Biomedicine and Beatitude
An Introduction to Catholic Bioethics
Publication Year: 2011
Published by: The Catholic University of America Press
Series: Catholic moral thought
Title Page, Copyright Page
“In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thes 5:18). I have been writing this book for some time now, and many persons have contributed to this project over the years. ...
On November 21, 1964, Pope Paul VI solemnly promulgated the Second Vatican Council’s Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen gentium, which articulated the Church’s self-understanding about her nature and her universal mission. In essence, according to the Council Fathers, the Church is a sacrament of unity, “a sign and instrument, that is, of ...
1. Bioethics and the Pursuit of Beatitude
According to a widely used textbook in the tradition of secular bioethics, the field of bioethics has a recent provenance. The textbook traces the founding of the field to an influential article authored by Dan Callahan in 1974 entitled “Bioethics as a Discipline.”1 As contemporary histories of bioethics often do, however, the text fails to acknowledge the long tradition of bioethical reflection in the history of the Catholic Church, from ...
2. Bioethics at the Beginning of Life
In March of 1970, an unmarried pregnant woman, Norma L. McCorvey, then using the fictitious name “Jane Roe,” sued the State of Texas to challenge a state law that prohibited abortions except in those cases where the mother’s life is in danger. Three years later, the United States Supreme Court overturned the Texan law in its landmark decision, Roe v. Wade, and ruled in favor of Roe’s right to an abortion.1 ...
3. Bioethics and Human Procreation
It has been more than thirty years since Louise Joy Brown, the world’s first baby conceived by in vitro fertilization (IVF) in a laboratory, was born in England on July 25, 1978. Since then, IVF and the other assisted reproductive technologies (ART) have radically changed the procreative landscape of contemporary society.1 Today, a postmenopausal sixty-year old ...
4. Bioethics and the Clinical Encounter
In the United States, the conviction that the patient is ultimately responsible for making the health-care decisions that involve him—a conviction already articulated in the Nuremberg Code written after World War II to protect the basic rights of patients and research subjects—was codified into law with the passage of the Patient Self-Determination Act (PSDA) of 1990.1 It requires most hospitals and other health-care institutions to inform their patients at the time of admission, of their ...
5. Bioethics at the End of Life
Since its publication in two medical journals in the United States in 2005, the Groningen Protocol developed in the Netherlands for the killing of a newborn infant who, in the judgment of his physicians, is experiencing unbearable suffering, has generated much controversy.1 The protocol has five criteria: First, the suffering of the child must be so hopeless and severe that the newborn has no prospects of a future. ...
6. Bioethics, Organ Donation, and Transplantation
On May 23, 2004, the New York Times published a story that described the sale of a kidney in an international organ trafficking ring that operated in Israel, South Africa, and Brazil.1 Mr. Alberty Jose da Silva, a thirty-eight-year-old slum resident living in Recife, Brazil, was flown to South Africa, where he sold his kidney for six thousand dollars to an Israeli broker, who transplanted it into ...
7. Research Bioethics from the Bench to the Bedside
On May 16, 1997, President Bill Clinton apologized to the eight remaining survivors of a government-funded syphilis study, conducted between 1932 and 1972, in Tuskegee, Alabama, by the U.S. Public Health Service.1 The nearly four hundred participants who had been enrolled in the Tuskegee Syphilis Study, most of whom were poor, illiterate, African American sharecroppers, had not given, and were not asked for, their informed consent, and were not informed of their diagnosis. ...
8. Catholic Bioethics in a Pluralistic Society
On Friday, February 27, 2009, the new administration of President Barack Obama announced that it intended to rescind a Bush administration rule granting broad protections to doctors, nurses, and other healthcare workers who refuse to perform or assist in abortions or in sterilization procedures because of their religious beliefs or moral convictions.1 More specifically, the Bush Provider Refusal Rule blocks federal funding to healthcare facilities that do not allow their employees to distance ...
Appendix: Church Documents on Bioethics