In the News

A Discussion Regarding the Sanctity of Human Life- sponsored by ITEST- The Institute for the Theological Encounter Between Science and Technology

Last week I had the privilege of taping a segment for ITEST- the prestigious Institute for the Theological Encounter Between Science and Technology with Laura Elm, the President and Founder of Sacred Hearts Guardian and Shelter in preparation for tomorrow’s ITEST webinar “The Moral Arguments in the Embryo Adoption Debate”. Our 42-min video discussion details the sanctity of embryonic human life, the various clinical and research procedures involving human embryos, as well as the work of both Sacred Heart Guardians and Shelter and the Dignitas Personae Institute for Nascent Human Life, including SHG’s burial of deceased embryos as a corporal and spiritual work of mercy. This program is available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WWhM3O3woIk&t=264s . Tomorrow’s debate features a spirited discussion of Catholic Moral teaching between two experts, Dr. Elizabeth Rex and Dr. Charles Robertson, who hold diametrically opposed positions. There is still time to register for what promises to be an engaging and informative debate. https://faithscience.org/embryo-adoption/.- Dr. Mary Anne Urlakis

Dr. Mary Anne Urlakis interviews Dr. Stacy Trasancos on WCAT Radio’s “Inter Vitam et Mortem: Between Life and Death: Interviews and Discussion with a Catholic Bioethicist” regarding the liceity of the new COVID Vaccines.

Dr. Stacy Trasancos joins Dr. Mary Anne Urlakis for Episode 44 of WCAT Radio’s “Inter Vitam et Mortem: Between Life and Death: Interviews and Discussion with a Catholic Bioethicist” to discuss the current COVID vaccinations. This episode can be accessed directly from Spreaker at: https://www.spreaker.com/episode/44037429 or from my WCAT Radio Site: Inter Vitam et Mortem with Mary Anne Urlakis | WCAT Radio.

 Dr. Trasancos is a scientist, theologian, and mother; she holds a Doctorate in Chemistry from Penn State University and a Master’s in Dogmatic Theology (summa cum laude) from Holy Apostles College and Seminary. Dr. Trasancos is the Executive Director of Bishop Joseph Strickland’s St. Philip Institute of Catechesis and Evangelization in Tyler, Texas and the Chief Research Officer of Children of God for Life. She is a Fellow of the Word on Fire Institute and an Adjunct Professor at Seton Hall University Catholic Studies program. Her work focuses on the integration of faith and science. In this episode Stacy Trasancos and Mary Anne Urlakis discuss the ethical implications of the current COVID vaccines, as well as those vaccines currently in development. Their ethical inquiry centers on three significant bioethical issues: (1) the liceity of using abortion-derived cell-lines for vaccine production, (2) the necessity of authentically informed consent, and (3) the sanctity of the human conscience and the issue of paternalism and coercion.

Dr. Trasancos is a frequent guest on Catholic media, including Relevant Radio, Ave Maria Radio, EWTN, Catholic Answers Live, and The Journey Home. She has written numerous articles for Catholic publications and is the author of Science Was Born of Christianity: The Teaching of Fr. Stanley L. Jaki and Particles of Faith: A Catholic Guide to Navigating Science (Ave Maria Press), which has also been published as a textbook for Catholic high schools and colleges.

Additionally, she has published a Catholic Answers booklet 20 Answers: Bioethics, and she writes the Science column for the National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly. In her most recent book, she examines the scientific evidence for Eucharistic miracles, co-authored with Fr. George Elliott entitled Behold, It Is I: Scripture, Tradition, and Science on the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist (TAN Books). 

More information is available on the Children of God for Life website: https://cogforlife.org. Additionally, Dr. Stacy Trasancos’ position statement regarding the use of tissue derived from abortion in the development and production of COVID vaccines can be found at National Catholic Register and Catholic Answers. Her recent webinar presentation for ITEST, the Institute for the Theological Encounter with Science and Technology, entitled: “Is it Moral to Take the COVID Vaccine?” is available at: COVID-19 Vaccine Ethics – Institute for Theological Encounter with Science and Technology (faithscience.org).

24 March 2020

Perils of Assisted Reproduction – The Possibility that a Doctor Fathered ‘Thousands” of Children

A recent article by Michael Cook in BioEdge entitled, “Michigan Doctor May Have Fathered ‘Thousands’ of Children” details the case of Dr. Steven Peven, a Detroit area obstetrician and gynecologist who may have fathered a significant number of the 9,000 babies he delivered during his 40-year career. Dr. Peven is now 105 years old, and DNA testing has been used to reunite the doctor with some of his genetic offspring- children whose parents had come to him for help conceiving. Dr. Peven reportedly regularly provided the donor sperm used in assisted reproductive techniques in his office medical practice.

The couples involved appear to be unaware at the time of conception and birth that the sperm donor who fathered their progeny was Dr. Peven himself. Among the myriad of bioethical issues that this case highlights is the role of informed consent- or in this case the utter lack of informed consent. Likewise, this case serves to elucidate the problems that arise within a small community in cases like this one. Dr. Peven is a member of the Detroit Jewish community- as are many of his patients. Dr. Peven’s choice to utilize his own sperm for assisted reproductive services increases the chance that – particularly within the local Jewish community- siblings might unwittingly meet, fall in-love, marry, and reproduce. A number of genetic disorders, including Gaucer Disease, Tay-Sachs disease, and cystic fibrosis, have a statistically higher degree of being passed on within the community as a direct result of Dr. Peven’s behavior.

Dr. Peven’s case unfortunately is not an isolated event: many similar cases have been brought to light in recent years. Each of these cases reminds us of the inherent dignity and worth of the individual human person from the moment of conception. Children have the right to know who they are and where they came from, yet each of these situations reveals the stark realities that manifest when human reproduction and childbearing are treated as mere commodities.

More information regarding this case can be found at: “BioEdge” 31 Jan 2021, by Michael Cook. BioEdge: Michigan doctor may have fathered ‘thousands’ of children

Dr. Mary Anne Urlakis

9 February 2021