Biomedicine and Beatitude

Biomedicine and Beatitude: An Introduction to Catholic Bioethics

Nicanor Pier Giorgio Austriaco
Copyright Date: 2011
Pages: 345
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  • Book Info
    Biomedicine and Beatitude
    Book Description:

    Besides ethical questions raised at the beginning and the end of life, Nicanor Austriaco, O.P., discusses the ethics of the clinical encounter, human procreation, organ donation and transplantation, and biomedical research.

    eISBN: 978-0-8132-1941-7
    Subjects: Religion, Philosophy

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Abbreviations
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xiii-xvi)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 1-6)

    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 unity of communion with God and of unity among all men.”¹ A community of faith, hope, and charity, she, as the Apostles’ Creed proclaims, is one, holy, catholic, and apostolic. The Church’s primary vocation, the Council proclaimed, is to call her sons and daughters to holiness, because...

  6. CHAPTER ONE Bioethics and the Pursuit of Beatitude
    (pp. 7-42)

    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 the early condemnation of abortion in the Didache, written in the first century, to the recent papal pronouncement on euthanasia in Evangelium vitae, written during the twentieth. Rooted both in...

  7. CHAPTER TWO Bioethics at the Beginning of Life
    (pp. 43-72)

    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 Appealing to a right of privacy broad enough to encompass a woman’s decision whether or not to end her pregnancy, a majority of the justices held that the government...

  8. CHAPTER THREE Bioethics and Human Procreation
    (pp. 73-111)

    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 woman can still become a mother by carrying a child conceived using her husband’s sperm and the egg of a young Ivy League graduate purchased for fifty thousand dollars from an Internet egg bank. Also today, two men in a same-sex relationship can father children...

  9. CHAPTER FOUR Bioethics and the Clinical Encounter
    (pp. 112-134)

    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 health-care decision-making rights, including the following: (1) the right to participate in all health-care decision making regarding their care, including the right to...

  10. CHAPTER FIVE Bioethics at the End of Life
    (pp. 135-169)

    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. Second, the suffering of the child must be beyond the remedy of medicine. Third, the parents of the child must give their consent to the deliberate ending of life. Fourth, an independent...

  11. CHAPTER SIX Bioethics, Organ Donation, and Transplantation
    (pp. 170-206)

    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 a forty-eight-year-old woman from Brooklyn, who paid just over sixty thousand dollars for the organ. The kidney transfer was one of more than one hundred suspect transplants performed in less than two years...

  12. CHAPTER SEVEN Research Bioethics from the Bench to the Bedside
    (pp. 207-246)

    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. Furthermore, rather than end the study, the Tuskegee scientists chose to withhold penicillin from the study participants even though they were aware that the drug could have...

  13. CHAPTER EIGHT Catholic Bioethics in a Pluralistic Society
    (pp. 247-276)

    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 health-care 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 themselves from medical procedures that they find morally objectionable. Supporters of the regulation, including the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Catholic Health Association, which...

  14. Appendix: Church Documents on Bioethics
    (pp. 277-280)
  15. Selected Bibliography
    (pp. 281-306)
  16. Scripture Index
    (pp. 307-307)
  17. Subject Index
    (pp. 308-327)
  18. Back Matter
    (pp. 328-328)