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Testing Early in Pregnancy

The Roman Catholic tradition has set strong precedents regarding the practice of abortion. The precedent against aborting the unborn is clear from the Second Vatican Council: “. . . from the moment of its conception life must be guarded with the greatest care, while abortion and infanticide are unspeakable crimes.”General Board of Church and Society of the United Methodist Church, 100 Maryland Avenue, N.E., Washington DC 20002.The challenge to ethicists in the Roman Catholic tradition in the near future will be to examine what transpires at the preimplantation stage of the embryo (or pre-embryo) to determine if the word “abortion” applies. If it does, this may lead to recommending that genetic screening be pushed back one step further, to the gamete stage prior to fertilization. The genetic make-up of sperm and ovum could be screened separately, using acceptable gametes and discarding the unacceptable. The Catholic Health Association of the United States pushes back a step further by recommending the development of techniques of gonadal cell therapy to make genetic corrections in the reproductive tissues of prospective parents long before conception takes place—that is, gametocyte therapy.Battle imagery was used in the front-page coverage of the New York Times, CXLIV:50:060, National Edition, "Religious Leaders Prepare to Fight Patents on Genes," page 1.Other issues, such as the criteria for genetic acceptability still remain,  but the problem of post-conception abortion may be solved in this way.

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Testing Early in Pregnancy

Genetics & Ethics: Topics Index
Genetics Research
Genetic Discrimination
Preventing Genetic Discrimination
Where Does the Church Stand?
The Abortion Controversy Intensifies
Patenting God’s Creation?
Should Genes Be Patented?
Patenting Genes – Some Perspectives
The Gene Myth
DNA and Social Behavior?
The Gay Gene?
Treating Faulty DNA
Improving our DNA
Are We Asking Our Scientists to Play God?
Is DNA the Essence of Life?


Ted Peters
Dr. Ted Peters


See also:

Pain and Suffering
What Makes us Human?
The Cognitive and Neurosciences
Are we Free?
The Relation of Science & Religion
Books on Biology, Genetics and Theology
Egg Manipulation
DNA Double-Helix