Bioethics

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A Message from the Administrative Board of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops

A Message from the Administrative Board of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops September 7, 1983 Ethical Reflections on Respect for Life Introduction Never before in history has human life been so menaced on our planet, in its growth and in its very existence.  All of us live under the shadow of fear cast by the spectre of a nuclear war.  Governments of both left and right – in the name of national security – strip their ... (Continue reading)

Edmonton doctor killed baby to ease its pain

The Toronto Star, May 26, reported that an Edmonton doctor, name not given, had "practiced euthanasia with compassion". He had ordered a lethal dose of morphine to put a baby out of its agony - 16 hours after its birth. According to the report, the doctor's license has been suspended and he has left the country. Crown prosecutors are investigating to determine if criminal charges should be laid. If hospital records show that the baby was given an overdose on doctor's ... (Continue reading)

The scientific basis of the ovulation method

In the last article, we said that the Ovulation Method provided women with a more complete understanding of the phases of fertility and infertility in their cycles. In other words, women need to know not only when ovulation occurs and when infertility begins after ovulation. They also need to recognize the onset of fertility. This is particularly true of nursing mothers, anovular and pre-menopausal women and those with long irregular cycles. Women who are infertile, either occasionally or for prolonged ... (Continue reading)

Conscientious objection to abortion by nurses

Canadian nurses, who do not wish to assist at abortions, are in a very difficult legal position. This is based on the fact that there is no "conscience clause" in the abortion section of the Federal Criminal Code. The Provincial Human Rights Codes, however, usually provide that no one can be discriminated against on the basis of "creed". Thus, nurses, in theory, cannot be refused employment or have their employment terminated if their "creed" prohibits abortion. However, in actual practice, ... (Continue reading)

The oath of medical ethics

If the physician presumes to take into consideration in his work whether a life has value or not, the consequences are boundless and the physician becomes the most dangerous man in the state." The above statement was not made in 1983 by the President of Right to Life or by a Roman Catholic bishop. It was made by a German physician named Dr. Christoph Hufeland, who lived from 1762 to 1863. If I had read it twenty-five years ago I would ... (Continue reading)

Court intervenes to save retarded child’s life

An exceptionally important case was decided by the Supreme Court of British Columbia on Friday, March 18, 1983, when it ordered that a six-year-old retarded boy have a relatively minor brain-shunt operation. This operation saved him from death, or at least from increasing pain and discomfort. A few days earlier, on Monday, March 15, Provincial Judge Patricia Byrne of Burnaby Family Court had ruled that the life-saving operation for Stephen Dawson would be "cruel and unusual treatment" and an extraordinary intervention ... (Continue reading)

How do we know what is or is not living?

Well, for the last several decades, biologists, the true experts on the question of life (in the physical sense) have used certain criteria to separate living from inanimate objects, as well as organism from tissue, These criteria are compiled in the marvelous introductory biology text by Helena Curtis. Biology (Worth Publishers Inc., 2nd ed., 1976). 1."Living organisms are complex and highly organized." As you can see, for example, in figure 1, in the highly complex arrangement of the cytoskeleton ('cell skeleton'). ... (Continue reading)

Biology: the signs of life

Of all the weak pro-abortion arguments; perhaps the weakest is the inability to admit that life begins at conception, that a human being with full personhood exists at that time. Pro-abortionists prefer to degrade the newly formed human by naming it a 'blob of tissue' or 'just an egg cell'. These phrases are both inaccurate, and scientifically incorrect. Life, for any organism, begins when two gametes ('male' and 'female' reproductive cells) fuse to form the zygote. At this point the life ... (Continue reading)

Canadian Medical Association questionnaire on abortion

In 1971, the Canadian Medical Association in a close vote (78 to 74) stated that "there is justification on non-medical social grounds for the deliberate termination of pregnancy as long as the abortion is performed by a qualified medical practitioner with the approval of therapeutic abortion committees." The Canadian Medical Association has been in deep trouble ever since, not only because it lost tremendous credibility as a result of its position on abortion, but also because it has been under constant ... (Continue reading)

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