The Moral Price of Sight
By Chantal Foster Lindquist
A recent article in The Chicago Sun-Times reveals
that we've found another use for America's unwanted children: recycling
their eye tissue. On Sunday, Dr. Marco Zarbin of the New Jersey Medical
School told the Foundation Fighting Blindness
that using the tissue from cadavers or aborted fetuses could help cure
macular degeneration in the elderly. To many, this might seem like an
exciting advance in treating blindness, but
to me it seems a twisted example of medical technology gone awry.
And no one seems to pay serious attention to these ethical considerations.
Dr. Terry Ernest of the University of Chicago says this procedure "has
enormous potential.'' According the Sun-Times article, "Ernest uses fetal
cells because they grow rapidly."
And in Time Magazine online, they call Ernest a "Hero of Medicine,"
describing how he dealt with the ethical questions regarding the use of
fetal tissue. Time writes, "As Siegler [medical ethicist at University of
Chicago] and many others saw it, there were no insurmountable barriers to
the use of fetal tissue for medical purposes. After all, organs and tissue
from brain-dead children and adults are donated for transplantation all
the time. And while such deaths are tragic, they are caused not in order
to obtain the organs but by events, such as automobile accidents, over which
transplant teams have no control. Abortion, advised Siegler, could be
viewed as another such tragic event."
While I agree that abortion is tragic, harvesting the eyes of unborn
children seems to me another chapter in a much larger tragedy.
Imagine being the doctor who removes eye tissue from the corpse of an
unwanted child. There could be little or no avoidance of the truth. While
the baby's mother may have pretended the new life wasn't for real, putting
a scalpel to the eye of an unborn child erases any doubt that life existed
in those clear brown, blue or green eyes. Cutting into innocent cold bodies
small enough to fit in the palm of your hand.
Would you pay this price for your eyes? And what has Medicine and Science
become if these men are our "Heroes?"
To read the Time online article, go to:
Email Dr. Marco Zarbin at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Email Dr. Terry Ernest at: email@example.com
Contact the Foundation Fighting Blindness at:
This article is copyright © 1998 Chantal Foster
Lindquist. All rights reserved. It may not be reproduced with out specific consent
of the author.