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3 The Immortal Cells

“Henrietta’s “An Obsession With “The Immortal Bullet Points
Dance” Culture” Life of
 Provides  Tells George  Covers  Gives very
different Gey’s the racial frank,
details perspective of politics of impersonal
about the events the usage facts of HeLa
Henriett  Doesn’t cover of HeLa cells and all
a as a the consent cells they have
person involved in  Tells accomplishe
 Publishe using HeLa cells. Henrietta’ d rather
d in  Describes Gey’s s whole than
2000 by other life story, covering
Rebecca accomplishment from her race or the
Skloot s outside of childhood lives of
HeLa to her Henrietta or
death her family.
 Does not
 Provides  Creates a
involve racial
more timeline of
politics or
detail on events
how HeLa relating to
affected HeLa cells,
 Published in her family not
2001 by
 Much Henrietta
Rebecca Skloot
more Lacks.
detail on
the lives
s family
 Published
in 2010 by

Position Statement Support for Position Support Against

People should have People have the right to The tissues could lead to
the right to control control their own bodies a cure that saves millions
what’s done with and not have their of lives, and if one
tissues, organs, etc. person’s wishes must be
their tissues once taken by force. disobeyed, then so be it.
tissues are removed
from their bodies.
Giving patients This could dramatically Even if it hinders
property rights of slow medical research research, people have a
their tissues might and delay breakthroughs right to refuse the use of
and the discoveries of their tissues for privacy
hinder research cures. or another reason.
because fewer people
would allow the use
of their tissue,
restricting access to
the necessary raw
Tissues takes from a The patient-and, by The family cannot be
patient and sold for extension, their family- credited with something
profit should profit should receive profit, that happened to only
because whatever result one person.
the individual or the
the tissues caused could
individual’s family have not been done
from whom the tissue without that person.
was taken.
Allowing patients to Scientific breakthroughs That may not always be
profit from their cannot be delayed or the case, and there may
tissues would hinder prevented because of be a set limit in place of
one person’s greed. how much profit the
scientific progress
patient can take.
because patients
would hold out for
excessive profits.
People can sell their If the sale of the tissues Organs and tissues can
sperm, their eggs, and and/or organs is be vital to life, and if the
their blood. There is consensual, the organs person had not given
and/or tissues being sold consent before their
no reason they should could greatly contribute death, it would be wrong
not be able to sell to scientific to take their organs or
their tissues and development. tissues away from them
organs. against their wishes.

7. In your opinion, was Dr. Gey’s use of Henrietta lacks’ cells unethical?
Support your response with evidence from all three sources.
Yes, I do believe that Dr. Gey should have asked Henrietta to use her tissues.
While it is true that if she had said no, it would have not lead to as many
discoveries (like discovering how to accurately diagnose and treat chromosomal
disorders), it is still important to respect the patient’s wishes and value their
consent, or lack thereof.
8. If Dr. Gey had not been able to use or to grow the cells that became
the HeLa cell line, how might medical research and health care be
different now? Support your response with evidence.
We would not have discovered how cells behave in space as early as we did,
because HeLa cells were the first cells in space in 1960. We would have less
information about salmonella, cell division, cloning (HeLa cells were the first cells
cloned in 1953), virology, chromosomal disorders, HPV, cancer, tuberculosis,
nanotechnology, and more.

9. Do you feel that the Lacks family should be compensated for the use
of Henrietta’s cancer cells for scientific study? Explain your answer.
While I do not believe they should receive full profit, they deserve to know more
about HeLa cells. Since Henrietta died, they were kept in the dark about HeLa and
developed a very negative impression of Hopkins. They also, in my opinion,
deserve to have their medications paid for (many of her family members have
health issues, such as osteoporosis).