Reclaiming Dignity in a Culture of Commodification

Thursday, July 12, 2012

About   |   Speakers

About the Conference

Human dignity, once a cornerstone for bioethics, is increasingly obscured by a contemporary culture of commodification. Myopic fixation on sexuality, fertility, and reproduction reduces the female body to a resource for medical exploitation and reproductive tourism. Procreation is being engulfed by the reproductive imperative and the child of choice. Without neglecting the ongoing emphases on beginning- and end-of-life issues, our task must include attention to prenatal discrimination, the neglect of the girl child, worldwide disparities in women’s healthcare and maternal mortality, and the objectification and exploitation of the female body. Responsible Christian bioethics embraces her dignity as essential to her community and foundational to our common humanity. Join us as we explore important ethical considerations surrounding developments in reproductive practices and global women’s health through the lens of reclaiming dignity in a culture of commodification. 


Monique Chireau, MD, MPH  is the Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology in the Division of Clinical and Epidemiologic Research for the Department of Obstetrics/Gynecology at Duke University Medical Center. Dr. Chireau is also a research associate for the Center for Health Services in Primary Care and a staff gynecologist for the Departments of Ambulatory Care and Surgery at the Durham VA Medical Center. Dr. Chireau has authored and co-authored numerous peer-reviewed articles and is a reviewer for several noted medical journals.

Paige Comstock Cunningham, JD  is the Executive Director of The Center for Bioethics & Human Dignity at Trinity International University. She previously served as President of Americans United for Life (AUL) from 1993-1995 and as Chair of the Board of Directors from 1995-2002. She is an affiliate professor of law and bioethics at Trinity Law School and Trinity Graduate School. Cunningham lectures and has published numerous articles, editorials and book chapters in the areas of law, bioethics and public policy, and has testified before congressional committees at the state and national level, and has appeared frequently on radio and television.

Ben Mitchell, PhD is Graves Professor of Moral Philosophy at Union University in Tennessee and editor of Ethics & Medicine: An International Journal of Bioethics. Prior to joining the Union faculty, he taught bioethics and contemporary culture for a decade at Trinity Graduate School, where he was also director of The Center for Bioethics & Human Dignity from 2006-2008. In addition to his academic work, Dr. Mitchell consults on matters of public policy and has testified before policymaking groups including the U. S. House of Representatives. He is interviewed regularly on radio and television. His most recent volume is Biotechnology and the Human Good (Georgetown University Press, 2007), co-authored with Edmund Pellegrino, Jean Bethke Elshtain, John Kilner, and Scott Rae.

Michael J. Sleasman, PhD is the Managing Director and Research Scholar for The Center for Bioethics & Human Dignity. He serves as an affiliate professor of bioethics at Trinity Graduate School as well as an adjunct instructor at the college and seminary level in the areas of philosophy, theology, and ethics. His particular area of specialization is technology and culture. He has been interviewed on a range of bioethical issues by such media sources as ABC News Radio, Atlanta Magazine, CNS News, Family News in Focus, Medill News, Northwestern College Media, and SRN News.

Pia de Solenni, SThD is an ethicist and cultural analyst, an expert in issues relating to women’s health, life issues, the new feminism, Catholicism, and culture. The owner of Diotima Consulting, Dr. de Solenni received her doctorate in sacred theology summa cum laude from the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, Rome. Her dissertation, Towards an Understanding of Woman as Imago Dei, was published in the university series Dissertationes. She received the 2001 Award of the Pontifical Academies for her doctoral work. The award was presented by John Paul II. Dr. de Solenni speaks and writes on a variety of topics on religious, cultural and moral issues. She has appeared on nationally syndicated radio and television talk shows. Her work has also been published in various media outlets including The Wall Street Journal Europe, The Washington Post, National Catholic Reporter, Our Sunday Visitor, and National Review Online.

Charmaine Yoest, PhD is President & CEO of Americans United for Life (AUL), the first national pro-life organization in the nation, whose legal strategists have been involved in every pro-life case before the United States Supreme Court since Roe v. Wade. A regular political commentator, Dr. Yoest has appeared on all of the major networks and cable outlets. In print, Dr. Yoest is quoted regularly and has been published widely. Previously, Dr. Yoest served as the Project Director of the Family, Gender and Tenure Project at the University of Virginia, a nationwide study funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. She was also a recipient of Mellon, Olin, Bradley, and Kohler Fellowships. She served as a Vice President at the Family Research Council, one of the largest pro-family public policy organizations in the country.


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