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Jack Sisson's Life Ethics Blog

We must find new ways through many ethical issues, especially regarding bioethics, medical ethics, and criminal justice. Jack Sisson's 'Life Ethics' blog focuses on numerous areas of concern, including the philosophical and ethical dilemmas surrounding stem-cell research, abortion, medical research, and health care.

 
Courtesy University of Saskatchewan
TORONTO STAR, Aug 25, 2007 --
Clashes between the high-tech and the holy are looming anew as political changes force stem-cell research back onto the public agenda, raising a host of new bioethical concerns for doctors and patients. And a Toronto physician is going to have his say about where this all leads.

The medical world needs to think about more than just curing diseases and prescribing drugs, says Dr. Bill Sullivan, who has been tapped to advise the Vatican on bioethics, and consider more where those cures come from.

"You can fix the kidney, but the person might not be healed in other ways," continues Sullivan, appointed earlier this month by Pope Benedict XVI to the Pontifical Academy for Life.

True care needs also to address the ethical issues surrounding their care – including the research done to arrive at a treatment. For Sullivan, medical decisions cannot, and should not, be made in a moral vacuum. For the Catholic church, embryonic stem-cell research tops the list of concerns.

"The ethical issues arise where the vulnerable are threatened," Sullivan says, referring to the stem cells destroyed in labs.

He expects such research to get a boost in the coming years as the Bush administration comes to an end, taking with it the White House ban on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research.

The U.S. Congress tried again this year to pass a bill allowing such funding, only to see President George Bush veto it in June. The veto was expected, but the attempt by Congress nonetheless sent a clear message that the rest of Washington supports the work.

Meanwhile, moratoriums restricting stem-cell research in other countries, such as Germany and Australia, are nearing an end, scientific journals are calling for more stem-cell and other research, and Democratic presidential candidates are letting it be known they support the work.

In short, the floodgates of medical and biotechnological research seem about to spring open and with them a whole host of new bioethical concerns.

Shane Green, director of ethics for the Ontario Genome Institute, says new discoveries are being made all the time, even with the Bush ban in place, expanding the ethical questions on a constant basis.
Keep reading.

Here's more:
TORONTO, August 23, 2007 (LifeSiteNews.com) - An official response from the Canadian Diabetes Association indicates the funding organization is in complete support of using human embryos in destructive research.

The Canadian Diabetes Association is the country's foremost organization disseminating information to Canadians on the disease. Its mission is to "promote the health of Canadians through diabetes research, education, service and advocacy." The Association distributes government funding to researchers.

A reply to a query by LifeSiteNews.com elicited an emailed response from "Susan" at the Canadian Diabetes Association Contact Centre who said that the Association "does not currently fund embryonic stem cell research" as of 2004-5.

"All stem cell work funded by the Association is with cells derived from non-embryonic tissues." Susan specified the promise shown by transplant research using pancreatic islet cells as an example of adult stem cell research in diabetes. This treatment involves, however, replacing a patient's islet cells with differentiated donor cells, not stem cells.

Susan went on to write that while the Association "recognizes the need to be respectful of the varying perspectives held by the Canadian public on this sensitive issue," it supports the "Canadian government's direction" on the use of embryos in research.
Complete article here.

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