Category Archives: Themes

Trisomy 21

I’ve always had very strong opinions about abortion. I don’t really thing abortion is morally justifiable in any circumstance. Perhaps it’s because I’ve been raised as a Roman Catholic, or maybe its because I’ve always had really motherly figures in my life. I don’t think abortion is justifiable for many reasons. One reason in particular is the impending guilt that an individual experiences after the abortion takes place- something that many people neglect to recognize when deciding on whether or not to go through with the life ending procedure.

I believe that it would be wrong for parents to abort a fetus with trisomy 21. I believe it is wrong because every life has the right to live. I believe that the very nature of a women, the woman being able to bear children, gives the women the responsibility to protect human life in its most vulnerable form- when it wouldn’t be able to survive by itself. The woman has the responsibility to care for the child, as described in ‘ethics of care’.

The only time I believe abortion should be justified would be when the women’s life or possibility of future fertility is jeopardized. For example, in the event of ectopic pregnancy, I believe that it would be justifiable to abort the pregnancy. However, that is not to say that there will not be impending guilt and perhaps subsequent depression for the mother who carried this pregnancy.

I also believe that abortion is justified in cases of rape- but it wouldn’t make a difference if the fetus had trisomy 21 or had the standard number of chromosomes.

Prenatal testing can be very beneficial. Prenatal testing and care is necessary so that women can prepare their bodies well enough to provide their fetuses with the best possible chances of being able to adapt to life outside of the uterus after 40 weeks. I believe the if women choose to have the amniocentesis test, that is their personal choice. This test allows mothers time to accept the diagnosis, allowing themselves time to prepare and establish the necessary resources they will need for caring for a child with downs syndrome. However, I believe that sometimes these tests cause unnecessary anxiety by giving the mother and in some cases the father, the choice of whether of not to abort the fetus. In my opinion, I wouldn’t abort the fetus. However, if I was pregnant and took the amnio-test and found out that my child would have downs syndrome, it would be stressful to hear everyone’s opinion and know that I would still have a ‘way out’- which seems totally selfish and inhumane in my opinion.

I would assume that some people feel that prenatal testing is unnecessary because the human species has been reproducing for countless years, and prenatal testing has only come to be popular within the past 30 years or so, if that. The argument could be that, child bearing has always gone well in the past, why should we use such invasive procedures for something so natural. Natural, some people think child birth and being pregnant is so beautiful because it is the most human thing that has been constant throughout history- some people believe that extra measures are unnecessary.

I feel that abortion is a really touchy topic. It’s really hard to debate this because truthfully, I’ve never been pregnant. More importantly, I’ve never had an unwanted pregnancy. However, I can’t fail to recognize that it’s necessary to respect human life in all of its forms. I suppose, however, that it depends on an individual’s opinion on when human life starts. If someone doesn’t believe human life begins until the child is born, well then I guess it would be really easy for them to justify abortion. If you’re someone like me who thinks that human life beings at the moment of conception, or at least when that test turns positive, then you would probably have a really hard time justifying abortion at any point during the pregnancy. I think the main moral issue at hand here is respecting life, beneficence, and nonmaleficence.

Meet Paisley

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2440151/Father-Heath-White-loved-Down-Syndrome-daughter-abortion-request.html

http://now.msn.com/heath-white-talks-about-daughter-paisleys-down-syndrome-in-perfect-documentary

GloFish

I believe that fish do have rights. I believe every living thing with a heart beat has rights- a right to a life free from pain, manipulation and unjust mutilation. Anything with the sensory pathways to be able to feel pain has rights; and any living thing deserves respect. For example, a tree- a tree does not have the sensory capabilities to feel pain. However, it is living and is part of this beautiful environment we live in, and so it deserves respect and should be free from destruction unless there is a just cause.

Ill talk about Darwinism, survival of the fittest. Sometimes living things died because they were part of the food chain for the larger species, and so in my opinion that would be a just cause, and because of Darwinism and supporting ideas, that species would become extinct. However, nowhere in Darwinism did it mention genetically altering an animal to make it more esthetically pleasing or for pure amusement purposes. Don’t we have better things to do with our time and technology? Technology and science are such beautiful tools when used properly. I’m thinking about this the same way I think about iPads in school systems- yeah, they’re great, if they’re used in a productive manner to increase learning objectives and outcomes. Instead, 9 year-olds are free to go home with the iPad and go on Youtube and listen to songs that were made for literally no purpose- no expression of emotion, no art was put into that song- these ‘songs’ were made to make people with terrible senses of humor and minimal education laugh- and this is what America is coming to.

Anywho, getting back on topic, genetically mutating an animal for amusement is totally and completely wrong. I feel that we as humans are getting bored and are running out of ways to expend our energy and resources in a productive manner. Some individuals immerse themselves in these amusements which are disrespectful to other species and this world as a whole. Nothing productive is coming out of a Glo fish. Wouldn’t time and money be better spent on curing cancer or making an AIDs vaccine (crazy, I know). I just don’t understand what would cause someone to even go down that path. Perhaps someone imagined it, was amused, and realized he had the resources to do so and went ahead with the project. This seems a bit power hungry to me though. As humans I feel that we are power hungry sometimes, trying to see what other species (or even what other humans, sometimes) we can gain control of. I think its ignorant for humans to think they are dominant and when they are disrespectful to the environment around them. It’s a very humbling feeling to realize that not only are you one in billion of people, but those billions of people are only a percentage of the living things on this Earth and we all belong to something greater. We have to maintain a mutually respectful relationship with the environment if we want to be around for a while as a species. Otherwise, its all going to come crashing down on us- and that actually keeps me up at night sometimes.

Genetically altering a human is different because humans have the reasoning and ability to understand. For example, if they alter or decide the genetic composition of a child so that this child will have all the matching genes necessary to help his or her sick sibling, then the parents would have known that and would have consented to that. However, even with the parent’s consent and understanding, there is no way to completely delve into why this would be an unethical approach to child bearing and rearing. They didn’t have this child because they wanted him or her, they had it to save another child. Some would argue that this would be reason enough to have a genetically composed child. Others, like myself, for example, would strongly disagree. Think about the quality of life this genetically composed child would have now- serving as the life-line for his or her sick sibling. It doesn’t seem ethical to me to put either of the siblings in that position, and it doesn’t seem ethical for me as a parent (if I was a parent) to choose one child’s suffering over another’s.

I don’t think we have the right to genetically alter living things because we are not God. I suppose you have to believe in God or a higher power in control of our fate to take the same stand I have. I don’t think that we have the capability of understanding and taking in all of the repercussions of genetic altering; and I don’t think we should have to. I think genetic alterations make room for us as humans to put ourselves in situations we were never supposed to be in- situations our psyche can’t make sense of or handle. For instance, in the example I gave above, parents were never meant to have to option of genetically engineering a second to only prolong the life of their first. They were never meant to mull over those moral dilemmas and find peace in a totally impossible situation. It is beyond our ability as humans to process and accept and make sense of these situations. Think of how many things could go wrong- child #1 could die anyway, child # 2 could die from complications of surgeries only necessary to help child #1, both children could die, child #2 could live life feeling like a failure because he or she couldn’t save child #1, more scary- the parents could think of child #2 as a failure because he or she couldn’t save the first child- the list goes on and goes and only gets more complicated.

I do think that our motives do play a huge role in determining the morality of things, unlike Kant who thinks it is either right or it is wrong. If we had intentions of curing cancer by making this fish ‘glo’, I think it would be totally acceptable. If there were higher purposes, it would be a more moral thing to do. It would also be necessary to take into consideration how many people could be saved, how many lives could be changed by the sacrifice of the rights of this one living being- would be end point be worth the means?

cricket

At first my instinct was to pick some sort of insect, because I really don’t like bugs, and so I chose to post a cricket.  But bugs are necessary. Just like bees- I hate bees, but they’re necessary and apparently if we kill all the bees, we as humans will be in big trouble because bees provide a bunch of necessary natural resources for us. So then I thought snakes- but the more I thought about it, the more I kept contradicting myself. I originally stated that anything with the ability to feel pain has the right to a life free of pain, manipulation, and mutilation. And of course there are animals that cause harm to humans, like bears and sharks for example. Certain animals get a bad rep because they harm humans, but really a lot of the time it is the human that oversteps the boundary into the animals environment which causes the animal to be threatened. If we have  respect towards these animals, hopefully a mutually respectful relationship will result. Therefore, I posted this picture purely because it was first instinct. But after thinking about it, I take it back- every living thing has the right to rights.

Chemical Castration

I do not believe that chemical castration is an appropriate ‘treatment’ for sex offenders. It would be inhumane to force this treatment upon someone, or any treatment over anyone for that matter. Let me begin by stating that many of the individuals who are sex offenders, especially those who target minors, were sexually abused themselves. Sex offenders have psychiatric diagnosis and need psychiatric help. With that being said, many individuals who are sex offenders know they have a problem and want to stop- just like alcoholics want to stop drinking and drugs addicts want to stop using. There needs to be psychiatric services in place for people who are victims of sexual abuse so they do not become a part of the vicious cycle- a preventative measure. Sex offenders need to participate in psychotherapy to deal with the root of there problem- something chemical castration would not help or fix. As mentioned in the article, many of these individuals are not driven by a desire for sex- there can be many motives. It was also mentioned that sometimes the injection does not work.

However, if an individual would like to volunteer to be chemically castrated, then I believe that should be an option along with supplemental psychiatric services. I do not believe it should be done in exchange for a lower sentence, because as previously mentioned, chemical castration does not solve the root of the problem.

 

I believe that to force an experimental ‘treatment’ on someone would be a form of punishment because it would be taking away their right. Speaking on the ‘placebo’ effect- if the individual does not believe it helps or does not want to change, there is a good chance that it will not work.

 

I believe that convicted criminals give up their right to privacy for certain things. I do believe that they have the right to privacy in terms of medical conditions. Psychiatric issues are classified as medical conditions. With that being said, it would be a very gray area when it comes to sex offenders. It would be difficult to decide whether or not their actions would be a result of a psychiatric issue, in which case may be medical, and they would have the right to privacy.

 

Someone who holds the utilitarian position would suggest that it would be for the greater good to chemically castrate these individuals, even by force, and even it isn’t proven to work or deal with the root cause. The utilitarian wouldn’t dwell on the ethical and moral dilemma of causing harm to this one individual, or neglect for that matter, by not dealing with the root of the problem but rather dealing with expression of the root of that issue.

 

I chose the article below because it mentions that chemical castration has negative side effects for males. However, it does mention that it still would be the ‘way to go’ because it would decrease the likelihood that these men would go on to rape others. Therefore, this article follows the utilitarian approach, something I would not agree with. I think the main reason I can’t agree with this is because most of the people that are sex offenders have a psychiatric issue, maybe they were abused as children, and they don’t have the coping skills to deal with this effectively. I’m a big advocate of releasing the stigma of mental illness, and so I don’t think people should be punished or judged because they have psychiatric issues. At the same, I recognize that they shouldn’t be allowed near children so it’s really hard to say. In conclusion, I don’t believe that chemical castration should be forced upon sex offenders in an effort to prevent more damage. However, I recognize that many people, perhaps the majority, feels that it would be appropriate. I also think its worth mentioning that I do not have children- I would imagine that individuals with children feel very strongly about this. 

 

http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/exchange/node/1778

Elder Suicide

Dear Anonymous Man,

I was deeply touched by your argument regarding the topic of ending your own life. Being in the healthcare field, I find myself mulling over the topic of ‘quality of life’ quite often. I sympathize for your situation- living far away from your children, having a wife that passed away many years ago, having pain when trying to preform activities of daily living; that must be very hard for you to deal with. My life has been personally affected by the suicide of another person, so I find it shocking that I understand where you’re coming from. Unfortunately, sometimes suicide affects the people that are left behind more than it affects the actual person; when you die, it’s over for you, and it’s your family and friends that have to pick up the pieces you left behind. It seems selfish though, for friends and family to think ‘how could he do this’, when perhaps its what you really wanted. On the other hand, it may also be selfish of you to not think of how their lives might be affected. Food for thought, perhaps.

It’s hard for someone of sound mind and body to talk about the topic of suicide, or argue objectively whether someone has the right to end his or her own life. I think each patient should be looked at case-by-case. One of my main questions is- what is your belief system? I believe that wanting to die so you could meet with you wife is heaven would be received much better than just wanting to die so that your life would be over. Would suicide be the means to an end, or the means to something greater? I feel that it is more justifiable for elders to want to take their own lives to prevent the imminent suffering that will be in the years ahead, being alone, and having your quality of life decline right before your eyes- which can also be hard for the family. When you are younger, in your teenage years or in your twenties, there is so much to look forward to, and dying by choice would prevent the experience of many of the beautiful things life has to offer. In that sense, I do believe that being near the end of one’s life does justify wanting to end it to prevent suffering- regardless of age. If someone is in a terminal situation they should be able to die a peaceful death; if there is a cure, this should not be an option. The ‘right to die’, in my opinion is the ‘right to a peaceful death’ and should only be looked at after all options have been exhausted and a cure is not possible. I feel that people in these situations do have a right to seek assistance in dying, so that they don’t have to go through extreme measures. I know it may seem grim, but as previously stated, I look at the quality of life and I’m a ‘quality of life’ pusher. So I do believe that individuals should have the right to seek assistance in dying. I also believe that there should be a medical order written by a doctor stating that the patient is terminal, and I also believe there should be a psychiatric evaluation performed. Perhaps there should be a panel of doctors deciding whether a patient should be able to take his or her own life. I believe that people should have the right to give assistance in dying. However, I do not believe a first year resident should have the right to decide or give assistance in suicide. I think that there should be a panel of well experienced health care professionals who aid in this decision and weigh all of the options, incase the patient does not look at something clearly.

Summarizing all of my views on assisted suicide, I do believe that some individuals should have the ‘right to die’ and should be assisted by medical professionals. Individuals under the age of 18 should have their parent’s permission. The ‘right to die’ should only be given when there is a clear and unpreventable decline in the quality of life in the near future, and suffering is unavoidable. I also believe that psychiatry services and mental health counseling services need to be in place for a period of time before the final decision is made. Kant, however, would not agree with my statements and views, because he feels that everything is either right or wrong, good or bad. My course of action would be parallel to the hypothetical imperative- making one decision as a means to another decision. So while maybe killing a living being is not moral- preventing the long term suffering would be the moral decision, but we would have had to make an unmoral decision to get there. Kant would stick to the categorical imperative, which would be not to assist or support suicide because it is immoral to take a human life.There are many aspects to consider, dear anonymous man, and I hope my points will ultimately bring you some peace in whatever decision you make.

Sincerely,

Not sure where I stand