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« Does God Feel Pain? | Main | Michiganders, What's On Your Menu Friday? »

March 14, 2007

Comments

MissJean

This is similar to what Jack Kevorkian (aka Dr. Death) advocated, except that it was involuntary and uncompensated use of prisoners serving life sentences or on death row.

Smoky Mountain Hiker

This sounds like the premise for a dystopian Hux-orwellian novel.

Yikes.

DJ

I can understand giving blood maybe...

MK

This is very reminiscent of a short story by Larry Niven called http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Jigsaw_Man>"The Jigsaw Man."

Slowboy

If it is moral to trade body parts for time out of prison then it is moral to sell body parts to get out of the prison of poverty. If a fetus is a body part...you connect the dots.

I'll give away a nice scary story plot. In the future selling body parts is legal. Banks have slowly whittled away at those opressive usery laws and now there is no way out of credit card debt: Except one.

Women are commonly traded as prostitues ("It's my body, I can do what I want")because premarital sex is not immoral and selling body parts is not immoral therefore renting out body parts is not immoral.

Mary Kay

Slowboy, um, a lot of that is already happening.

Tim J.

Talk about renting body parts... is "surrogate motherhood" any different?

Ed Pie

I can understand giving blood maybe...

True, blood grows back (so to speak) while most of our organs don't; however, when I give blood, they always ask if I've spent more than (I think it's) 72 hours behind bars; the presumption is that if someone's in jail that long they won't avoid picking up something untreatable.

Even if organ commerce of this sort were ethical, there'd still be a question of things like transplanting a kidney from someone who has been exposed to hepatitis. I wouldn't trust a doctor willing to do that, even if only with the consent of the patient.

Am I in the minority on that?

Esau

Folks,

I think you may be ignoring other elements in our modern society such as Genetic Engineering and Cloning which one day may bring about a new source for organ replacement -- clones.

Admittedly, the science still needs perfecting. However, one cannot ignore the fact that it's being developed nevertheless and the potential moral implications there are quite startling to say the least.

Such things have been the subject of recent books as well as films, as in The Island.

Ed Peters

EdPie asks my question too. What about that?

Note to File: Stay out of Hartford on Sundays. cc: A.

Puzzled

Also the _Starchild Trilogy_. Yes it is very like those two novels!

Tim, being a wetnurse isn't the same as being a prostitute. A surrogate mother falls into the category of wetnurse in my estimation.

Organs can now be directly grown from autosomal stem cells, such as fat cells from your own body. This way, no one is killed, or 'parted out', and there is no danger of rejection or necessity of rejection drugs, because it really is your own organ.

In the future, people could have replacements grown and frozen.

Lacy

"Tim, being a wetnurse isn't the same as being a prostitute"

Well, I would argue that being a wetnurse is not at all like being a surrogate. In the case of a wetnurse, the object of hiring her is to provide food. If that food could be procured another way (bottle feeding, for instance) then the wetnurse would be unnecessary. In the case of the surrogate, there simply is no substitute for the function of the womb.

Esau

In the future, people could have replacements grown and frozen.


That's just it Puzzled:

You can't just 'grow' an organ -- you'd need to grow the entire human clone.

This is where the line blurs about the concept of the 'soul' and just what it is that makes a 'human'.

We've reached the point in our technological advances where we've crossed that threshold, unfortunately, and our collective 'wisdom' hasn't caught up to the extent of our technology.

BobCatholic

Oh just watch. If states start doing the "trade body parts for time off" tell me what will stop the state from doing this: A rich powerful politician or crony needs a Kidney. Joe Schmoe has the right blood type, according to state medical records, and is healthy. Next thing you know, ol' Joe is in jail on trumped up charges, but he can get out of the the politician/crony gets the kidney.

Hey, this will happen eventually, probably in Missouri first, as embryonic stem cell research is now a constitutional requirement there. Start with embryos, move up to older humans until eventually, you're required to submit to a court ordered handing over of your organs for research.

John

Esau makes an interesting point:

"You can't just 'grow' an organ -- you'd need to grow the entire human clone."

However, scientists can grow human ears in mice bodies by inserting the right genetic sequence into the mouse embryo. So perhaps not now, but in the very near future, organs will be re-producable independent of harvesting the organ from a full-blown human...

That said...what do you guys think about taking the human genetic sequence for creating, for instance, a human heart and reproducing it in the body of, say, a pig? If the mitochondrial DNA, and host virus/mutation issues could be reasonably addressed and conquered, would you be against this sort of technological advance?

I think this type of progression technologically is much more likely than some of the scenarios mentioned above, that sound like something out of a Michael Crichton novel, than our near future genetic endeavors.

Esau

John:

The only thing is that when growing and obtaining these from a non-human source, there is not only the greater chance of organ rejection but also viruses jumping from animal to human.

Sailorette/Foxfier

I'd be utterly against making animals that are part human. That horns in on the "how human is human" problem.

Esau

That horns in on the "how human is human" problem.

Cleverly put, Sailorette!

Sailorette/Foxfier

*blush* Pun not intended.

John

I agree with both of you about the virus/MDNA issues I mentioned above, but assume that those issues can be managed difinitively...

Then, if one USES a cow for its milk, flesh, skin, and bones, why not uses a cow to grow a genetic match of a human heart? I've read that very soon a cow's DNA can be modified to allow the cow to remain alive long enough to allow for full organ development, whereby that DNA modification in the cow will render those developed organs to be a near perfect genetic match to the human.

Other studies have talked about not messing with the animal's DNA, but using the animal's body as a host to support the development of human organs by directed stem cell procedure inside the animal's body... essentially you place a heart "bud" in an animal, which is genetically identical to the intended organ recipient's DNA, and allow the animal's blood, hormones, blood-borne nutrients, etc. to allow the organ bud to develop as though it was inside a human.

Assuming you get the stem cells from a non-embryonic cell source, and you are not taking a life or developing an animal-human hybrid to further your scinetific agenda, then what would be wrong with the second scenario I mention?

Esau

assume that those issues can be managed difinitively...


John:

A virus jumping species can never be solved definitively, believe me.

Although I didn't take Virology, I do have a basic understanding of Medical Micro. though.

Some Day

See it is immoral because we are not owners of ourselves. God is.

And we have the right to use our bodies in relation to the Divine Order of the Universe.

That is one of the reasons why gluttony, acts of impurity and other carnal sins are wrong, because we don't have the right to use our bodies in that manner.

So trading parts, under this train of thought, is illegitamate.

But things are not square. You can donate a kidney because you got two and still survive with one. Now if that would cause you harm, it is a sin. So in that case it seems okay.

But the last objection I see, is justice.
If I trade my kidney, it will just leave with a possible scar and a couple weeks of uncomfort.
Is that proportional to years in jail for raping a woman? Not even jail time would seem so.
But that is where I would start the moral and philosophical debate. There is where I would have to give it some thought.

John

Someday,

I would agree that God "owns" us, in-so-much-as he generally gives us free will to use our bodies as we see fit, and that by failing to submit our bodies to God's well defined will, we sin.

But you elaborate in your response that a person receiving a genetically designed, biologically manufactured organ offends the divine order of the universe, thereby sinning, much the same as a glutton, etc.

Gluttony and the other sins that you indicate in your analysis though, are well-articulated sins both biblically, and in Church tradition...

So, what "sin" is specifically involved in offending the divine order of the universe, by receiving a genetically created, biologically manufactured organ, as I suggest in my second scenario, particularly if that organ can save ones life? I ask sincerely!

Peace

BrianC

On the next generic sci-fi TV show. Our hero finds themselves in an alien prison where the only way out is to donate his brain. Oh wait this is real?! Never mind then.

Some Day

You don't have the right to do something that will harm you.

When when sins, you not only sin in the way did or did not do something, but also that you broke with the order God established for the Universe.

The legistature will propose that a man who knows he is going to die in prison(say he is 45 and the sentence is 60 years) can donate an organ that will result in his mortality.

Now things like kidneys are alright. You are not doing any harm. Even if later in life your othe fails, you had no indication of that being so.
Ergo, no sin.

TerryC

Too large a shot gun pattern here.
There are techniques being worked on in which human heart valves can be grown in vitro. No animal host necessary and no fetal stem cells either. Is such a technique immoral? I can't see how.
The use of surrogate mothers is not the problem. The problem is the 49 fertilized ovum (read babies) that are created to "make" the single child which is finally implanted into the surrogate.
As for the original story, the immorality of the practice is so obvious that it's serious suggestion is just another indication of what happens when secular practice replaces morals.

Tim J.

"The use of surrogate mothers is not the problem. The problem is the 49 fertilized ovum (read babies) that are created to "make" the single child..."

Not according to Catholic teaching, as far as I know. Surrogacy would necessitate seperating the procreative and unitive aspects of the conjugal act, and would therefore be proscribed.

If valves, or skin tissue, or organs could be grown in tanks, without destroying embryos, or something, that's great. Animal/human hybrids would be getting into a really wierd area. I would bet that "thou shalt not mingle human and non/human DNA" would be supportable from more foundational Catholic moral principles, though I can't tell you how before I go to bed.

It might go something like "God invented DNA, and He gave us sexual reproduction (families) as THE exclusive way of passing it on. It is the manifest will of God that DNA mingling is inextricably bound up with the sex act, and is not to be seperated FROM the sex act.".

So, you have heredity (DNA) wrapped in the sex act, which is wrapped in marriage, which is wrapped in the family. Only in that context is DNA mingling to ever take place.

Not that some tinkering with DNA could never (in theory) happen, but only to cure disease (like to switch off a disease gene). But even that is problematic... what is the definition of a "disease"? Cancer? Dwarfism? Attention Deficit Disorder? Can we trust ourselves to program our children? Where do we stop?

Those doing the research have not shown any overriding concern for ethical restraint. They are giddy with the possibilities, and ethics means "how far can we go without offending current social taboos and losing our funding?"

Some Day

It is again a sin against the Order of the Unverse.

God never intended for humans to be grown in parts, or even parts of humans to be grown.

Remember that Adam had the Infused Science.
(that was a mental translation from Spanish, correct me if I am wrong)
and knew more genetics than anyone today.
He might have been able to do more stuff than any scientist. You think he would have tried to prevent the first cold he ever got by messing with stuff like that? (though many of the the knowledge of these things could come from occult sources(many it the inventions of the past 200 years have been "inspirations". From who?)

No.

It is unnatural made. Nature does not produce it that way. Even pig valves come from a natural action.

When they clone someone, if they haven't already, do you think that they will be human? No way!
It takes the two sexual cells to meet to be a human.
And something has to animate that body...
And it won't be a human soul...or a good angel either.

Eileen R

Yes. Surrogacy was condemned in 'Donum Vitae' the 1987 Instruction on methods of artificial reproduction, issued by the Doctrine for the Congregation of the Faith. The whole thing can be read here.

http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_19870222_respect-for-human-life_en.html

Relevant paragraphs:

"3. IS "SURROGATE"* MOTHERHOOD MORALLY LICIT?

No, for the same reasons which lead one to reject heterologous artificial fertilization: for it is contrary to the unity of marriage and to the dignity of the procreation of the human person. Surrogate motherhood represents an objective failure to meet the obligations of maternal love, of conjugal fidelity and of responsible motherhood; it offends the dignity and the right of the child to be conceived, carried in the womb, brought into the world and brought up by his own parents; it sets up, to the detriment of families, a division between the physical, psychological and moral elements which constitute those families.

* By "surrogate mother" the Instruction means:

a) the woman who carries in pregnancy an embryo implanted in her uterus and who is genetically a stranger to the embryo because it has been obtained through the union of the gametes of "donors". She carries the pregnancy with a pledge to surrender the baby once it is born to the party who commissioned or made the agreement for the pregnancy.

b) the woman who carries in pregnancy an embryo to whose procreation she has contributed the donation of her own ovum, fertilized through insemination with the sperm of a man other than her husband. She carries the pregnancy with a pledge to surrender the child once it is born to the party who commissioned or made the agreement for the pregnancy."

Should be noted, though, that surrogacy here can't be automatically read as equalling embryo adoption/rescue by another uninvolved couple. That's a different moral kettle of fish, which very orthodox Catholic theologians are divided on. I just actually wrote a term paper on the subject, which is why I'm up on it.

Eileen R

When they clone someone, if they haven't already, do you think that they will be human? No way!
It takes the two sexual cells to meet to be a human.
And something has to animate that body...
And it won't be a human soul...or a good angel either.

Some Day, that'd be a heretical position to take. The Catholic Church has taught that human beings created by cloning are as human as any other, and have an inherent dignity.

Some Day

It is still unnatural.

You are extracting a human being from the womb and sticking it in another.

You are forcing a birth and putting him back into another womb. Death is natural process.

Not all babies make it.
That is the consequences of Original Sin.

Some Day

Umm, you don't sound like a idiot, but that is not a very smart comment.

If the Church still has not defined things that has happend, you are going to make up it up that She has defined something about something that has NOT happend?

Please I know you are smart, but that comment was not.

Eileen R

Sometimes it's best not to take to strong a stance on a subject, when it hasn't been decided yet. That was basically my conclusion in researching embryo adoption. If some of the best moral theologians and churchmen are divided, I don't think I have the capacity to make a complete judgment. Better to wait for the Church to decide.

Eileen R

Some Day, Human cloning has existed for *years* now. Just because they kill the clones before they can be born doesn't make the cloned embryos less real.

Furthermore, the Church plans ahead. The first pronouncements on cloning are in Donum Vitae, back in 1987, years *before* human cloning came into existence.

Eileen R

For instance, John Paul II to the UN on cloning as it exists, and the humanity of the human embryo cloned:

http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/secretariat_state/documents/rc_seg-st_doc_20020923_martino-cloning_en.html

"Cloning a human embryo, while intentionally planning its demise, would institutionalize the deliberate, systemic destruction of nascent human life in the name of unknown "good" of potential therapy or scientific discovery."

And an example of dealing with a situation which hasn't happened yet, the birth of a human clone.

PONTIFICIA ACADEMIA PRO VITA

REFLECTIONS
ON CLONING

http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_academies/acdlife/documents/rc_pa_acdlife_doc_30091997_clon_en.html

"Human cloning must also be judged negative with regard to the dignity of the person cloned, who enters the world by virtue of being the "copy" (even if only a biological copy) of another being: this practice paves the way to the clone's radical suffering, for his psychic identity is jeopardized by the real or even by the merely virtual presence of his "other".

These are just the first two results I pull up with Google. There's lots more. There is no debate that the cloned human is a fully human person, made in the image and likeness of God.

Sailorette/Foxfier

It is still unnatural.
You are extracting a human being from the womb and sticking it in another.

Rape is against God's order. That doesn't make my cousin a non-human.

You are forcing a birth and putting him back into another womb. Death is natural process.

The theory of most host-mothers is that the baby is made outside of the womb and implanted in an unrelated female. No birth involved.

Might want to remember that just because something is natural doesn't mean it's good.

Sailorette/Foxfier

If the Church still has not defined things that has happend, you are going to make up it up that She has defined something about something that has NOT happend?

Might want to reasearch before you call someone a liar, Some Day. It's rude.

While it's true that the Church OFTEN waits to be challenged before She makes any statement, it's not a solid rule.

Bob

I'm going to put up my post and then run and take cover. While I have not been blessed with the gift of prophesy, I just seem to sense a bit of fire coming my way...

I don't see how this is all that terrible an idea. Is there really all that much difference in what is essentially slave labor (prison farms, road clean-up crews, maintenance crews, banging out license plates, etc) and body parts? Now hear me out on this. We can put you in a cell and deny you your freedoms. We can force you to do physical labor without pay. It seems to me that we are already taking their bodies -- in their entirety and often in perpetuity -- and using them for our purposes. And for what benefit? The guy who owns the metal fab shop can't compete with prison labor so he certainly won't get the state license plate contract. He doesn't benefit. The hard-working teenager who might benefit from a summer job working on a road crew is going to cost more than the prison crew so he/she doesn't get the job. That kid doesn't benefit. The prisoners who head out for another day of picking up garbage drive down the stretch of road they cleaned last week and see more trash strewn on the side of the road. They see their work erased and they don't benefit.

I'm not some soft-on-crime liberal do-gooder by any stretch of the imagination. But our prisons are an abject failure. They have become nothing more than a training ground for improving one's craft (crime). We put people in a place where they are beaten by their fellow inmates, raped, and forced to choose between becoming another inmate's "mistress" and being beaten or killed...nice choice. And what a great way to psychologically prepare someone for a return to society. I'm sure 5-10 of being sodomized, beaten, and humiliated is going to produce some very good citizens (SARCASM ALERT!).

Giving a kidney, a part of your liver (yes, you can give a piece of your liver and it will grow back completely), or your bone marrow can produce results that are, literally, miraculous. I can think of few ways that a person can re-connect with what it truly means to be a human and a part of a civilized society. They have the opportunity (they aren't forced--it is an opportunity) to directly save another person's life. It gives them a chance to really pay back. Maybe, just maybe, the opportunity to go from villian to hero, and the opportunity to have a grateful parent look them in the face and say "Thank you, and God bless you. My child is going to make it to see his 10th birthday because of you," might just inspire something within them to choose a different path. And even if it doesn't, and that criminal commits another crime, that kid is still going to blow out those candles. Call me crazy, but I thought that giving of one's self for our brothers and sisters was a big part of our faith.

P.S. Esau - actually, organs can be grown without cloning. A British team just recently grew a human liver out of a stem cell harvested from cord blood. No child was aborted.

Esau

Bob:

I know what article you're referring to.

But, you need to keep in mind that they were only able to produce small pieces of liver tissue -- not an entire liver itself.


Liver from Scratch:

Well, okay, not scratch but something even better -- stem cells harvested from umbilical cord blood:


British scientists have grown the world's first artificial liver from stem cells in a breakthrough that will one day provide entire organs for transplant.

The technique that created the 'mini-liver', currently the size of a one pence piece, will be developed to create a full-size functioning liver.

Described as a 'Eureka moment' by the Newcastle University researchers, the tissue was created from blood taken from babies' umbilical cords just a few minutes after birth.

Bear in mind, these are small pieces of liver tissue. A fully grown and transplantable liver is still some years away.

Fabio P.Barbieri

Actually, giving bone marrow is in the same category as giving blood - it will grow back. I am on a register of prospective donors myself. To be forced to give anything that will not grow back, including a kidney, seems to me unacceptable.

Smoky Mountain Hiker

God never intended for...parts of humans to be grown

How do you know what God intended in this case?

Remember that Adam ...knew more genetics than anyone today

Based upon ?

many of the the knowledge of these things could come from occult sources(many it the inventions of the past 200 years have been "inspirations". From who?)

What ???

Sailorette/Foxfier

Bob- All the states I'm familiar with pay the prisioners for work.

John

Remember where Paul did much of his preaching...prison! Don't forget about the basic humanity of these individuals who are incarcerated. We should not write them off as non-humans, lost-souls, or otherwise unimportant persons, anymore than Christ forgets about the incarcerated as his beloved children.

Legally, Jimmy's scenario poses an interesting Constitutional question...

Two guys in prison want to get their sentences reduced by donating organs or other human biological materials...one guy has AIDS, the other guy is perfectly healthy...

Does a law, allowing a healthy inmate to have his sentence reduced or commuted because of a kind, beneficient act like donating an organ, pass Constitutional muster if that law discriminates against another inmate who is equally interested in donating an organ and having his sentence reduced, but who is unable to do so because of health related diagnosis (like HIV/AIDS infection)?

Esau

Legally, Jimmy's scenario poses an interesting Constitutional question...


That's the 3rd time Tim J. has been mistaken for Jimmy!

Wow! What a compliment!

Tim J.

"That's the 3rd time Tim J. has been mistaken for Jimmy!"

Puzzling, with Jimmy's red hair, and all... and he's taller by a good few inches, though I think that's mostly the boots.

I see I will have to write up a big disclaimer to insert at the beginning of all my posts. You know, "Tim Jones, half a continent away, obscure artist... not-Jimmy, not even an understudy..."

I'm more like a stunt double.

John

Yes, Tim J., got it...you're the author, and I wasn't paying much atention to that important fact...so now that we have the proper authorship of the article figured out...how do you and others weigh-in on the legal issue I raised?

Regards,

John (the nice one!)

Mary

Does a law, allowing a healthy inmate to have his sentence reduced or commuted because of a kind, beneficient act like donating an organ, pass Constitutional muster if that law discriminates against another inmate who is equally interested in donating an organ and having his sentence reduced, but who is unable to do so because of health related diagnosis (like HIV/AIDS infection)?

The law allows all sorts of such distinctions. A criminial who gave evidence against a partner can get his sentence reduced, regardless of what that does to the crook without a partner.

Puzzled

Lacy, are you saying that wetnursing was prostitution until the invention of baby formula, but now it isn't? That seems to be the force of your argument.

The womb protects the baby, and nutrition is provided for the baby through the blood barrier in the placenta. That is, it seems to me, much more like wetnursing than sexual union outside of marriage, producing a new child with your genes and the other person's genes.

Esau, it is my understanding that it is not the case with autosomal stem cells. In the case of autosomal stem cells you can grow an organ without first fertilizing then murdering a baby.

"You don't have the right to do something that will harm you." That is a false statement. If it were a true statement, it would be a sin to be a soldier, or a fireman or a policeman. It would be a sin to donate a kidney. It would be a sin to fast. It would have been sin when Jesus died for us upon the Cross. And on you go. There is science fiction on this, too. Where the computers were programmed to keep people safe. First they established a life of indolence, but people kept having accidents, so in the end, they eliminated people.

Tim, at which point, if true, the Catholic Church would be defining sins based upon human philosophy, and not anything that God, the only Lawgiver and Judge, has said.

Some Day, I don't know what your religion is, but I don't necessarily recognize it. Twins and triplets are born every day, and you know what? Most of them are clones.

So by the logic, sorry, -rationale- of Donum Vitae, wetnursing is sin, and adoption might very well be.

Esau

"You don't have the right to do something that will harm you."


Uhhh... Puzzled, I've NEVER said this!

Esau

Some Day, I don't know what your religion is, but I don't necessarily recognize it. Twins and triplets are born every day, and you know what? Most of them are clones.


Hehehe... I thought the same thing way back when!

Some Day, you've got to clarify your statements, brutha!

Tim J.

"Tim, at which point, if true, the Catholic Church would be defining sins based upon human philosophy, and not anything that God, the only Lawgiver and Judge, has said."

Not at all. New actions (cloning was unknown & impossible until now) call for clarification from the Church. The magisterium of the Catholic Church is charged with working out the implications of revelation (the Deposit of Faith - Scripture & Tradition). This overlaps with human reason, but is guided by the Holy Spirit.

That said, cloning clearly violates the precepts of God's law... "What God has joined together (procreation & the sex act) let not man seperate.".

It's just a new variation on an old sin.

Esau

It's just a new variation on an old sin.

Much like the precepts against Abortion which is actually found in both the Didache as well as in the Old Testament.

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