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A Web Ministry of the Gospel of Life Committee,
The Catholic Community of St. Francis Xavier, Hunt Valley, Maryland
Building a culture of love and life in the face of a culture of utility and death
More content available on the bioethics archive page

Feature Articles

Consider This

You might try out this approach on your pro-abort or Pro-Embryonic Stem Cell Research (not Adult Stem Cell) Catholic or other Christian friends! Click to Enlarge

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Tinkering with Frankenkinder - Forbidden Knowledge

By: Eric Metaxas Published: March 7, 2014 5:30 AM
Some things are better left untried. Like trying to create children with three genetic parents. I’ll explain next, on BreakPoint.
An FDA panel is currently reviewing a procedure that would allow a child to inherit genetic material from three different people.
If that sounds like one too many to you, congratulations! Your moral intuition is more highly developed than that of many scientific researchers.
The procedure, pioneered at Oregon Health and Science University, involves replacing defective mitochondria in a woman’s egg with healthy mitochondria from another woman.
To understand the controversy,… Read More

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The Mother-Free Money Tree

by Alana S. Newman
If we believe that human beings should not be for sale and should not be trafficked or manufactured like products, and if we believe that women deserve better than to be treated as mere baby machines, then we must oppose third-party reproduction.
The road to wealth is paved with Lupron and placenta.
I recently attended a conference in Charleston, South Carolina, sponsored by the American Association for Adoption and Reproductive Technologies Attorneys (AAARTA). The audience consisted of people who make a living by facilitating third-party reproduction.
I enrolled at the conference expecting to find an environment… Read More

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Twin Killings - Haggling over Price

By: Chuck Colson | Published: September 21, 2011 7:38 AM
I know there are plenty of bioethicists who believe in the sanctity of life. Tragically, as one disturbing trend shows, there are also plenty who don’t.
As my late good friend Richard John Neuhaus once wrote, “for the most part, bioethicists are in the business of issuing permission slips for whatever the technicians want to do.”
A less charitable friend of his put it more bluntly: “a bioethicist is to ethics what a [prostitute] is to sex.” A recent article in the New York Times shows why one could be... Read More

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Eugenics Redux - Won’t We Ever Learn?

By: Chuck Colson | Published: December 15, 2011 8:11 AM
As I read the paper, I thought I’d stepped into a time warp. State-sponsored eugenics in the U.S.? Again?
When most Americans hear the word “eugenics” what probably comes to mind is a doctor wearing an SS uniform.
Sadly, as I have said before however, the Third Reich learned much of what it knew about eugenics from Americans. It was Americans who showed the Nazis it was legally possible to prevent the “wrong kind of people” from reproducing.” And it was Americans who launched what journalist Edwin Black called the... Read More

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A Surrogate Mom's Courage - A Baby is Not a Product

By: John Stonestreet | Published: March 21, 2013 9:45 AM
When you pay that much for a baby, naturally you want a return policy. One couple did, but the surrogate said no...to $10,000. Stay tuned to BreakPoint.
Imagine for a moment you’re a young, single mom. You’ve just lost your job as a nanny for other people’s kids. You’re in a tight spot. Then another couple offers you $20,000—or two thousand, two hundred and twenty-two dollars a month—to carry their baby to term. That’s a lot of money, and can help solve some of your financial problems.
So ten days... Read More

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Embryonic Stem Cell Research

New Study Show Critical similarity between Embryonic Stem Cells and Ethical Alternative

September 14th, 2011 By Dave Andrusko A study out of the University of Wisconsin released late Sunday night concludes that embryonic stem cells (ESCs) and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) are 99% identical. While caution should always be exercised, the potential impact is enormous.
ESCs are lethally extracted from human embryos. iPSCs come from the patient’s own body in a process by which an adult cell—typically a skin cell—is reprogrammed and induced to revert back in time. The former is laden with ethical controversy; the latter is burdened with none.
In the past couple of years new technologies… Read More

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Umbert Cartoon

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Scientists Use Acid to Turn Blood Cells into Stem Cells in 30 Minutes

Adam Clark Estes Science 1/29/14 10:40am
This is a game changer, folks. Whereas mining stem cells has been either an ethical quandary or a months-long affair, scientist can now turn any old blood cells into stem cells in just 30 minutes—by dipping them in acid.
That's right. Take blood cells, add acid, get stem cells. It's as simple as it sounds.
A team of Japanese scientists stumbled upon the method after observing a similar phenomenon in plants, where environmental stress can morph an ordinary cell into an immature one. New plants could then grow from the immature cell. This has... Read More

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Timothy Ray Brown: The Story Behind an HIV Cure

From the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center Website
Timothy Ray Brown is the first person ever cured of HIV.
He was diagnosed with the disease in 1995. Then, after using antiretroviral drugs to stave off HIV for more than a decade, he received another staggering diagnosis: acute myeloid leukemia.
Brown’s doctors decided to use radiation and chemotherapy to wipe out his immune system, then rebuild it with donated stem cells. But they added a game-changing twist to this standard treatment: They deliberately picked a donor who was immune to HIV.
About 1 percent of Caucasians carry a gene mutation that… Read More

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What Matters Most Part 1 - Human Dignity

Published Date: December 26, 2008

Two weeks ago, headlines across the world announced the release of the Vatican’s official position on bioethics. Naturally, the Catholic Church’s stance on the destruction of human embryos, the creation of designer babies, and the like was greeted with scorn by liberal Catholics and by many medical professionals and scientists.
But two things truly fascinate me about the release of this document. The first is its title: “Dignitas Personae”—or, in plain English: “On the Dignity of the Person.”
Now that’s an interesting title for the Catholic Church’s official teaching on bioethics. Actually, it’s the perfect... Read More

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'Your Own Stem Cells Work!' - Carron Morrow's Story

Published Date: August 22, 2007

An event planner named Carron Morrow says she had two choices when it came to treating a serious heart condition: Sign liability papers for an unusual new treatment—or drop dead.
Not surprisingly, she chose to sign the papers—and became another stem-cell miracle. An adult stem-cell miracle, that is.
Carron, a 58-year-old Alabama mother, was in bad shape last year after suffering four heart attacks. The right side of her heart was functioning at less than 50 percent. Carron needed a new heart—but 100,000 people were ahead of her on the transplant list.
By fall, she... Read More

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Amazing But True - Miracle Stem Cell Cures

Published Date: February 22, 2010

No doubt you’ve heard how adult stem cells are providing amazing cures. Oh, you haven’t? Well, I’ll tell you why.
It sounds like something out of science fiction—or “Ripley’s Believe It Or Not”—but it isn’t.
Britain’s Daily Telegraph reports the story of Russell Turnbull, who tried to break up a fight while riding home on the bus one night. For his pains, Turnbull ended up getting ammonia sprayed into his right eye, which scarred his cornea. Turnbull lost most of his sight in that eye, and suffered pain every time he blinked.
But now Turnbull has had his sight almost... Read More

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Deadly Utility - Funding Embryo-Destructive Research

Published Date: December 09, 2009

Will sacrificing human embryos increase societal happiness? You might find that a strange question—and you’d be right.
Earlier this month, the National Institutes of Health approved 13 new lines of embryonic stem cells for use in federally funded experiments.
The approval put an end to an eight-year moratorium and is an example of how the manipulated and shortsighted desires of the powerful elite put the vulnerable most at risk.
Since August of 2001, researchers using federal money have been limited to 21 embryonic stem cell lines, stem cells derived from an original set of embryonic... Read More

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Human Cloning

Of Mice and Men - And the Abolition of Both

By: Eric Metaxas|Published: October 7, 2013 5:30 AM
Almost one year ago, molecular biologist Katsuhiko Hayashi at Kyoto University did something that may forever change the way we think about human life. But at the time, he had little idea just how significant his discovery was.
Publishing his results in the academic journal, “Science,” Hayashi says he assumed they would be of interest mainly to his fellow biologists. So imagine his surprise when he began receiving emails from infertile women, all very interested in his work. One woman in England offered to fly to his laboratory in Japan, hoping he… Read More

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The Bioethics of The Clone Wars

by Matthew Belinkie — Thu, Aug 4, 2011, 7:00am
I’ve written about the strangeness of Cartoon Network’s The Clone Wars before. This is a kids adventure show about a massive interstellar war in which one person is secretly controlling both sides for personal gain, and it’s going to end with the good guys all getting slaughtered by their own troops. Take a look at this napkin I saved from my kid’s birthday party. The guy on the left kills a bunch of children. The one in the middle cuts off three of his best friend’s limbs and leaves him to... Read More

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Be Rational

By Chuck Colson|Published Date: February 07, 2011
How to Wage Worldview Wars
First published in December, 2001, this BreakPoint commentary seems more relevant today than ever.
When confronted by moral choices, Christians are quick to make dogmatic assertions. On cloning a prominent evangelical said simply, "We are not the Creator, and the responsibility to assume control of the universe is not ours." Well, true, but that means very little to those who don't believe in a Creator and think that assuming control of the universe is their responsibility. So when we do that, it's an ineffective way of arguing.
In... Read More

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The Ethics of Cloning

Is all cloning immoral? Or are there ways we can responsibly use the fruits of our knowledge in caring for God’s creation? A Catholic ethicist explains. By Russell B. Connors, Jr.
AMAZING. Maybe it’s because I can still be wowed by yet another Spielberg dinosaur film. Maybe it’s because I find the processes of reproduction and the inner life of DNA to be as much about mystery as they are about medical research. And maybe, in the end, it’s because I’m a theologian and not a scientist. Whatever the case, when I first heard the news about researchers in Edinburgh,... Read More

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Resources

Papal Encyclical on Bioethics - Caritas In Veritate

INTRODUCTION
1. Charity in truth, to which Jesus Christ bore witness by his earthly life and especially by his death and resurrection, is the principal driving force behind the authentic development of every person and of all humanity. Love — caritas — is an extraordinary force which leads people to opt for courageous and generous engagement in the field of justice and peace. It is a force that has its origin in God, Eternal Love and Absolute Truth. Each person finds his good by adherence to God's plan for him, in order to realize it fully: in this plan, he finds his truth, and through adherence to this truth he becomes free (cf. Jn 8:32). To defend the truth, to articulate it with humility and conviction, and to bear witness to it in life are therefore exacting and indispensable forms of charity. Charity, in fact, “rejoices in the truth” (1 Cor 13:6). All people feel the interior impulse to love authentically: love and truth never abandon them completely, because these are the vocation planted by God in the heart and mind of every human person. The search for love and truth is purified and liberated by Jesus Christ from the impoverishment that our humanity brings to it, and he reveals to us in all its fullness the initiative of love and the plan for true life that God has prepared for us. In Christ, charity in truth becomes the Face of his Person, a vocation for us to love our brothers and sisters in the truth of his plan. Indeed, he himself is the Truth (cf. Jn 14:6).

2. Charity is at the heart of the Church's social doctrine. Every responsibility and every commitment spelt out by that doctrine is derived from charity which, according to the teaching of Jesus, is the synthesis of the entire Law (cf. Mt 22:36- 40). It gives real substance to the personal relationship with God and with neighbour; it is the principle not only of micro-relationships (with friends, with family members or within small groups) but also of macro-relationships (social, economic and political ones). For the Church, instructed by the Gospel, charity is everything because, as Saint John teaches (cf. 1 Jn 4:8, 16) and as I recalled in my first Encyclical Letter, “God is love” (Deus Caritas Est): everything has its origin in God's love, everything is shaped by it, everything is directed towards it. Love is God's greatest gift to humanity, it is his promise and our hope.

I am aware of the ways in which charity has been and continues to be misconstrued and emptied of meaning, with the consequent risk of being misinterpreted, detached from ethical living and, in any event, undervalued. In the social, juridical, cultural, political and economic fields — the contexts, in other words, that are most exposed to this danger — it is easily dismissed as irrelevant for interpreting and giving direction to moral responsibility. Hence the need to link charity with truth not only in the sequence, pointed out by Saint Paul, of veritas in caritate (Eph 4:15), but also in the inverse and complementary sequence of caritas in veritate. Truth needs to be sought, found and expressed within the “economy” of charity, but charity in its turn needs to be understood, confirmed and practised in the light of truth. In this way, not only do we do a service to charity enlightened by truth, but we also help give credibility to truth, demonstrating its persuasive and authenticating power in the practical setting of social living. This is a matter of no small account today, in a social and cultural context which relativizes truth, often paying little heed to it and showing increasing reluctance to acknowledge its existence.

3. Through this close link with truth, charity can be recognized as an authentic expression of humanity and as an element of fundamental importance in human relations, including those of a public nature. Only in truth does charity shine forth, only in truth can charity be authentically lived. Truth is the light that gives meaning and value to charity. That light is both the light of reason and the light of faith, through which the intellect attains to the natural and supernatural truth of charity: it grasps its meaning as gift, acceptance, and communion. Without truth, charity degenerates into sentimentality. Love becomes an empty shell, to be filled in an arbitrary way. In a culture without truth, this is the fatal risk facing love. It falls prey to contingent subjective emotions and opinions, the word “love” is abused and distorted, to the point where it comes to mean the opposite. Truth frees charity from the constraints of an emotionalism that deprives it of relational and social content, and of a fideism that deprives it of human and universal breathing-space. In the truth, charity reflects the personal yet public dimension of faith in the God of the Bible, who is both Agápe and Lógos: Charity and Truth, Love and Word... Read More

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Pope: No Human Life Is Dispensable

Encourages Research on Adult Stem Cells
VATICAN CITY, NOV. 14, 2011 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI is acknowledging the temptations facing scientists who seek cures for degenerative illnesses, but he says that not even one human life can be destroyed for the benefit of another.
The Pope said this Saturday in an address to some 250 participants in an international conference on "Adult Stem Cells: Science and the Future of Man and Culture." The symposium was promoted by the Pontifical Council for Culture in collaboration with the U.S. Stem for Life Foundation.
The three-day meeting examined the use of adult stem cells… Read More

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