“The Ethics of Fetal Pain”

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The science of fetal pain remains uncertain, but we still have a duty to avoid the possibility of inflicting undue suffering.

A much-discussed new law in the state of Nebraska has banned abortion after the 20th week of pregnancy citing the contested notion of fetal pain. Of course, everyone can agree that we have a duty not to cause pain to others without a just cause. Bioethicists endorse the relieving of pain as an expression of the “principle of beneficence.” And international bodies concur that access to pain relief without discrimination is a fundamental right. As a society we even take efforts to eliminate pain from the process of executing capital offenders whose guilt is manifestly established. But how do we approach the possibility of fetal pain when the science remains uncertain?

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CATHOLICS AND “DO-NOT-RESUSCITATE” ORDERS: Relevant Moral Principles

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WASHINGTON, D.C., NOV. 3, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Here is a question on bioethics asked by a ZENIT reader and answered by the fellows of the Culture of Life Foundation.

Q: Is a "do-not-resuscitate" order ever ethical? Shouldn’t a patient in an emergency situation always be resuscitated, so that the family can evaluate with some time and care what are the limits of ordinary and extraordinary care (and is that distinction used anymore)? — K.T., Kansas City, USA.

William E. May offers the following response:

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PREPARATION FOR MARRIAGE III: IMMEDIATE PREPARATION TWO: A Chaste Courtship

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Introduction
If the marriage for which engaged couples are preparing is to be happy and lasting, their courtship must be a chaste one. Abundant evidence shows that living together and having sex prior to marriage is not advisable if one wants a happy, lasting marriage because after marriage there is frequent divorce, infidelity, and unhappiness. Thus this article focuses on the meaning of love because a chaste courtship must be rooted in a proper understanding of love.

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PREPARATION FOR MARRIAGE III: IMMEDIATE PREPARATION PART ONE: Considerations Prior to Becoming…

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Introduction
Pope John Paul II believes that the immediate preparation for marriage should take place “in the months and weeks immediately preceding the wedding” (Familiaris Consortio 78). [1] It is a period during which an engaged couple should, with the help of others and in particular their own religious communities, deepen their understanding of and commitment to marriage as a reality whose author is God, between one man and one woman, whose one-flesh union in the conjugal act ought to be open to the goods of exclusive conjugal love and children. 

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Anti-Depressants and the Dying: Depression Can Be a Factor for the Terminally Ill

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WASHINGTON, D.C., OCT. 20, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Here is a question on bioethics asked by a ZENIT reader and answered by the fellows of the Culture of Life Foundation.

Q: What are some ethical issues surrounding the taking of anti-depressants? Does their mood-altering affect raise moral problems for people preparing their consciences for death? — K.N., Augusta, USA.

E. Christian Brugger offers the following response.

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PREPARATION FOR MARRIAGE II: PROXIMATE PREPARATION: A Stable Job, Adequate Financial Resources…

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Introduction

In its document, Preparation for the Sacrament of Marriage, no. 32, the Pontifical Council for the Family wrote: “Proximate preparation takes place during the period of engagement. It consists of specific courses and must be distinguished from immediate preparation.”   Unfortunately, because I misread what John Paul II had to say about “immediate preparation” in Familiaris Consortio 66, I had considered the engagement period to be part of the ”immediate preparation” for marriage. Thus, the two earlier essays in this series on the “proximate preparation for marriage” should in fact have been included as part of the “remote preparation for marriage.” I apologize for my error. This is the first piece of three on “proximate preparation.” A final essay will focus on “immediate preparation.”

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The Incredible, Profitable Egg: “Eggsploitation” Uncovers Dark Side of Infertility Industry

christian_new.jpgWASHINGTON, D.C., OCT. 8, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Dr. Robert Edwards, IVF pioneer and recipient of the 2010 Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine, first fertilized a human egg in vitro (literally "in glass") in 1969. The embryo died after the first cell division. He surmised that successful in vitro embryonic development required the harvesting of mature eggs.

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