Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Bioethical problems

Bioethical problems- How far can we go?

Progress in the life sciences is giving human beings new power to improve our health and control the development processes of all living species. Concerns about the social, cultural, legal and ethical implications of such progress have led to one of the most significant debates of the past century. A new word has been coined to encompass these concerns: bioethics. It touches most complex problems of the humanity.

Bioethics is a philosophical study about science that involves human and other living creatures directly: medicine and biology. Bioethics is frequently noticeable among disciplines such as: life sciences, biotechnology, medicine, politics, law, philosophy, and theology, in many hard cases in which human life and dignity are in danger.

Bioethical issues has been discussed widely among centuries, lots of views has evolved with grater knowledge. Moment in history from when public attention focused on this case were biomedical experiments following the revelation of Nazi experiments conducted during World War II, later problem of life-ending medicine ethics, modern bioethics though concerns more about today’s biotechnology and it’s possibilities: stem cell research, genetic testing, cloning, gene therapy.

Human rights

Universal Declaration of Human Rights, proclaimed that everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth therein, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status,

Modern society and all humanity nowadays meet problems of unwanted life extinction and it’s termination. How to cope with life that have no chance to express itself and why should we do it after all? Are we in power to decide which life is valuable and which unwanted? Where to sart and when to stop artificial life elongation? Those questions should be answered by each and everyone with solemnity and morality.

Abortion- act of terminating unborn life. All of the arguments pro and against abortion boil down to six specific questions. The first five deal with the nature of the zygote-embryo-fetus growing inside a mother's womb. The last one looks at the morality of the practice. These questions are:

  1. Is it alive?
  2. Is it human?
  3. Is it a person?
  4. Is it physically independent?
  5. Does it have human rights?
  6. Is abortion murder?

Both sides use the same question s to support their logic and morality they just answer them.

An abortion can occur spontaneously due to complications during pregnancy or can be induced, in humans and other species.

An abortion is medically referred to as therapeutic when it is performed to:

  • save the life of the pregnant woman;
  • preserve the woman's physical or mental health
  • terminate pregnancy that would result in a child born with a congenital disorder that would be fatal or associated with significant morbidity[1 or
  • Selective reduce the number of fetuses to lower health risks associated with multiple pregnancy

An abortion is referred to as elective when it is performed at the request of the woman "for reasons other than maternal health or fetal disease." Population control and one-child policy in China is often connected with this subject.

Euthanasia- practice of ending a life with mercy to dying person which terminate the pain and suffering. Is also seen as a voluntary suicide or as a murder when it has to be assisted. Proponents typically consider a death that increased suffering to be "wrongful" while opponents typically consider any deliberate death as "wrongful." Other case is life extinction and life support.

Medicalized killing of a person without the person's consent, whether nonvoluntary (where the person in unable to consent) or involuntary (against the person's will) is not euthanasia: it is murder. Hence, euthanasia can be voluntary only.”

Several governments around the world have legalized voluntary euthanasia: The United Kingdom and United States among others.

All of activities that can increase fertility or lead to impregnation are also controversial:

  • In-vitro fertilization
  • Artificial uterus (or womb)- a device that allows to replace the process of pregnancy outside of a woman body, current technology does not allows to perform all the development of featus in artificial conditions.
  • Artificial insemination
  • Three-parent babies- human offspring that contain DNA from 3 parents. Is now researched in China but no fetus was born yet.
  • Sperm and eggs (donation)

Future problem-Transhumanism

Transhumanism is symbolized by H+ or h+ and is often used as a synonym for "human enhancement" is an ideological movement or pseudoreligion that supports any kind of way which can improve human health or general condition. Science and technology is method to gain full humanity- transhumanity. Gains are to within those methods reduce poverty, disease, disability, and malnutrition around the globe but also to enhance human bodies at individual level, control the evolution of human and other creatures. Transhumanists are for instance not interested in preservation natural biodiversity and natural systems on any other purpose but to use it. Transhumanist goals can be gained by using: genetic modifications on human embryos in order to create “designer babies”.

Transhumanism has been described by one critics, as the world's most dangerous idea, while proponents claims that it is the "movement that epitomizes the most daring, courageous, imaginative, and idealistic aspirations of humanity"

Future of genetic engineering

Are you concerned about bioethical issues?

Are you human or transhuman:)?

Despite ventures and problems biotechnology has bright sides. Do you see any? (watch the film from the link above)


  1. In my opinion abortion is a murder and euthanasia is also a murder. I know that this matters are very delicate and blogs aren't good places to consider all the pros and cons. I'd say only that your memory to Nazi experiments is very good - they also tried to decide who is worth living and who is not, who is Aryan and who is not. They compared the shape of nose, now some people compare law regulations and they think they could decide about someone's (or as they said "it's") life. About transhumanism I'm also against. Testing if we are able to produce "ideal" man are hazardous. That "ideal" transhuman can destroy us - humans. Of course I see some bright sides of biotechnology. Most our medicines, vaccines are work of biotechnologists. Biotechnology can give us many profits, but we should be very careful about it.

  2. Nowadays it's really hard to say if something is ethical or not. We have much more possibilities and we are able to do more things that our grandfathers or grandmothers could even imagined. I don't find abortion good thing because in my opinion people should be responsible for their behaviour. And it is better to give the child up to children's home then to kill it. But I agree with Michał that blog is not a good place for discussing such things, at least in my opinion... What is sure, we should remember that big power demands also a big responsibility.

  3. Oh, it's very gentle subject to discussion. For some people the ethic connects with religion and faith. So somebody can think someone attack their freedom.
    However I think abortion and euthanasia are murder. We never don't know when the life starts and finishes because the life is miracle. And if we can't decide which day our son or daughter are born and how they look like and we don't decide our child be girl or boy, we have not rights to decide he or she should live or not, I think.

  4. First of all I think that it is not that best subject to talk about on the internet. Second think is that we should try also understand people who agree for abortion or euthanasia. I agree that this is a murder but I also thing that there are some circumstances when I wouldn't say any bad word about person who did it. The problem is that abortion is becoming very popular, and women often do this just because they don't want to have a baby. And that I wouldn't accept at all. Similar thing is with euthanasia. If somebody suffer extremely and ask for stopping his life in some case I would accept is. But this is really gentle subject to talk and I think that we can easely talk like that. Maybe we would totally change our minds if we were in situations like that.

  5. Nowadays when we are thinking about science, especialy genetic science, is really difficult to say what is ethical or not, how far can go in our velocity to the knowlege. We make genetic experiments on another forms of life, we clone live organism and 'raise' human organs by experiments on animals. Human life is important but we should know where is a limit of 'play in the god'.

  6. Well, I agree with you that abortion is a murder- I can't listen to people speaking about human "foetus". It's an human beeing right from the conception! However I'm conscious that, just like Monika has said, there are some situations very very difficult to a pregnant women and then the decision about abortion is really not simple but such women feels desperate and has no support. In such situation I would not condemn the person (however it's still killing an innocent human beeing). By the way, I recommend you "Bella", a film of Alejandro Gomez Monteverde about dilemmas of a woman in such situation, love and respect for life...
    As far as experimentation on people is concerned, I think it's terrifying because we never have enough of competences to predict results of such experimentation- and these results can be truely terribles (I can't stop exemplifying my opinions- if you haven't read "Brave New World" of Aldous Huxley, you have to change it ;))

  7. I think that bioethical problems will become more and more import ant in the future. Genetic engineering could potentially enhance humanity, but all this transhumanism is pretty scary for me. Digging in human genes bring some kind of dehumanization. Expression “designer kid” is a good picture of it.
    There is a great movie, called “Gattaca” which shows a society divided into two parts. People with modified genes are superior, because they are stronger and resistant to almost all kind of disease. Those who have genes given by the nature are inferior, and in many ways discriminated. I think that we will have to deal with a problems like that when the genetic engineering become more advance and popular. I'm pretty sure it finally will happen.

  8. This is a really hard topic to express your opinion and not to hurt other people's beliefs at the same time.
    Generally, I'm not concerned about bioethical issues. I think that each mother should have a right to decide whether to continue or to abort pregnancy. It's the same with dying-in-pain people. They should have a possibility to choose a painless death. It's up to them.

    Transhumanism is a future of humanity and can't be avoided no matter how hard we try. The only thing that could be made is to prepare a set of laws regulating it.

  9. I think I can agree with Paweł here. Honestly, I don't really think about such things like bioethical problems. Abortion is a really hard topic. I can agree that when woman gets pregnant because of a rape or whan pregnancy is dangerous for life then she should have right to stop pregnancy. But in other cases she can just give baby for adoption. There's no need in removing it while it can live happily with good family. Also with dying-in-pain people I think that they should decide if they wanna live or not. It's their life.

  10. Unquestionably an abortion is a murder innocent beings and I will always claim that. I think that biotechnology has a great possibilities to make easier our life in almost every area of life. And we should be understanding, but always with a dose of mistrust. I am an opponent of euthanasia, but not in every case. I think that earier death may be sometimes better than a life of pain and suffering.

  11. In my opinion abortion is undoubtedly murder. I don’t think human beings have the right to decide whether another person should or should not live. I think it is good that in our country abortion is illegal and I hope that this will not change. I am also against euthanasia, unless the person who wishes to be euthanized states so clearly and has some sort of a medical cause for this.

  12. Bio-ethical problems become very urgent, as a result of development of biology science. We gain a lot of tools which could be use in interference in organism. And there should be setting up bio-ethical boards which will control crazy scientists.

  13. I agree with Judyta that abortion is murder. I believe that life begins at conception. I do not like when someone called about child an embryo or fetus. As far as experimentation on people is is immoral and inhuman. I think that.