects -- Catholic Church.
  • Contraception -- Religious aspects -- Catholic Church.
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