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Contested ReproductionGenetic Technologies, Religion, and Public Debate$
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John H. Evans

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780226222653

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: February 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226222707.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 27 May 2020

Meaningful Suffering

Meaningful Suffering

Chapter:
(p.127) Chapter Six Meaningful Suffering
Source:
Contested Reproduction
Author(s):

John H. Evans

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226222707.003.0006

A central moral discourse concerning reproductive genetic technologies (RGTs) relates to the relief of suffering. This chapter examines some academic writing about how medicine and science describe suffering to help understand what is at stake here. RGTs are useful for the elimination of pain, suffering, or both. Using pre-implantation genetic diagnosis to avoid having a child with cystic fibrosis could be justified as an attempt to reduce both the literal pain that a child would experience with the condition, as well as the suffering of that child and the family. A discourse can be traced back to debates about the nature of the Trinity in the fourth century, which were largely debates about the nature of God. This discourse implies that “the optimal response to suffering” is not to stop it (which God would presumably be capable of doing), but rather to “suffer through” it, like God does. These discourses of suffering are not equally used in each religious tradition.

Keywords:   suffering, reproductive genetic technologies, discourse, genetic diagnosis, God, religious tradition

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