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‘Mormon Land’: Medical ethics — from birth control to vaccines to end-of-life care — and why Latter-day Saints should back universal health care

Author of “Mormonism, Medicine, and Bioethics” discusses a range of issues.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) A vial of vaccine at Mount Jordan Middle School in Sandy on Thursday, March 11, 2021. On this week's "Mormon Land" podcast, an ethicist discusses medical issues from a Latter-day Saint perspective.

For the past year, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, like others around the world, have dealt with a health care crisis that is both personal and societal.

Even without the coronavirus pandemic, however, members face moral choices about medical issues throughout their lives. They must decide whether to continue a doomed pregnancy, whether to test a fetus for a genetic disorder, whether to vaccinate their children for sexually transmitted diseases, or whether to discontinue treatment of a dying parent.

As they grapple with these personal questions — as well as the ethical questions surrounding health and healing in society at large — many people look to principles spelled out in their religion to provide answers and moral guidance. Latter-day Saints may turn to their 96-year-old prophet-president, Russell M. Nelson, who is a former heart surgeon with respect for medical and scientific wisdom.

On this week’s podcast, Courtney Campbell, a philosophy professor of religion and culture at Oregon State University and author of the recently published “Mormonism, Medicine, and Bioethics,” examines these medical topics — from abortion to birth control to vaccines and end-of-life care — and makes his case for why Latter-day Saints should support universal health care.

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