Audio by artist Michael J. Sleasman, PhD

Natural Law & Reformed Bioethics: Another Look

Sex, without babies? Behold the origin of our conundrums in reproductive ethics! Our culture developed the technology to separate the sexual act from procreation, classically with the extramarital use of the Pill (in the sexual revolution), and thus was unleashed a host of problems that have plagued us ever since. So the argument goes.[1] We would have no reproductive ethical dilemmas had we kept together the sexual act and procreation.

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The Case for Prudence in the Public Square


Because we live in a world of constraints, prudence tells us that if we cannot prohibit a social evil entirely, we can limit it through appropriate fences. Building fences around a social evil, as part of a larger strategy to secure justice, precludes what can be prohibited now without admitting the legitimacy of what remains unprohibited. By limiting the harm done or lessening the negative consequences, we do not admit or support the rest of the evil that we do not have the power (legal or political) to touch now.

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Fetal Stem Cells and Parkinson Disease—Promises Never to Be Kept?

When fetal stem cells are publicly discussed, three diseases—often represented by their celebrity spokespersons—lead a list of potential therapeutic applications. They are Parkinson Disease (Michael J Fox), paralysis as a result of spinal cord injury (previously the late Christopher Reeve), and Diabetes Mellitus, type 1, (either Mary Tyler Moore or Ron Santo). The media packages the information as foregone conclusions: fetal stem cells are a veritable source of untapped, and then implied, “unlimited” therapeutic uses. A stunning recent series of setbacks in the context of fetal stem cells and Parkinson Disease (PD), however, has not received equivalent publicity.

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What Has Healthcare Reform Got to Do with Ice Floes? The Déjà Vu of Rationing, the Elderly, and Social Valuation

For those whose worldview picture is framed by biblical anthropology, the recent tenor of the healthcare reform debate should come as no surprise. When Americans have been forced to ration healthcare in the past—e.g., the early dialysis era, organ transplantation—social valuation explicitly and implicitly crept into decision-making.[1] Unfortunately, contemporary discussion, once again, is openly engaging the same wrong-headed direction.

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Enhanced Dying: Exploring the Dangers of Palliative Care Moving Beyond Therapy

his presentation will address how changing definitions of death, institutionalization of death, dualistic anthropology, and this new responsibility of medicine can encourage care beyond therapy to intentional sedation and assisted death. Corrected definitions and processes will be offered that will encourage responsible care of patients without violating accepted ethical standards.

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Clinical Ethics Dilemmas: Experiencing Differences Between European and American End-of-Life Care

An American mother no longer wishes to care for her handicapped child. Should the American system allow a European-trained physician to address euthanasia for the purpose of organ donation?

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Bioethics in Transition: Framing the Discussion


It was my privilege this year to frame the discussion that we embarked upon at our 2014 annual summer conference. On an annual basis we put together a proposal for future conference themes. That process though begins much earlier through the Center’s ongoing work in trend analysis. A multitude of considerations are brought to bear as we identify the particular strategic theme for any given conference and event. Our executive director Paige Cunningham has described the trend analysis component of our work as a sort of sentry in the watchtower, alert to changes in the various winds of bioethical inquiry.

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