Fetal Development Studies

The first category of research deals with investigations of fetal development and physiology. The purpose of this research is to expand scientific knowledge about normal fetal development in order to provide a basis for identifying and understanding abnormal processes and, ultimately, curing birth deformities, or treating them in utero. These studies primarily involve autopsies of dead fetuses. However, studies of fetal physiology include the fetus in utero as well as organs and tissues removed...

Birth Control Technology

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University II. Approaches to Birth Control and Moral Distinctions III. Contemporary Methods of Birth Control IV. Future Methods of Birth Control pregnancy The condition of a female during the period from conception until birth. progestagen Any agent capable of producing physiological effects similar to those of progesterone. Progestagens generally inhibit ovulation and have other effects on the female reproductive system to prevent pregnancy....

Embryos Have Moral Status

The claim that embryos do have moral status has been supported by a number of different arguments. The traditional Christian view, which is presently used primarily by Catholic moral theorists and by some evangelical groups, claims that an embryo has full moral status from the point of conception fertilization. Similar views are held by some Orthodox Jewish and Islamic scholars. This view can be based on a theory of immediate ensoulment, or by reference to the fact that at fertilization a human...

Nuclear Power And Uncertainty

Many estimates and evaluations of nuclear power involve scientific and probabilistic uncertainty. There is, for example, uncertainty regarding actual radiation exposure levels, particular people's sensitivity levels, the likelihood of dangerous consequences in a specific case, the given causal chains of harm, and so on. U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) representatives admit that Chernobyl could cause up to 28,000 fatal cancers in the former Soviet Union, Scandinavia, and Europe over the next 50...

Parents Right of Reproductive Freedom

The argument most commonly advanced for permitting human cloning is that, at least in some cases, human cloning falls under the range of personal liberties granted in Western societies, specifically under parents' right of reproductive freedom or ''procreative liberty.'' Having a biological connection to one's own children is believed by many to contribute to the most personally satisfying parent-child relationships. Through that link, parents participate in the creation of a person and affirm...

Replacement Arguments and Personal Identity

A specific class of arguments based on an intriguing observation about personal identity have become a standard feature of discussions about ethics and embryology. These are the so-called replacement arguments which all proceed from the observations that (a) if a woman conceives a child this month, the child will be different from the child she could have conceived next month, because they will come from the union of different gametes and be genetically different, and more generally (b) any...

Alternative Theories Of Life Vitalism Vs Mechanism

Here we face an important philosophical issue which is crucial for different concepts of life and also for the place that we assign to humankind, since we ourselves are living organisms. Such a controversy, which is often labeled as mechanism vs. vitalism, was already known in ancient Greek where atomists held a form of mechanism according to which life is a kind of self-moving matter, while Platonists defended a sort of vitalism posing a sharp distinction between matter and life. Aristotle...

Antenatal Screening

Antenatal screening for genetic disorders and malformation is offered to most pregnant women in developed countries, and also to many women in developing countries. There are five types of genetic screening tests to mention in this article. 1. Amniocentesis entails taking a sample of the fluid from around the fetus. This is usually performed at about 16 weeks' gestation and permits the chromosomal analysis of cultured cells from the fluid. This may be carried out in the context of a couple's...