CASE Study Guide
Protecting Human Life and Caring for Creation: Why Protecting Unborn Children in Their First Environment Matters
A Discussion and Study Guide
On April 30, 2007, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops sponsored a conference, Protecting Human Life and Caring for Creation: Why Protecting Unborn Children in Their First Environment Matters. The conference brought together leading scientists and heads of Catholic organizations to examine the latest science on the impact of environmental toxins on unborn children.
The conference examined ethical and moral implications of environmental hazards on children through the lens of Catholic social teaching. The primary focus was on respect for the human person, care for God’s creation, and the need to work for the common good, with an overarching concern for the needs of the poor and vulnerable. Participants also discussed regulatory and legislative opportunities to safeguard human life and the environment.
The conference was jointly organized by the USCCB Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development and the USCCB Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities, in collaboration with the Catholic Coalition for Children and a Safe Environment (CASE), and with financial support from the National Religious Partnership for the Environment.
Companion study guide and DVD
This study guide, prepared by the National Catholic Rural Life Conference, is intended for use with the companion DVD of the conference presentations (see below for information on how to get a free copy). On the DVD, you can hear a recording of each speaker’s talk, and see the accompanying slideshow presentation. Each chapter of the study guide corresponds to a presentation included in the DVD.
Each chapter in the the study guide includes a glossary, with definitions of words and phrases used that are critical to understanding the presentation.
This guide also includes questions for small-group discussion, designed to clarify possible misunderstandings of the presentations, spark additional study, and lead participants to faith-inspired action.
To get your free copy of the DVD, please send your request to
Environmental Justice Program
Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
3211 Fourth Street, NE
Washington, DC 20017-1194
Download the complete study guide, or by chapter:
Protecting Human Life and Caring for Creation full study guide (PDF, 1.2MB)
Study Guide Overview/How to Use This Resource
For Reflection: Quotations from Catholic Social Teaching
Chapter 1: Introduction—Protecting Human Life and Caring for Creation
Chapter 2: The Human Embryo: Early Development and External Influences
Chapter 3: An Overview of the Most Harmful Toxins with a Focus on Mercury—
Our Unborn Children, Our Most Vulnerable
Chapter 4: Pesticides and PCBs—Prenatal Exposure to Persistent Organic
Pollutants and Effects on Physical and Mental Health
Chapter 5: Lead and Other Neurotoxins—Protecting Children from
Chapter 6: Impact of Fetal Exposure to Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals in Plastic
Chapter 7: The National Children’s Study: Protecting Our Children
Chapter 8: Protecting Environmental Health for Mothers and Children:
A U.S. EPA Perspective