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Bioethics Conference Oct. 9-11

"This is a rare opportunity for doctors, nurses, and others" says Lee

Posted: Monday, June 30, 2008

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STEUBENVILLE, OH --- Healthcare professionals face ethical dilemmas unknown to their counterparts a generation ago: sterilization, contraception, physician-assisted suicide, and embryonic research, to name a few.

How can healthcare institutions and professionals distinguish between morally legitimate and morally evil acts? What should they do if asked to cooperate with wrong procedures or policies? How can they uphold Catholic moral values, maintain professionalism, and show genuine compassion for their patients?

These and related questions will be discussed at the Institute of Bioethics Conference, Moral Conviction vs. Political Pressure, to be held at Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio, October 9-11, 2008.

"Many hot-button issues will be discussed," said Dr. Patrick Lee, director of the Institute of Bioethics at Franciscan University. "This is a rare opportunity for doctors, nurses, and others to interact with leading Catholic theologians, religious educators, ethicists, and philosophers."

The speakers include Bishop Anthony Fisher, OP, DD, auxiliary bishop and the episcopal vicar for Life and Health for the Archdiocese of Sydney, Australia. Bishop Fisher is professor of bioethics and moral theology at the John Paul II Institute for Marriage and Family and a member of the Pontifical Academy for Life. His lecture on "Cooperation, Condoms and HIV," will explore the ongoing debate over the use of condoms to prevent the spread of disease.

Maureen L. Condic, PhD, is associate professor of neurobiology and anatomy at the University of Utah School of Medicine. Her writings on the immorality of embryo-destructive stem cell research have appeared in scientific journals as well as in the National Review Online and First Things. Condic’s lecture, "Human Embryology: Scientific Culture vs. the Scientific Facts," will examine pressure in the scientific community to follow secular trends, instead of honestly following wherever the argument, and scientific evidence, leads.

Other lecturers include Joseph M. Boyle, PhD, professor of philosophy at the University of Toronto, Father Christopher Saliga, OP, RN, Mark Stegman, MD, senior fellow of the Westchester Institute for Ethics and the Human Person, and John Crosby, PhD, professor of philosophy at Franciscan University.

During panel discussions led by these Catholic bioethics experts, attendees will review case studies and discuss the challenges that healthcare professionals face. Breakout sessions will allow small- group discussion and interaction among professionals.

"We want to talk about concrete case studies and also have plenty of time for those who are facing issues in the medical field to speak, so the bioethicists also can have a better idea of what the real moral issues are," says Dr. Patrick Lee. "This conference will give guidance to healthcare professionals and promote discussion of the concrete issues."

Through co-sponsorship with Allegheny General Hospital and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Mercy Hospital, physicians, psychologists, nurses, and other healthcare professionals who attend can receive continuing medical education credits.

To register or for more information, call 800-437-8368 or go to

About the Institute of Bioethics

Founded in 2007, the Institute of Bioethics at Franciscan University of Steubenville examines, articulates, and defends the Catholic Church’s position on the most controversial issues of the day. It does this through conferences, public lectures, and the writings, research, and public speaking engagements of the Institute’s director, Dr. Patrick Lee, who holds the newly created John N. and Jamie D. McAleer Chair of Bioethics.

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