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Moergestel, Netherlands -- Respecting human nature

“Playing with mother nature?” was the title of the symposium organized in September at the Zonnewende Conference Center. Two experts spoke about the ethical and juridical aspects of the most recent developments in regard to human reproduction. Taking as his point of departure the Instruction Dignitas Personae, Archbishop Willem Eijk of Utrecht, a member of the Pontifical Academy for Life, sketched developments beginning with Neo-Malthusian currents to the present-day technology of assisted reproduction. He emphasized the Church’s action in defense of human nature and life, the promotion of life from conception to natural death, the unity of marriage and the true love of spouses, which artificial techniques can never replace. The archbishop especially stressed the dignity of the person right from the moment of conception. Archbishop Eijk’s specialized knowledge and broad experience in bioethics and moral theology provided solid ideas for an interchange of points of view on these topics.

The second conference was by Dr. Martin Buijsen, Professor of the Philosophy of Law at the Erasmus University Medical Center in Rotterdam. Professor Buijsen explained how one reaches a decision for assisted reproduction and the considerations a doctor makes to determine whether or not to carry out this treatment. The speaker showed how the practice of “in vitro” fertilization creates inappropriate and contradictory situations from the legal point of view and lamented that there was no common legislation about this topic. Thus we have the paradox that the growing demand for assisted reproductive techniques is in great part caused by the postponement of births and the practice of abortion. The symposium was organized by the Cure & Care Commission, which is responsible for the bioethics activities of the SOKA Foundation.

Romana, No. 49, July-December 2009, p. 344-345.