Questions related to sexuality and gender bear on some of the most intimate and personal aspects of human life. In recent years they have also vexed American politics. The New Atlantis offers this report — written by Dr. Lawrence S. Mayer, an epidemiologist trained in psychiatry, and Dr. Paul R. McHugh, arguably the most important American psychiatrist of the last half-century — in the hope of improving public understanding of these questions. Examining research from the biological, psychological, and social sciences, this report shows that some of the most frequently heard claims about sexuality and gender are not supported by scientific evidence. The report has a special focus on the higher rates of mental health problems among LGBT populations, and it questions the scientific basis of trends in the treatment of children who do not identify with their biological sex. More effort is called for to provide these people with the understanding, care, and support they need to lead healthy, flourishing lives.
Arguments in favor of research on human embryos typically play off our unfamiliarity with the way that we ourselves once appeared and existed as embryos. Humans in their tiniest stages are indeed unfamiliar to us, and they hardly look anything like “one of us.” Yet the undeniable conclusion, that every one of us was once an embryo, remains an indisputable scientific dogma, causing a “fingernails on the chalkboard” phenomenon for researchers every time they choose to experiment on embryos or destroy them for research. To enable scientists to get beyond the knowledge that they’re experimenting on or destroying fellow humans, clever stratagems and justifications have had to be devised. Among the more successful of these approaches has been the well-known “14-day rule.”
Making Sense Of Bioethics – by Father Tad Pacholczyk, Director of Education at the NCBC, is the author of a column called Making Sense of Bioethics that appears in various diocesan newspapers across the United States of America.
During the upcoming World Youth Days, the FIAMC committee for Young Doctors and Medical Students will organize a seminar entitled: “I was sick and you visited me”. The seminar will take place on Wednesday July 27th at the Collegium Novum from the Jagiellonian University in Krakow, between 2 and 4 pm. The FIAMC Bioethics Committee will also be represented. In this meeting students and young professionals will reflect on the role of mercy in the lives of health professionals and will be able to exchange experiences with colleagues from around the globe. Here are the welcoming and inspiring words of Kevin J. Murrell MD.
Dr. Bernard Ars M.D., Ph.D.,
Prof. Dominique Lambert Ph.D.
Université de Namur
61 rue de Bruxelles B-5000 Namur (Belgium)
A world invaded by robots
Today, robotics plays a fundamental role in both our individual and collective lives, especially in medicine. Robotization, current or future, is welcomed, perhaps even sought, not only because it has already proved its practical effectiveness, but also because it allows some to dream about surpassing the limitations and weaknesses inherent to the human being. But it is precisely here that the whole issue lies: in the essential difference between a reality at the service of man and a potentially destructive fantasy. The field of medicine is no exception to this technological invasion and the growing attraction for robotics.
Before he ascended the Chair of St. Peter, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI was Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, a man of unparalleled theological understanding with a natural genius for teaching. Co-published by The National Catholic Bioethics Center and Ignatius Press, On Conscience combines two lengthy essays written by Cardinal Ratzinger and originally delivered as speeches while he presided as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Both speeches were presented at workshops hosted by The National Catholic Bioethics Center in Dallas, Texas. They explore the vital importance of conscience and its exercise in particular circumstances.
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For more information on this title, call the NCBC at 1-215-877-2660 (USA)
The Ascomb Bioethics Center (UK) has announced the publication of The Ethics of Pregnancy, Abortion and Childbirth: Exploring Moral Choices in Childbearing by Dr Helen Watt, Senior Research Fellow at the center. This book addresses the unique moral questions raised by pregnancy and its intimate bodily nature. From assisted reproduction to abortion and ‘vital conflict’ resolution to more everyday concerns of the pregnant woman, the book argues for pregnancy as a close human relationship with the woman as guardian or custodian. If the status of the fetus is conclusive for at least some moral questions raised by pregnancy, so too are facts about its bodily relationship with, and presence in, the woman who supports it. The pregnant woman is not a mere ‘neighbor’ or helpful stranger to the fetus but is rather already in a real familial relationship bringing real familial rights and obligations.
The purpose of the National Catholic Bioethics Center (USA) is to help health care providers and their patients navigate complex medical issues through informed decisions based on the fullness of Catholic doctrine. Their newest publication, Bioethics across the Life Span, edited by Marilyn E. Coors, was created specifically for the reader who is not a specialist. The 174-page volume serves as a rapid-fire overview of the field of modern bioethics, especially as bioethical issues touch on daily life. The Archbishop of Philadelphia, Charles J. Chaput, OFM Cap., calls it a “volume that will be of tremendous assistance to those who study Catholic bioethics.” Each chapter highlights a particular and practical issue, surveying a wide range of topics, including stem cell research, organ donation, and the ethical use of vaccines.