While marking the legalization of abortion in the cases of Roe v. Wade
and Doe v. Bolton, Sanctity of Human Life Week brings us face-to-face
not only with the ever-present issue of abortion, but with other, increasingly
urgent ethical quagmires. We start from the position in this Special Focus
that human life is divinely gifted, sanctified and largely beyond ethical
bounds to control, except in order to heal and as a function of governmental
How did we get to the point where we are discussing when to end life,
how to best ensure a better genetic makeup for our offspring and various
methodologies for excising the unborn? If life is indeed God-given,
sacred and beyond our authority either to end or to transform for our
own purposes, what are we to do with the staggering abilities we now
possess to do those very things? We present recent thought on stem-cell
research, bioengineering, findings on how babies think, euthanasia and
an assortment of abortion issues in this timely Special Focus.
Photo credit: Max Aguilera-Hellweg
—Byron Barlowe, Editor/Webmaster, Leadership University
Abortion: A Failure
Swope concludes, "If pro-lifers are willing to reframe the debate in a
way that affected women can better understand..the movement can regain
the moral high ground...and begin to reach successfully the very women
who most need the pro-life message."
Meilaender writes, "My aim in this brief essay is to invite thought
about present uses of genetic screening and the attitude we ought now
to have toward the project of shaping our children, lest a focus on
future possibilities should tempt us here and now to 'an entirely "frivolous
Looks at Old Testament Law, New Testament principles regarding capital
punishment. Also, answers the question of whether capital punishment
is just and whether it is a deterrence.
"Right to Die"--Good
Slogan, Fuzzy Thinking
The author, Darrow Distinguished University Professor of Law at the
University of Michigan, unpacks the often misleading debate on the so-called
right to die issue, distinguishing between allowing natural death, "rational"
suicide, assisted suicide and active voluntary euthanasia. These distinctions,
rarely made, are key.
The Sanctity of Human
Life: Harvesting Human Fetal Parts
Dr. Ray Bohlin
Once a sanctity of human life standard is abandoned for a quality of
life ethic, a slippery ethical slope leads to horrors undreamed of even
20 years ago. Legalized abortion has led to the sale of fetal tissue
and eventually to legalized euthanasia.
Facing Up to Infanticide
Even abortion advocates are beginning to admit that abortion, although
it should remain legal, is actually the killing of a child. The attempt
to reconcile a belief in legalized killing with liberal "compassion"
is most difficult.
Arguments Against Abortion
Biblical, medical, legal and philosophical arguments against abortion
Care, Never to Kill: A Documentation on Euthanasia
Editors, First Things
A published declaration on euthanasia produced by the Ransey Colloquium
of the Institute on Religion and Public Life (NYC). The colloquium is
a group of Jewish and Christian theologians, ethicists, philosophers
and scholars who consider such issues.
Peter J. Leithart
Psalm 139:13 is often quoted for Scriptural support of the pro-life
movement. Liethart advances an interpretation that makes this passage
an even stronger condemnation of abortion.
Janet L. Hopson
Behaviorally speaking, there's little difference between a newborn baby
and a 32-week-old fetus. A new wave of research suggests that the fetus
can feel, dream, even enjoy "The Cat in the Hat." The abortion debate
may never be the same. This article explores fetal alertness, fetal
movement, fetal taste, fetal hearing, fetal vision, fetal learning,
and fetal personality.
A woman's look at abortion from a biblical position. This essay explores
the reason abortion is such an emotionally volatile subject, as well
as biblical and medical reasons it is wrong, concluding with some personal
stories dealing with handicaps.
Editors, First Things
Excerpt taken from a 1997 supplement of the New York State Task Force
on Life and the Law to its highly influential 1994 report "When Death
Is Sought: Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia in the Medical Context."
Provides a synopsis of the dangers.
Two Boats, a Helicopter
& Stem Cells
Russell E. Saltzman
Saltzman writes about his own experience with diabetes and his reaction
to those who would harvest fetal tissue in order to advance research
into cures for his disease.
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