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Abstract

This Essay explains why and how the Roman Catholic basis for informed consent is different from the secular basis. It argues that the Catholic basis, which is rooted in "natural law," is the better model for society to adopt. The author explains that the secular view is rooted in the belief that patient autonomy must never be violated but the Catholic view is based on human dignity, which simply requires doctors to allow patients to exercise their free will within moral limits. This view allows doctors to override patients' decisions if those decisions are morally wrong or irrational.

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