I am just back from Chicago where I met a delightful man who is a medical ethicist from Capetown South Africa. We enjoyed a long conversation about the ethical issues facing those in Africa as it relates to science, technology, medicine and human welfare. I was reminded again of the luxory of hype we here in America enjoy vs. the starkness of hope to those in countries like South Africa. I asked if the stem cell/cloning debate was a big issue and to that he replied a resounding ‘No!’. First, they realize the benefits from any of the stem cell/cloning research will probably never be made available to their population, they won’t be able to afford them. Second, their problems are much more immediate, like resource allocation (who gets what precious few resources they do have), a growing tuberculosis population, and of course the AIDS/HIV devastation. The human future is dependent on our care and concern for the least of these.
- Jennifer Lahl, MA, BSN, RN, is founder and president of The Center for Bioethics and Culture Network. Lahl couples her 25 years of experience as a pediatric critical care nurse, a hospital administrator, and a senior-level nursing manager with a deep passion to speak for those who have no voice. Lahl’s writings have appeared in various publications including Cambridge University Press, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Dallas Morning News, and the American Journal of Bioethics. As a field expert, she is routinely interviewed on radio and television including ABC, CBS, PBS, and NPR. She is also called upon to speak alongside lawmakers and members of the scientific community, even being invited to speak to members of the European Parliament in Brussels to address issues of egg trafficking; she has three times addressed the United Nations during the Commission on the Status of Women on egg and womb trafficking.
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