Monday, December 18, 2006

Illinois, the Ukraine, stem cells, and the left

Suprized Jill hasn't hit us with this yet. Let me. And let me refer you back to some British Communists writing in the British Medical Journal.

Although most of the ethical debate has focused on the status of the embryo, this is to define ethics with no reference to global or gender justice. There has been little or no debate about possible exploitation of women, particularly of ovum donors from the South. Countries of the South without national ethics committees or guidelines may be particularly vulnerable: although there is increasing awareness of the susceptibility of poorer countries to abuses in research ethics, very little has been written about how they might be affected by the enormously profitable new technologies exploiting human tissue. Even in the UK, although the new Medical Research Council guidelines make a good deal of the 'gift relationship', what they are actually about is commodification. If donors believe they are demonstrating altruism, but biotechnology firms and researchers use the discourse of commodity and profit, we have not 'incomplete commodification' but complete commodification with a plausibly human face.[my emphaisis]
It's not just an issue of the Christian right. The potential is there for the most appalling kind of exploitation of the most helpless people.

I hope Leader Cross knows what he's bringing with this issue.

8 comments:

Skeeter,  1:10 PM  

It also has the potential for the most incredible gift of all -- children for those unable to bear children without the assistance.

However, that doesn't really matter for the far right, which is why the far right was so completely rejected in 2006.

By the way -- any truth to the rumor that the far right is going to start opposing blood donations? I hear there is some market for blood, and we can't have that.

NW burbs,  4:46 PM  

I'll link to the posts I left at Illinois Review which include a bit more detail.

Essentially, if the allegations in this Ukrainian incident are true, the issue is one of murder, plain and simple.

There are laws against murder - in the Ukraine and in the US. That is the issue here, whether it is murder for stem cells or murder for money or murder for anything else.

Murder is unethical, immoral and illegal.

I'm not surprised the partisan conservatives are trying to blur the lines here by a single reference to a country on the opposite side of the world.

Anyone found doing anything like this in the US is likely to face a death penalty (or two or three). And deservedly so.

Make no mistake though, the alleged Ukrainian incident is nothing like the sort of research discussed in the stem-cell bill passed by the Republican Congress (but vetoed by Bush) which only dealt with "surplus" frozen embryos that would have been destroyed as bio-hazard waste in the first place.

According to the logic of Baar and those dissenters like him, they would rather have frozen embryos destroyed in a garbage can than allow potentially life-saving medical research.

NW burbs,  4:50 PM  

PS - Skeeter makes a good point in that (to be consistent) partisan conservatives ought also to be against all "human exploitation": blood donations, minor and major organ donations, sperm or egg donations, even cadaver donations for scientific knowledge, etc.

The punitive and authoritarian middle ages Church would be proud.

JB Powers 5:57 PM  

Given that Stem Cell results may some 50 years out, why on earth must the government invest in it?

Isn't the country flush with venture capital? Why aren't bankers hopping at the chance to provide "children for those unable to bear children without the assistance" as proposed by that esteemed biotech visionary Skeeter.

Given the moral jeopardy of this technology, couldn't the government proceed with caution here?

How about legalizing theoretical research, before spending money on the issue?

JBP

Bill Baar 6:17 PM  

According to the logic of Baar and those dissenters like him, they would rather have frozen embryos destroyed in a garbage can than allow potentially life-saving medical research.

My logic tells me a dignified funeral.

I'm a guy who found the body world displays at the museum of science and industry immoral. I never liked the African-American convict from Stateville they had displayed in slices in the stair well.

That's my logic.

Skeeter,  11:24 AM  

"Given that Stem Cell results may some 50 years out, why on earth must the government invest in it?"

Because fighting paralysis and Parkinson's is a good thing.

Skeeter,  11:27 AM  

"Why aren't bankers hopping at the chance to provide "children for those unable to bear children without the assistance" as proposed by that esteemed biotech visionary Skeeter."

Because all bankers are in the business of banking and making money.

Sounds like a simple enough distinction to me.

I was unaware of anybody requesting public funding for egg donation. If you are aware of any such group, let me know.

Bill Baar 7:04 AM  

Bankers aren't hopping at the chance to provide assistance to childless coupoles, but others sure see bucks to be made offering snake-oil stem-cell therapies. And they're throwing dollars and countries willing to host them.... read How Much Money Did Barbados Labour Party Receive From Stem Cell Clinic?

The Ministry of Health should have already been issuing permits for the fetal body parts or stem cells taken from fetal body parts that IRM has been importing into Barbados for years. While the origins of these human body parts may have been falsified by IRM, they and the paperwork are still evidence that should be seized and reviewed immediately.

Again - issuing import permits is pretty basic oversight when Barbados is licensing offshore clinics that use human body parts - whether liquified or not.

Don’t forget - in most cases, the reason these businesses are coming to Barbados is because medical authorities in their home countries refuse to license them.

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