“My Body, My Choice”

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  • Title: “My Body, My Choice”: A Comparative Study between Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Christian Bioethics on the “Absolutization” of Autonomy
  • Author(s): Angelos Mavropoulos
  • Publisher: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Collection: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Series: Common Ground Open
  • Journal Title: The International Journal of Religion and Spirituality in Society
  • Keywords: Autonomy, Absolutization, Paternalism, Bioethics, Christian Ethics, Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy
  • Volume: 14
  • Issue: 4
  • Date: March 08, 2024
  • ISSN: 2154-8633 (Print)
  • ISSN: 2154-8641 (Online)
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.18848/2154-8633/CGP/v14i04/145-156
  • Citation: Mavropoulos, Angelos. 2024. "“My Body, My Choice”: A Comparative Study between Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Christian Bioethics on the “Absolutization” of Autonomy." The International Journal of Religion and Spirituality in Society 14 (4): 145-156. doi:10.18848/2154-8633/CGP/v14i04/145-156.
  • Extent: 12 pages

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Abstract

In contemporary literature and practice, the first principle of bioethics, autonomy, which is defined as the right of individuals to self-determination and self-government, is often idolized and regarded as a moral absolute that must, under no circumstances, be violated. For Christianity, personal free will and individual autonomy stem from our creation in the image and likeness of God; thus, should be highly respected. On the other hand, modern phrases such as “my body, my choice” and “keep your laws off my body,” which are mostly aimed at supporting practices traditionally incompatible with Christian teaching, such as abortion, euthanasia, and gender reassignment, are on the rise in contemporary societies, especially in the West. This article deals with the modern “absolutization” of the principle of autonomy from the standpoint of Christian morality and attempts to comparatively examine the stance of Eastern Orthodox and Catholic ethics on the matter. So, where exactly do the two traditional Christian Churches stand between the respect and the absolutization of autonomy? This question is considered in this paper.