Issues in Bioethics

  1. Lemma
  2. Проблемы биоэтики
  3. Russian
  4. Asliturk, Miriam
  5. Ethics - Scientific theories and disciplines > Medicine
  6. 07-07-2018
  7. Русская Православная Церковь [Author]. Проблемы биоэтики
  8. Русская Православная Церковь. Отдел внешних церковных связей.
  9. abortion - Russian Orthodox Church - in vitro fertilisation - bioethics - euthanasia - clinical death - medicine - Medical technologies - reproductive rights - contraception - stem cell technologies - surrogacy - surrogate motherhood - genetics - Cloning - organ transplantation
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    1. <p>Русская Православная Церковь (2000). Проблемы биоэтики. <em>Русская Православная Церковь. Отдел внешних церковных связей</em>. Retrieved from: <a href=""></a> </p>
    1. This document outlines the official position of the Russian Orthodox Church on issues of bioethics, based on the Social Concept of the Russian Orthodox Church that was adopted in the 2000. From the very beginning the Russian Orthodox Church has viewed abortions as a grave sin equal to murder. However, the Church doesn’t refute women that made abortions but only asks them to confess. Priests should provide special treatment and understanding to women who have had an abortion for medical reasons, in cases when they already had children and their health was in danger.

      For the Russian Orthodox Church, men have the same responsibility as women if they support abortion. Contraceptive medication that interrupts pregnancy in early stages should be treated as an abortion as well. Non-abortive contraception shouldn’t be treated as such, but couples should understand that having children is an integral part of marriage and not having children for egotistic reasons is a sin. The Russian Orthodox Church is against reproductive technologies that do not imply God’s will. If a couple cannot have children because of medical issues they should consider adoption.

      The Russian Orthodox Church only supports in vitro fertilization in cases where both members of the couple participate. It opposes sperm donation and stem cells. In its view, donation of human biological material destroys the family because children born from such manipulations have several parents, social and biological. Surrogacy, when a woman is pregnant with a fertilized egg from another woman, is unethical and immoral. The Russian Orthodox Church is particularly opposed to the use of several embryos for in vitro fertilization and the killing of unused embryos. The use of reproductive technologies for single women, single men, and gay men deprive children from having a father and a mother and therefore a family. This technology for the Russian Orthodox Church is a form of blasphemy masked by human rights discourse.

      The Russian Orthodox Church believes that many genetic diseases are caused by immoral behaviour. The Church supports doctors in their research on genetic diseases but is against attempts to change human nature by changing human genetic material. Genetic diagnostics should be treated with special care because of the risk of discrimination against people with certain diseases. Prenatal genetic diagnostics often becomes a stress factor for parents and a justification for abortion. The Church approves prenatal genetic diagnostics only if its objective is to treat diseases of the child to be born.

      Human cloning is a sin, according to the Russian Orthodox Church, and should never be used. Organ donation should be used only if there is clear consent of the donor. Organ donation should never be commercialized. It is a crime to use the embryo’s cells for transplantation because it kills embryos. The question of when an organism dies is not clear because certain medical techniques are able to support the life of individual organs. The Russian Orthodox Church believes that death is the moment when soul and body are detached and the body is not longer alive as a whole. Therefore it is not ethical for modern medicine to support life only in certain organs when the brain, for example is dead. It is a virtue in Orthodoxy if death arrives when a person is in consciousness and aware of the moment. Therefore hiding a deadly diagnosis from a patient is sinful; truth can help the patient to prepare for death in the right Christian way.

      Euthanasia is considered a suicide even with the patient’s consent. The Russian Orthodox Church opposes homosexuality and gender transformations: such procedures harm people’s psyche and are against God’s design. If the gender change is performed before baptism the Church can accept this person, but the Church will baptize the person according to the sex at birth. One should understand that transsexualism caused by medical error in cases when sex organs are developed with pathologies in childhood is different from sex change with adults. If there is need for medical correction in such cases the Church does not oppose it.