Chapter

The Ethics of Embryo Adoption and the Catholic Tradition

Volume 95 of the series Philosophy and Medicine pp 161-174

From Rescuing Frozen Embryos to Respecting the Limits of Nature: Reframing the Embryo Adoption Debate

  • Paul LauritzenAffiliated withDirector of the Program in Applied Ethics and Professor of Religious Studies, John Carroll University

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In 1985, Gary Trudeau and the Universal Press Syndicate agreed not to run six installments of the comic strip “Doonesbury” which parodied “The Silent Scream,” an anti-abortion film that showed ultrasound images of an abortion of a 12-weekold fetus taking place. The ultrasound images of the abortion depicted in “The Silent Scream” were accompanied by commentary from a physician–narrator, Bernard Nathanson, who had once performed abortions but had become a staunch opponent of abortion. In fact, the film takes its name from a series of images which Nathanson describes as follows:

We can see the tip [of the abortion instrument] move back and forth as the abortionist seeks the child’s body. Once again we can see the child’s mouth wide open in a silent scream in this particular freeze frame. This is the silent scream of a child threatened imminently with extinction.