When Does a Human Person Come into Existence?

Catholic Church Teaching on human personhood, including the inherent dignity of all persons.

Dr. Moira McQueen
Canadian Catholic Bioethics Institute
May 3rd, 2018

The 14-Day Rule: Stratagem to Justify Experiments on Human Embryos

PregnantWomanArguments 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.”

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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.

The Ethics of Pregnancy, Abortion and Childbirth

Screen_Shot_2016-02-25_at_21.42.06The 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. 

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The Heart and the Abyss: Preventing Abortion

imageAt the heart of the abortion debate is a seemingly simple proposition: given the basic biology that the fertilised human egg is scientifically speaking a living human being the orthodox Catholic understanding that the ethical rule against killing should apply before as well as after birth seems self-evident. Understandably, however, the abortion debate in practice becomes far more complex. Legalising abortion has implications far beyond the unborn baby: for the mother who have to face the agonising choice of whether or not to terminate the life of her developing baby, for the father who may have no legal role in the decision but whose influence, for good or ill, is hard to ignore, for doctors who face pressure to collaborate in the taking of life itself and for a society which increasingly sees abortion as a necessary consequence of the desire to separate the sexual act from reproduction.

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“Jérôme Lejeune”, la película a Barcelone

Jérôme Lejeune identificó la trisomía del par cromosómico 21 que define el Síndrome de Down en 1958, dedicando su vida desde entonces a investigar para mejorar la vida de estas personas. Conozca la labor de la Fundación que lleva su nombre durante la proyección en exclusiva de la película “Jérôme Lejeune”, un apasionante viaje por su vida y su obra hasta nuestros días.

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