Academic journal article Issues in Law & Medicine

Albert S. Moraczewski, May One Benefit from the Evil Deeds of Others?

Academic journal article Issues in Law & Medicine

Albert S. Moraczewski, May One Benefit from the Evil Deeds of Others?

Article excerpt

2 NAT'L CATH. BIOETHICS Q. 43 (2002).

On August 9, 2001, President Bush permitted federal funding for the use of stem cell lines that were produced from human embryos destroyed before 9 p.m., E.D.T., August 9th, 2001. In the eyes of the Catholic Church at least two morally evil deeds were done to initiate those stem cell lines: (1) the generation of human embryos by in vitro fertilization (IVF); and (2) the isolation of stem cells that resulted in the death of the embryo.

For the best case scenario, let us assume that those who want to use the stem cells for medical research and therapy are not the persons who initiated the stem cell lines by embryo destruction. And further, let us assume that these researchers have a most noble intention, namely, the cure of debilitating diseases and disorders, often lethal, which currently have no effective alternative treatments. Under these optimal conditions, may we use such stem cell lines? The author's response is "No," for the following reasons.

Two arguments opposing the use of these stem cell lines obtained by the willful destruction of human embryos are: (1) the action would be in complicity with an evil act; and (2) the action would be seeking to benefit from another person's morally evil act. Why would it be an implicit approval of the original immoral acts for other researchers to use such stem cells while knowing their source? …

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