Seven Threats Against the Culture of Life: From Abortion to Euthanasia

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Join Dr. Scott Gaylord for an in-depth exploration of the scientific, legal, philosophical, and moral dimensions of some of the most important battleground issues regarding the Culture of Life: 

  • Redefining "life"
  • Abortion and contraception
  • Embyronic stem cell research
  • In Vitro fertilization
  • And more!

The threat to the Culture of Life that these issues pose has intensified in recent years, due to at least three ongoing developments:

  1. Advances in scientific research and technology, which enable us to control the creation (and destruction) of human life in unprecedented ways.
  2. The ever-increasing reliance of our society on the courts to legislate what is right or wrong regarding these scientific advances.
  3. The loss of a moral dimension to the scientific and legal discussion that determines how society treats the most vulnerable among us at the beginning, as well as the end, of life.

A complete understanding of these pressing life issues requires an understanding of the interrelation between science, law, and morality. This interconnectedness is all too often ignored in public debate about these life issues. Professor Gaylord highlights Catholic teaching which considers law, science, philosophy, and morality to be part of a unified whole, rooted in the essential and inviolable sanctity and dignity of the human person. 

In a statement titled Right to Life and the Dignity of the Human Person, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops affirmed: "Every social decision and institution must be judged in light of whether it protects or undermines the life and dignity of the human person." Professor Gaylord takes this statement and makes it the basis for examining seven threats to the Culture of Life — judging them based on Catholic teaching and the dignity of every human person, no matter their age or size.


  1. Threat #1: Redefining “Life”
  2. What is life? The Catholic Church has always emphasized the value of human life as something that members of the Church must protect. But why? Discover what Dr. Gaylord considers the seven greatest threats against life in our culture today.
  3. Threat #2: In Vitro Fertilization
  4. There is more to the threats against life than that which destroys life. Sometimes, even creating life can disregard life's sacredness in ways such as IVF. Discover why this seemingly morally praiseworthy science is one of the greatest threats against life.
  5. Threat #3: Embryonic Stem Cell Research
  6. Stem cell research helps those with diseases and illnesses. However, stem cell research encourages the unnatural procreation of life that is IVF and can damage one's understanding of life's value. Is it possible that this can become morally permissible when focused toward a "greater good"? What does the Church have to say about this complex moral dilemma?
  7. Threat #4: Human Cloning
  8. Human clones are persons, and they are, therefore, subject to the moral law, and we are, likewise, obligated to them under the moral law. But what does this mean? Study the fascinating ethical implications of human cloning.
  9. Threat #5: Contraception
  10. Contraception is widely accepted in our culture, and many people would say it is a great help to their families when they are unready to receive life. However, the Church has always rejected the use of contraception, even within marriage. Discover why even the prevention of creating life is such a threat.
  11. Threat #6: Abortion
  12. Join Dr. Scott Gaylord in this in-depth study on abortion. Learn about the legality of Roe v. Wade and a woman's right to abortion. Which legal, moral, and practical issues are brought into question with the use of abortion?
  13. Threat #7: Euthanasia
  14. Are our bodies truly our own to do with as we please? Can one's quality of life determine the worth of their life? Discover the moral responsibilities that we hold over our own bodies and the preservation of life for one's self.
  15. Building the Culture of Life
  16. While the Church has deemed all these threats immoral and impermissible within the Church, this is not a set of arbitrary rules. On the contrary, all the Church's teachings on the sanctity of life aim at a greater good: to properly appreciate and respect the gift of life given to us by God. In this final lecture, gain an appreciation for why the Church teaches what she does.

Lecture Sample


Meet Your Professor

Dr. Scott Gaylord holds his Doctorate in Philosophy from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is a summa cum laude graduate of Notre Dame Law School where he was a member of the law review and received the Dean Joseph O’Meara Award as salutatorian.

Professor Gaylord began his academic career in 1990 as a teaching fellow at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he received the Students’ Undergraduate Teaching Award. He has served as a teaching assistant and research assistant at University of Notre Dame Law School, and as assistant professor at Ave Maria School of Law. Professor Gaylord
practiced with the Charlotte, N.C. firm of Robinson, Bradshaw & Hinson for seven years before joining the faculty at Elon University School of Law as Associate Professor of Law.

He has written several articles and opinion pieces on recent legislation in the United States, including a recent paper defending the “Right to Know” acts proposed across the country which would require a mother to view an ultrasound before receiving an abortion.


Homeschooling Products

The Homeschooling Set includes the Streaming Video and Homeschooling Course Guide. Each Course Guide contains everything needed for a student to complete the course, including:

  • Lesson Plan
  • Quizzes
  • Final Essay
  • Lecture Notes
  • Answer Key


Scott Gaylord, JD, PhD
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