Newsweek’s Advocacy Journalism

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In an attempt to keep pace with the advocacy journalism of Time magazine, its rival liberal weekly Newsweek recently published an unflattering piece on the Catholic Church entitled “Banned by the Pope.”  It was written by, of all people, Rev. Charles E. Curran, now 80 years old, the controversial leader of the 1968 dissent against Humanae Vitae.

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“THE PILL” TURNS FIFTY

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In 1960 the Food and Drug Administration approved the oral contraceptive known as “The Pill.” To celebrate the Pill’s 50th birthday Elaine Tyler May, Regents Professor of American Studies and History at the University of Minnesota, has published America and the Pill: A History of Promise, Peril, and Liberation (New York: Basic Books, a Member of the Perseus Books Group, 2010, 214 pp.).

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“ORGAN DONATION EUTHANASIA”: A DANGEROUS PROPOSAL

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Should we adopt euthanasia to maximize our supply of available organs for transplantation?

For several decades transplant medicine has suffered from a critical shortfall in the supply of organs needed for patients with organ failure.  As a result thousands of patients die each year on waiting lists.  Presently there are over 100,000 patients awaiting donor organs in the U.S.; in 2007 alone, 18 patients per day died waiting for deceased donor organs.  The problem has given rise to significant milestones in end-of-life medicine.  For example, the shift in the 1960s from diagnosing human death in terms of the cessation of heart and lung function (cardio-pulmonary death) to neurological criteria (whole brain death) was motivated by a desire to preserve more transplantable organs.  Another idea that’s been debated over the years is “organ conscription.”  This very month, lawmakers in New York introduced an “opt out” organ conscription bill that would presume that all patients are organ donors unless they explicitly opt out on their driver’s license. [1]  Those of us whose organs are more or less healthy may not appreciate the distress that patients and their families feel knowing that their lives could be saved if only their names reach the top of the wait list.

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DOES CONTRACEPTION PREVENT ABORTION?

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Andrew Koppelman and others say “It certainly does!”
Andrew Koppelman, John Paul Stevens Professor of Law at Northwestern University, and others claim that contraception definitely prevents abortion. This April (2010) Koppelman posted a commentary, “How the Religious Right Promotes Abortion,” [1] that was immediately attacked byspokespersons of the “Religious Right” (e.g., Michael New of the Witherspoon Institute). Koppelman judges it to be “astoundingly stupid and tragic” to argue over this. Continuing, he said, “One of the rare areas of common ground between opponents and supporters of abortion rights is that neither side thinks that unintended pregnancy is a good thing.  We should be able to come together on measures that would actually reduce the rate of unwanted pregnancy, and thus, inevitably, reduce the abortion rate.  That might even help the anti-abortion cause in the long run, because it would reduce the number of American women who have had abortions…. Yet instead, we are having this silly argument.  It is dispiriting.”

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Are Food and Water Extraordinary Measures? Ethical Principles on Caring for Those in a Vegetative…

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In this piece, we would like to define the condition to which the term "vegetative state" refers, discuss certain facts about the tragic condition, introduce key ethical principles for analyzing duties that we have to persons in it, and update our readers on the current state of Catholic teaching on providing food and water to patients in a persistent vegetative state.

 

 

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