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Letters to the Editor
The editorial note ["Life and Death With Dignity," Winter 1997] preceding your article on assisted suicide contains a description of human dignity that is worrisome. If, in fact, we have come to believe that "human dignity rests in the ability to make and to execute decisions based on one's own values and plans," then we already are well down the conceptual slippery slope of euthanasia.
A more Catholic perspective holds that human dignity is intrinsic. It can not be chosen, conferred, or taken away; it can only be recognized or ignored. Individuals do not lose their dignity by losing control of decision making, bladder, or bowels. If human dignity is associated with choice, will those no longer able to choose become less worthy of our protection, our caring, and, ultimately, our health-care dollars?
Michael Grady, M.D.
The family is a group in which each member has an obligation to the others. That obligation is to promote the welfare of the other members because the good of each member is the good of the others.
This obligation exists on the part of the spouses because of their commitment to each other as expressed in their marriage vows. The obligation exists on the part of the parents to the children when the parents decide to include those children within the group, either by birth or adoption. The obligation exists on the part of the children to the parents and even other siblings because the children receive the benefits of participating in the family group.
Thus, it is not just the commitment to children that is central
here; it is the commitment of family members to one another.
Exclusive focus on children is harmful to the family, just as
exclusive focus on the parents is harmful to the family. Each
approach is flawed.
|Issues in Ethics - V. 8, N. 2 Spring 1997|
|Values in Conflict|
|Beyond Professional Codes|
|Impartial Jurors, Impartial Juries|
|Who Gets Seen?|
|Jumping the Gun|
|a case in point|
|The Case of Henry's Publick House|
|Comments on the Case of the Depressed Patient|
|letters to the editor|
|Dignity is Intrinsic|
|scholars at work|
|news from the center|
|Writing Ethics Across the Curriculum|
|Student Reflection Leaders|
|Seminar on Civic Virtue Kicks Off Series|
|issues in ethics tools|