Unethical Experimentation Term Paper

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Unethical Experimentation

Issues and Concerns

Unethical Controversies

Researchers' Good Samaritan Obligations

Monitoring Guidelines

Do No Harm

The Dearth of Ethical Guidelines

International Positions

As Openly As Possible


Issues and Concerns

Unethical Controversies man is ethical only when life, as such, is sacred to him, that of plants and animals as that of his fellow men, and when he devotes himself helpfully to all life that is in need of help. (Schweitzer, 2006)

Unethical... morally repugnant and scientifically wrong," are terms to describe "killing human embryos for scientific research," in the article published in The Times Leader on October 27, 2006. ("Embryonic stem...,")

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In this article which posits: "The facts and dangers of House Bill 864," the writer argues that not one single disease in man or mouse has been cured or even effectively treated by embryonic stem cell research, which reportedly creates embryos only for the purpose of human experimentation. The promise of cures, the writer adds, is irresponsible and gives false hope to those suffering from disabling disease or injury. "Nazi-esque" is the term James C. Dobson, of Focus on the Family, called stem-cell experimentation and added, "It will lead inevitably later to cloning and ultimately to the harvesting of body parts.'" ("Frist Frosts Religious Right" 15) During August 2005, an article in Fence Post (16) argues that human life is killed in this process of embryonic stem cell experiments; that "somatic cell nuclear transfer" constitutes "scientific lingo for human cloning." Millions of human eggs must be used to produce human clones necessary for experimentation, this article posits. To obtain the eggs, women will likely be exploited, this article stresses.

Term Paper on Unethical Experimentation Assignment

Individuals who support embryonic stem cell research, albeit, argue this research may help cure diabetes, Parkinson's and other diseases. They insist this experimental practice provides scientists the opportunity to increase understanding of genetic disorders, lead to interventions to replace damaged tissues and create organs for transplant from a patient's cells; thereby solving tissue and organ rejection. Opposition to embryonic stem cell research counters this argument with contending the derivation of embryonic stem cells leads to the human embryo destruction, the same as murder. Opponents further maintain the human embryo deserves the identical rights and respect a fully developed human deserves. Creating and destroying one human embryo to benefit another human is unethical. (Patel, and Rushefsky) Adult stem cell research, on the other hand, is deemed to ethical and to have successfully treated more than 65 diseases to date. Stems used in adult stem cell research can be harvested with no harm to anyone: from babies already born; umbilical cord blood; placental tissue; fat; adult bone marrow; adult cells. ("Embryonic stem...,") Lugosi notes that Liberationists argue the unborn are not yet human beings, as they conceivably, in their opinions, do not possess human being characteristics. The usual technique in this "dehumanizing' argument is to create a list of defining characteristics identifying when personhood begins. The following list depicts numerous Liberationists' artificial boundaries, which, nevertheless correspond to the unborn baby's genuine physical, psychic and social development at varying human development stages. They include:

1. Moment of conception (assignment of genetic identity);

2. Beginning of the primitive streak (after which time twinning is no longer possible;

3. Implantation of the embryo in the womb;

4. Formation of the nervous system and sentience (the ability to feel pain);

5. Formation of the cerebral cortex of the brain (the ability to reason is a concern, as well as the logic of paralleling "brain life" with "brain death");

6. Quickening (when the mother can feel the baby move);

7. When the fetus looks like what people expect a human being to look like (morphological similarity);

8. Fetal viability (when a premature baby can survive outside the womb with medical assistance and the help of others);

9. Birth (the moment of fully emerging from the mother's body -- as distinguished from partial birth);

10. Acquisition of self-consciousness;

11. Acquisition of ability to reason;

12. Demonstration of intelligence (a minimum I.Q.);

13. Self-determination (assertion of will);

14. Socialization (the formation of conscious relationships to other people);

15. Memory (the ability to remember), and 16. Aspirations (the ability to look forward to achieving hopes and dreams). (Lugosi)

Researchers' Good Samaritan Obligations

Most moral philosophers, as well as most every day, ordinary people, Hawkins contends, agree that each person has an ethical obligation to assist others in need, albeit, admittedly, this obligation is limited obligation. Additionally, among life's debates, people disagree regarding limits to helping another person. Hawkins argues that researchers, just as others, "have Good Samaritan obligations...."

II. Monitoring Guidelines

Do No Harm

Opponents, particularly those connected to the Do No Harm Coalition, claim current gene therapy developments decrease and/or eliminate the need for embryonic stem cell research. (Patel, and Rushefsky) Concerns regarding unethical, potentially harmful experimentations are being discussed, not only in the U.S. But also in other part of the world. In Israel during October 2006, Shlomo Breznitz, Knesset (parliament) member, proposed a bill to limit human experimentations, stating he will increase pressure on his fellow lawmakers to vote to approve the bill. The move to promote this bill limiting human experimentations evolved "after four Israeli doctors were arrested for allegedly conducting unethical experiments on elderly patients." ("Israeli lawmakers...,") Israeli doctors currently must initially pass rigorous standards to receive permission to experiment on humans. Once they are granted permission, however, their actions are basically unrestricted.

The arrest of the four doctors, who allegedly doctors conducted unethical, as well as, illegal tests on thousands of elderly patients for years, spurred the belief the system regarding experimentation needs to be revised. Twelve patients died during one reported incident, during experiments of briefly after the experiments were completed. These deaths, albeit, were not reported, as the law requires, to the Health Ministry for investigation. Despite top doctors' warnings these experiments were illegal or unethical, the accused doctors continued to conduct their experiments. (Ibid.) Breznitz's proposed law would form a panel to routinely monitor doctors who have received permission to conduct human experiments. Current efforts to counter unethical experiments are not "new." "In 1975, the World Health Organization adopted a revised version of the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki, a document that declared the principles of the Nuremberg Code, in a slightly amended version, to be a universal standard." One addition in the 1975 version recommended that experimentation complying with the Declaration's principles be rejected for publication. Since this time, the majority of professional journals editors have consensually determined not to publish data or studies of ethically uncertain origins. (Freyhofer 160) a) that as a prima facie duty, unethically obtained data should never be used, (b) that such data should be expunged from published works insofar as possible, - that the editors of all journals that have in the past published Nazi data without a statement of moral condemnation should print such a statement now, and (d) that science should at a moral minimum be sensitive to the emotions of the victims from whom it has pillaged data." (Ibid.)

Points noted in the ten principles which ultimately became The Nuremberg Code include:

Each human subject's voluntary consent is unequivocally essential. The individual participating in experiments should possess the legal capacity to give consent and able exercise free will to choose, with no interventions of fraud; force; deceit; duress; overreaching, other ulterior coercion or constraint. Participant should comprehend subject matter elements to enable him/her to make an enlightened decision. The purpose, nature and duration of the experiment, along with the means and method it will be implemented, hazards and inconveniences reasonably to be expected, and health which could possible ensure from the person participating in the experiment.

The experiment should yield fruitful results for society's, not attainable by other means of study or methods; not unnecessary in nature, nor random.

The experiment should be based and designed on animal experimentation results, as well as, knowledge of the disease's natural history or other problem under study, with anticipated results justifying the experiment's performance.

The experiment should be conducted to assure all unnecessary physical and mental suffering, as well as, any injury are avoided.

Where there is an a priori reason to believe death or disabling injury will occur, no experiment should be conducted; except, perhaps, in experiments where experimental physicians additionally are subjects.

The determined humanitarian importance of the problem to be solved by the experiment must exceed the degree of risk to be taken.

Adequate facilities should be provided, along with, proper preparation made to protect the experiment's participant against any remote possibilities of injury; disability; death.

Only scientifically qualified individuals should conduct the experiment. The highest level of care and skill should be required through each and every stage of the experiment; of each one who conducts or engages in the experiment.

Throughout the course of the experiment, the human participant should be at liberty to end the experiment if he/she reaches the mental and/or physical or mental state whereas continuing the experiment seems impossible to him/her.


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