Search

Bioethikos: Bringing Life to Bioethics

Posts Tagged ‘General’

 

The Legacy of a Pro-Life Pioneer

Sunday, February 22nd, 2015 by Dr. Dennis Sullivan

JCW2

Dr. Jack Willke has passed away at age 89, the great patriarch of the pro-life movement. Here is how he is remembered in the pages of the National Review:

[Dr. Willke] and his wife Barbara dedicated their entire lives to defending the unborn. They were publicly speaking and writing about abortion well before the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. During the late 1960s and early 1970s the Willkes advised pro-life activists who were trying to block various state-level efforts to expand access to abortion. In 1972, their advice to Michigan pro-lifers to show pictures of aborted babies was crucial to the defeat of a referendum that would have legalized abortion in Michigan. The famous Willke slides of fetal development are still used in pro-life presentations to this day. . .
Dr. Willke’s impact went well beyond the numerous books he wrote and the presentations he made. He was a father figure to many and inspired countless people to become pro-life activists. He was the founder of the International Right to Life Federation and made countless overseas trips to advise and train and motivate pro-lifers in other countries. Here at home, he did important behind-the-scenes work in getting various factions of the pro-life movement to collaborate.

I had the privilege of knowing Dr. Willke, and worked beside him during my years on the board of Ohio Right to Life. Among other things, he taught me how to testify in support of pro-life legislation before House and Senate committees in the Ohio Statehouse. He was a godly man with a humble and charitable spirit. But he fought hard on behalf of the most vulnerable among us.

He was one of my personal heroes, and I will miss him greatly.

National Review Article

Center for Bioethics Launches New Academic Journal

Monday, February 16th, 2015 by Dr. Heather Kuruvilla

Smith_Premier_TypewriterPhoto courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

The Center for Bioethics is launching a new peer-reviewed academic journal entitled Bioethics in Faith and Practice: Exploring the Moral Dimension in Healthcare.  From the journal website:

 

Bioethics in Faith and Practice is a new peer-reviewed professional journal, through the Center for Bioethics at Cedarville University. The focus of this new journal is Health Care Ethics, but it will also include articles of a more theoretical nature. Though it will emphasize Judeo-Christian values, we will be open to a large variety of voices, including secular ones. We hope to publish the first issue by July of 2015. After that, it will appear online twice a year.

 

The journal is now open for the submission of new manuscripts.  We are accepting submissions of papers from a variety of perspectives on healthcare-related issues, and hope to represent a diverse spectrum of academic disciplines.  Both applied and theoretical topics are welcome.  For more information on the journal, as well as the “Instructions for Authors”, please follow the link to the journal website below.

We are excited about this new journal, and hope it will serve as a valuable resource to practitioners and academicians alike.

Bioethics in Faith and Practice

 

Persons Created in the Image of God

Tuesday, January 20th, 2015 by Dr. Heather Kuruvilla

image of God

(by Dr. Heather Kuruvilla)

Lately, I have been asking myself an important question: do I truly believe that human persons are created in the image of God?  Or am I merely giving intellectual assent to this pivotal truth?

In the Creation-Fall-Redemption narrative of Scripture, our status as beings created in God’s image is foundational to our theology. It provides the foundation for rightly relating to our Creator and to our fellow man.  Far from being theoretical, our belief that human persons are created in God’s image should impact our daily lives in many practical ways.

  • It undergirds the Golden Rule and makes sense of the command to love our neighbor as ourselves.
  • It causes us to protect the defenseless among us, including the poor, the oppressed, the infirm, and the unborn.
  • It implores us to do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God.

If I truly believe that my fellow humans are created in God’s image, my soul must not be content with holding life-affirming ethical views. Wholehearted belief should result in soul transformation.  My whole being should shrink from gossip, slander, or mistreatment of another human being, seeing these as insults to the Creator Himself. And as long as I live in this fallen world, I will continually wrestle to carry out this conviction, believing it to be God-given truth; truth that gives life and sets people free.

 

Believing that humans are persons created in the image of God should not only inform our ethical decisions. This truth, if acted upon, has the power to change the world.

Affirming Life Amid Chronic Pain

Monday, January 12th, 2015 by Dr. Dennis Sullivan

 

luittd

(by Dr. Heather Kuruvilla)

Roughly 100 million Americans deal with chronic pain. The statistics belie an enormous economic and personal cost. Studies indicate that chronic pain remains undertreated, and in many cases, its causes are poorly understood.

There are plenty of resources online designed for chronic pain patients, their family and friends, and their physicians. My goal here is not to review the literature, though I will give you some resources for further reading. As a chronic pain patient, I wanted to summarize my personal experience, along what I have learned from fellow patients in online support groups.

  • We often feel misunderstood by our friends, families, and physicians.
  • We are at high risk for depression, and often experience physical symptoms, like fatigue. This can lead to social isolation, since there’s only so much our bodies will allow us to do.
  • We often do not look sick. We expend a great deal of energy trying to carry out normal functions, like caring for our families and contributing to our employers. In some cases, these functions aren’t even possible anymore, and we are forced to depend on others, not because we want to, but because our bodies just won’t allow us to do what we once did.
  • We encourage each other online and in “live” support groups. Interacting with others who are coping with similar challenges gives us the empathy that we may not be able to find from our physicians, family, and friends.
  • We are hopeful. We hope for better understanding of our conditions, and ultimately, for a cure. This hope can be a double-edged sword, however, as patients may be vulnerable to scams promising a “quick fix”.

How can we, as fellow humans, support those living with chronic pain in a way that affirms their dignity and worth?

  • Be compassionate. No one can truly know what another human being is dealing with.
  • Recognize signs of depression, and encourage chronic pain patients to get professional help, if needed.
  • If you know that a chronic pain patient is pursuing a medically risky treatment option, such as long-term fasting, a radical diet, or other behavior that appears to be unsafe, encourage them to check in with their healthcare provider.
  • Be a friend. Positive relationships help affirm meaning and purpose.

For additional information, these resources are a great place to start:

The American Chronic Pain Association

The American Pain Society

The National Pain Foundation

New Name, New Look for Center for Bioethics Blog

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014 by Dr. Dennis Sullivan

CU Logo

Bioethikos: Bringing Life to Bioethics

This is the new name for the Center for Bioethics blog. We have also updated the appearance in line with the Center website. We will continue to offer weekly commentaries on issues of ongoing interest, including health care, general ethics, theology, and moral philosophy. The issues will not go away — they include abortion, stem cell research, end of life, rights of conscience, contraceptives, genetics, reproductive technologies, health care (and how to pay for it), and a host of other topics of great interest to all.

Please subscribe and follow along!

Time for Pharmacies to Stop Selling Tobacco

Wednesday, November 19th, 2014 by Dr. Dennis Sullivan

 

(By Douglas Anderson, PharmD, DPh)

A recent study has revealed that 6% of patients receiving medications for chronic lung disorders also bought cigarettes at the same time. Cigarette smoking is well known as a cause of these diseases, and also increases the risk of heart disease, lung cancer, and head and neck cancer. Such conditions are among the leading causes of death in the United States.

It is contradictory for pharmacies to sell cigarettes as well as medications to combat chronic lung ailments. This not only impacts the health of the patient, but it is also contrary to the duties of the pharmacist, whose oath states that the “…welfare of humanity and relief of human suffering [are] my primary concerns.” In February 2014, CVS, the nation’s second largest pharmacy chain, announced that it would stop selling all cigarettes and other tobacco products. This may cost CVS some profits. True, customers can simply buy their cigarettes somewhere else, and this is unlikely to decrease tobacco use overall (grocery stores with pharmacies will probably continue to sell tobacco). But the pharmacy profession is moving away from a customer focus to a patient focus. To this end, CVS put the health of their patients and the sanctity of the pharmacist’s oath above profits, and this is commendable.

It is time for all pharmacies to do the ethical thing, and to stop selling tobacco products that destroy the health that pharmacists are called to protect.

JAMA Internal Medicine article

 

Could GMOs Help Solve Global Health Issues?

Thursday, November 6th, 2014 by Dr. Dennis Sullivan

(By Dr. Heather Kuruvilla)

Genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, are often portrayed as unnatural, potentially harmful, and just plain scary. Like any technology, genetically modified organisms have some potential risks, both to people and to the environment. We don’t know if the newly engineered proteins may be allergenic or otherwise harmful to humans. And there’s always a risk that engineered traits could “migrate” from the engineered species into native species, causing unforeseen environmental consequences.

The potential benefits of GMOs, however, are too often under-reported. What if we could solve pressing global health issues, like malnutrition, or vaccine distribution, using GMOs? The Golden Rice project addresses vitamin A deficiency by engineering rice to produce beta-carotene. In parts of the world where rice is part of the diet and vitamin A deficiency is endemic, golden rice could be a substitute for white rice.

In areas of the world without much infrastructure, vaccine distribution is a formidable challenge. But if folks could grow their own banana vaccines, they might be protected from Hepatitis B. This would also reduce potential complications such as liver cancer. Work on banana vaccines has is tricky, since bananas are not all the same size, and it would be difficult to know when a patient has the right “dose” of a banana.

Even if we can’t use fruit to make oral vaccines, perhaps GMOs can still help us fight disease. For example, the experimental Ebola vaccine ZMapp is grown in genetically modified tobacco plants. A genetically modified flu vaccine, using insect cells to produce viral proteins, has recently been approved by the FDA.

Maybe GMOs aren’t so scary after all.

Sources:

www.goldenrice.org/

www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/14/1/1978/htm

www.webmd.com/news/20140804/ebola-virus-vaccine

http://www.collective-evolution.com/2013/07/12/fda-approves-first-gmo-flu-vaccine-expected-on-market-in-2014

CedarEthics: New Student Papers

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014 by Dr. Dennis Sullivan

The Center for Bioethics is happy to announce the latest edition in our online journal of outstanding student bioethics papers.

For example, in her paper, “Ethical Duties in Ectopic Pregnancy,” recent graduate Josephine Hein describes the clinical condition:

An ectopic pregnancy (EP), from Latin roots meaning “out of place,” is a pregnancy that does not correctly implant into its normal location in the endometrium of the uterus. Instead, the developing embryo implants in the fallopian tube, the cervix, the ovaries, or the abdominal or pelvic cavity. EPs today constitute about 2% of all pregnancies, of which 97% implant in the fallopian tube. A ruptured EP can be deadly, leading to 6% of all maternal deaths from massive hemorrhage. What are the ethical implications of treating this condition?

In addition, current student Lynley Turkelson has a fascinating analysis of end-of-life fears, in her article: “Why Christians are Afraid of Removing Artificial Nutrition and Hydration.”

Finally, bioethics graduate student and professional chaplain Thomas Kehr gives a comprehensive summary of end-of-life care in: “End of Life Ethics: Hospice and Advance Directives.”

All of these papers are available full-text at the Cedarville University Digital Commons: http://digitalcommons.cedarville.edu/cedarethics/

Pro-Life: A Broader Meaning

Sunday, October 19th, 2014 by Dr. Dennis Sullivan

(By Dr. Heather Kuruvilla)

What do you think of when you hear the term “pro-life?” Do anti-abortion protestors come to mind? Do you imagine volunteers faithfully reaching out to women with crisis pregnancies? Do you reflect on lawyers and legislators working to change our laws to recognize the unborn as persons? These are all good and necessary, but being pro-life means much more. A robust pro-life ethic comes from a theological position holding mankind in high regard, created in God’s image.

If we truly believe that all people are image-bearers of God, then this belief involves many ways of “loving our neighbor.” Here are just a few examples:

  • We should reject the “hookup culture” because it devalues human worth and dignity.
  • We should support hospice and palliative care that treats the dying with compassion and dignity until the natural end of their earthly lives.
  • We should search for safe, productive alternatives to the destruction of human embryos for research.
  • We should support sustainable farming practices and wise stewardship of agricultural technologies to adequately feed more of the world’s population.
  • We should provide clean water and increased access to health care for all who lack these resources.
  • We should adopt or provide foster care for the orphans among us, in keeping with biblical commands.

This is not an exhaustive list, but it illustrates the idea that the “pro-life” movement needs people with many different gifts. We need healthcare workers, environmentalists, researchers, biotechnologists, and other committed citizens, united in this common view: human life is precious because it reflects an awesome Creator. A broader definition of “pro-life” means that every member of the body of Christ can uphold these principles, while living a life committed to the Gospel. In fact, many of us are already doing so. May the Lord give us grace to continue.

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me’ ” (Matthew 25:40).

Can We Learn from Peter Singer?

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014 by Dr. Dennis Sullivan

by guest blogger Tyler John, senior philosophy major

In a recent Cedarville University chapel message, Southern Seminary President Albert Mohler spoke at length about human dignity. He rightly criticized Princeton ethicist Peter Singer, for saying that some pigs should have more rights than some human infants. This of course raises serious objections from a Christian viewpoint. But maybe there is something Dr. Singer can teach us, or at least remind us of.

In his book The Life You Can Save, he argues that if we fail to donate money to the poor, we do something morally wrong. He makes an argument on the basis of a thought experiment:

On your way to work, you pass a small pond. As you get closer, you see that there is a very young child, just a toddler, who is flailing about, unable to stay upright or walk out of the pond. The child is unable to keep his head above the water for more than a few seconds at a time. If you don’t wade in and pull him out, he seems likely to drown. Wading in is easy and safe, but you will ruin the new shoes you bought only a few days ago, and get your suit wet and muddy. What should you do?

From here, Singer argues that many of us are in this actual situation every day. We are able to donate money to save dying children if we simply give up a nice pair of shoes or a luxury car or something else we might want. Consequently, we ought to give up these things for the sake of others.

It seems striking how atheist Peter Singer’s argument resonates with two ancient concepts from the Christian tradition: the Tithe, and the Good Samaritan. In this case, Singer asks us to do just what Jesus asks us to do. We should stop to help the poor, offering up a portion of our income so that others might live.