4.16.2010

Law Student Leads Organization in Examining Value of Human Life

Many still believe that abortion is the only issue being debated in the bioethics arena.

But according to third-year law student Antionette Duck, it’s not.

“Bioethics now encompasses euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide, cloning, stem-cell research, human hybrids and the question of whether human value should be determined based on cognitive ability alone,” says Duck.

In addition to her life as a law student, this year Duck served as the Chairman of Regent Students for Life (RSFL), a University-wide organization dedicated to putting the pro-life message into action.

Spurred on by her legal interests and her dedication to human life, Duck recently led RSFL in hosting a highly successful symposium featuring a panel of renowned bioethicists who spoke on these controversial yet deeply significant topics.

The symposium, "The Human Continuum: Determining the Value of Human Life," centered on the questions: Are human beings intrinsically valuable and does value exist on a continuum?

On the panel were Wesley J. Smith, senior fellow in Human Rights and Bioethics at the Discovery Institute; Burke Balch, director of the Robert Powell Centre for Medical Ethics of National Right to Life; Paige Cunningham, executive director of the Center for Bioethics & Human Dignity; and Regent Education Professor Dr. Mark Mostert, director of the Institute for the Study of Disability and Bioethics. Regent Law Professor Lynne Marie Kohm served as moderator.

At the heart of the symposium was the often-debated, comprehensive concept of human dignity and value. The bioethicists took a philosophical approach to identifying how issues surrounding this concept are understood in America and the resulting actions determining quality of life and personhood.

According to Duck, RSFL hosted this symposium not only to educate, but to enlighten. “If society does not value the sanctity of life at the beginning of life, society will not honor the sanctity of life at the end of life, and it certainly won't value human life in the interim,” she said.

Learn more about Regent’s Center for the Study of Disability and Bioethics here.