A guide to beginning-of-life issues

By en-shahdi under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic licence

The earliest stages of the development of human beings, from conception through the period shortly after birth, are fraught with life-and-death issues. Whether concerned about the fate or welfare of a particular embryo, fetus or baby, or hoping to benefit from a reproductive technology or stem cell research, countless individuals and families in every part of the nation face difficult questions every day. Americans hold a wide range of ethical and religious opinions about beginning-of-life questions, and various religious denominations disagree, often sharply and vociferously, about the correct course of action in given cases. These disagreements arise because major religious traditions differ profoundly on the moral status of life before birth and even on the terminology that is appropriate to use in referring to it.

Because these disagreements are significant and often deeply felt, issues dealing with life before birth tend to be highly controversial. Further changes in the technologies involving stem cell research, genetic diagnosis, assisted reproduction, and the birth and care of extremely premature infants or ones with severe birth defects will only raise additional contentious questions. These issues are most often played out in real-life medical settings, and decisions concerning particular cases and circumstances are often made in the public arena, with the policies of government entities, insurance companies, and health care providers and institutions coming into play, along with those of various religious groups.

Americans sometimes confront these issues as individuals and family members – for example, when they are affected by infertility, a troubled pregnancy, an extremely premature birth, severe birth defects in a newborn, or when they or a relative suffer from a disease, such as Parkinson’s or Type I diabetes, that might be helped by treatments using stem cells. Americans also deal with these issues as citizens when they attempt to influence law or public policy to reflect their views on the issue.

Major beginning-of-life issues

The moral status of human life before birth. Although none dispute that, in a biological sense, the embryo is alive and has a distinct genetic identity from the moment of conception, major religious traditions differ on the moral status they accord to the embryo and fetus. This profoundly influences the attitudes that they take toward many technologies and techniques. Some traditions, especially Roman Catholicism and some other Christian denominations, believe that the embryo has the status of a full human person from the moment of conception. Others, including Islam and Judaism, recognize that the embryo and fetus have the potential for full human life, which they hold in reverence, but do not accord parity with people who have been born. Some Christians share this view. Others believe that human status begins at some intermediate point, as, for example, when the fertilized ovum implants in the uterus or when the fetus is considered capable of viability outside the womb. Within a number of larger religious traditions, furthermore, differences exist in interpretation of the group’s larger orientation toward the moral status before birth.

Embryonic stem cell research. The moral status accorded to the embryo and fetus profoundly affects how various traditions view specific techniques and technologies, such as research on stem cells derived from embryos, which some religious groups encourage as a potentially valuable health measure and others reject as homicide.

Assisted reproduction. Religious traditions differ in their attitude toward techniques to assist reproduction that involve creation or manipulation of embryos or use of donor eggs or sperm. Some approve these methods and others forbid them.

Cloning of human embryos. Faith communities in the United States universally reject cloning of embryos for the purpose of producing human beings who will be born. Some however, accept cloning for the purpose of producing products, such as stem cells, for use in medical treatment, a process known as therapeutic cloning, while others categorically reject the practice.

Conflict between the welfare of the mother and of the pregnancy. Pregnancy can present medical issues in which the health or welfare of the mother is at odds with those of the pregnancy or of the embryo or fetus, such as when the mother has or develops a condition that makes the pregnancy or birth a threat to her health or life. Sometimes saving a problematic pregnancy also can require treatments that may be detrimental to the mother. Religious traditions differ on how to weigh the conflicting interests in such cases. Some, particularly some Christian denominations, believe that the interests of the embryo or fetus are paramount most or all of the time. Others, such as Judaism, believe that the life of the mother should take precedence throughout the pregnancy and birth.

Prenatal diagnosis and resultant abortion. Genetic and other technologies permit diagnosis of various diseases and conditions that can threaten the life, health or normal development of the future baby. This leads to the question of whether to terminate the pregnancy to forestall the suffering of the child and the family if the child is born. Some traditions forbid termination and therefore may encourage expectant parents to forgo prenatal testing. Others permit or even encourage these practices in order to spare a baby and family from suffering a grave or inevitably fatal disease.

Decisions regarding the birth and care of extremely premature babies or those with severe birth defects. Babies born extremely premature or with severe birth defects have a high likelihood of dying, and, should they survive, of suffering severe ailments or disabilities. Heroic neonatal intensive care techniques are often capable of keeping such babies alive, but, in many cases, without the assurance or possibility of anything close to normal development. The type and degree of care that should be given to a child whose extreme immaturity or birth defects are likely to result in major suffering are extremely controversial, both among and within religious groups and within the medical community. In many cases, the principles and considerations appropriate to end-of-life care become relevant, but with the complication that the patient is unable to express a preference.

National sources

  • Rebecca Rae Anderson

    Rebecca Rae Anderson is the vice chair of health promotion, social and behavioral health sciences at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha.  She is a board-certified genetic counselor, a member of the Social, Ethical, Legal Issues Committee of the American College of Medical Genetics and the author of Religious Traditions and Prenatal Genetic Counseling.

  • Renee R. Anspach

    Renee R. Anspach is an associate professor of sociology at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and author of Deciding Who Lives: Fateful Choices in the Intensive-Care Nursery.

  • J. David Bleich

    J. David Bleich is a professor of Jewish law and ethics at Yeshiva University in New York City. He is an expert on Jewish law and bioethics and how Jewish law applies to contemporary issues. He is also conversant in how Jewish law intersects with the American legal system. He is the co-author of Jewish Bioethics and author of Bioethical Dilemmas: A Jewish Perspective.

  • Michael Broyde

    Michael Broyde is a professor of law and senior fellow in the Center for the Study of Law and Religion at Emory University in Atlanta. He edited the book Marriage, Sex and Family in Judaism.

    His writings include “Cloning People: A Jewish Law Analysis of the Issues” in the Connecticut Law Review (1998) and “Pre-implantation Genetic Diagnosis, Stem Cells and Jewish Law” in Tradition: A Journal of Orthodox Jewish Thought.

  • R. Alta Charo

    R. Alta Charo teaches law and bioethics at the University of Wisconsin law school. From 2015 to 2017, she was a member of the Human Genome Editing Initiative, a joint project of the National Academy of Medicine and National Academy of Sciences. She previously served on President Bill Clinton’s National Bioethics Advisory Commission.

    She was a member of President Clinton’s National Bioethics Advisory Commission, where she participated in drafting its reports on cloning human beings.

  • Peter A. Clark

    Peter A. Clark is professor of theology and health administration, holder of the John McShain Chair in Ethics and director of the Institute of Catholic Bioethics at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. He is a Catholic priest, an affiliated scholar-associate at the Center for Clinical Bioethics at Georgetown University Medical Center and bioethicist for the Mercy Health System in Philadelphia. He wrote To Treat or Not to Treat: The Ethical Methodology Of Richard A. McCormick, S.J., As Applied to Treatment Decisions for Handicapped Newborns.

  • Ronald Cole-Turner

    Ronald Cole-Turner is the H. Parker Sharp Professor of Theology and Ethics at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, author of Transhumanism and Transcendence: Christian Hope in an Age of Technological Advancement and editor of Design and Destiny: Jewish and Christian Perspectives on Human Germline Modification.

  • Marilyn Coors

    Marilyn Coors is associate professor of bioethics and genetics in the department of psychiatry at the University of Colorado at Denver. She is the author of the book The Matrix: Charting the Ethics of Inheritable Genetic Modification and of “Therapeutic Cloning: From Consequences to Contradiction” in the June 2002 edition of The Journal of Medicine and Philosophy.

  • David Dion DeGrazia

    David Dion DeGrazia is a philosophy professor at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. He has written about the ethics of animal research and is the author of Animal Rights: A Very Short Introduction.

    He is the author of the book Human Identity and Bioethics and of “Moral Status, Human Identity and Early Embryos: A Critique of the President’s Approach” in the spring 2006 edition of The Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics.

  • Jacqueline J. Glover

    Jacqueline J. Glover is an associate professor in the departments of pediatrics and preventive medicine and biometrics at the University of Colorado at Denver and Health Sciences Center. She is also an associate professor in the Center for Bioethics and Humanities, where she directs the center’s clinical ethics program and the interdisciplinary education program. She is co-author of “Ethical issues in treating infants with very low birth weight,” in the May 2000 issue of Seminars in Pediatric Surgery.

  • Frank Gonzalez-Crussi

    Frank Gonzalez-Crussi was formerly head of laboratories at Chicago’s Children’s Memorial Hospital and professor of pathology at Northwestern Medical School. His books include On Being Born and Other Difficulties.

    Contact: 773-880-4438.
  • Henry Greely

    Henry “Hank” Greely is a law professor at Stanford University who specializes in health law, genetics and law and biotechnology law. He is the lead author of Cloning Californians? Report of the California Advisory Committee on Human Cloning. He is also a former clerk for Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart and has served as chairman of the steering committee for the Stanford Center for Biomedical Ethics, ethics chairman of the North American Committee of the Human Genome Diversity Project, and chair of the California Advisory Committee of Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research. He is one of the founding members of the Neuroethics Society. Greely has helped develop rules for conducting research among indigenous peoples.

  • John Lantos

    Dr. John Lantos is professor of pediatrics and associate director of the MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics at the University of Chicago. He is co-author of Neonatal Bioethics: The Moral Challenges of Medical Innovation and author of The Lazarus Case: Life-and-Death Issues in Neonatal Intensive Care.

  • Steven R. Leuthner

    Dr. Steven R. Leuthner is associate professor of pediatrics and bioethics at the Health Policy Institute of the Wisconsin College of Medicine in Milwaukee. He is the author of “Decisions Regarding Resuscitation of the Extremely Premature Infant and Models of Best Interest” in the April/May 2001 Journal of Perinatology and co-author of “End-of-Life Care for Neonates and Infants: The Experience and Effects of a Palliative Care Consultation Service” in the journal Pediatrics (September 2001), “The Ethics of Withholding/Withdrawing Nutrition in the Newborn” in Seminars in Perinatology (December 2003) and “Palliative Care of the Infant with Lethal Anomalies” in the journal Pediatric Clinics of North America (2004).

  • Ruth Macklin

    Ruth Macklin is a bioethics professor in the department of epidemiology and social medicine at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, N.Y. A philosopher by training, Macklin focuses on ethics in research involving human subjects, with a special interest in international collaborative research conducted in developing countries. Other areas of interest are HIV/AIDS and reproductive health, access to treatment, public health, assisted reproduction, research involving embryos and stem cells, and gene transfer research. She is also a member of the Columbia University Center for Bioethics external advisory board. She is the author of Surrogates & Other Mothers: The Debates Over Assisted Reproduction.

  • Mary Anderlik Majumder

    Mary Anderlik Majumder is assistant professor of medicine with the Center for Medical Ethics and Health Policy at Baylor College of Medicine.  She is co-editor of Genetic Ties and the Family: The Impact of Paternity Testing on Parents and Children.

  • Laurence B. McCullough

    Laurence B. McCullough is professor of medicine and medical ethics and a core faculty member at the Center for Medical Ethics and Health Policy at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.  He is the author of “Neonatal Ethics at the Limits of Viability” in the October 2005 issue of the journal Pediatrics and is co-author of the book Ethics in Obstetrics and Gynecology.

  • William Meadow

    Dr. William Meadow is professor of pediatrics, assistant director of the McLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics at the University of Chicago and co-author of Neonatal Bioethics: The Moral Challenges of Medical Innovation.

  • Maxwell Mehlman

    Maxwell Mehlman is the Arthur E. Petersilge Professor of Law and Director of the Law-Medicine Center at the Case School of Law and Professor of Biomedical Ethics in the Case School of Medicine at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. He is co-author of Genetics: Ethics, Law and Policy and author of Wondergenes: Genetic Enhancement and the Future of Society.

  • Geoffrey Miller

    Dr. Geoffrey Miller is professor of pediatrics and neurology at Yale University in New Haven, Conn. He wrote Extreme Prematurity: Practices, Bioethics and the Law (2007).

  • Robert D. Orr

    Dr. Robert D. Orr is professor of bioethics at The Union Graduate College-Mount Sinai School of Medicine Bioethics Program, professor of family medicine at the University of Vermont College of Medicine and clinical ethicist at Fletcher Allen Health Care in Burlington, Vt. He has been vice president of the American Society for Bioethics and the Humanities.

  • Winifred J. Ellenchild Pinch

    Winifred J. Ellenchild Pinch is a professor at the Center for Health Policy and Ethics and professor of nursing at Creighton University in Omaha, Neb.  She wrote When the Bough Breaks: Parental Perceptions of Ethical Decision-Making in NICU.

  • John A. Robertson

    John A. Robertson holds the Vinson and Elkins Chair at the University of Texas School of Law in Austin. He has written and lectured widely on law and bioethical issues. His books include The Rights of the Critically Ill.

  • Bonnie Steinbock

    Bonnie Steinbock is a philosophy professor at the University of Albany, State University of New York, a faculty member of the Alden March Bioethics Institute at Albany Medical College, a fellow of the Hastings Center and a member of the Ethics Committee of the American Society for Reproduction and Medicine. She specializes in reproduction and genetics. Her recent articles have covered reproductive cloning, wrongful life and procreative decision making, the definitions of parenthood, moral status, and embryonic stem cell research. She wrote Life Before Birth: The Moral and Legal Status of Embryos and Fetuses (Oxford, 1992) and edited The Oxford Handbook of Bioethics (Oxford, forthcoming). She co-edited Public Health Ethics: Theory, Policy, and Practice (Oxford, forthcoming in 2006), Ethical Issues in Modern Medicine (Ashgate, 2002) and Killing and Letting Die (Fordham, 1994).

  • Carol Tauer

    Carol Tauer is professor of philosophy emerita at the College of St. Catherine in St. Paul, Minn., and is currently visiting professor at the Center for Bioethics of the University of Minnesota. She served on the National Institutes of Health’s Human Embryo Research Panel, which made ethical recommendations for federal funding of research on infertility, pre-implantation diagnosis and stem cell research, and on the Committee on Ethics of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

  • Jon E. Tyson

    Dr. Jon E. Tyson is a professor of pediatrics and director of the Center for Clinical Research and Evidence-Based Medicine at the University of Texas Medical School at Houston. He is the author of “Evidence-Based Ethics and the Care of Premature Infants” in the spring 1995 issue of the journal The Future of Children.



  • National Catholic Bioethics Center

    The National Catholic Bioethics Center in Philadelphia conducts research and consultations in health care and life sciences in accordance with teachings of the Catholic Church. It consults on life science and medical issues with the Vatican, U.S. bishops, public policy-makers, hospitals and international organizations of all faiths. It publishes two journals, Ethics and Medics and The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly.

  • Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity

    The Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity in Bannockburn, Ill., helps individuals and organizations address bioethical challenges, including end-of-life treatment, genetic intervention, euthanasia and reproductive technologies, from a Christian perspective. Its website contains articles with overviews on various topics in bioethics, some position statements, bibliographies and podcasts.


  • Orthodox Union Advocacy Center

    The Orthodox Union Institute for Public Affairs advocates for the rights and interests of Orthodox Judaism. The executive director is Nathan Diament.

    It posts a number of statements on stem cell research. Because Jewish law does not grant embryos the status of full personhood, the Orthodox Union supports all types of stem cell research, including embryonic.


  • Islamic Medical Association of North America

    The Islamic Medical Association of North America aims to provide a forum and resource for Muslim physicians and other health-care professionals, to promote a greater awareness of Islamic medical ethics and values among Muslims and the community at large, to provide humanitarian and medical relief and to be an advocate in health-care policy.

    It has a code of medical ethics that includes a discussion of beginning-of-life issues, including stem cells, cloning and assisted reproduction.

  • Abdulaziz A. Sachedina

    Abdulaziz A. Sachedina is a coordinator of the Islamic bioethics group of the International Association of Bioethics and is a professor of Islamic studies at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. He contributed the entry on bioethics for The Oxford Dictionary of Islam.


  • American Society for Reproductive Medicine

    The American Society for Reproductive Medicine, an organization of physicians, has issued reports and statements by its ethics committee on various beginning-of-life issues.

  • The American Academy of Pediatrics

    The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 60,000 pediatricians committed to the optimal physical, mental, and social health and well-being for all infants, children, adolescents, and young adults.

Major bioethics centers

  • American Medical Association

    The American Medical Association promotes the art and science of medicine and the betterment of public health. Contact via the form on their website.

    Contact: 312-464-4430.
  • Center for Biomedical Ethics & Humanities

    The Center for Biomedical Ethics & Humanities at the University of Virginia combines the study of health care and illness with social science and humanity disciplines. Daniel M. Becker is director.

  • Hastings Center

    The nonprofit Hastings Center in Garrison, N.Y., explores bioethics questions in health care, biotechnology and the environment. Recent research projects range from genetic paternity testing to newborn screening to palliative care. Susan Gilbert is the director of communications.

  • National Center for Bioethics in Research and Health Care

    Tuskegee University’s National Center for Bioethics in Research and Health Care was established in January 1999 as a partial response to the apology of President Clinton for the United States Public Health Service Study on syphilis conducted at Tuskegee, Macon County, Ala., from 1932 to 1972. The center addresses ethical issues in science, technology and health, with an emphasis on effects among people of color and other minorities.

  • Stanford Center for Biomedical Ethics

    The Stanford Center for Biomedical Ethics at Stanford University does interdisciplinary research in biomedical ethics. David Magnus is director.

  • University of Minnesota’s Center for Bioethics

    The University of Minnesota’s Center for Bioethics was founded 21 years ago and is one of the leading research centers for bioethics, with 15 full- and part-time faculty. The center conducts original interdisciplinary research, offers educational programs and fosters public discussion through community outreach. The center focuses on the policy level, working closely with policy-makers, health-care professionals and university communities. Projects include the Genetics and Identity Project, Genetics in Primary Care: Ethical and Professional Challenges, African Genealogy and Genetics: Looking Back to Move Forward and Blueprint of the Body on the Human Genome Project.

  • University of Pennsylvania Center for Bioethics

    The University of Pennsylvania Center for Bioethics in Philadelphia is one of the pre-eminent bioethics centers in the United States, with more than 20 faculty. The center’s staff includes experts in philosophy, medicine, law, anthropology, sociology and religion. Its website is an excellent place to start an exploration of any bioethics topic and is also home to The American Journal of Bioethics.

    Contact: 215-349-5964.

Georgetown University is the nation’s oldest Catholic and Jesuit university. A pioneering bioethics institution, Georgetown has trained many of the most pre-eminent contemporary bioethicists. It is home to:

  • Kennedy Institute of Ethics

    The Kennedy Institute of Ethics is the oldest academic bioethics center. See a list of its scholars. Contact Kelly Heuer.

  • National Information Resource on Ethics and Human Genetics

    The National Information Resource on Ethics and Human Genetics is funded by the National Human Genome Research Institute of the National Institutes of Health. It is part of the Georgetown Bioethics Library at Georgetown University.

  • Center for Clinical Bioethics

    The Center for Clinical Bioethics was established in 1991 at Georgetown University Medical Center as a university-based bioethics resource for those who shape and give health care. Edmund D. Pellegrino is founding director.

    Contact: 202-687-1122.

Regional sources

In the Northeast

  • Robin W. Doroshow

    Dr. Robin W. Doroshow is professor of pediatrics and pediatric cardiology at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. She is co-author of “Treatment Decisions for Newborns at the Threshold of Viability: An Ethical Dilemma” in the September 2000 Journal of Perinatology.

    Contact: 202-444-5437.
  • Margaret A. Farley

    Margaret A. Farley is the Gilbert L. Stark professor emerita of Christian ethics at Yale Divinity School in New Haven, Conn. She is Catholic and has written widely about Christian sexual ethics.

    She is author of “Stem Cell Research: Religious Considerations” in Handbook of Embryonic Stem Cells and “Cloning for Research: Ethical and Religious Concerns” in Therapeutic Cloning.

  • Josephine Johnston

    Josephine Johnston is a research scholar and director of research operations at the Hastings Center in Garrison, N.Y. Her writings include “Judging Octomon” in the Hastings Review and “Reproductive Health: Control and Use of Gametes and Embryos” and “Reproductive Health: Storage and Disposal of Gametes and Embryos” for the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons (London, UK) Bioethics Education Project.

  • Nicanor Pier Giorgio Austriaco

    Nicanor Pier Giorgio Austriaco is assistant professor of biology and instructor of theology at Providence College in Providence, R.I. He is also a Catholic priest and Dominican friar. His writings include “Are Teratomas Embryos or Non-Embryos? A Criterion for Oocyte-Assisted Reprogramming” in the winter 2005 issue of The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly.

  • John J. Paris

    The Rev. John J. Paris is a Jesuit priest who teaches in the theology department of Boston College. He has been a consultant to the President’s Commission for the Study of Ethics in Medicine and the United States Senate Committee on Aging and presented to Gregorian University in Rome on Catholic approaches to end-of-life care.

  • Thomas Anthony Shannon

    Thomas Anthony Shannon is professor of religion and ethics at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Worcester, Mass. He wrote Made in Whose Image?: Genetic Engineering and Christian Ethics (Humanity Books, 2000) and co-wrote New Genetic Medicine: Theological and Ethical Reflections (Rowman & Littlefield, 2003).

In the South

  • Brian S. Carter

    Dr. Brian S. Carter is professor of pediatrics in the division of neonatology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn. His research and teaching interests include clinical ethics. He is author of “Ethical Issues in Neonatal Care” on e-Medicine and co-editor of Palliative Care for Infants, Children and Adolescents: A Practical Handbook.

  • Joseph A. Garcia-Prats

    Dr. Joseph A. Garcia-Prats is professor of pediatrics and professor of medical ethics in the Center for Ethics, Medicine and Public Issues at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. He is also medical director of the Arnold J. Rudolph Memorial Newborn Intensive Care Unit at Ben Taub General Hospital in Houston.

  • Kathy Kinlaw

    Kathy Kinlaw is acting director of the John and Susan Wieland Center for Ethics and Bioethics at Emory University in Atlanta and associate in the department of pediatrics at the Emory Medical School. She is also executive director of the Health Care Ethics Consortium of Georgia. Neonatal and perinatal ethics is one of her research interests.

  • Tom Mayo

    Tom Mayo is director of the Cary M. Maguire Center for Ethics and Public Responsibility at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. He has expertise in ethical questions involving Medicare fraud and abuse, organ transplantation, tax-exempt status of health care organizations and, particularly, end-of-life decision-making and advance directives.

  • Mark A. Rothstein

    Mark A. Rothstein holds the Herbert F. Boehl Chair of Law and Medicine and is director of the Institute for Bioethics, Health Policy and Law at the University of Louisville School of Medicine. He is co-editor of Genetic Ties and the Family: The Impact of Paternity Testing on Parents and Children.

  • Bonnie J. Taylor

    Dr. Bonnie J. Taylor is professor of pediatrics in the neonatology section at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and medical director of Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock. She has chaired the Arkansas Children’s Hospital Ethics Committee.

In the Midwest

  • Jessica Wilen Berg

    Jessica Wilen Berg is professor of law and bioethics at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, where she has a joint appointment in the School of Law and the department of bioethics at the Medical School. Her writings include “Of Elephants and Embryos: A Proposed Framework for Legal Personhood,” forthcoming in Hastings Law Journal; and “You say person, I say property: Does it really matter what we call an embryo?” (winter 2004) and “Risky Business: Evaluating Oocyte Donation” (fall 2001), both in The American Journal of Bioethics.

  • Richard Gunderman

    Dr. Richard Gunderman is associate professor in the department of philosophy, vice chairman of radiology and director of pediatric radiology at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. He is also co-author of “Ethics and the Limits of Neonatal Viability” in the August 2005 issue of the journal Radiology.

  • Stephen M. Modell

    Dr. Stephen M. Modell is research area specialist and dissemination activities director at the Michigan Center for Genomics & Public Health and instructor in health management and policy at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. He is the author of “Genetic and Reproductive Technologies in the Light of Religious Dialogue” in the March 2007 Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science.

In the West

  • Anita Joy Catlin

    Anita Joy Catlin is professor of nursing at Sonoma State University in California and a certified ethics consultant. She is author of “Thinking outside the box: Prenatal care and the call for a prenatal advance directive” in the April/June 2005 Journal of Perinatal & Neonatal Nursing and co-author of “End of Life in the NICU: A Study of Ventilator Withdrawal” in MCN: The American Journal of Maternal/Child Nursing (May/June 2001) and “Applying Palliative Care Principles in the Care of High-Risk Newborns” in the book Palliative Care for Infants, Children and Adolescents: A Practical Handbook.

  • Mark Merkens

    Dr. Mark Merkens is associate professor of pediatrics at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland and co-author of “The Oregon Health Plan and the Ethics of Care for Marginally Viable Newborns” in the 2001 Journal of Clinical Ethics.

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