Remarkable advances in science and medicine have led to vast
improvements in the treatment of disease, disabilities, palliative
care, the mitigation of pain and suffering, and increased life
expectancy. However, along with modern medical progress come a
myriad of serious ethical questions and concerns. Parliamentarians
and others must ask tough ethical questions about the ramifications
to human dignity. Just because something can be done, should it?
What are the ethical boundaries? Do the ends justify the means?
The use of stem cells derived through the destruction of human
embryos disregards the dignity of that unique human entity, as does
cloning. Such practices are intrinsically wrong and violate respect
for life. The development of prenatal screening techniques to
identify unborn children with genetic anomalies for the purpose of
ending such precious lives violates their inviolable right to life.
Disability should not be a death sentence.
The adequate provision of health care for the elderly, the sick and
the dying presents increased concern about possible rationing of
care and denial of basic health care including food and water. With
the “graying” of the world, ethical questions about the end of life
are as much a challenge to lawmakers as are issues concerning the
beginning of life.
PNCI believes that all human beings, regardless of age, sex, race,
ethnicity, disability, creed, stage of development, or condition of
dependency possess an inherent right to life and seeks to advance
legislation to secure respect for the dignity of all lives in law
and policy. PNCI agrees with the former chairman of the President’s
Council on Bioethics, Dr. Edmund Pellegrino of Georgetown
University, who stated: “To advance human good and avoid harm,
biotechnology must be used within ethical constraints. It is the
task of bioethics to help society develop those constraints and
bioethics, therefore, must be of concern to all of us."
President’s Council on Bioethics
Archived website of President George W. Bush’s Council on Bioethics
provides materials on the ethical issues that arise from advances in
biotechnology and biomedical sciences and the challenges they
present to policy.
Bioethics Defense Fund
Public-interest law firm that provides legal and educational
solutions to life issues
National Catholic Bioethics Center
Posts material related to human dignity in health care and the life