Here is the quote heard round the world in my circles,
“Toine Manders, Dutch liberal MEP, says: “If you look at all the discussions surrounding biotechnology, I feel that we are clearly focusing too much on ethics.”
MEP Manders then goes onto scare us by saying if the European Union doesn’t fund embryo stem cell research rich Europeans will get treatments from other countries and poor Europeans will keep their sick selves home. Manders states, “we will eventually have two classes of European health patients: those who have to get treatment at home and those who will be able to afford a trip to China or elsewhere to get access to the latest medical advances.”
Well medical tourism is already a real and growing business as the more affluent shop their medical dollars all around the world. And I can’t imagine that funding embryo stem cell research will solve issues of justice and equity of distribution of medical resources. Supporters of embryo stem cell research like to make claims that it will solve all kinds of diseases, but I think this is a big stretch!
I would argue that one can never focus too much on the ethics.
- 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.