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Who Owns The Body Essay

1364 words - 6 pages

The human body is a complex system. It is known how the body works and functions, how to take care of it when it’s unwell, and how to dispose of it when life is gone. It has not been however, established who owns the body. Society owns the body because it limits the availability of procedures, influences how individuals view themselves, and defines what a body “should” look like.
There are various medical procedures that have limited availability because of society’s influence. In “Adapting to Our Engineering”, Robin Henig presents the idea that in-vitro fertilization and cloning are similar in their beginnings as procedures. In each procedure, arguments such as “The child’s unnatural start would lead to genetic complications we couldn’t even imagine” are presented (Henig 246). This and other statements like it influence an individual’s idea of what to do with the body in the situation of having a child through new technologies. In-vitro in the past was considered un-godly manipulation of reproduction, just as cloning is considered today (Henig 246). Though, Henig states, that “With in-vitro fertilization, nature is imitated, not subverted. “The only thing that changes is the place where the egg and sperm unite” (Henig 247). This idea, in turn, could lead to cloning being accepted just as in-vitro has been because of society’s growing acceptance. Another medical process that has been limited by society is the concept of creating “designer babies”. Designer babies are created by manipulation of genes to create a “designer” outcome for the parent. In Maureen Freely’s “Designer Babies and Other Fairy Tales”, Freely describes a family with a son who has been diagnosed with a serious blood disorder and who is need of a cell transplant, because without one he will die (Freely 240). The family decides to use the cell manipulation process to create a baby that saves their son’s life. After going through with this, the family was condemned by the public as symbols of “moral decay” (Freely 240). This judgment made by society has limited other parents from using this procedure to save their children. So, the public popularity limits procedures to individuals is a way in which society owns the body.
Society has a cruel way of making individuals view themselves. In Maxine Frith’s “Teenage bulimia and the warped world of fashion magazines”, Frith describes a coroner who attacked the fashion industry over a bulimic teenager’s death. “It was, said the coroner, one of the most tragic cases to come before him in 40 years. Fiona Geraghty was a bright, beautiful 14 year old from a loving family, with a passion for horses and outdoor pursuits. But last year, on July 14, she hung herself at her Somerset home. Fiona suffered from the eating disorder bulimia, and was tormented by the thought that she was not thin enough to matter to the world” (Geraghty). This adolescent girl’s death was the cause of the fashion industry belligerently pressuring her to be thinner...

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