Biomedical issues

Do parents harm their children when they refuse medical treatment on religious grounds?

Yes. I have the opinion that a child belongs to the society and not only to the parent. That is why governments invest in programs such as free education and free medication. In countering illnesses, there has been no particular proof that belief in a supernatural being could heal an ailment.

A parent’s refusal to medical treatment on religious grounds is like denying another human being a right to live since children are human beings too. Sloan (2006) points out that there is no proven curative power to a religious belief such as prayer and consequently the use of it as medical treatment negates patient care.

Parents have a right to their children but they should not use their authority to deny children their rights. Religion too is part of the humanity but it should not be perceived to be a panacea to life since conventional medicine is also important.

Is genetic enhancement an unacceptable use of technology?

Yes. From an ethical point of view, genetic enhancement in human being is wrong. My argument is that human traits have to be as diverse as they are- short, tall; fat, thin; tongue rollers and non-rollers; hairy and smooth bodies and so on.

Unlike plants and animals that humanity has control over, we do not want women to be “high producers of milk,” of men to be “fast growers” like bulls or broilers. The point is that humanity is about talent and intelligence, and for every trait, there is a field where it can be utilized.  Sandel (2007) argued that genetic engineering is subject to the vagaries of trials. The world should not be ready to lose too many parents in an attempt to create a successful clone (Sandel, 2007).

Should prisoners be allowed to participate in research?

No. Most prisoners in the world are subjected to poor conditions and are vulnerable to mistreatment. The case of Nazi physicians mistreating prisoners supports this. In the 1970s, drug trials were done on prisoners. Yet it is obvious that participants in any research should be volunteers and not forced individuals.

Since prisoners are under guard, they have no right to refuse participation and the trials may be done in disguise as medication, which may be harmful. Moreover, successful research should be based on a diverse sample and not individuals held together in a prison cell. Respect for persons involved in research should be applied everywhere including prisons. Only if this is adhered to can the participation of prisoners in research be justified.

Should federally funded healthcare be tied to following doctor’s orders?

No. such a setting would exploit patients and make medical care unaffordable. The current situation in USA is that there are high costs of treatment and poor outcomes. In spite of this, more attention is given to sudden acute disease conditions at the expense of chronic conditions like cancer that need more attention and additional costs.

If doctors were allowed to direct patients on which of two or more similar drugs to buy, patients would end up buying the most expensive drugs. The Medicaid Redesign Proposal in Virginia is an idea that will protect patients from exploitation and inform them on how to handle various kinds of ailments.

Should performance-enhancing drugs be banned from sport?

Yes. Sport is about competition to prove ability and talent. Users of performance-enhancing drugs gain undue advantage over non-users, but in only the short run. This decimates the essence of sport. In the long run, drugs such as steroids are harmful to the body (Bahrke &Yesalis, 2002).


Sloan, R P (2006). Blind Faith: The unholy alliance of religion and medicine. New York: Macmillan

Sandel, M J. (2007).The case against perfection: Ethics in the age of genetic engineering. Harvard: Harvard University Press

Bahrke, M S. Yesalis, C (2002). Performance-enhancing substances in sport and exercise. New York: Human Kinetics,


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