Seventh Annual Thelma Shobe Endowed Lecture on
Ethics, Spirituality and Health
at UCSF Medical Center and UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital
6 PM: Religion and the Case for Women’s Reproductive Freedom.
Rev. Rita Nakashima Brock, Ph.D.
Research Professor of Theology and Culture
Brite Divinity School, Fort Worth, Texas
Many religious traditions support reproductive freedom for women. This lecture will discuss the religious basis for protecting women’s access to this freedom, and the problems of religions that do not respect the full humanity of women as moral decision-makers. In addition, it will discuss the moral ambiguities and anguish for some women as they consider terminating a pregnancy and responsible spiritual care for women making decisions about reproduction.
7 PM: Abortion, Conscience, and the Ethics of Provision
Margaret Olivia Little, Ph.D
Director of the Kennedy Institute of Ethics
Associate Professor of Philosophy
Georgetown University, Washington, DC
Access to abortion is a fundamental right; its availability critical to women’s well-being and ability to meaningfully author a life. Yet the morality of abortion is also something about which truly good and reasonable people disagree. Given this fact, how are we to think about the role — and limit — of conscientious objection in the provision of abortion? Some reject any role for conscientious objection; others defend its role as absolute; I argue that neither approach suffices. The social life of abortion needs to be acknowledged as a nuanced one, reflecting the fundamental complexity inherent to the issue.
8 PM Discussion