Loving Samuel: Suffering, Dependence, and the Calling of Love by Aaron D. Cobb

Pro-life literature colleagues, FYI: brief review of Loving Samuel: Suffering, Dependence, and the Calling of Love by Aaron D. Cobb.  https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1024692808


Life Affirming Choices

Peter Colosi is featured in a new video, “Life Affirming Choices,” produced for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. The movie looks at end-of-life ethical issues by focusing on the story of a young man, Brenden Flynn, who suffered a significant brain injury in an accident when he was eighteen. Colosi and several other provide a theoretical framework for the events in Flynn’s life and for the life-affirming choices Flynn’s parents made.

Biotechnology and the spirituality of St. Francis

At the 2013 Life and Learning Conference in San Francisco, William Hurlbut, Ph.D., gave a memorable plenary talk called ““Stem Cells, Eggs and Embryos: the Controversy Continues.” A friend recently told me about a talk that Dr. Hurlbut gave called “Biotechnology & The Spirituality of Saint Francis.” Here is a link to the audio of the talk. In the talk Hurlbut contrasts our biotechnological culture and its values of avoiding pain and maximizing pleasure with the self-sacrificing “romance” of St. Francis’s spirituality. 

Mississippi abortion case

On July 29, 2014, a divided panel of the Fifth Circuit affirmed an injunction preventing enforcement of Mississippi’s law requiring that abortionists have admitting privileges at local hospitals. Here is a link to a National Right to Life News story on the case.  See http://www.nationalrighttolifenews.org/news/2014/07/how-and-where-an-appeals-panel-decision-to-strike-down-law-that-would-have-closed-mississippis-last-abortion-clinic-went-wrong/#.U9paA9jjjcs

Judge Emilio Garza’s dissent is a persuasive account of the errors in the majority opinion.

Richard M.

What biologists affirm

As I was preparing for the upcoming issue of ProVita, I ran across this book on Amazon: Embryos Under the Microscope: Ths Diverging Meanings of Life, by Jane Maienschein. The author claims to be giving a history of the human knowledge of embryology so that ethical decisions can be based on accurate scientific information. What I found interesting was this assertion in the book description:

Biologists confirmed that embryos are living organisms undergoing rapid change and are not in any sense functioning persons. They do not feel pain or have any capacity to think until very late stages of fetal development.

As you can see, the embryo is excluded from personhood based on function, They can’t feel pain or think. This, of course, is not a biological determination, but a philosophical one. Biologists don’t determine who is a person and who is not. And philosophers aren’t unanimous that function is the basis for determining personhood. Others look to a more comprehensive and precise criterion, active potency. The human organism has the active potency to develop functions such as sensitivity to pain and cognition from fertilization.

Fetal pain laws and the moral imagination

O. Carter Snead of the Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture recently gave a talk at the National Right to Life Convention in which he discussed the way fetal pain laws can help citizens develop a moral imagination that sees the unborn as persons.