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Law Opinion Philosophy Society United States

My Body, My Choice. Down to the Genes.

The government should not be regulating gene therapy.

By Casey Ward | United States

People’s choice to modify their body is theirs alone. Body modification has been around for thousands of years and as technology advances so to do our methods. We started by giving piercings and tattoos but today we have implants, reconstructive surgery and now gene therapy. The government still tries to regulate the old methods even today. Yet, with gene editing on the rise, we cannot allow the government to control this.

Families around the world are supporting the movement, betting on gene therapy in hopes that it will cure a long list of rare diseases that plague their children. But throughout time, the FDA has made effective treatments harder to get. For example, take the case of Barry Marshall. He and his partner discovered inflammatory bacteria which led to ulcers and stomach cancer. However, Dr. Marshall was not allowed to treat this infection without years of studies while people were dying, so he drank infected broth. When he developed ulcers, they were prepared with a cure, proving him right and saving people from agony. Today we see this same trend in gene therapy. People are dying and in need of a cure, while others dictate the use of this technology.

The government has no right to impose what they see as morally right upon others. The regressive policies of the U.S. will leave us behind in the end. When debating the legality of such policies the supreme court’s take years that patients don’t have in order to decide what is ethically right. Coupled with the long history of governments committing their own atrocities, they lose credibility. Even big pharma is backing gene therapy as a cheaper way to cure rare diseases which become more common as people age.

Gene therapy is one of our best ways of extending life. With people like Elizabeth Parrish of BioViva pushing the limits by going around the FDA to be “patient zero” in gene editing in the attempt to extend her life. The benefits of gene therapy should be available to everyone if they choose to.

Whether trying to cure rare diseases or extend life, in no case should it be the government’s choice.

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4 comments on “My Body, My Choice. Down to the Genes.

  1. Interestingly, there are a lot of parallels between this issue and the gun debate. Guns causing death, an obvious solution, and a government saying “no”.

    • Casey Ward

      Government appears to do that on almost every issue we face and yet we place our faith in them without a reason.

  2. Adult gene therapy is self-evolution. It is difficult to overstate the importance of this. Particularly since adult gene therapy does not allow you to bear children with the acquired genetic change. There is a strong tradition that emerged during the Iron Age, which posits that God and his Kingdom is the only thing we ought to worry about, and those misguided followers will do everything they can to doom not only their children and themselves to death and stagnation, but the rest of us too.

    To understand the stakes: it is predicted that in about a decade we will engineer an immortal human cell, and another decade to fashion this improved design into an adult gene therapy. You could give this adult gene therapy to a 90 year old and they will grow young like they are about 30, and they will never age again. Our government and those holy rollers are standing between us and that live saving therapy.

    • Casey Ward

      Absolutely, aging needs to be classified as a disease already so that we can focus on a cure.

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