ReadingGuide2 - Reading Guide - Week 2 Reflection Topic:...

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Reading Guide - Week 2 Reflection Topic: The concept of a non-tangible ‘soul’ as part of a human is alive and well in 2009. Human embryonic stem cell research (perhaps the most promising medical technology for saving lives) that destroys new embryos has been prohibited in the U.S., largely because many people feel that the cluster of cells that could one day grow into a child is endowed with a soul – and is morally equivalent to a person, thus destroying it would be equivalent to murder. It is quite likely that, for those intending to get pregnant, only 50% of conceptions actually lead to pregnancies because embryonic death is quite common (thus there are millions of ‘deaths’ that go un-noticed). For those of us who have been sexually active but have been avoiding pregnancy by contraceptive use, it is possible that there have been many conceptions that have not led to births, and depending on the functional role of those contraceptives, by some peoples definitions these might even qualify as murders . Contraceptive methods like IUDs, the rhythm method, --and to a much lesser degree – the pill, are also allowing their sexually active users to rely on embryonic death to prevent pregnancy. It is for this reason that pro-lifers often oppose IUDs and morning-after pills, because their main mode of operation is to make embryonic death likely. It is worth noting that the Catholic church takes the position of not supporting stem cell destruction, and not supporting any form of contraception, other than the rhythm method. What has rarely been brought to people’s attention, however, is that if all of the pill users – representing 780 million pill cycles per year (Alcorn, 2006)-- were to switch to the rhythm method, then these converts would arguably be causing the deaths --not of tens of thousands, but of “millions of unborn children” (Bovens, 2006). Having considered the above, do you feel or believe that the concept of the human soul and the recognition of a moment of ‘ensoulment’ to a cluster of cells is important for consideration, especially when making policy decision concerning a woman’s right to control her body, or what is permissible of medical research? How do you feel about the claim that many contraceptives do not necessarily prevent conception, but rather prevent implantation of an already fertilized ovum, thereby resulting in (depending on one’s views about ensoulment ) the killing of an already conceived individual? Alcorn R . Does the birth control pill cause abortions? Bovens L. The rhythm method and embryonic death. Journal of Medical Ethics 2006; 32 :355-356
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Read: Bugental (2000). Acquistion of the Algorithms of Social Life. Q:
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This note was uploaded on 03/01/2009 for the course ECON 114 taught by Professor Cindybenelli during the Spring '08 term at UCSB.

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ReadingGuide2 - Reading Guide - Week 2 Reflection Topic:...

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