Key Texts

  1. Diekema, D., Mercurio, M., & Adam, M. (2011). Clinical Ethics in Pediatrics: A Case-Based Textbook. New York: Cambridge University Press. ISBN: 978-0521173612

Key Abstracts

Long-Acting Contraceptives for Adolescents A Critique of the Policy of the American Academy of Pediatrics (Fitzgerald, ethical analysis, 2016)

In 2014, the American Academy of Pediatrics published its policy statement on contraception for adolescents, which provides, in effect, a mandate to temporarily sterilize all adolescents with long-acting reversible contraceptives for five to ten years. The author reviews the AAP guidelines and their effects on Catholic adolescents, their families, and adolescent health care providers. He then discusses medicolegal issues raised by the policy, outlines Catholic strategies for combating it, and proposes a diocese-based physician-led program for teaching and counseling elementary and high school students.

The demands of human dignity: Sexuality in the young person with intellectual disabilities (Fernades and Fernades, ethical analysis, 2014)

The topic of sexuality among the disabled is often ignored within Catholic seminaries; within pediatrics, it is treated as a “problem” where the best solution is contraception or sterilization. In this article, the authors argue for an approach to sexuality in disabled youth that is grounded in the inherent dignity of the person, borne out of Christ’s own humanity. Because sexuality is a part of the human person in his or her totality, it cannot be ignored or obscured; on the other hand, it cannot also be the overriding “problem” which defines them. Rather, by friendship, love, and covenantal solidarity with the disabled person, we can begin to set an example for them and for society that there are goods to be strived for beyond the physical. The demands of dignity require practical changes in seminary and medical education and practice.