Savior Siblings: At What Moral Cost?

christian.jpgWASHINGTON, D.C., MARCH 23, 2011 (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: Could you please clarify the concept of a "savior sibling"? Some argue that a child conceived to save his older brother or sister is "conceived to be used." But the child per se is not used at all, only the child’s umbilical cord. Please clarify. Sincerely, D.V.M — Bellflower, California

E. Christian Brugger offers the following response:

A: Lisa Nash, mother of the world’s first "savior sibling," said she would do "anything" to save her daughter’s life.[1] Her daughter Molly was diagnosed at birth (in 1994) with Fanconi Anemia, a serious genetic disorder in which patients can suffer bone marrow failure, birth defects, developmental abnormalities, a heightened risk of leukemia and premature death. Lisa and her husband Jack were told that the best way to help Molly was to give her a blood and marrow transplant from a genetically matched sibling. But Molly was an only child. Her parents had been considering conceiving again, but decided against it because of the high probability — about 25% — that the child would suffer the same illness.

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On the March For Life

 
fellows_2010small.jpgThe Primacy of Culture and The March for Life

This time every year, and in a special way today, the true and ever strengthened fabric of America  covers again the grounds of our Nation’s capital and presents itself before the rule of law.  Media and other facets of this great Country may call this an event.  Others may refer to it as a mere protest or passing demonstration.  But with eyes of admiration I watch the growing number of young and vibrant pro-life marchers and the vision before me is so very much more than an organized appeal for truth and justice for the unborn.   It is the vision of our Culture: an ever alive, ever renewing reality of the people of America.  It is America.  What a great vision!

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May Researchers Use “Biological Material” Unjustly Obtained?

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If an unborn baby in the fetal or embryonic stage of life dies as a result of a miscarriage it would not be immoral to do worthwhile scientific research using tissues taken from it. But, as Germain Grisez noted in his massive book on Difficult Moral Questions, a serious problem of conscience can frequently face pro-life scientists and researchers regarding use of tissues taken from embryonic or fetal human persons who were intentionally aborted. The quandary is the following: Suppose that it is not possible to do the research proposed by using spontaneously aborted unborn babies who miscarry.  For example, certain research may require using embryonic/fetal tissue that must be fresh and not frozen or in any way not normal and tissues from miscarried embryos/fetuses do not meet these criteria. What should a conscientious pro-life person do if his research center agreed to use biological material obtained as a result of the intentional abortion of babies in their embryonic or fetal stages of life? Grisez concluded that the scientist ought not participate in the research nor cooperate with it in any way, even by advising a colleague who would take his place but who is not as knowledgeable about the science involved as he is. Grisez, however, thinks that if certain conditions are fulfilled, he could offer this colleague some advice if it justified tolerating bad side effects that would accompany the discovery of a procedure that would also greatly benefit unborn babies (pp. 385-388).

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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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